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What is Email Marketing? A beginner's guide

Updated: Apr 21



In 1978, Gary Thuerk of Digital Equipment Corporation sent out the first ever massee mail to approximately 400 customers. He claimed to have generated sales of $ 13 million as a result, revealing the high potential of email as an effective marketing tool.


Today, email marketing is still one of the most effective methods of promoting brands and engaging with potential customers and clients. Since Thuerk's first e-mail, campaigns have evolved over the years from mass mailings to e-mails to strategic, highly targeted messages. In this article, we will delve into what email marketing is, as well as how your brand can use it to build engagement and growth.


What is Email Marketing?


Email marketing is an effective type of marketing that involves sending emails to potential customers and clients. This valuable tactic can be used for a variety of purposes, including generating conversions, marketing products or generating interest and loyalty for your brand.


While nothing new, email is an important strategic channel for almost any industry and is one of the most effective ways to convert people into customers. In fact, research has shown that organizations get an average ROI of $ 42 for every dollar spent.


Benefits of Email Marketing


Marketing emails can serve several purposes for your business or organization, depending on the content. Their main benefits include:


  • Marketing your products or services

  • Build engagement with your brand

  • Drive traffic to your site

  • Turn potential customers into customers

  • Turn one-time buyers into loyal fans


Because email is a direct line of conversation with your customers, it has advantages over other forms of marketing communication. First, people are more likely to see an email than a post on social media, which may not appear in the feeds of potential customers and followers. Secondly, emails allow you to send different messages based on the subscribers' individual wishes and needs. Compared to all-in-one marketing campaigns, this targeted form of communication is far more effective at generating conversions.



Types of Marketing Emails


From automated emails to weekly newsletters, different types of messages achieve different goals for your brand. You can use a combination of them to put together a comprehensive email marketing strategy:


  • E-mail campaigns are sent with a specific purpose in mind, whether it is to promote a special offer, encourage users to download a whitepaper or e-book, or sign up for a free trial.


  • E-mail newsletters are sent on a consistent basis to provide regular updates to subscribers. A newsletter can share new blog posts or case studies, discuss a product update or recent milestone, or highlight upcoming events. For more information, take a look at this article on how to create a newsletter that stands out.


  • Automated marketing emails are sent automatically based on predefined triggers. For example, you can send a welcome email to new subscribers, a festive email to subscribers celebrating their birthday, and an email reminder to customers with abandoned shopping carts. Or you can send a drip campaign that takes care of potential customers and convinces them to buy. Whatever type of email you choose, you can set up strategic autoresponders using free email marketing tools, such as Wix Ascend.


  • Automated transactional emails are another effective form of marketing automation that is sent automatically after a transaction. They include order confirmations, shipping updates and reminders of appointments or events. Although these emails are fairly simple, they are important for building customer trust, especially for e-commerce websites.



How to do email marketing


Now that you have some background on email marketing, it's time to learn how to create effective marketing emails in 5 easy steps:


  1. Build your email list

  2. Choose an Email Marketing Service

  3. Segment your target audience

  4. Create great content

  5. Optimize your campaigns


01. Build your email list


The first step in starting your email marketing strategy is to get subscribers. Remember that you must get people's permission to use their addresses. It is bad practice to buy an email list, and most email marketing companies have a strict permission-based policy. In addition, you must ensure that you comply with applicable laws, including the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and the Canadian Anti-Spam Act (CASL).


With that in mind, the best way to build an email list is to use tactics that encourage people to sign up voluntarily. One way to do this is to use lead magnets - something valuable that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. Most lead magnets are not products, but instead digital goods that you can make cheaply and easily using your industry expertise. These include:


  • E-books

  • Webinars

  • Whitepapers and case studies

  • Business toolkits and guides

  • Consultations

  • Coupons


Once you have defined your lead magnets, add sign-up forms to your website to encourage people to sign up. Be sure to use tempting headlines and compelling CTAs that prompt users to subscribe. For example, you can provide a downloadable guide to email marketing using the title "The Complete Email Marketing Checklist" and the CTA "Download Now." Next to the CTA button you will have one field for the subscriber's name and another for the email address.


You can place these forms in a variety of strategic places on your site, including a pop-up window, sidebar, or blog post.


02. Choose an Email Marketing Service


Because e-mail marketing involves managing a large number of subscribers, sending targeted messages and analyzing your e-mail calculations, you will need a robust e-mail marketing service to help you manage and organize your work. There are several different platforms available, including:


  • Wix Email Marketing

  • MailChimp

  • Moosend

  • GetResponse

  • Constant contact

  • SendInBlue


Wix Email Marketing is a particularly effective tool that you can easily integrate into your website. It includes built-in analytics features, such as statistics on email openings, impressions, and clicks, so you can analyze the performance of your campaigns. In addition, you can customize the design of your emails so that they look professional, reflect your brand identity and resonate with the audience.


In addition, Wix Email Marketing allows you to link your email to your website. This way, you can send emails via a special corporate email address, and view performance data directly through the site's dashboard.



03. Segment the audience


Another important tip for email marketing is to divide your audience based on their unique interests, characteristics and behaviors. This process, called segmentation, allows you to send more targeted communications so that emails directly appeal to the wants and needs of the target market.


There are a few different categories you can divide your subscribers by. These include:


  • Demographics: Factors such as age, gender and income level can tell you about a person's needs and interests.

  • Geographical area: Information about the audience's country or region can help you tailor your content based on different interests, languages ​​and cultures in different parts of the world.

  • Website Behavior: Data about users' interactions with your site - such as which pages they visit and which products they see - can point to their interests and help inform your targeting strategy.

  • Purchase history: Details about customers' purchases can help you target one-time buyers to repeat buyers in a different way, as well as send clear messages to people with different interests.

  • Amount spent: How much money customers have already spent on your site can give you an idea of ​​how much they are willing or able to spend in general, and what kind of products they are likely to buy.

  • Position in the marketing funnel: Whether a user is a brand new subscriber or has an abandoned shopping cart, you can use this information to create emails that guide them toward a purchase.

  • Personal interests: Information about people's personal interests - which you can collect by letting users create profiles on your site or store their favorite items - gives you a better understanding of your customers' individual preferences.


All in all, keep your communication as targeted as possible, even if you choose to send emails to your mass audience. By sending different email campaigns between these categories, you can create content that is more relevant, relatable and compelling.


04. Create great content


At this point, you have everything set up to start creating your email marketing campaigns. The next step is to generate the content itself.


No matter what type of content you create - an automated message, a newsletter or an update on a new product - you need to keep in mind a few key principles. First, remember that your goal is to become a welcome guest in your subscribers' inboxes. Instead of appearing like spam or annoying, create thoughtful emails that give your audience real value.


You can do this by providing benefits or insights your subscribers will appreciate, whether it's practical tips, exclusive content or a seasonal coupon code.


The writing itself should also be engaging. Build rapport with your audience by talking to them individually (eg addressing them by name and writing in another person). Add your content with personality, and add humor when appropriate. Your goal is to sound like a helpful friend, rather than a company.


Finally, end with a professional email signature, as this creates an immediate association between your brand and your campaign.


05. Optimize and improve


Once you've written and submitted your emails, you need to analyze your email marketing KPIs so that you can continually optimize your campaigns. These metrics should already be built into your email marketing service.


The most important analyzes to track include:


  • Delivery Speed: This tracks the number of emails delivered. If some emails are not delivered, you may be sending to non-existent addresses. 95% or higher is considered to be a high delivery rate; if your number is lower, clear the subscriber list and delete any invalid addresses.

  • Escape rate: Unlike the delivery rate, this calculation shows how many of your emails were not delivered. If your escape rate is high, you risk ruining your sender reputation, which can trigger filtering and blocking of your IP. Be sure to clear your email list regularly to keep your escape rate low, increase your engagement rate, and avoid junk mail.

  • Opening frequency: This shows the percentage of subscribers who opened your email, and gives you an understanding of whether people are actually interested in your messages. If your open rate is low, consider how you can improve your email content, better target your audience, and create more compelling subject lines.

  • Clickthrough rate: This shows how many people click on the links in your emails. It is also a useful way to understand which links generate the most clicks. If your clickthrough rate is low, chances are you need a more strategic targeting strategy and better CTAs.

  • Spam complaints: This shows if your emails are marked as spam. To avoid this, make sure you have a valid list of subscribers who have chosen to receive your content. You should also maintain high opening frequencies and low escape rates to maintain a strong sender reputation and avoid the spam filter.


Based on these numbers, you can find out what works and what needs to be improved in your email campaigns. You can then use this analytics to refine your marketing strategy, engage subscribers and increase your conversion rate.


Best practices for email marketing


When optimizing and improving your email campaigns, there are some important strategies you need to implement to avoid common email errors and instead increase engagement and generate conversions:


  • Follow the correct email etiquette: Always make it your goal for people to actively appreciate and enjoy your emails. This means treating your subscribers with kindness and respect. Only send messages to people who have shown interest in your business by subscribing to your emails. Also, make sure you keep what you promise to users: use a non-misleading subject line, do not send emails more often than you say you want, and make it easy for people to unsubscribe.

  • Perfect your timing: Think carefully about the time of day you send your emails. There is no black-and-white answer to which times are more strategic than others; in fact, the age, location and occupation of the audience will affect their opening hours for email. However, you can get a sense of what times work best for your business by performing A / B tests and using the results to inform future campaigns.

  • Stay mobile-friendly: Recent research has shown that mobile accounts for almost 50% of all e-mail opened in the United States. For this reason, it is important that your emails are optimized for mobile and desktop viewing. Consider ways to adapt to the small size of the mobile screen, including shortening subject lines, simplifying formatting, reducing image size, and using large CTA buttons that users can easily press with their thumb.

  • Add value: You may have enticed your customers to subscribe in the first place by offering them some sort of value, whether it's a free downloadable guide or coupon code. After the first offer, continue that value comes. Continue to delight your customers with helpful tips, especially content and the occasional holiday or birthday message. You will generate engagement - and build brand loyalty - as a result.



Freddy Fix borrowed from Wix

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