Email marketing has much to do with hitting that sweet spot and weeding out the bad apples. It's a process that, if done correctly, can result in increased sales and ROI for your business. However, it can also be a complex and daunting task for beginners, considering it requires a working knowledge of design, copywriting, and email service providers.
Just like many other aspects of marketing, it comes down to a science and an art.
The science is in the numbers.
- How many people are on your list?
- How often are you sending emails?
- What's your open rate?
- Your click-through rate?
The art is in your creativity.
- How engaging is your subject line?
- Does your email's design match your brand's aesthetic?
- Is the copy compelling enough to make someone want to buy what you're selling?
With that in mind, here's a beginner's guide to email marketing, from building your list to designing your emails to analyzing your results.
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What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is sending promotional messages to a group of people via email. For this to happen you must first build a list of subscribers who have opted-in to receive these emails.
Once you have a list of subscribers, you can start crafting your email campaigns. These will typically include things like a welcome email for new subscribers, periodic newsletters with updates and specials, or targeted emails with personalized content based on someone's purchase history or interactions with your website.
Why is Email Marketing Important?
Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. It's one of the most efficient ways to reach your target audience, generate leads, build relationships, and boost sales.
According to a report from the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%, meaning for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect to see a return of $43. This high leverage is why it’s such a popular marketing channel.
Compared to other marketing channels like paid advertising, it is relatively affordable – you don’t require a large budget to get started with email marketing. Once an email list is built, it's one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your target audience.
And then, we come to one of the most important parts of email marketing – tracking and measuring results. With most email service providers, you can track things like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. This data can help optimize your email campaigns and improve your results.
Types of Marketing Emails
Ready to fire away some emails but not sure where to start? It'll take a little bit of trial and error to figure out what type of email works best for your business and your audience. But in general, here are a few different types of emails you can send:
- A welcome email to new subscribers: Introduce your business and let them know what they can expect from your emails.
- A lead-nurturing email sequence: Nurture your leads with educational emails that help move them further down the funnel toward becoming paying customers.
- A cart abandonment email: Send an email to customers who have added items to their cart but didn't complete the purchase.
- A post-purchase follow-up email: Thank your customer for their purchase and give them the next steps, like how to use the product or service they bought.
- A promotional or sales email: Send an email about a sale, new product, or other special offers.
- A re-engagement or reactivation email: Re-engage inactive subscribers with a special offer or content that will get them interested in hearing from you again.
What Makes a Good Marketing Email? 10 Tips
You'll know an email is good when it's opened, read, and acted on. But certain elements go into making an email successful. Following these basics will help increase the chances that your email will be a hit.
A Good Subject Line
How many times have you opened an email because of an interesting subject line? A good subject line is a key to getting your email opened. It should be clear, concise, and to the point but also stir up enough curiosity to make someone want to learn more.
An email without a goal is like a ship without a rudder—it'll just float aimlessly around until it eventually sinks. Every email you send should have a specific purpose, whether it’s promoting a new product, announcing a sale, or inviting someone to an event.
From including the sender's name to using personal pronouns, you can use several copywriting techniques to make your email more engaging.
The overall goal is to write something that will get your recipients to take action, whether clicking through to your website or making a purchase. Make sure to use the voice and tone that best represents your brand and have every word count toward the purpose of the email.
The Right Images
Humans are visual creatures, so you must include images in your email. But not just any images will do—they need to be high-quality and relevant to the message you're trying to communicate. Have a mix of images, including some that are more graphic and others that are more subdued, to keep things interesting.
Also read – Where to buy cheap images and photos
A CTA (Call-to-Action)
Your email's call-to-action (CTA) is what you want your recipients to do after reading your email, whether clicking through to your website, signing up for a webinar, or making a purchase. Make sure your CTA is clear and easy to find. It should be big and bold with contrasting colors to stand out from the rest of the email.
A Sense of Urgency (in Some Cases)
Creating a sense of urgency in your emails can encourage recipients to take action sooner rather than later. You can include phrases like “limited time only” or “act now” in your CTA. Just be careful not to overdo it, as too much urgency can come across as desperate and turn people off.
A Great Template
The template is the foundation for everything else, so it needs to be well-designed and user-friendly. Keep your template simple and clean, with a focus on easy navigation and the use of white space. As well, make sure it's responsive, meaning it will adjust to whatever device your recipients are viewing it on—smartphone, tablet, or desktop.
Metrics That Matter
Let's not forget that email marketing is a numbers game. To ensure your campaigns are on track, here are a few email metrics you should be tracking:
- Open rate: This is the percentage of people who open your email out of the total number of people who received it. A reasonable open rate is around 21.33%, depending on the industry you’re in.
- Click-through rate (CTR): CTR represents the number of people that click on links in your email as a percentage of how many people opened it.
- Unsubscribe rate: Knowing the percentage of people who unsubscribe from your list after receiving an email will help you make changes in the future.
- Bounce rate: Getting a high bounce rate? This might mean needing to clean up your mailing list. A good bounce rate is under 2%.
A good email tool should offer an easy way for you to track and compare these key metrics easily. MooSend, for example, includes features such as built-in landing pages, drag-and-drop email editors, and customer behavioral analytics that are much needed to run a successful campaign (demo video below).
A List of Emails to Send to
An email list is only as good if it's full of people who want to receive your emails. That might seem like a no-brainer, but it's essential to ensure you're not just adding anyone and everyone to your list.
To build a quality email list, ask people to sign up for your emails on your website, in-store, or at events. You can also import lists of people who have already done business with you or subscribed to your blog.
Just ensure you're getting explicit permission from people before adding them to your list; otherwise, you could be sending emails to people who don’t want to receive them in the first place.
Being Part of An Email Marketing Schedule
When starting with email marketing, it's crucial to create a schedule and stick to it. This will help you build consistency and keep your subscribers engaged.
How often should you send emails? It depends on your goals and your audience, but generally, it's best to send more rather than less. Once you have a feel for what works, you can adjust accordingly.
Your schedule likely won't be linear, and that's okay. You'll likely have some weeks where you send more emails than others, but maintaining a consistent cadence overall matters.
One of the best ways to improve your email marketing is to incorporate A/B testing into your campaigns. This involves sending two slightly different versions of the same email to a small group of subscribers and seeing which one performs better.
For example, you might want to test different subject lines to see which one gets more opens. Or, you might want to test different copy or design elements to see which ones get more clicks.
Email Marketing can be a powerful channel for driving sales and growing your business, but it takes some time and effort to master. By following the tips in this guide, you'll be on your way to becoming an email marketing pro in no time.