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The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing

Content Marketing

A computer engineer, Ray Tomlinson, made history sometime in 1971 when he sent the first email EVER.  

The recipient? Himself.  

The message? Something like “QWERTYUIOP”.

Nobody actually asked him to invent email; he came up with the idea himself to work on a personal side project to his commissioned work. Email started as an experiment to see if it’s possible for two computers to exchange a message.  

Little did he know, his invention would end up as one of the greatest tools for mankind. People who lived far from their relatives and friends were finally able to communicate with each other seamlessly. No longer did they have to go through the trouble of writing letters, dropping them off at the post office, and waiting for weeks for a response.

Fast forward to the present, email isn’t just for keeping in touch with others anymore. It has become an essential marketing channel as well!

Sure, you may say that there are many newer digital marketing options now more than ever – like social media and Google Ads – but email remains an effective way to build and grow an audience.

As a matter of fact, 87% of marketers use email to disseminate their content, whereas 89% use it as the primary channel for generating leads. 72% of consumers prefer email as their main channel for business communication, and 49% said they’d like to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands on a weekly basis.

To put it simply: email marketing is a fantastic tool for generating profit and building relationships.

Table of Content

1. What Is Email Marketing?

2. Why Does Email Marketing Matter?

3. Best Email Marketing Practices

4. Types of Marketing Email People Care About

What Is Email Marketing?

hand pointing at yellow mail icon

Email marketing is a powerful marketing channel which allows businesses like you to promote your products and/or services to your target audience through email. You can use it to inform your subscribers about your latest offerings, keep them updated about your business, develop deeper relationships, and build a community around your brand.

Why Does Email Marketing Matter?

It Allows You to Deliver Targeted Messages

Imagine spending a lot of time and effort crafting the perfect campaign, only to realize that the people it reaches aren’t interested in your business. What a total waste of time, money, and effort that would be!

Fortunately, this is never the case in email marketing. You have the freedom to send emails only to subscribers who meet certain criteria – subscribers who will gladly read your message and maybe even click the call-to-action (CTA) in it. Email segmentation, which we’ll be discussing later, makes it all possible.

It Boosts Sales

Email marketing presents an opportunity for you to improve your sales, whether it’s by featuring your products and/or services, announcing special offers, or reminding your customers about their abandoned carts.  

A survey conducted by HubSpot revealed that marketing emails influence the purchase decisions of 59% of their respondents. They also found that 59% of marketers cite email as their biggest source of ROI.  

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Subscribers decided to opt in to a company’s email list for two reasons: they’re either loyal customers or prospects who want to learn more about the brand before making a purchase.  

Encouraging both groups to buy from you shouldn’t be a problem.

It Improves Brand Recognition

Another reason to incorporate email marketing into your online marketing efforts is that it helps develop your brand identity. Once your subscribers find your email content to be valuable, they’ll be looking forward to receiving more. Plus, they’ll see you as an authoritative and credible brand in your industry.  

It Keeps Your Audience Engaged

Maintaining a good relationship with your prospective and existing customers is crucial, as they’re the ones who bring life to your business. Regular emails are a great way to maintain relationships, especially among people who aren’t ready to spend money with you.

It’s important to remember that email marketing is more than just promoting your brand. You can also use it to reach out to your subscribers as if you were their friend. Greeting them on their birthdays or any special occasions, for example, will give them a reason to stay connected with you.  

Best Email Marketing Practices

Now that you know how email marketing can work wonders for your business, let’s talk about how you can actually make it happen.  

1. Segment Your Email List

Email segmentation is a process that involves breaking down your subscribers into smaller lists based on specific criteria. That way, you can easily send them emails that are more personalized and relevant to them.  

Since certain messages will only be delivered to subscribers whom you think will be really interested in the content, you’ll increase your open rates, boost your click-through rates (CTR), and reduce your unsubscribe rates. Not to mention, your conversions will go up drastically.  

Slicing and dicing your email list into segments can be done in many ways. Below are some of them:  

Customer Journey

Your subscribers are at different phases of getting to know your company. Some just heard about you, while others have been your loyal customers for years already. When sending an email, it’s useful to understand what stage of the buyer’s journey it’s targeting. This allows you to send it out to the readers who will respond best to it.

Purchase History

If you’re thinking of ways to up-sell or cross-sell, one effective way is by using the purchase history of your customers. Segment your list based on past purchases to send emails based on the items they previously bought.  

Purchase Frequency

Did you know that you can increase your subscribers’ shopping frequency when you segment your list based on how often they make a purchase? Not only that, but you can also reward frequent buyers by inviting them to your loyalty program or offering them exclusive deals.  

Engagement

Gather information about your subscribers’ open rate to segment those who frequently engage with your emails versus those who rarely do. Re-engage your inactive subscribers by telling them that you haven’t heard from them in a while.  

Location

Unless all of your subscribers are willing to travel across the country to attend your events, blasting your entire list whenever you host an in-person event in a particular city is certainly something you don’t want to do. Rather, use their location to send targeted emails regarding upcoming events in their area.  

Lead Magnet

The type of lead magnet your subscribers opted in for suggests what topics and content form they prefer to receive. Segmenting your list by lead magnet can significantly increase your open rates.  

2. Write Captivating Subject Lines  

keyboard with email subject line label

Your email subject line serves as a first impression. It’s what gets people to decide whether they open your message or leave it unread. It’s what sets you apart in a crowded inbox.

A great subject line is one that makes a promise which is then delivered on in the body of the email’s content. You can’t just deceive your recipients with a catchy subject to boost your open rates. Once they find out that it’s totally unrelated to the message it’s supposed to bring, they’ll be turned off. And if you constantly do this, you could lose a significant number of subscribers.

Here are some tips for writing captivating subject lines:

  • Ask a question. Thought-provoking and intriguing questions draw people into the conversation as a participant. Consider coming up with subject lines that pose a question to pique curiosity and create an instant dialogue.  
  • Leverage scarcity or FOMO. Because humans have this so-called fear of missing out, emails with subject lines like “Hurry before the sale ends!” and “Shirts for $29 ENDS MIDNIGHT” tend to perform well.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Email subject lines that are too long will get cut off, especially on mobile devices. Given that 46% of email opens take place on mobile, your best bet is to compose subject lines with fewer than 50 characters to ensure that your subscribers get to read the whole message regardless of the device they’re using.
  • Give a command. Adding a command in your email subject line tells your readers exactly what you want them to do. This makes your message clear and helps readers decide if they’re interested in what you have to say.
  • Use lists and numbers. Besides building curiosity, lists provide content in a snappy way. Numbers create focus, as the brain is naturally drawn to digits.
  • Reveal an incentive. Everyone loves incentives, so why not include one right up front of your subject line? As long as your subscribers view you as a credible brand, you’ll see your open rates skyrocket in no time!
  • Experiment with emojis. Using emojis can help you stand out in a sea of emails. Then again, it depends on who you’re targeting – younger demographics find them appealing, and professionals, not so much.  

3. Craft Email Content That Drives Results

Every email you send affects how your readers see you as a brand.  

If you’re always selling yourself or explaining how fantastic your products are, your subscribers will get tired and eventually press the unsubscribe button. If your copy looks super disorganized or contains tons of typos, your reputation will suffer.

On the other hand, if you deliver top-notch email content that resonates with your readers, you’ll establish yourself as a reputable business. You’ll build trust and credibility, which should increase your chances of converting them into actual customers.  

So, what are the secrets to producing emails that can get you more leads and sales? Allow us to reveal them below:

  • Know your target audience. First things first, study the people you’re trying to market to. Identify what their concerns are, what they’re interested in, and how they purchase. Once you’ve figured these things out, that’s the time you can start writing a copy that will meet their needs.  
  • Hyper-personalize. It wasn’t too long ago when addressing subscribers by first name was a highly effective method for getting them to open an email. Today, you have to take it up a notch with hyper-personalization.
  • Write for humans. Marketing speak is a big no-no in the world of email marketing. If you really want your readers to hit the CTA button, then you should sound like a real person by maintaining a conversational tone. Better yet, talk to them as if they’re your friend or an acquaintance.  
  • Focus on benefits, not features. Here’s a fact: people will always be more interested to learn how a product can benefit them, rather than the features it offers. So, make sure that in each promotional email you send, you explain how your offering can improve their lives or solve their problems.
  • Use the power of FOMO. As with subject lines, the FOMO method works exceptionally well for email copy, particularly with retargeting emails. Keep reminding your subscribers of the amazing perks they’ll likely miss out on if they don’t buy the item before the promo ends.  
  • Don’t shout. Isn’t it just annoying to go through an email body that’s filled with all caps and exclamation marks? It’s equivalent to yelling in text, and odds are, nobody will actually waste their time reading the entire message. Such practice can also hurt your email open rate and deliverability, as it screams spammy email marketing.  
  • Show your personal side. Giving your subscribers a glimpse of who you are helps them form a deeper connection with you, which is the first step to winning them. You can achieve this by having your real name displayed in their inbox. Bonus points if you can include a formal photo!

4. Create a Compelling Call-to-Action (CTA)

Whether your goal is to prompt your subscribers to make a purchase, download an e-book, or learn more about a new product, a succinct CTA is the key. Here are some tips for creating compelling CTAs:

  • Raise a sense of urgency. Conveying urgency in your CTAs will inspire readers to act because people don’t like the idea of missing out. If you have a limited offer, use it to your advantage by emphasizing it. Let your readers know that they should click now to enjoy the special deal while there’s still time left.  
  • Stay above the fold. Not everyone will read your message to the end. You should always place your CTA buttons near the top of your email so readers won’t miss it. This puts the spotlight on the main message you’re trying to communicate.
  • Add white space. Including a decent amount of white space around your CTAs helps create a visual break and draws the reader’s attention right where you want it. It makes the call-to-action button stand out in a clean, simple manner. Mobile readers can benefit from white space, too, as it provides them a visible area to tap.
  • Make the CTA button big, but not too big. By this, we mean a button large enough to be seen quickly, not one that’s gigantic. Perform an eye test and use your judgment. If you can find it without any trouble and it doesn’t look obnoxious, go for it.
  • Use bright, contrasting colors. Colors have a major role to play here. You want something that can easily catch the attention of your readers without distracting them at the same time. See to it that the CTA button color pops out without clashing with the background and text.  

5. Automate Your Emails

Email automation makes life more convenient for you and all of your fellow digital marketers out there. Simply put, it allows you to send the right emails to the right people at the right time.

How? It enables you to set up a sequence of emails that are delivered automatically. Certain triggers (e.g., someone signs up for your newsletter) will activate these emails to send.

All you have to do is set up email automation once, and it will run on its own. From that point on, you can magically send triggered campaigns without lifting a finger.  

Here are some stats to cement your decision to automate your emails:  

  • Triggered emails have a 70.5% higher open rate and 152% higher CTR than generic email newsletters.
  • Automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails.  
  • 75% of email revenue is generated from triggered personalized campaigns.  
  • The biggest automation benefits include saving time (30%), generating leads (22%), increasing revenue (17%), retaining customers (11%), tracking marketing campaigns (8%), and shortening the sales cycle (2%).

Here are the five best email automation software:

  • ActiveCampaign: For creating drip emails that will boost your subscriber interaction, demographics, history, interests, and more. You can also use it as a CRM and marketing automation software.
  • Drip: An easy-to-use, all-in-one platform, Drip lets you engage your audience with automated campaigns across email, social, SMS, and onsite popups.
  • Constant Contact: With this tool, you can send powerful emails with unique designs as seamlessly as possible thanks to its simple user interface. It also provides an autoresponder!
  • MailChimp: Whether it’s automatically sending a welcome sequence to new subscribers, birthday greetings, or recovering from cart abandonment, MailChimp gives you the freedom to customize your emails while you leave the delivery part to them.
  • HubSpot: HubSpot is a fan favorite not just because of its email marketing automation, but also for its reliable CRM, landing page builder platform, and its ability to track the conversions of your email campaigns.  

Types of Marketing Email People Care About

young woman smiling while reading email

For the final part of this exhaustive guide, we’ll be rounding up the different types of marketing emails you should be sending to your subscribers. We mean those messages that will make them excited whenever they see your name popping up in their inboxes.

1. Welcome Email

Welcome emails are extremely important since they’re the first emails subscribers receive from you as soon as they sign up for your email list. These emails pretty much give them an overview of what your brand’s all about.  

Think of your welcome email as a way to introduce yourself to your new fans. You can educate them about your business, including your products and/or services. It also presents an opportunity to know them a little better. Don’t hesitate to ask new subscribers a couple of questions about themselves to gain more insights and establish rapport.  

2. Promotional Email

People love getting emails about discounts, sales, and other bargains – which is why promotional or special offer emails remain dominant in the world of marketing.  

Aside from notifying your subscribers of your latest deals, you can send them special perk emails, too. They’ll feel more appreciated, seeing that you value them as your subscribers. They might even tell others about you, specifically on how you reward those in your email list.  

3. Event Invitation  

Any online marketer would agree that email is a great vehicle for promoting an upcoming event. However, to guarantee that your subscribers will RSVP, you have to showcase what makes the event special and unique.

4. Product Update Email

Depending on the products you sell, there might be instances where you should send your customers an update.  

Since most people don’t really find update emails to be interesting or worth their time, be sure to keep your messages short, sweet, and straightforward. Just highlight the basic details of your updated product so your subscribers will be aware of its changing features or functionality.  

5. Cart Abandonment Email

It’s not uncommon for brands to encounter visitors who browse their online store and add items to their cart, only to decide not to complete the checkout process. Sucks, doesn’t it?

What if we told you that there’s a way to get them back and have them buy this time? That’s what cart abandonment emails are for!

These emails serve as reminders to subscribers that they still have stuff left in their shopping carts. Some brands would even go as far as providing a discount code to entice their customers.  

Don’t get discouraged if some of your subscribers won’t buy despite sending them these emails. These emails are relatively low effort, given the amount of revenue they can generate.

6. Re-Engagement Email

We hate to tell you this, but there will always be customers who’ll lose interest in your brand. Fortunately, you can count on re-engagement emails to put your name back again in the forefront of their minds.

Consider seeking their feedback about your products and/or services. Ask them what you can do to improve their experience so you can reignite the spark. You might even want to offer a promotion that could get them coming back to you.  

7. Confirmation Email

Whether they just bought an item, registered for an event, or booked a flight online, people want to know ASAP that their transaction was successful. They don’t want to worry about spending their money for nothing. This is where confirmation emails come in.  

These emails don’t require a lot of effort. Just show a brief summary of the information your customers expect to see – the purchase, the total amount spent, and if necessary, the tracking number and estimated shipping date.

Sending confirmation emails helps you build a more positive image of your brand, as subscribers become more trusting of you.  

Do Your Business a Favor by Investing in Email Marketing Today!

businessman holding email marketing envelope

There’s no better way to launch a customized email marketing campaign than by hiring a digital marketing agency with years of experience working with businesses of all sizes.

Digital Resource is proud to have a highly accredited and award-winning team of creative digital marketing specialists with hundreds of email campaigns under their belt. Whether you need assistance in designing email blasts, segmenting lists, or maximizing your open rates, we’re here for you.  

If you’re ready to learn how we can take your business to the top with email marketing, book a free consultation now!

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