What is email marketing?
In simple words, email marketing refers to the practice of sending your contacts commercial or promotional emails for marketing purposes. Bear in mind that it is imperative for such contacts to have expressly agreed to receive such emails from you — otherwise, you run the risk of spamming them.
Email marketing ranks as a potent marketing channel, ahead of other options such as affiliate marketing or social media marketing. And the reason behind this is simple — emails are personal. You can have one-on-one communication with your audience to build a community, inform them about new launches by the brand, share significant developments, and drive sales.
Digital marketing has seen dramatic changes over the past several years, and there is a common misconception that email marketing is not as effective as it used to be. Some believe that modern email marketing recipients, inundated with spam and low-value content, ignore their messages more often than they open them. While spam is bothersome for the majority of email users, the reality is that email is still the most powerful form of digital marketing.
Email marketing – How does it work?
Email marketing is all about using the right way to communicate with your audience so that it is beneficial to both your business and their lives. Here’s a stepwise overview of how email marketing actually works in reality:
- It starts with signing up for an email marketing tool. This is the most important part as from creating an email list to sending emails to the audience — you can do it all from one platform.
- Creating an email marketing strategy is the next step. Without a solid strategy in place, you will never be able to reap the benefits. Your strategy should focus on how much you will allocate towards this marketing channel every month, which reporting parameters you will look at to analyze the performance, and how email marketing will complement your existing marketing efforts.
- The next step is building an email marketing list. Random subscribers shouldn’t be receiving your emails.
- Lastly, you need to automate email marketing completely. Manually sending emails to thousands of recipients is not a practical solution. So whether it is sending a welcome email or reminding a prospect about pending items in their cart that they haven’t checked out yet — leave it to automation. Creating relevant email templates can supplement the automation process. Additionally, regular A/B testing can help discover what type of messaging results in higher engagement and conversions from the target audience.
Here’s a quick summary:
- Email Marketing – The King of Marketing Channel
- Modern Email Marketing Trends
- Wondering how to build your email marketing list?
- Email Marketing vs. Social Media
- The Future of Email Marketing
- What are the disadvantages of email marketing
- Automation in Email Marketing
- Email Marketing Tips
- 6 brands bring their A-game to email marketing
- The Five Best Email Marketing Service Providers
- Top 6 Email Marketing Tools Every Marketer Should Try
- How to write emails that really convert and give you the results
- FAQs about email marketing
Social media is arguably the most influential innovation in recent years, and billions of people all over the world log into at least one social media site every day. The surge in social media use encouraged businesses to establish presences on these sites to engage with customers and potential customers in more meaningful ways. Social media marketing can indeed be and has been tremendously successful for some companies, but it’s a mistake to believe that it is the best avenue for reaching your customer base.
Email Marketing – The King of Marketing Channel
Findings from Statista indicate that there are nearly four billion email users in the world. Campaign Monitor research reported that 72% of people would rather receive marketing materials from brands through their email while only 17% reported they would prefer that same content through social media. 39% reported they prefer email content that is rich in information and value rather than promotional.
Social media encourages more relaxed interactions. Many users enjoy browsing photos, videos, and other content from friends and family while others use it to keep track of the latest news. Social media encourages exploration, clicking through stories and comments and participating in conversations. Most users generally consider promotional materials interruptive or annoying during social media sessions.
The only metric in which social media marketing outperforms email is sharing. Social media hinges on making connections and spreading content through multiple feeds, thus reaching more potential conversion. While the average person is more likely to share content through social media than to forward a marketing email, the value the person receives from an email marketing message will likely outshine social media engagement with a brand.
Modern Email Marketing Trends
Findings from OptinMonster studies report that 58% of people check their email first during any given day before anything else, including social media profiles and app notifications. People who check their email before any other digital communication outlook are generally more goal-oriented than people who look to social media before anything else. They want to find the best deals, promotions, and information available. 91% of consumers surveyed reported they check their email at least once per day.
If you want to uncover the potential value of your email marketing campaign,
You should know some of the most common successful email marketing trends and capitalize on them. First is basic segmentation. Instead of sending the same materials to your entire mailing list, it’s vital to first segment your recipients. You can do this by interaction quality, interaction frequency, or past interactions. For example, you could develop different email marketing materials for customers who completed transactions and those who abandoned shopping carts or clicked away before converting.
Another crucial trend is the move away from desktop-based email to mobile. More people than ever use a mobile device to browse the web, make purchases, and interact socially. They are also checking their email on mobile devices more frequently than ever. After segmentation, mobile optimization is the second most relevant trend in email marketing today. It’s important that your emails display clearly on all devices, so take time to consider how your materials appear on desktop and mobile screens and adjust accordingly.
List cleansing is another essential trick for making the most of your email marketing efforts. List cleansing, as the name suggests, involves removing email recipients who do not engage with your brand or who do not open your emails. This should only be an occasional process. For example, a customer who hasn’t opened your last several emails may still find value in your next message. On the other hand, a customer who hasn’t opened a single one of your email messages for over a year may not use the email account anymore, or your messages may have found their way into the recipient’s spam filter.
Message personalization is another one of the most important trends in modern email marketing. Customers are more likely to find value in messages tailored to their individual preferences and past interactions with your brand rather than generic messages designed for impersonal mass appeal. There are countless tools you can use to add personalized touches to your email messages, and this can create more valuable interactions for the recipients on your mailing lists.
Wondering how to build your email marketing list?
If you are a new brand, you may wonder if you should first invest your efforts towards building the brand and then move on to building an email list. However, building an email marketing list should be in tandem with your larger goal of building the brand. The sooner you start investing towards building it, the higher are the chances of generating high ROI early on. And contrary to popular notion, it is entirely possible to create a solid email marketing list from scratch.
For instance, you can start by offering loyalty or referral programs or even provide solid deals and discounts around the holiday season. Luring in new visitors on your webpage to sign up and receive a signup discount is another way to build an email list of loyal subscribers.
Email Marketing vs. Social Media
77% of consumers prefer permission-based marketing materials sent to their email instead of social media marketing. This makes sense considering most people opt-in to receive marketing emails when they make purchases from brands or visit their website. If the brand offers something interesting or valuable to the consumer, he or she is more likely to interact with that brand in the future, and will therefore, want to hear from them and see what they have to offer.
While you might assume that the majority of people prefer to keep their business and consumer-based digital interactions to email and personal communications within social media channels, 45% reported they preferred to keep personal conversations and interactions in emails rather than social media.
social media should work in tandem with your email marketing strategy. For example, you can promote social media events like live streams and Q&A sessions via email, and use your social media profile to gain more recipients for your email list. You can also create segmented content for users who subscribe to your newsletter or mailing list via social media as opposed to direct link conversions from search engine results. Social media is also very important to predictive marketing, one of the most intriguing advances in modern email marketing.
The Future of Email Marketing
Predictive analytics collect user data and create insightful data streams that marketers can then use to predict what type of products, services, and promotions would appeal most to the reviewed users. Predictive marketing can help you segment your email lists more precisely, so your content goes to the people most likely to find it valuable. Targeted content is more likely to have successful results than generic messages that cast a wide net over your email list.
To capitalize on predictive marketing,
You first need to identify your most valuable customers. For example, 5% of your email list may account for 90% of your sales, while the other 95% are one-time purchases or infrequent repeat customers. Your efforts in predicting these customers’ preferences and future desires can help you capitalize on the most lucrative segments of your email list.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will also play a crucial role in email marketing in the near future. In some ways, it already does. Systems capable of machine-learning can analyze consumer behavior and learn from past interactions to help you develop more effective marketing campaigns. AI can empower you by identifying the most successful content types, subject lines, and calls to action that lead to the greatest number of conversions. AI is also a crucial tool for carefully segmenting your email marketing lists so you can deliver more precisely tailored content to your recipients.
What are the disadvantages of email marketing?
Even though email marketing is an indispensable marketing strategy, it still comes with its share of shortcomings.
- If you are not intentional about the emails you send to your audience, you are likely to get tagged as a spammy brand. Doing so can significantly dilute your brand value and brand name. Certain countries have strict legislation to counter the problem of email spam, and not complying with these requirements can land you in a legal soup.
- If your email is not optimized properly, the content of your email may not be visible to all since everyone uses different devices to read emails. While this is a design issue, it can still alienate your audience.
- Email marketing is not a one-and-done process. You need to put in continued efforts to receive high levels of engagement. You need to conduct frequent A/B testing to see what clicks with the audience. This also means learning new skills and upgrading the relevant tools periodically, which can all lead to increased costs from a marketing budget perspective.
Email Marketing Automation
Another key area of innovation in modern email marketing is automation, or the process of delegating relatively mundane tasks, like sorting through your email list segments, to machine processes instead of human hands. It’s important to balance the amount of automation you use in crafting your email marketing materials, however.
Rely on automation too much and your emails will appear impersonal. Too little automation, and it may be difficult to properly segment your email list and deliver the most valuable content to different types of recipients. Allowing your subscribers to manage their email preferences is a great way to cut down on the legwork of automating your emails. Instead of trying to carefully discern different segments and sorting your recipients into segments, yourself, have your recipients segment themselves for you by allowing them to customize their content preferences.
Some of your recipients may find your blog valuable,
But won’t pay much attention to promotional offers, while others will want to take advantage of offered deals and won’t bother reading your blog much. The first group would benefit from updates on your new blog posts, while the second group would likely prefer to receive coupons and promotional offers, instead.
Best Email Marketing Tips
If you want to take advantage of the future of email marketing, there are a few ideas you can implement now to prepare for some of the expected changes in the digital marketing world, including:
- Optimizing post-purchase emailing. Most e-commerce platforms will automatically send post-purchase emails that contain receipt and tracking information for customers, but you can take this further and enhance your customers’ experience. Instead of a generic “thank you for your business” email, you can craft post-purchase emails that generate more engagement and increase the chances of a customer coming back to do business with you again. For example, you could sincerely thank them for their purchase and then recommend other products or services they might find valuable based on that purchase. You can also ask for a review of the product or service purchased. Customer reviews are one of the essential parts of any digital marketing effort, so doing everything you can to increase the number of reviews you receive will pay off tremendously and encourage others to investigate your brand.
- Investing in a responsive design. As the name suggests, responsive design describes a web page’s ability to “respond” to the display on which a recipient views the page, and adjust its content accordingly. For example, the layout of your home page may look great on a desktop display but appear compressed and hard to read on a mobile screen. A responsive design will allow your page to transform based on the device a consumer uses to visit the page.
- Striving for one-to-one personalization. It’s unrealistic to expect to connect with each individual on your email list on a personal level, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to do just that. Personalizing the emails you send to each recipient on your list increases the chances of them realizing you value them beyond the purchases they make. This encourages customer advocacy, which leads to the next tip for email marketing success in the coming years.
- Embrace the new conversion funnel. The previous conversion funnel that most marketers relied upon and based their strategies upon was a simple progression of narrowing down your leads to those most likely to convert and then focusing on them more than the rest. Instead, the new conversion funnel is more of a gateway that draws your customers in to investigate your brand and then encourages them to share their experiences with others, supplying them with additional valuable content along the way.
6 brands bring their A-game to email marketing
Email marketing is an art, and some brands are definitely acing it. Listed below are a few examples that prove how effective email marketing can be to give your brand a boost:
The added emphasis on the designs of every single email is what makes email marketing by Uber so unique. They regularly send email alerts to their customers to inform them about promotional offers. The CTA is always crystal clear so that the reader knows exactly what to do, even if they glance through the email. Here’s an example:
This subscription service that offers makeup and skincare products monthly primarily targets millennial women. Keeping with the preferences of their target audience, their email marketing campaigns are just as fun. There is a lot of authenticity in each email the brand sends, which is extremely important to connect with a millennial audience. Take, for instance, this email that the brand sends its subscribers on their birthday. The message is simple and targeted towards driving sales. Yet, it doesn’t come across as too salesy, and neither does it push too hard. It simply reminds the reader that they can have a little fun on their birthday and enjoy discounts on their favorite products.
This email from PayPal hits all the right notes. It highlights the benefits of checking out with PayPal, addressing the key pain points a reader might be facing. It has a clear CTA so that you know how to avail the facility. Lastly, the introductory paragraph is extremely relatable, making it easier for the audience to understand what’s the use of this service.
This welcome email from Airbnb is the perfect example because it has everything you’d expect from a welcome email. It not only acknowledges that you are new to Airbnb, it actually makes you feel welcome and encourages you to check out what’s next. It provides a couple of CTAs to get the reader to create a profile before browsing the properties.
Mom and Dad Money
This email from Mom and Dad Money is an excellent example of how brands can use email marketing to develop buyer’s personas. The email gets straight to the point and asks the reader what they are interested in. To make the process smooth, it even provides a link to a survey questionnaire. The relatability and authenticity showcased by this email don’t even make it feel like a marketing gimmick — it feels that someone genuinely cares.
Here’s the welcome email you receive from Net-a-Porter, a luxury fashion, and beauty e-commerce marketplace. Apart from offering you a sign-up discount, it also lets you know why shopping with Net-a-Porter is a great idea by highlighting the different benefits a shopper can expect.
Top 5 Email Marketing Service Providers
Email still has a remarkable return-on-investment rate, with some marketers reporting as much as $40 return on each dollar spent on email. However, it’s vital to take a holistic approach to your digital marketing efforts to make the most of an email campaign. Many modern companies have so many concerns on a daily basis that crafting an effective email marketing strategy may be moved to the backburner. Luckily, there are managed service providers that can help ease the burden of segmenting your email lists and making more impactful connections with your readers.
1. Constant Contact: ConstantContact.com is ideal for small businesses at a cost of a mere $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers. For larger email lists, you can customize the level of service you want, which can be helpful for growing businesses on shoestring budgets.
2. Mail Chimp: MailChimp.com remains the king of email marketing service providers for bloggers. Founded in 2001, the company claims they manage more than one billion emails per day. Pricing ranges from $10 per month to $199 per month or more depending on the level of service you want.
3. AWeber: AWeber.com is generally the best for e-commerce platforms, and more than 100,000 small businesses rely on their services. AWeber offers A/B testing, different integrations for you to try, pre-designed message templates, intuitive message-building tools, and much more.
4. Get Response: GetResponse.com is a great option for new marketers or beginners and comes available in 21 different languages. More than 35,000 subscribers use the GetResponse toolkit in more than 182 countries, and pricing starts as low as $15 per month. The Perfect Timing feature allows you to track the best times of day to send your marketing materials, and you can customize different times for different segments.
5. Active Campaign: ActiveCampaign.com is the best marketing provider for enterprise initiatives. You can use the service to build customized sign-up forms, social media posts, and conduct A/B testing to develop an effective digital marketing strategy that works for you.
Each of these service providers can offer tremendous value depending on your business’ unique needs and the goals you have for your digital marketing efforts. Browse the different services and take advantage of free trials to find the one that works best for your needs and budget.
Top 6 Email Marketing Tools Every Marketer Should Try
Now that you know why email marketing is important, let’s look at some tools that can do the heavy lifting and make it a smooth process overall:
1. Sender: This is an excellent email marketing tool available for free. The primary job of the tool is to make sure that your emails get delivered to the intended recipient. You can also use the tool to design fantastic newsletters with zero knowledge of how HTML works. There are plenty of templates to choose from that you can personalize with images and text to create jaw-dropping emails your audience cannot get enough of.
2. Omnisend: What if you could automate emails and also integrate them with Google Ads, Facebook Ads? With Omnisend, you can do that and a lot more. It offers stunning email templates that are sure to grab more customers. These templates have been designed keeping in mind what e-commerce customers need.
3. MailerLite: Another free tool that you can check out to give your email marketing efforts a boost is MailerLitelerLite. You can use the text editor and photo editor equipped with a drag-and-drop feature to create impressive emails in no time.
4. Mailchimp: No discussion on email marketing tools is complete without mentioning MailChimp. Even if you don’t upgrade to the paid plan, it is still worth trying. You can use the readymade templates to create amazing emails and use the convenient drag and drop option to enrich them with more elements. You can even integrate the emails with Facebook and Instagram advertising as well as launch re-target ads on Twitter, Instagram, and Google, should you prefer an all-in-one marketing platform.
5. Litmus: Just as the name suggests, Litmus acts as your testing ground before you hit the send button. Nothing is more embarrassing than sending an email full of broken links. With Litmus, you can test your emails on your mobile, laptop, or even desktops to locate what’s not right. The tools also provide insights into how your emails perform.
6. Drip: This comprehensive tool automates marketing for eCommerce. From customizing email messages to obtaining data analytics, it is an all-in-one tool you can rely on. You can design emails using both visual and text-based inputs to find out which is more effective. It also allows you to create different events on the dashboard based on the users’ specific actions, such as when they visit a particular page on your website after reading your email. Marketers also like Drip as it also supports various integrations such as with Shopify and Facebook custom audience.
How to write emails that really convert and give you the results
Email marketing is not just about sending hordes of emails to your contact list. Each email should have a specific purpose and be written with the intent of securing conversion. Here’s how you can ace your email marketing game:
- Your subject line can be a gamechanger. It is one of the first things recipients notice when an email lands in their inbox. So make it count and steer away from boring done-to-death subject lines. Say you are using email marketing to build your tours and travel business. A subject line such as ‘Plan your next vacation with us’ is hardly effective at grabbing eyeballs as it lacks a punch. Contrast it with ‘Wake up at your dream destination next week’, which packs in just the right amount of suspense, forcing the recipient to open the email and read what you have to say.
- Don’t forget to add a clear call to action. Remember that these emails are sent for a specific purpose. So you need to tell your audience about the next steps. Instead of generic CTAs that can put off the prospect instantly, experiment with something that truly hooks the reader. The CTA should also create urgency so that the recipient has no other option but to act on it.Suppose you are in the business of manufacturing handstitched bags, and you are sending promotional emails to announce year-end sales. Do away with boring CTA such as ‘buy now’. Instead, make it a time-bound offer and say something such as ‘shop the sale. 50% off only today.’
- Always write in the second person. The more you use words such as ‘you’ or ‘yours,’ the more likely you will strike an emotional connection with your audience. Try not to use words like ‘we’ or ‘ours.’ Every email you send should be about the recipient, not you.
- Describing the benefits of what you are offering is more likely to get the audience to read your email till the end. Don’t dwell upon the features. The idea is to explain how your product or service can improve their lives and address the pain points. You shouldn’t leave the audience hanging and scratching their heads to find out why exactly they should try what you are asking them to do.
- When it comes to email marketing, brevity is hugely crucial. Let’s face it — no one has the time to read long paragraphs on a busy day. So keep the messaging to the point so that it is clear what you wish to convey right in the beginning.
FAQs about email marketing
Why email marketing is important?
It allows you to directly interact with leads, prospects, past and current customers and have a one-on-one conversation. You can use email marketing to drive sales, increase brand awareness, and even build long-term relationships.
Should I purchase a list of subscribers if I am just starting my email marketing efforts?
Tempting as it may sound, avoid falling prey to this. Growing your list organically is always advisable. Most of these lists available for purchase do not offer high-quality subscribers. This can completely derail your efforts. Moreover, some email marketing platforms do not permit purchased lists.
Email marketing isn’t dead.
it’s more valuable than ever before thanks to the sheer amount of digital business conducted today. Think about ways to enhance your own email marketing campaign and take advantage of the tried-and-true marketing channel that offers the highest return on your investment.