Email marketing strategy: What is Email Marketing and How Does it Work?
This guide is specifically designed to help you get a clear understanding of what email marketing is, how it operates, the significance it holds for the growth and progress of any business, some of the most critical mistakes that must be avoided, and the key determining factors of a highly effective and efficient marketing strategy.
Considering the ever-evolving nature of today’s marketplace, running a successful marketing campaign is not an easy feat to accomplish. From driving traffic to your website to providing your target audience with the relevant content, your marketing strategy should be able to cover all bases. To top it off, the ever-increasing progress and innovation in technology and the consistent rise in platforms result in the marketers feeling like they are consistently trying to chase the stars but failing to do so.
We understand your concerns. What you need is a reliable and authentic marketing strategy that is backed by a set of well-reputed and efficient tools. Fortunately, we have exactly what you want!
Do you remember the last time you signed in to your email account to check your email? Email marketing can serve as a very efficient and effective tool. Email campaigns can not only be used throughout the customer journey but also prove to be quite beneficial in terms of lead generation and having the highest quality of traffic driven straight to your website.
Even so, despite the efficiency and effectiveness of email marketing, consumers tend to be quite wary of email. Therefore, the slightest miscalculation in your email marketing strategy could put off your customers or prospects and end up being ignored or marked as spam. What you need is a well-designed email marketing strategy otherwise you will be running the risk of losing your customers’ loyalties.
Our complete guide will help you get a clear understanding of the inner workings of email marketing, the tools required for the execution of your marketing campaigns, some of the best and up-to-date email marketing practices, the key factors of a highly effective and efficient email marketing strategy, and the use of the right metrics to help you keep track of your progress.
Understanding the Whats, the Whys, and the Hows of Email Marketing
- A brief look into the concept of email marketing;
- Understanding why email marketing should serve as a cornerstone for your digital marketing strategy;
- Discovering the ins and outs of email marketing;
- Five reasons why reliance on email marketing should be your priority;
- The advantages offered by email marketing for the growth of your business;
- Automation Tools vs Email marketing services;
- Five key factors of a highly effective and efficient email marketing strategy;
- Building an email list;
- Categorization of your email database into various segments;
- Nine ways to help you boost your email open rates;
- The significant factors of an incredibly powerful and efficient email copy; and
- The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of Email Marketing.
1. A brief look into the concept of email marketing
Email marketing is generally described as a marketing strategy that helps you send emails to the customers and prospects listed on your subscribers’ list. This will eventually result in you achieving your marketing goals. The aforementioned emails may provide their recipients with the latest information on the company’s news, special offers available on the products, advertisements, or requests regarding a sales meeting, etc. Emails are generally customized based on either the position of the prospects in the sales funnel or their respective demographic locations. The majority of the businesses usually make use of email marketing software or tools to not only handle their email lists but also keep track of their progress.
2. Understanding why email marketing should serve as a cornerstone for your digital marketing strategy;
Despite the consistent rise in the number of online marketing channels, the majority of the marketers still consider email to be the best and the most influential marketing channel of all time. Given below is a list of the reasons why email marketing should be integrated with the email marketing strategy of your business:
3. Discovering the Ins and Outs of Email Marketing
Email marketing aids you in targeting your customers as well as the audience through the use of email marketing campaigns. Furthermore, not only does it allow you to categorize your subscriber lists into multiple groups but also lets you send the latest and the most relevant offers and content to every group. (We will be discussing this in detail later).
Emails can either be sent in a pre-arranged order to convert prospects into customers or be sent in response to certain specific actions taken by the readers, for instance, checking out products by clicking on their respective links, viewing the said products, adding certain products to the cast or leaving the products in the cart without going through with the purchase, etc. Moreover, you can provide your customers with customized product recommendations depending on their buying history, location, and preferences, etc.
Email marketers generally create their email marketing campaigns using automation tools and email marketing software. This helps in the effective management of customized email sequences as well as customer segments. These automation tools and email marketing software help you get a clear and rationalized view of your overall marketing as well as its effect which, in turn, aid you in maximizing your ROI (Return On Investment) by making relevant adjustments, if required.
4. Five reasons why reliance on email marketing should be your priority
You may be wondering why you should be dependent on email marketing when you have access to every kind of marketing channels available on the internet. Here is a list of reasons why investing in this well-established marketing channel will be one of the best marketing decisions of your life:
- Email services are being used by people from all over the world regardless of their backgrounds or jobs. This makes it an even better option in terms of effectively reaching out to a vast pool of recipients from every walk of life. Currently, the number of email users from around the world has reached a total of more than 3.9 billion and this number has been forecasted to reach up to 4.3 million in the year 2023.
- In terms of ROI, email marketing ranks at the top among some of the most famous marketing channels. Email marketing, if done right, could earn you an average return of up to $42 for every dollar you’d spend.
- Due to its budget-friendly nature and direct impact, email marketing can be implemented by any business irrespective of its size or scale. In truth, email is regarded as the most efficient and effective customer acquisition and retention channel by a total of up to 81 percent of SMBs.
- Around 78% of marketers have suggested the possibility of email making a comeback after observing a significant rise in email engagement during 2019. It can help you cut through the clutter and build strong and healthy relationships with your target audience.
- Customers love to get regular updates as well as offers from their preferred brands through email. Around 49 percent of consumers mentioned their preference for weekly updates on the best and the latest promotional offers through email.
5. The advantages offered by email marketing for the growth of your business
Email marketing is not only an incredibly effective marketing strategy in relation to the promotion of your products and services but also helps you in building brand awareness by guiding your prospects into learning more about your products or services:
✓ Generating leads.
✓ Driving traffic of the highest quality directly to your website.
✓ Nurturing healthy and stable relationships with subscribers.
✓ Building a bond of trust and credibility with your target audience.
✓ Guiding your prospects into progressing along the sales funnel to boost the conversion rates.
✓ Building an impression strong enough to stay in the minds of your prospects and keep them engaged.
✓ Connecting with your existing customers to not only nurture a bond of loyalty but also boost customer retention rates along with generating recurring sales.
Email marketing can be regarded as the most critical element of any content marketing strategy. It is mainly because it provides you with a highly effective and efficient marketing channel to help you deliver your content as well as drive high-quality organic traffic directly to your website. On a transactional level, the conversion rate could rise to 69% by an abandoned cart email series alone.
Furthermore, results can be improved by incorporating email tools into multiple marketing technologies. For example, personalization technologies can help you improve open rates by 50 percent.
Or you could use interactive emails to enhance engagement levels just as having videos added to the emails can result in a boost in the click rates by 300%.
6. Automation Tools versus Email Marketing Services
Email marketing services can offer access to the tools required to perform several marketing tasks, such as managing your subscribers and capturing leads as well as the distribution of your marketing campaigns through email. In the meantime, the interactions of your subscribers with your brand, i.e., adding products to the cart or clicks on product links, can be set in motion by establishing sequences and workflows through email automation.
Although you can avail of a certain level of automation features through most of the email marketing services, an email automation tool is still the better option as it comes with some of the most powerful and reliable features. Additionally, you can also use it to improve and structure your workflow by incorporating the automation tool into different applications like your eCommerce platform or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.
You do not have to worry about establishing your email platform by yourself if you are not comfortable with the idea. Any marketing freelancer well-aware of the most recent technological updates can be hired to assist you in setting up your email service platform as well as the automation sequence in the most cost-effective way possible.
Choose the email marketing service that is right for your business
Not only can the right email marketing service help you circulate the right kind of marketing content to the right audience within the right time frame but also play a key role in the optimization of your marketing ROI by helping you set up your marketing campaigns.
We have compiled a list of some of the best email service providers known throughout the industry along with their respective merits and demerits of use. This will allow you to make the right call for your business based on its specific marketing needs.
Automating your email marketing
Email automation tools play a significant role in scaling up your email marketing strategy in a cost-effective way. They also provide you with an automatic interaction with your website’s visitors based on the specific actions taken by each of them, thus, saving you the trouble of having to reach out to them manually. An abandoned cart is a good example of an automated email interaction that is meant to follow up with the prospects who added products to the cart but left the website without going through with the purchase.
Email automation can help you in streamlining your marketing processes, delivering consistent customer experience, and easily moving your prospects through the sales funnel. Given below is a list of some of the highly reputed email automation tools together with their respective list of merits and demerits:
7. Five key factors of a highly effective and efficient email marketing strategy
Despite being one of the oldest channels of communication, email marketing has not lost its edge. In fact, it has kept up with the changes in time, technology, and trends. Your email campaigns can get you the highest ROI (Returns On Investment) if you adopt an efficient marketing strategy capable of addressing consumer expectations as well as marketing trends. Given below is a list describing the five key elements that you should consider integrating into your email marketing strategy:
8. Building an email list
The first step to getting started with email marketing is to make sure you have an email list of the people you plan on marketing your products to. However, generating an email list may not be enough. You must ensure that the subscribers on your email list are of the highest quality, i.e., prospects with the highest potential to turn into your customers. For this, you may have to look for ways to enhance the number of high-quality prospects in your email list. The best way to do so is by generating a lead magnet, promoting it, and using an opt-in form specifically designed to collect contact details of your prospects. This is how it goes:
A lead magnet is meant to attract leads just as a magnet attracts metal. In other words, a lead magnet is something that your prospects would be willing to exchange their contact details for. Lead magnets are generally given away for free as a means to entice your prospects into sharing their email addresses with you. The majority of the lead magnets are of a digital nature, i.e., any digital content that can easily be delivered right after the prospects submit their email address. Here is a list of some of the most frequently used magnets when creating an email list:
Digital content can be delivered in different file formats like PDF, PPT, mp4, mp3, etc.
Digital content can be delivered in different file formats like PDF, PPT, mp4, mp3, etc.
Qualities of an effective lead magnet
The ideal lead magnet should not only be appealing to the audience you are targeting but also be capable of delivering value, which, in turn, would boost your subscribers’ faith in your brand. Given below is a list of some of the most significant characteristics of an efficient lead magnet:
Utility: The real worth and significance of a lead magnet lie its utility. Your lead magnet holds no value if your subscribers do not intend to use it.
Practicability: Your lead magnet must be practicable, i.e., your target audience must be able to take immediate action with the help of the tools and other pieces of information provided by you through the lead magnet.
Notable Results: The content of your lead magnet must provide your subscribers with positive, significant, and notable results.
Relevance: Your lead magnet must offer a solution to some of the most pressing issues faced by your target audience.
Instant access: Your lead magnet must be accessible to your subscribers right after subscribing to the email list. This means that the lead magnet’s content, regardless of the file format, must be downloadable, and your subscribers should not face any problems when downloading it.
Discovering the best lead magnet opportunities
Before you decide on a lead magnet, you must consider what it should be about. Your lead magnet should not only be able to grab the attention of a significant number of subscribers and high-quality prospects but also be able to address the areas capable of getting a reaction out of your ideal customers. The following questions would play a key role in helping you discover some of the best lead magnet opportunities you could benefit from:
- What targets does your audience want to achieve?
- What problems is your target audience struggling with?
- Will your lead magnet be able to resolve the issues faced by your audience or help them reach their goals? If yes, how?
- What solution have you come up with for the struggles of your readers?
- Does your solution have any unique selling points that can address their dissatisfaction with the existing solutions? If so, how?
- How can your solution be broken down into smaller steps that are not only easy to understand but also practicable?
- What sort of “instant gratification” can your readers gain from taking immediate action?
- Is the content of your lead magnet capable of placing your products and services as the most suitable solution to the struggles of your target audience? If yes, how?
Try to think about ways to help your target audience get immediate and positive results through your knowledge and insights. Discover the key areas your relevant expertise, knowledge, and insights could help your audience achieve their goals or solve their problems in the shortest amount of time possible. The sooner you leave a positive first impression on your prospects, the better will be the chances of your audience placing their trust in your lead magnet.
Capturing leads through an opt-in form
Once you have built a lead magnet capable of attracting your target audience, the next step is to gather the contact details of the said audience through an opt-in form. This opt-in form will provide you with the information you need for building your email list, i.e., email address, and such other information as may be required.
You have the option and the freedom to decide how your opt-in form is displayed on the website. You could place it on your website’s homepage, or have it displayed in the form of a standalone landing page, or you could make it appear as a pop-up. It does not matter how or where it is displayed on your website; the main object of your opt-in form is to inform your website’s visitors of the benefits offered by your lead magnet to entice them into sharing their email addresses or such other information as may be required, in exchange for access to the content of your lead magnet.
Here is a list of tips you could follow when trying to create an efficient opt-in form:
- Write a headline that not only attracts your readers but also communicates the critical advantages offered by your lead magnet.
- A headline alone will not be enough. Add a short, comprehensible, and to-the-point description of your lead magnet.
- Passages usually end up overwhelming the readers. Therefore, try using bullet points to boost the readability of the copy.
- When it comes to grabbing the attention of a reader, an attractive visual can go a long way. Hence, try adding an enticing visual to the content of the opt-in form; for instance, something like a picture of a person going through the content of the lead magnet or filing in the opt-in form is bound to grab the attention of your readers.
- Stay confined to the most relevant pieces of information, i.e., name and email. A form with too many fields to fill in will not only overwhelm and frustrate the reader but also end up reducing the conversion rates.
- Make sure that your CTA stands out. For instance, the font size of the button should be big enough to be easily spotted, and the font color should be in contrast to make it more prominent on the page. Rather than using a single button saying, “submit”, the copy must not only be action-oriented but also restate the advantages of signing up.
Even though some of your subscribers would unsubscribe just because they are not interested in your offerings, getting a clear understanding of why people unsubscribe might help you prevent your high-quality prospects from choosing to walk away from your brand. Given below is a list of the six major reasons why consumers choose to unsubscribe from a business along with the percentage of the consumers who mentioned each reason:
- Receiving an outrageous number of emails. (46.4%)
- The emails did not seem to be any different from spam. (17.2%)
- The content of the emails was irrelevant. (15%)
- The subscribers were not even aware of their subscriptions. (9.1%)
- The content of the emails was not in accordance with the subscriber’s preferences. (7.2%)
- The content was either too little or too much. (4.3%)
You can avoid or, at least, minimize the chances of losing your subscribers by following the best practices and strategies mentioned above.
9. Categorization of your email database into various segments
As mentioned above, the segmentation of your email list serves as an efficient marketing strategy and plays a vital role in the significant improvement of your results. Now that we know how important it is to categorize your email database into various segments let us dive into the details of what email segmentation is and how it works.
Segmentation of the email list
An email segmentation strategy makes use of a specific set of criteria to categorize the subscribers of an email list into smaller sub-categories. This tactic is also known as personalization marketing and plays a significant role in delivering relevant and personalized content and offers to the subscribers based on their preferences. You can divide your subscribers into smaller groups based on several criteria including, but not limited to, location, interests, age, purchase history, or gender, etc.
Advantages of email segmentation
Email segmentation can not only help you boost your engagement and conversion rates but also reduce the un-subscription rates by providing your subscribers with personalized, relevant, and timely content and offers using list segmentation. An efficient email segmentation strategy would make it impossible for your subscribers to not open, read, or click your emails since a vast majority of them actually look forward to receiving targeted and personalized content from their favorite brands.
For instance, marketers have been observed to have enhanced the conversion rates by 355% through email segmentation, while the revenues underwent an increase of up to 781% as well. Moreover, according to Hubspot’s analysis that covered more than 100,000 emails, the average click-through rate (CTR) for segmented lists was 12% higher than that for a single unsegmented list.
Ten ways for you to segment your email list
Based on the nature of the products or services you are offering and the specific features of the audience you are targeting, there are several ways for you to choose for segmenting your email list and delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time and place. Some of these ways are listed below:
- Location: In the case of an in-person event being held in a specific area, you could either only focus on the subscribers residing in that specific area or make it a point not to send promotional emails to the subscribers residing in the countries you are unable to ship your products to.
- Industry: The B2B marketers working with customers belonging to different industries could enhance the response rates by sending industry-specific content, offers, and use cases to their target audience.
- Job titles: Email recipients with different job titles in a company are bound to have distinct variations in their priorities as well. B2B marketers can easily boost engagement rates by appealing to the specific set of priorities and preferences of each segment of the audience.
- Size of the company: The number of employees employed by an organization says a lot about its needs and budget limitations. For instance, an organization with a limited number of employees might not be in a financial position to go all out even when faced with the need to buy some necessary office supplies, while one with a higher number of employees might be able to afford something even better than a standard package. This kind of information would help you understand which products and offers would be the most suited to the specific needs and budget limitations of each recipient of your emails. Consequently, you will be able to make the right offers to the right audience.
- Website behaviors: You can keep track of the interactions of your website’s registered members with your website, such as checking out certain products, adding them to the wishlist or cart, etc. You can use this information relating to their interactions and provide them with some exclusive offers and targeted content through email.
- Interest: With the help of the profiles of your subscribers, their purchase history, product preferences, and browsing behaviors, etc., you can get a clear idea of their interests and share the relevant offers and content accordingly.
- Customer lifecycle stages: By providing your prospects with the content and offers relevant to their specific position in the sales funnel, you can efficiently motivate them to go further down the funnel. For instance, you could send informational content to the visitors who are still at the learning stage of the sales funnel, or you could send exclusive discounts and promotional offers to those at the purchasing stage.
- Age: The age of your recipients can provide you with a clear idea of their product preferences and the nature of their interactions with your content.
- Language: Running an international business is not easy. If you are dealing with customers and prospects from diverse geographical and linguistic backgrounds, you must make it a point to interact with them in the languages they prefer or feel comfortable communicating in. Segmenting your subscribers based on their language preferences and cross-referencing that specific information with location could help you deliver the right content with the potential to provide you with the highest value.
- Customer value: Sending exclusive discounts and promotional offers and content to the subscribers known for making recurring purchases could go a long way in helping you cultivate customer loyalty and boost retention rates.
It would be best if you kept in mind that a prospect can belong to several segments simultaneously. This overlap can significantly influence the frequency of your interactions or communications with each subscriber.
10. Nine ways to help you boost your email open rates
The worth of your email content is defined by the number of recipients choosing to open and read it. This is the actual test of the effectiveness of your content. The higher the number of recipients opening and reading your emails, the more efficient your email content will prove to be. Therefore, first of all, you must make sure that your emails reach the inbox of your subscribers, not the spam folder. Secondly, make it a point to have your emails reach your recipients at the right time. Some of the tips to help you boost your email open rates are given below:
- Removing inactive subscribers from your email list might be a good idea as most spam-filtering algorithms of mailbox providers generally consider the active to inactive email accounts ratio to decide whether or not your email should be marked as spam.
- Make sure that your subscribers have consented (opted-in) to receive emails from you. Avoid adding people to your email list without getting their consent. Otherwise, you might end up getting your emails being reported as spam, which could leave a devastating impact on your deliverability.
- Choose a well-reputed email provider known for practicing due diligence in the performance of its services. Choose an email provider that will make it a point to send your marketing emails through a non-blacklisted IP address.
- Using an easily recognizable name and email address could go a long way in boosting the chances of interactions between the recipients and your emails. A recognizable name and email address in the “from” field will also lower the recipients’ chances of reporting your email as spam.
- Avoid the use of misleading subject lines: Using misleading subject lines may boost your click-rates, but your email might end up getting reported as spam once the recipient takes note of the trick. Hence, using misleading subject lines only to get some extra clicks is neither a good nor a wise idea.
- Including a physical address and unsubscribe link: Do not forget to add a physical address and an unsubscribe link to ensure your adherence to the regulations.
- Avoid using trigger words: There are certain trigger words using which might end up sending your email directly to the spam folder, i.e., “free”, “this is not spam”, “risk-free”, and “congratulations”, etc. are just some of the most frequently reported trigger words.
- Only send useful and relevant content: Sending useful and relevant content to your recipients will not only help you boost your engagement rates but also prove to the email service providers that your emails are genuine, not spam.
- Try sending your email at the right time: This means that your emails must reach the recipients at the time with the highest possible chances of them interacting with your emails. For instance, even though the number of working days and working hours may vary from business to business, on an average, Tuesday is known as the best day and 10 a.m. is considered to be the ideal time for such interactions. Even so, you may have to consider the metrics relevant to your own email list and then, adjust it in accordance with your findings.
11. The significant factors of an incredibly powerful and efficient email copy
Despite the fact that the majority of the marketers prefer incorporating other types of media, in addition to text, into their emails, such as videos, infographics, and images, the copy, which is the written content (text), still lies at the heart of email marketing. Here’s a short how-to guide for writing copy capable of engaging your target audience and converting them into actual customers:
- Before you start working on your email copy, make sure that you are clear about the target you want to achieve through that copy. Your copy should clearly express what you are expecting your readers to do and why it is essential that they do it, i.e., what is in it for them?
- Make it a point to properly format your copy as it makes it easier to scan. Consider using to-the-point headings, brief paragraphs, a prominent CTA, and bullet points, etc.
- Use a conversational tone and maintain the natural flow of the content. It should neither feel like an information-overload, nor should the tone be monotonous or dry.
- Your copy must be user-friendly. Keep a closer eye on the readability level of the content you share and keep your message direct, friendly, and understandable.
- The alignment of the CTA with your copy would entice your readers into taking action.
One of the best ways to stay up-to-date with the best marketing practices is by working with a professional copywriter. Moreover, an email marketing expert will help you optimize your results by creating the most captivating copy according to your specific marketing goals and the nature of the audience you are targeting.
12. The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of Email Marketing
If you want to make sure that your email marketing campaigns are succeeding in reaching your marketing goals, you must assess the efficacy of your email marketing campaigns against the right email KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). This will allow you to adjust and modify your email marketing strategy, which, in turn, would help you get the best results possible. Some of the most significant KPIs you could focus on are given below:
- Open rate: Open rates reflect the effectiveness of the subject line. They indicate whether or not the subject line of the emails is interesting enough to entice the recipients into opening the emails. Open rates can be calculated by dividing the total number of opened emails by the total number of emails delivered.
- Click-through rate (CTR): The CTR rate is an excellent measure of whether or not the content being delivered is attracting the target audience or if the CTA aligns with your message or not. The higher CTR means that your content is grabbing the interest and attention of your subscribers, while a lower CTR suggests otherwise. CTR can easily be calculated by dividing the total number of clicks by the total number of emails delivered.
- Conversion rate: In addition to the effectiveness of your CTA and email copy, the conversion rates also signify how useful your landing page is. Since it is generally connected to revenues, which, in turn, connect it to your ROI (Returns on Investments), conversions rates also represent the percentage of subscribers who managed to complete a target action, i.e., making an actual purchase.
- Click-to-open rates: Considering the ever-increasing number of consumers using their mobile devices, this metric could serve as a critical factor in helping you get a clear understanding of the various ways you could use to target more audiences. Specifically, when it comes to mobile open rates, they could give you a clear idea of the overall effectiveness of your marketing campaigns on mobile devices.
Boosting your ROI (Return on Investment) through email marketing
Email marketing is the most efficient, economic, and critical element for the growth of your business as it plays a significant role in driving traffic of the highest quality straight to your website, building long-term and healthy relationships with your target audience, boosting your conversion rate, cultivating customer loyalty, and improving your credibility by helping you provide the right audience with the right content at the right time.
First of all, you must create a lead magnet capable of attracting your target audience as well as capturing leads through an opt-in form. Once done, the next step is to make sure that the content delivered by your marketing campaigns is not only relevant to your subscribers but also nudges them gently down the sales funnel. This can only be done if you adopt and incorporate the best and the most up-to-date email marketing practices into your email marketing campaigns.
Needless to say, you must make it a point to analyze the results. This will help you improve your marketing tactics in accordance with the way your subscribers interact with your content. Not only do these modifications play a significant role in the optimization of your ROI (Returns on Investment), but they also help you provide your target audience with the most authentic, up-to-date, and reliable information.
Hiring the right email marketing professionals can not only help you gain access to the highest level of expertise and the latest technologies but also provide you with the most authentic and up-to-date information resulting in effective and efficient implementation as well as management of numerous moving parts.