Email marketing sometimes gets ignored in favor of trendier marketing methods like social media and text messaging.
But while it may be the granddaddy of marketing methods at this point, email marketing is far from dead. In fact, it’s estimated that there’ll be around 4.48 billion email users this 2024, and they’re all potential subscribers just waiting to be tapped.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll talk about what email marketing is, why your business should use it, and how to effectively get started right away.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending targeted emails to a group of recipients, typically customers, prospects, or subscribers.
These emails build and nurture relationships, promote products or services, share valuable content, and encourage specific actions, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. Each mail sent connects with your target audience in different ways. Take a look at these different types of emails, for example:
- Welcome emails. These are sent to new subscribers or customers to greet them and introduce them to your brand. Welcome emails often include a thank you message, information about your products or services, and an invitation to engage further.
- Promotional emails. These emails are designed to promote specific products, services, or offers. They can include discounts, flash sales, product launches, and seasonal promotions.
- Transactional emails. These are automated emails sent whenever a specific customer does a certain action, such as order confirmations, shipping notifications, and receipts. Transactional emails provide essential information and build trust with customers.
- Newsletter emails. Newsletters are regular emails that provide subscribers with valuable content, updates, news, and insights related to your industry or niche. They help maintain engagement and build brand loyalty.
- Abandoned cart emails. When a customer adds items to their shopping cart but doesn’t complete the purchase, abandoned cart emails are sent to remind them of the items left behind and encourage them to finalize the transaction.
6 crucial benefits of email marketing to your small business
Now, you may be thinking that emails are in the past. However, even with its old-fashionedness, email marketing can still provide you with several advantages.
Consumers like email
In 2022, 70% of Millennial US consumers say email is their preferred way to receive ads and promotions from businesses. Its popularity is rooted in its direct, customizable, and convenient nature, allowing consumers to engage with brand messages on their own terms.
Email marketing is an exceptionally cost-effective marketing channel. It offers a substantial return on investment (ROI) without the need for a sizable budget. Industry statistics show that with every $1 spent on your email campaigns, you can yield up to $36. This is particularly beneficial if you’re operating with limited resources.
Compared to traditional advertising such as print or television ads, email marketing’s primary expenses fall on its email service provider. These email service providers typically offer flexible pricing plans to accommodate various business sizes.
Furthermore, email campaigns can be scaled according to your budget, so that you get the most out of your marketing efforts while staying within your range of expenses.
It lets you communicate directly
Unlike social media platforms, where algorithms can restrict the visibility of your posts, emails go directly to your subscribers’ inboxes. This ensures that your message is not only delivered but also likely to be seen by your intended recipients.
It also allows you to directly communicate and establish a more personal, one-on-one connection with your audience.
It lets you target your messaging
When you segment your email list, you can target your messaging to the right audience. This involves dividing your subscribers into distinct groups based on various factors such as demographics, interests, purchase history, or behavior.
This personalization makes your emails more engaging and meaningful to recipients, increasing the chances of their interaction and conversion.
It builds trust and credibility
When you consistently provide valuable and relevant content in your subscribers’ inboxes, they’ll start to trust you more. Over time, they’ll come to rely on your emails for useful information, insights, and offers.
As trust grows, so does your brand’s credibility and customer loyalty. When subscribers view your emails as a valuable resource, they are more likely to engage with your brand, read your blog post, follow your recommendations, or even become brand advocates.
It drives conversions
You can design your email campaigns with specific goals in mind. You can encourage certain desired actions in your subscribers such as:
- make a purchase
- sign up for a webinar
- download a resource
- take other desired actions
To guide your audience toward these objectives, start by crafting persuasive and compelling email content, using compelling calls to action (CTAs), and providing incentives or offers.
How to get started with email marketing
Now that you understand the importance of email marketing, let’s delve into how you can get started:
Build your email list
To build and grow your email list effectively, begin by creating user-friendly sign-up forms on your website and various social media channels. Make sure you place them somewhere visible to your audience. These forms should be straightforward and ask for minimal information such as name and email address to reduce barriers to entry.
People are more likely to subscribe when they see tangible benefits. Consider offering attractive incentives to attract subscribers such as:
- exclusive discounts
- early access to products
- informative ebooks
- valuable industry-related resources.
However, it’s crucial to maintain trust and compliance with data protection regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the CAN-SPAM Act. Ensure that your sign-up process is transparent and provides clear information on how subscribers’ data will be used. This way, they can opt-in willingly. Additionally, make it easy for subscribers to opt-out or unsubscribe at any time, respecting their preferences and privacy.
Choose an email marketing platform
An email marketing platform is a business tool to create, send, and manage your email marketing campaigns. It helps with designing emails, managing subscriber lists, and tracking campaign performance.
These platforms provide user-friendly email marketing tools that simplify the entire process, from designing visually appealing emails to sending them out to your subscribers. They often offer a wide range of customizable templates so it’s easier to create professional-looking emails even if you’re not a design expert.
Additionally, one of the key advantages of these platforms is their robust tracking and analytics capabilities. You can monitor important metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, allowing you to refine your email campaigns over time for better results.
Besides your specific business needs and budget, you want an email marketing platform with the following features:
- Email campaign creation. An intuitive and user-friendly email editor for designing visually appealing emails, including customizable templates.
- Subscriber management. Tools for managing your email list, including easy ways to add, import, and segment subscribers.
- Automation. Automation capabilities for setting up drip campaigns, welcome sequences, and triggered emails based on subscriber actions or behavior.
- Personalization. The ability to personalize emails with recipient names and other relevant information to increase engagement.
- Analytics and reporting. Comprehensive analytics to track email performance, including open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and more.
- A/B Testing. A/B testing functionality to optimize subject lines, content, and CTAs for better results.
- Integration. Compatibility with other marketing tools, CRMs, and eCommerce platforms to streamline data and workflow.
- Mobile responsiveness. Ensuring that emails look good and function properly on both desktop and mobile devices.
- List segmentation. The ability to segment your email list based on various criteria, such as demographics, behavior, or engagement, to send targeted content.
- Social media integration. Options for sharing email content on social media platforms to expand your reach.
Personalize your email
One simple yet effective way to personalize your emails is by addressing recipients by their first name. When subscribers see their name in the email greeting, it lets them feel like they’re not just customers you’re trying to sell your products to. Instead, they’re an individual who has your attention.
Most email marketing platforms offer personalization features that allow you to insert a recipient’s name automatically.
However, remember that personalization goes beyond just using a name. To truly personalize your emails, segmentation comes hand in hand with tailoring the content, offers, and recommendations to best fit your audience’s needs and preferences. This deeper level of personalization can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.
Segment your audience
Segmenting your audience helps you deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. Start by dividing your list into smaller, more focused segments based on various criteria such as their:
- purchase history
By doing so, you can create relevant content for each group of subscribers that is tailored to their interests.
For example, you can send product recommendations to customers who have previously purchased your products, while offering educational content to those who have shown interest but haven’t bought anything yet.
This personalized approach can increase engagement and boost the chances of conversion since your emails resonate with your recipients’ needs and preferences.
Create engaging content
Engaging content is at the heart of effective email marketing. To capture your audience’s attention and keep them interested, consider these key factors:
- Compelling subject lines. Your subject line is the first thing recipients see, so make it attention-grabbing and relevant to the email’s content. Pique their curiosity or offer a clear benefit to encourage them to open your email.
- Visually appealing and mobile-responsive design. Ensure your emails look great and function well on both desktop and mobile devices. Use clean, visually appealing layouts, high-quality images, and responsive design to make reading your emails a seamless experience.
- Friendly and conversational tone. Avoid overly formal language and aim to connect with readers on a personal level, as if you were having a one-on-one conversation.
- Valuable content. Always focus on meeting the needs and interests of your audience. You can send informative blog posts, educational resources, entertaining stories, or exclusive promotions and discounts.
Automate your email marketing campaigns
Automated email marketing campaigns let you efficiently and effectively engage with your audience.
With automated workflows, you can tailor your email communication to specific scenarios and customer behaviors, delivering the right message at the right time. This not only saves you time but also ensures that your messages are timely and relevant, ultimately boosting engagement and improving your email marketing success.
Don’t overdo it
Bombarding your subscribers with too many marketing emails can lead to email fatigue. If you annoy your audience with too many emails, it can result in higher unsubscribe rates or even having your emails sent directly to their spam folder. This is especially true for older consumers who tend to be more sensitive to email frequency.
To strike the right balance and avoid overwhelming your audience, we’ve listed some best practices for you to follow:
- Control the frequency of your emails. Define a consistent schedule that works for your audience and industry. Weekly or bi-weekly emails are often a good starting point but adjust based on your subscribers’ preferences.
- Segment your emails. Segment your email list based on subscriber preferences and behavior. This allows you to send targeted messages to different groups, reducing the likelihood of sending irrelevant content.
- Let subscribers choose their preferences. Provide subscribers with an option to choose their email preferences. This way, they can decide how often they want to hear from you and what type of content they prefer to receive.
- Think about quality over quantity. Prioritize sending high-quality, valuable content over a high volume of emails. Ensure that each email you send provides genuine value or solves a problem for your subscribers.
- Test and Monitor. Continuously monitor your email engagement metrics, such as open rates and click-through rates. Test different email frequencies to find the sweet spot for your audience.
- Use permission-based marketing. Always obtain explicit consent from subscribers before sending marketing emails. Make it easy for them to opt out if they no longer wish to receive your emails.
Find the right balance and respect your subscribers’ preferences so you can maintain a positive relationship with your email audience, but not to the point of overwhelming them.
One good way to reduce the risk of being tagged as a spammer is to always send your emails from a professional email address, not a generic free email address like AOL or Gmail.
Test and optimize
Test different subject lines to see which ones lead to higher open rates. Experiment with variations in length, tone, and personalization. You can also try different types of content, visuals, and messaging to gauge what resonates best with your audience. This can include variations in product descriptions, images, and storytelling approaches.
Different CTAs can suggest different possible actions from your subscribers. Determine which ones drive more clicks and conversions. This includes variations in CTA text, button color, size, and placement within the email.
Finally, you can test different days and times to send. your emails. This lets you find out when your audience is most responsive.
Once you’ve tested these different aspects in your email marketing strategy, here are some factors to keep an eye on to confirm your campaigns’ progress:
- Open rates. Monitor open rates to assess the effectiveness of your subject lines and the overall appeal of your emails. Low open rates may indicate the need for subject line improvements or list hygiene.
- Click-through rates (CTR). Track CTR to measure how engaging your content and CTAs are. If you notice low CTR, consider adjusting your content or CTAs to make them more compelling.
- Conversion rates. Analyze conversion rates to understand how effectively your emails are driving the desired actions, such as purchases or sign-ups. If conversions are low, review your email content and offers.
- Bounce and unsubscribe rates. High bounce rates may indicate a need for list cleaning, while high unsubscribe rates may suggest irrelevant or too frequent emails.
- Segment performance. Analyze how different segments of your audience respond to your emails. This can help you tailor your content and offers more effectively.
- ROI Tracking. Calculate the return on investment (ROI) of your email campaigns by measuring the revenue generated compared to the cost of running the campaigns. This can provide a clear picture of the financial impact of your email marketing efforts.
Start your first successful email marketing campaign today
Email marketing is a potent tool that can drive growth and engagement for your business. From its cost-effectiveness to its ability to build trust and credibility, email marketing offers numerous benefits.
To harness the full potential of email marketing for your brand, consider registering for a business email with Web.com today. Integrate email into your digital marketing strategy and pair them with Web.com’s robust online solutions to unlock the full potential of your email marketing efforts.