Email Marketing Overview: In-Depth Guide for Beginners
What is it… And why should you use it.
Last updated: October 11, 2017
In the face of social media surge and search engine marketing phenomenon – many might think that emails have become obsolete. Well, they cannot be any more wrong.
Emails are not death.
In fact, they’re stronger today more than ever before. Email marketing comes with many business opportunities and benefits. You can not only access your audience and reach out to them, but also build a long-term relationship with your customers. Email marketing drives impactful ROI or return on investment.
What is email marketing
Email marketing is a process of directly reaching out to your customers through electronic mails. It is not like spam. In fact, email marketing helps businesses to reach out users who are interested in their field.
Why email marketing is important?
Before we answer the question, here are some fun facts and stats to weigh on email marketing importance.
- 91% audience on an average go through their emails once a day.
- 66% online users in the US are 15 years of age or more. And they have bought something or the other because of a marketing email.
- According to Direct Marketing Association – email marketing produces a whopping 4300% ROI or return on investment.
- Conversion rates of email marketing are three times greater than social media as per McKinsey & Company.
- 95% users consider email messages from their preferred brands/industry favorable and informative than the unknown or lesser known companies.
About This Guide and Who Should Use It?
We created the EMAIL MARKETING IN-DEPTH GUIDE to guide our audience about an email marketing process. The guide is designed to provide a framework to our users – relevant to the course of creating an email marketing campaign, setting it up, optimizing and generating results via the campaigns and completing the improvement process.
The purpose of this guide is threefold:
- Educate target users about email marketing
- Inform them about the importance, benefits, and goals of email marketing
- Enable users to use the techniques, best practices and guidelines for email marketing to promote their business, build brand value, connect with their target audience, drive high ROI and profits
Why is Email Marketing Essential?
Communication between businesses and consumers is no longer one way. Users today – are smarter, technically advanced and always on the go – when it comes to accessing information. They seek instant solutions to their problems – and always look for businesses and brands with a zeal to meet their purpose. Along with the consumers – marketers today work towards creating customized solutions for the target audience and putting in all their efforts in connecting brands with users in a personalized method.
Email marketing is one of the most productive avenues of digital marketing that:
⊗Creates connection with brands
⊗Offer a broad reach to customers via different technological medium
⊗Provide cost-effective methods to attract users – e.g. offers, coupons, discounts, freebies, etc.
⊗Create targeted advertising campaigns to drive effective results
5 reasons why email marketing is essential
- It does not cost you tons and thousands of dollars
Marketing your business or brand does come with a huge price tag. But not in the case of email marketing. You can access a massive consumer reach without burning a hole in your pocket. The cost per conversion in case of email marketing – is lower than other protocols of online marketing. The internet is filled with email marketing tools and resources that will not cost you a fraction of your marketing budget. Try AWEBER – which is an automated email marketing platform – where you can create content, design email content using templates and generate the emails to your subscriber list.
- Reach Mobile Users
As mentioned above, email marketing will drive you to your mobile users. As per a recent study – 62% conversions using smartphones is derived via emails. 50% mobile users open emails using their phones. That creates a pool of opportunities for businesses to connect with potential customers.
- Adequate sources of information for your clients
Emails directly connect businesses with their customers. While doing so, emails also provide information and relevant details about your venture. Consumers or users who have subscribed or signed up to your email list will receive regular messages, information, notes and more from you.
As a result, they will be informed and kept updated about events, events and more taking place in your business. And if the emails are persuasive, come with awesome content, offers, discounts, coupons and other freebies, you will be able to increase the customer engagement rate and close sales at a higher rate.
Try using ConvertKit – which is an absolutely user-friendly email marketing tool. It allows users to build content integrations with landing pages, e-commerce and more.
- Results are easily measurable
Email services like MailChimp and Bananatag offer users the ability to measure the results of your email campaign. You can track and analyze bounce rates, delivery rates, CTR or click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, open rates and more using these services. Since email marketing is measurable – you can work on tweaks, improve and enhance campaigns to generate better results than the previous campaign.
- Finally, email marketing is action driven
Email is an impactful source of communication. Today, we depend on emails more than other forms of communication. With the power of emails, you can drive target audience to your website, social media channels and more, connect and engage with them, persuade them to take actions as per your need and convert and close deals in the process.
Define Your Email Marketing Goals and Objectives
It is important to know the purpose of having an email marketing campaign for your business. Why do you want to use email marketing methods?
- To increase sales?
- Drive traffic to a website?
- Build a relationship with your audience?
- Boost brand awareness?
- Promote your new service/product/campaign?
It is important to ask these questions before jumping into the process of email marketing.
“If you don’t know where you’re coming from, how will you know where you’re going?”
The same saying applies for email marketing campaign setup. Setting up successful campaigns requires predetermined goal aligned with your business purpose.
Here are a few questions you should ask to determine the goals and objectives of your email marketing campaign:
- Who is your target audience?
- Why should your emails matter to your audience?
- What action do you want your users to take?
- What are the strategies to measure the campaign results?
Start with the Email List Building
Building an email list is as important as defining your target audience. Who do you want to send the emails? Why should the concerning person receive your email? Why should the person open your email? So many questions – One Answer – A Strong Email List!
Here’s how you can build your email list:
#1. CONTENT UPGRADES
As cliche as it may sound – but it is true – Content Is King. Content is a valuable and an integral part of digital marketing. Efficient and persuasive content will communicate the right message to your audience at the right time. If you want your customers to subscribe to your newsletter or sign up for the same, you need to offer them the value – which will drive them to stay connected with you. And you can do so by upgrading your content. You can start by writing blog posts.
Blogs have 60% conversion rate. Create an email promoting your blog post – and redirecting your audience to the blog. Add a snippet of content that you will discuss in the blog post – mostly of headlines and crucial elements.
We, humans, love freebies – irrespective of our age, gender, social status. Bank on this aspect of human behavior to build your email list. The more you engage your audience, the better it will be for your list building efforts. You can offer a prize or award, bonuses, referral commissions, incentives, promotions, etc.
#3. IN-EMAIL SOCIAL SHARING OPTIONS
Social media is a crucial tool for generating traffic and connecting both existing and potential customers. Integrate social sharing buttons in your emails. If your users like what they see or read, they will share the same with their friends and social circle across different social media channels. It is a confirmed statistic – Click through rate of emails with social sharing buttons is 6.2%.
According to Social Media Examiner – 70% subscriptions are driven via pop-up forms. It is super easy to integrate pop-ups. You can add a plugin, create copies and activate pop-ups to build a substantial subscriber list.
#5. BOOST SOCIAL PROOF
“What’s the proof?” A question most consumers asks marketers when they try selling product/service. Social proof is the answer to developing trust amongst your audience. Studies say that 63% customers will make purchases from websites based on reviews, ratings and other testimonials. If you have a good number of likes, subscribers, followers, etc. on your social media channel – flaunt the number to attract, engage and retain customers.
Email List Segmentation
What is email list segmentation?
It is a technique of email marketing. The process involves splitting of subscriber list by various conditions and elements. Both marketers and business owners use the method of email list segmentation to communicate specific messages to their users. It is important to segment your email list because doing so will help you drive responses to your messages.
Here is how you can segment your email list:
- New subscribers
- Subscribers based on preferences
- Subscribers based on interests
- Open rate
- Subscribers based on activity level
- Subscribers based on shopping cart abandonment
What is Email Open Rate and Why it is Important?
Email open rate is a benchmark of email marketing. It is used to measure the number of people who opened or viewed your email from a particular email marketing campaign. The rate is defined in percentage. Your goal should be higher open rate percentage.
How to boost open rate?
- Have an informative and engaging subject line.
- Create email content that addresses a single individual.
- Create high-quality and useful content.
- Schedule emails according to your audience time preference.
- Avoid sending the emails via a company.
- Stay away from spam filters.
- Avoid lead purchase.
- Do email list segmentation.
- Make sure to get rid of subscribers from your list that are not active.
- Don’t go over the top with marketing tone and style. Keep it natural, conversational and relevant.
Top 5 Email Marketing Software to Choose From
- MailChimp is one of the leading email marketing channels – with over 15 million users from small business to Fortune 500 companies. Pay $10 / month and access the best features and resources for a successful email campaign.
- Campaigner is a uniquely designed email marketing service provider, integrated with numerous user-friendly and advanced features. You can make a monthly payment of $19.85 or signup for a 30-day trial period to test the software and opt for later use.
- Emma is a relatively expensive software for email campaigns starting from $89 / month. It comes with numerous auto-responder options, custom features, and a user-friendly interface.
- GetResponse is a full-featured, Google Analytics integrated email marketing service provider. It comes with a 30-day trial period, though you can opt for paying $15 / month. It comes with a simple and user-friendly tracking tool, resource, and the ability to integrate third-party contact import.
- InfusionSoft is yet another full-fledged automated email marketing software. It comes with numerous advanced tools, features, and resources. It allows users to identify leads, manage campaigns, setup ecommerce and track results. The subscription price starts from $199 / month.
How to Track Email Marketing Results? Which Metrics to Prioritize?
There are 11 metrics that are an integral part of email marketing – which you should consider measuring.
CTR or Click Through Rate – 20% CTR is the best number. Click Through Rate is the percentage measurement when a user clicks links present in your email message. 10 clicks out of 100 emails mean 10% CTR.
List Growth Rate – List Growth Rate is the number of subscribers who are active in your email list.
Hard Bounce Rate – Hard Bounce Rate is a metric that triggers when emails are sent to email addresses that are not in existence.
Soft Bounce Rate – Soft Bounce Rate is a metric that occurs when emails are sent to a full inbox. The users can access your emails only after they have deleted all the other emails from their inbox.
Unengaged Subscribers – Unengaged subscriber list is a key email marketing metric. You need to access the number of subscribers who are not active or not taking any interest in your emails – in order to increase the engagement rate.
Forwarding / Sharing Rates – Forwarding/Sharing Rate is a positive metric that you should measure when managing an email campaign. The rate is a measurement of the number of users who have opened your emails, read them and liked the content so much that they were compelled to forward the email to people on their email list.
Open Rate – Email open rate is a benchmark of email marketing. It is used to measure the number of people who opened or viewed your email from a specific email marketing campaign. The rate is defined in percentage. Your goal should be higher open rate percentage.
Delivery Rate – Delivery rate is the percentage of emails that were sent to the inboxes of your users – which is further calculated by subtracting both soft and hard bounces from the gross email numbers and then dividing the result by the number of total emails that you have sent.
Abuse / Complaint Rate – Abuse or Complaint Rate is a self-explanatory metric. The rate is determined when users mark your emails as spam. It is a critical number that you should tackle before experiencing any grievous outcome.
Churn Rate – Churn Rate is the measurement of the list after being streamlined by cutting out complaints/abuse list, unsubscriber list, and hard bounces.
Revenue Per Email – It is one of the most significant measurement points of email marketing. The analysis enables you to learn how much return on investment you are getting from each email.
Factors that Ensure the Success of an Email Marketing Campaign
Many factors helps in the success ratio of an email marketing campaign. Since the digital marketing phenomenon is measurable to the core, you can tweak, experiment and do more with all the factors to achieve success with your campaign and drive beneficial results.
Some of the factors that determine the success rate of an email campaign are:
- Impactful and compelling subject line
The subject line is the key element that determines the open rate of email campaigns. You want your users to open the email, and that will be possible if your subject line is effective, persuasive and does not display any sign of spam.
- Creative and user-friendly design
Gone are the days when emails contain nothing but a series of straight and black font content. Today, emails integrated with UX design, creatives, colors, CTA buttons, fonts and other such visual elements to help users navigate via the email only and persuade them to visit your site and taking the desired action.
- Feature integration
Emails integrated with advanced features, will help drive positive results – such as – social sharing buttons, payment gateway etc. The third-party feature integration enables your users to take quick action, saves them time and creates powerful user-experience.
- Relevance of the content
Content relevance is the key. Misdirecting your users will cause you the open rate and also give rise of complaint and abuse rate. You must direct relevant message so that your audience can trust your brand.
- Copy structure and format
With the integration of headlines, sub-headings, links and more.
- Schedule and target
Being at the right place and the right time is significant when it comes to email campaigns. Why send emails at a time to your audience when they are not active? Scheduled the emails as per your user activity period.
- Email attribution
Email attribution is a marketing model that allows marketers to track the campaign. For example – a recipient happens to click on the email and a link, which directs the user to a specific landing page or site – where they further complete the process by taking the desired action, like, making any purchase or signing up.
- Microsite or landing page
A microsite or landing page will act as a catalyst to drive more results from your email recipients. It is more like a checkout point for your audience to make the necessary decision.
- Scheduled monitoring and reporting
No marketing strategy and campaign are complete without schedule analysis, monitoring and reporting. For email marketing campaigns too, you need to schedule the process for accessing points and techniques of improvement and further campaign enhancement.
Tips for Successful Email Marketing Campaign
- A success email marketing campaign is one that is developed with in-depth strategy, research, and analysis. However, you can further improve the performance of your campaign by making your email campaign – creatives, landing page or microsite, design, copy, etc. – mobile-friendly, responsive and feature integrated.
- Utilize the technique of KISS when creating content or copy of the email campaign. KISS or Keep It Short and Simple – will not only help in engaging your users but also offering the best customer experience. Write engaging and persuasive content, especially maintaining the relevancy of the subject intact. Add short yet impactful headlines, sub-headings, and CTA or call to action throughout the body of the email.
- Make sure to keep the emails conversational and personalize. Avoid over-selling or being too marketing or gimmicky in tone – if you don’t want to turn off your audience.
- The purpose of an email campaign is to create a subscriber list, but that does not mean, you cannot include an ‘unsubscribe’ option too. The option will welcome honest feedback and trust of your users.
- Add hyperlinks and inbound links in the email content to direct users to your landing page or website. This act as a major traffic generator.
- Optimize your emails, test the campaign in different platforms before launching the final one.
Email marketing is a super resourceful tool and digital marketing technology that help drive sales, revenues, build brand value and long-term customer relationship. It comes with a great ROI or return on investment and reach. Follow the guide and build a successful email marketing campaign for your business growth!