Email marketing involves sending commercial messages to a group of people via email to promote your business or products. It allows you to directly connect with both potential and existing customers.
Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing channels. It provides an inexpensive way to reach a large audience, drive traffic to your website, nurture leads, and increase brand awareness and sales.
The main goals of email marketing include building relationships with subscribers, driving website traffic, generating leads and sales, and creating brand awareness. By providing valuable, relevant content through email, you can establish trust and loyalty with your audience over time. The end goal is to convert subscribers into lifelong customers.
Read the rest of this guide to learn everything you need to know about how you can start leveraging this powerful marketing tactic for your business.
How to Do Email Marketing
Building Your Email List
- Permission-based marketing involves getting a prospect’s explicit consent before adding them to your email list. This builds trust and improves deliverability.
- Opt-in methods include website sign-up forms, lead magnets, surveys, and social media. Make opt-ins easy and incentivize sign-ups.
- You can also import existing contacts into your email platform but first ensure you have their permission. Upload a CSV file or connect your CRM.
Choosing an Email Marketing Platform
- Popular email platforms like Aweber, Omnisend, and ActiveCampaign have features like templates, segmentation, automation, and analytics. Compare plans based on your budget, the size of the list, and integration needs.
- Consider factors like deliverability, ease of use, automation and segmentation capabilities, reporting, customer support, and cost. Prioritize the features most important for your business.
Crafting Effective Email Campaigns
Experts estimate that email marketing revenue will reach $17.9 billion by 2027.
Now is the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon to ensure that you get your slice of that pie. To do so, you’ll need to craft effective email campaigns.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take.
- Clearly define your campaign goals and desired outcomes, such as driving traffic to your website, generating new leads, increasing conversions, building awareness, or retaining existing customers. Be specific with the actions you want recipients to take.
- Identify the target audience for the campaign and segment your email list accordingly. For example, send special offers to loyal customers, educational content to cold leads, or new product updates to existing subscribers. Tailor your message, content, timing, and tone for each audience.
Email Content Strategy
- Common email campaign types include newsletters, promotional emails, welcome series for onboarding new subscribers, cart abandonment series, re-engagement campaigns for inactive subscribers, and more. Choose the right campaign type to achieve your goals.
- Create useful, relevant content that will genuinely help your target audience. Include articles, how-to guides, product updates, special offers/discounts, or other information tailored to their interests and needs. Well-crafted content establishes you as an authority.
- Personalize content with subscriber first names, location info, purchase history, or interests. Segment your list demographically to send targeted content that resonates.
Designing Eye-catching Emails
- Follow best practices for email design like using simple layouts, dividing long content with subheaders, using ample white space, keeping important info high up, and ensuring all CTAs are visible. Take advantage of pre-designed templates in your email platform.
- Ensure your email content renders well across all devices, especially mobile. Use a mobile-responsive template and preview on different screen sizes.
Writing Compelling Copy
- Craft irresistible subject lines that compel opening without being deceptive. Get creative with humor, curiosity gaps, or urgency, but convey the core value proposition of your email content. Subject lines can make or break open rates.
- Write concise, scannable body copy with short paragraphs, bullet points, numbered lists, and bolding/italics to call out important info. Focus your copy on how you can help the reader or solve their problem.
- Include effective calls-to-action (CTAs) that tell the reader their next step, such as “Shop Sale” or “Download Ebook”. Make CTAs prominent with color, size, and placement. Match your CTA to the email goal.
- Include relevant, high-quality images, graphics, GIFs, or videos. Ensure proper formatting and restrictions for email. Images boost engagement but don’t use gratuitous stock photos.
- Maintain brand consistency with your logo, colors, and fonts. This builds familiarity with your brand’s look and feel.
Compliance with Email Regulations
- Honor opt-out requests immediately. Comply with anti-spam regulations like the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR to maintain trust and deliverability.
- Make unsubscribe and preference links visible. Routinely scrub your list of inactive subscribers and complainers. Keep your list current, compliant, and engaged.
Building and Segmenting Your Email List
- Segmenting your list allows you to target subgroups with more relevant content. This increases engagement, open rates, and conversions.
- Ways to segment include demographics, interests, purchase history, engagement levels, and more. Create segments based on behaviors.
- Monitor bounce rates as a sign of bad or outdated email addresses. Remove hard bounces and re-engage soft bounces with targeted campaigns.
- Unsubscribes are unavoidable. Remove opt-outs immediately and analyze unsubscribe reasons to improve your campaigns.
Growing Your List
- Use lead generation tactics like lead magnets, contests, and website opt-in forms. Promote your list on social media and paid ads.
- Strategies for expansion include organic sharing, partnerships, and remarketing to website visitors. Make it easy for people to subscribe.
Sending and Analyzing Email Campaigns
Email Sending Strategies
- Find the optimal day and time to send based on your audience’s habits. Use A/B testing to determine the ideal frequency for each campaign type.
- A/B tests different subject lines, content formatting, visuals, and CTAs to see what resonates most with your audience.
Tracking and Analytics
- Key metrics include open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, and conversion rate. These help assess campaign success.
- Analyze campaign performance to identify areas for improvement. Continually refine your approach.
- Automation improves efficiency. Use it to send welcome series, re-engagement campaigns, announcements, and follow-ups.
- Set up automation workflows and triggers based on subscriber actions like date of sign-up, clicks, and purchases.
Maintaining Email Deliverability and Reputation
- Several factors influence whether your emails reliably reach subscribers’ inboxes, including your sender reputation, email authentication methods, email content and formatting, list quality, and engagement levels.
- Tips to improve deliverability include growing your list organically through permission-based opt-ins, regularly cleaning your list to remove hard bounces and inactive users, avoiding flagged spam words, using captivating but honest subject lines, and working with a reputable email service provider.
- SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are email authentication protocols that help prove your emails are legitimate and prevent domain spoofing. SPF verifies the sending server, DKIM electronically signs messages, and DMARC aligns the two. Activating these free protocols signals to ISPs that your emails can be trusted.
Monitoring Your Sender Reputation
- A positive sender reputation results in your emails smoothly reaching subscriber inboxes without getting blocked or labeled as spam. This increases engagement and conversions from your campaigns.
- You can maintain a good reputation by adhering to email laws and regulations like CAN-SPAM and GDPR, honoring unsubscribe requests immediately, monitoring abuse reports and complaints, sending valuable content subscribers want, and avoiding shady email tactics. Monitor your reputation through ISP feedback loops.
Compliance and Legal Considerations
- Ensure your email marketing complies with privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA. GDPR requires consent for EU data subjects, data security measures, breach notifications, and data access rights. CCPA requires consent for California consumers’ data collection and sale.
- Follow general data protection best practices like collecting only necessary subscriber information, securing data with encryption, restricting internal access with controls, establishing retention policies, and performing regular compliance audits.
Email Marketing Laws
- The CAN-SPAM Act sets important requirements for commercial emails, such as including opt-out links, sender addresses, and subject line labeling. Emails must provide an unsubscribe option and honor opt-out requests within 10 days. CAN-SPAM prohibits deceptive headers, false claims, and unauthorized list use. Stay up-to-date on its evolving provisions.
- Violating anti-spam regulations can lead to major consequences including ISP blocking, fines, and even imprisonment for willful violations. Non-compliance also hurts your sender’s reputation. If subscribers report your emails as spam, they are less likely to reach inboxes. Consult with legal counsel to ensure you comply.
Advanced Email Marketing Strategies
Drip Campaigns and Sequences
Set up automated multi-email drip campaigns to engage subscribers over time.
For example, create a 5-email onboarding sequence to educate new subscribers on your products. Or, you can send a series promoting a new product feature release over several weeks.
Use drips to follow up on website visits, cart abandonment, or purchases. Time your emails strategically or link them to subscriber actions.
Here’s an example of a basic drip campaign sequence:
Personalization and Dynamic Content
Make your marketing more targeted and relevant by personalizing content. Insert subscriber first names, location, purchase history, or interests into subject lines or email copy. Use merge tags to pull data dynamically into your emails. Personalized emails have higher open and click rates.
Set up your email platform to trigger customized emails when subscribers take certain actions. For example, send a special offer to subscribers immediately after they open an email. Or trigger a discount code when a contact clicks a link in your email. Send an automated follow-up if a subscriber purchases a product. Behavioral triggers create a personalized subscriber experience.
Retargeting through Email
Remarket directly to website visitors who left your site without converting by adding a lead generation form or email sign-up box on exit pages. You can also retarget website visitors through email ads featuring products they viewed but didn’t purchase. This gently reminds them to complete the purchase.
Keep in mind that if you’re able to master the skill of email marketing, you can start your own email marketing business to help other companies and this can be quite lucrative.