The Beginner’s Email Marketing Guide (Strategies and Examples)
Some people say email marketing is an obsolete thing of the past. The truth is though that email is still one of the most effective digital marketing channels!
Despite the growth of social media marketing and SEO, email marketing manages to deliver a stunning ROI of $42 for every dollar spent. Moreover, it is a direct medium to reach and engage your audience!
But the thing is, to make it work for your business, you need to know how to do it right.
In this guide, you can expect to learn:
- what it is and how it works
- why it is essential for all businesses, and
- how to get started right away
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is the act of sending mass promotional messages to people in order to inform, educate or persuade them to take a particular action. This digital marketing strategy involves the use of email newsletters, sales promotional emails, transactional emails, and company announcements.
With an effective email marketing strategy, brands can convert prospects into customers and one-time buyers into loyal, recurring customers.
So, whether you have a small business, an online store, or a large enterprise, email marketing can work miracles for you. What you need is to discover what your audience likes and then use it to create powerful newsletters.
You need to remember, though, that email marketing requires the user’s consent. This means that you are a guest in their inbox, so you have to use good email “manners.” Failing to understand that or believing your email campaigns are special will have negative results.
Now that we’ve seen its definition, let’s find out how email marketing works.
How Does Email Marketing Work?
While email marketing is a top-performing digital marketing strategy, it is fairly easy to do while it can also be automated. This means that even an absolute beginner could get their hands on it and quickly learn the ropes and succeed.
Specifically, email marketing involves three essential components:
1. An Email List
To start sending your email marketing campaigns, you need to have an email list. Your email list is practically a database of email addresses from people that have opted in to receive marketing messages from your brand.
To ensure you send successful email marketing campaigns, you also have to make sure your email list is active.
There are various ways for you to build your own email list. One of the most effective ways is to provide an incentive that your target audience will be interested in. In return, they will provide you with their email address. These incentives are called lead magnets and they can be anything from coupons to ebooks and downloadable content.
2. An Email Service Provider
An email service provider (ESP), also known as an email marketing service, is a platform that enables you to manage your email list. At the same time, it allows you to segment your audience and craft highly-personalized messages that resonate with them.
Using an ESP means you’ll also be able to craft automated email marketing campaigns. Based on your audience’s behavior, you can automate which actions will be taking place. In this way, almost every interaction can be personalized, thus achieving higher engagement and conversion rates.
3. A Specific Goal
The final element is, of course, a clearly defined business objective. Without it, you risk sending marketing messages that your audience will simply ignore. To give you some examples, email marketing can be used to:
- generate new leads
- boost brand awareness
- drive more sales
- increase engagement with the brand
- build a relationship of trust with the audience
Having a clear goal in mind before crafting your email marketing campaigns ensures you are on the right path to success.
Now that we’ve seen the fundamentals, let’s dive into the amazing benefits of email!
5 Benefits of Email Marketing
Today’s marketing arena is highly competitive as well as demanding, and therefore marketers need to find the best strategies to survive. With email marketing, you can become a winning email marketing gladiator who has a successful business.
Below you’ll find the top benefits of email marketing and why it’s an essential part of every successful digital marketing strategy.
Better Conversion Rates
Apart from its vast reach, email is also a conversion rate rock star. In fact, research indicates that email converts 40x more leads into customers than Facebook and Twitter together. This makes sense, right?
Moreover, people consider email a more trustworthy and professional channel. And with the right elements like user reviews and testimonials, a single campaign can become a significant conversion force.
Finally, let’s not forget that emails are measurable in terms of open rates, click-through rates, conversions, bounces, and more.
To monitor your performance, though, you need a robust email marketing automation platform to equip you with advanced reporting tools.
For instance, when you sign up for a free Moosend account, the platform gives you access to real-time reporting and analytics to monitor your email performance and improve your conversion rate optimization. This way, you will always know how your messages perform!
Top Communication Channel
Also, compared to other channels like social media or TV ads, email is a much more professional channel to receive information about products and services. Not only that, but technology has enabled email marketers to deliver more personalized content through email marketing automation.
With a campaign like this, your audience won’t only get professional emails but also friendly and personalized messages that will make them click!
Increased Audience Reach
The email has embedded itself into our daily online lives. Specifically, Statista estimates that the number of global email users is set to reach 4.48 billion users by 2024!
This might seem astonishing, but it’s really simple to justify if you think of a customer’s online journey. Practically, anybody who is online has an email address for sending and receiving countless messages per day. Take a look:
With mobile email apps like Gmail, accessing and reading emails is now easier than ever.
This makes email marketing the best channel to reach leads and potential customers since it offers the greatest reach among known channels.
High Return on Investment
Another reason why email marketing is so beneficial is that it yields a very high return on investment (ROI). Specifically, it offers an ROI of 4200%, meaning that for every $1 spent, you get approximately $42 in return.
Therefore, it’s plain as day that email is a cost-effective online marketing channel for businesses of all sizes.
In fact, 59% of marketers admit that email is their most significant source of ROI. This is not surprising if you consider that email delivers relevant and personalized messages to the right audience. And this is something that social media or SEO just can’t beat.
Email marketing is based on the customer providing you with their email address and actively showing an interest in your brand.
So, earning permission to send your marketing messages rather than say randomly displaying ads and hoping they work means you have higher chances of actual engagement and conversions.
Moreover, the fact that your audience can choose to unsubscribe from your email list and stop receiving your messages helps you maintain a healthy email list and make good use of your budget.
Engaged Contact List
Last but not least, with emails you are the owner of your list, or should I say, “The Lord of your List?”
That’s a huge benefit since you are not dependent on a third party, and therefore there’s no risk of losing such a vital asset.
Each new subscriber gets added to your email list, and you instantly acquire a direct way to communicate with them.
This is not the case with social media platforms where your account and precious leads could be taken away at any time, even without prior notice. This would negatively impact your ability to reach and engage your target audience.
So, building and maintaining an email list is a substantial investment that’s going to be useful for your business long term.
Email Marketing Examples
In this section, you’ll find some of the most essential email marketing examples that a growing business would need. The purpose is to give you some inspiration and ideas for your future email design.
1. Starbucks – Customer Loyalty Campaign
Subject line: Your free plays are waiting
Why it works: In this customer loyalty email campaign, Starbucks uses the color palette of the brand while the visuals employed subconsciously support the message. As for the email itself, we have a short copy with a clear CTA (“Join now”) that leads users to the desired action.
2. Tsuki – Abandoned Cart Email Campaign
Subject line: Quick! Here’s a discount on your purchase…
Why it works: This abandoned cart campaign from Tsuki is a masterpiece of simplicity and effectiveness. The subject line is perfect since it immediately attracts your attention and prepares you for a discount on something you were planning to buy.
As for the email design, it is clean and elegant without unnecessary elements. The email copy also creates a fear of missing out (FOMO) as it informs customers that once items sell out, that’s it! No restocks.
3. ModCloth – Promotional Email Campaign
Subject line: Treat yourself this Thursday with $29 dresses!
Why it works: ModCloth uses clever messaging to promote its products. The brand plays with the contrast of blue and white to create a visually-pleasing result. The email copy is minimal and the job is mostly done with the headline. Overall, it’s a useful email that also caters to the reader’s short attention span.
How to Get Started With Email Marketing In 6 Easy Steps
So you’re probably going to ask: “How am I going to get started with email marketing?”
Fear not! Everything will be broken down into six easy steps you can follow to ensure your first email marketing campaign success!
So let’s get to it!
Step #1. Select an Email Marketing Platform
The first step in the whole process is to choose a top-notch email marketing service to equip you with the right tools. I know well that it might feel a little tiring to browse through endless email marketing services.
Especially when they all look the same at first glance; however, there are two key factors you need to consider to make your life a little easier:
Email Marketing Platform Cost
The first one is the cost, of course! Many email service providers offer a free plan or free trial of their platform.
If you are on a tight budget, I highly recommend using it to fully test out the features. On the plus side, a free plan/trial is perfect for helping you make a data-driven decision when the time for a paid plan comes.
Tip: A free plan/trial is great to help you start. As your list grows, though, you’ll need a tool that will help you scale your business without breaking your bank!
Regarding the available pricing models, email marketing services tend to charge either by email volume or by the number of subscribers. The first model is more suitable for businesses that have standard needs and want to send a certain number of email campaigns each month. The second pricing model is a better fit for most businesses as it doesn’t restrict on the number of emails you can send while pricing scales with your business growth.
Email Marketing Software Essential Features
Another critical factor you need to pay attention to is the features your email marketing tool gives you.
Whether you go for a free plan/trial or choose one of the best email marketing services on the market, you should never compromise with something that gives you less than you need.
To give you a hand, here are some of the best options out there:
|Pricing||Free Trial/Plan||Unique Feature||Ratings|
|Moosend||$9/month||Yes (30-day trial)||Refine-Subject line optimizer|
|Sendinblue||$25/month||Yes||SMS marketing options|
|ActiveCampaign||$15/month||Yes (14-day trial)||Event tracking options|
|Mailchimp||$17/month||Yes||Multi-step custom workflows|
|Constant Contact||$20/month||Yes (60-day trial)||Event invitations management|
|AWeber||$20/month||Yes||Email testing across devices|
|MailerLite||$10/month||Yes||Opens by location|
With this in mind, your email marketing software should have:
- a drag and drop email builder: a user-friendly editor will help you design your emails and customize your templates without having any technical skills.
- email newsletter templates: ready-made email newsletter templates will save you valuable time and inspire you.
- variety of email campaigns: your platform should provide you with different types, including A/Testing, RSS, automation campaigns, etc.
- segmentation and personalization: targeting your audience with the right message requires sophisticated tools to divide them based on specific criteria.
- integrations: integrating your tool with popular applications is the best way to streamline your marketing efforts.
Last but not least, it could prove valuable if the email marketing software you chose has all-in-one capabilities. From subscription forms to landing pages, an all-in-one tool will help you boost your email marketing efforts and increase your email signups.
If you want a robust and practical all-in-one solution that combines email marketing with subscription forms and landing pages, you can always sign up for a free Moosend account and see how everything works.
Step #2. Grow Your Email List
You’ve chosen the platform that best suits your needs. Now the time has come to do the second most crucial step, which entails email list building!
There is one thing, however, that you need to keep in mind. You always need to get permission from your audience before you start emailing them! Therefore, it’s essential to have a clear purpose when requesting an email address.
There are numerous ways to approach growing your list:
Add An Opt-in Form To Your Website
A simple opt-in form on your website is probably the first thing you should do. Most ESPs on the market now let you create subscription forms that you can easily embed into your website.
Here is an example from the popular brand MeUndies:
To create a successful opt-in form, you have to be clear about what your audience should expect. For example, what kind of email content they are going to receive, how often communication will take place, etc.
Stick to your promises, or you risk annoying your subscribers and ultimately leading them to unsubscribe or worse flagging your emails as spam. This would be detrimental to your email deliverability rate.
Use Lead Magnets & Content Upgrades
To maximize your efforts of attracting more people, you need to offer something valuable for free. As we mentioned before, this is called a lead magnet.
Lead magnets are mostly digital materials such as PDFs, videos, etc. that cost little or nothing to create. They can practically be anything, as long as the audience can use them right away.
For example, here is a real eCommerce lead magnet from MVMT in the form of a discount:
For an eCommerce business like MVMT, 10% off is valuable for new customers who want to save some money.
You can also entice people to sign up by using different subscription form types:
- floating bars: discreet and attractive bars that you can use as newsletter signup forms.
- exit intent pop-ups: offer an extra, highly valuable resource before your visitor leaves to boost signups without interrupting the user experience.
- floating boxes: they slide and stay on the visitor’s page as they scroll down. Usually contain a strong call-to-action that encourages the visitor to subscribe
- full-page forms: forms that cover the visitor’s entire page to attract attention.
Leverage Social Media
Last but not least, you can also grow your list by tapping into social media.
If you have active social media accounts, be sure to share your signup form there to increase your email subscribers.
Step #3. Segment Your Email List
Segmenting your audience into groups with similar interests is one of the best email list management best practices out there. Why? Because without proper segmentation, your email efforts will be ineffective.
Creating targeted groups enables you to create tailored content that will address your customers’ pain points and provide them with unique solutions.
Segmenting can help your business in numerous ways:
- improve open rates
- boost click-through rates
- decrease unsubscribes
- reduce spam complaints
According to research from DMA, segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue. So, the value of segmentation is undeniable.
Now, to take it a step further, there are a plethora of ways you can use to segment your email list. So, let’s see some common examples to get you started!
Best Segmentation Criteria
Email marketers usually segment their audience based on demographics like age, gender, and profession.
However, the power of advanced segmentation will offer you new ways to target your audience.
Below, you’ll find some of the best segments you can create:
- New subscribers: send them a welcome message or a welcome email series to build trust and establish a relationship that will lead to a sale.
- Customer list: distinguishes people who have purchased from leads that haven’t.
- One-time buyers: a bounce-back email or a follow-up offer after a purchase can turn them into profitable repeat customers.
- VIPs: the most loyal of your customers that make consistent purchases. Keep them happy by providing them with exclusive offers or loyalty programs.
- Cart abandoners: subscribers who have forgotten something in their cart and need a gentle reminder.
- Preferences: segment your audience based on whether they prefer sales notifications only or blog posts too.
- Lead magnet: depending on the lead magnet your subscribers opted-in for, send them relevant emails.
- Open rate: send an exclusive offer to reward your most loyal subscribers with a converting subject line.
By now, it’s evident that segmenting your list will give you an advantage over competitors who don’t.
You’ll be sending targeted emails instead of impersonal email blasts. Not to mention that this will make your life easier if you want to leverage automation, as we’ll see further in this guide.
Step #4. Create Your First Email Campaign
Now that you got the knowledge, it’s time to create a successful email marketing campaign without breaking a sweat.
Coming up next, I’ll show you how to choose the right campaign type, what you need to design your email, and, lastly, how to send it to your audience. Let’s begin!
Choose The Right Campaign Type
There are various types of email campaigns that you can send to your subscribers. The type you’ll choose depends on the overall goal you have.
Moosend, for example, offers four main types of email campaigns to choose from: Regular, A/B Testing, Repeatable, and RSS.
If you want to promote a new product, it would be wise to go for a regular campaign you can easily create.
For bloggers, setting up an RSS campaign would help you promote your blog posts and boost your content marketing efforts through email.
Design Your Email Marketing Campaign
After choosing the appropriate campaign type, it’s time for your email newsletter design.
To get the best results out of each campaign, there are some fundamentals that you need to be aware of:
- Email Copy
- Call-to-action button
First of all, your campaign has to be structured in a way that promotes readability. A difficult-to-read or dull campaign will end up in the spam folder.
To avoid it, entice your subscribers to read your content and guide them strategically to your CTA.
You can achieve that by using the inverted pyramid model. Here’s a great example from Morphe:
As you can see above, you need:
- a concise and catchy headline with the key message of your campaign
- high-quality newsletter images to persuade the reader
- a converting CTA to show them what to do next
All of the above are essential to ensure a high click-through rate and more conversions.
Generally, you don’t want to clutter your email with too much text or information. Adding visuals will help you avoid walls of text and make your email unique and memorable.
Moreover, when it comes to your email copy, try to keep it short, on point, and relevant to your subject line.
Just take a look at this successful email marketing example by GUESS:
Also, don’t forget that personalization is crucial if you want engaged subscribers. So, try adding their name in the subject line to personalize your email or use advanced segmentation.
Finally, your CTAs should be as clear as possible. Be sure to use consistent colors and avoid adding too many; otherwise, your subscriber will get distracted.
Pro tip: If you have trouble with your subject lines, get your hands on an email subject line tester to help you optimize them and boost your open rates like a pro!
Send Your Campaign to Your Subscribers
Your campaign is now ready to reach your subscribers!
The first thing you need to do is choose the segment of your email list that will receive your email.
As we’ve said before, relevance is vital, so you don’t want to “annoy” all your subscribers unless necessary based on your goals.
Next, you need to ensure the email deliverability of your campaign. Weak content, bad designs, and unresponsive email templates negatively impact your deliverability.
Avoiding spammy email subject lines and including a visible unsubscribe link at the footer like MOO will do the trick:
Well, I know this isn’t what you wanted to see, but according to some of the best email marketing practices, if you don’t give your uninterested subscribers a way out, they might report you as spam. This will inevitably harm your sender score.
Also, remember that many people will read your emails on a mobile device, so it’s critical that your campaign is mobile-friendly.
After you’ve done all these, you shouldn’t forget to run a spam test using an email tester tool to check whether your email lands in the inbox of popular email clients like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo.
And, finally, you have to schedule your delivery. You may want to send it right away or schedule it for a specific time to ensure maximum impact.
Advanced email marketing tip for beginners: There is always the chance that some people will not open your email campaign. You can enable automated resending to non-openers. This can have tremendous value since you may double your open rate with minimal effort!
Step #5. Leverage Email Marketing Automation
If you’re just starting, it’s possible to send and reply to every one of your subscribers. However, as your list grows and your campaigns become more complex, it will be impossible to send hundreds of emails manually.
This is where marketing automation comes into play. Using autoresponders, you can send automated emails to segments of your list after a specific event happens.
For instance, when a person signs up for your newsletter or leaves products in their shopping cart.
Above, you can see a simple cart abandonment recipe you can set up through your email marketing automation platform.
This automation allows you to be “present” with all your subscribers and not go dark for long periods.
Furthermore, it helps you form a strong relationship with your subscribers and nurture them into potential customers.
Generally, creating an automation sequence can be a tad advanced for beginners, but you’ll eventually get yourself familiar with it.
If you want to go in-depth with email automation, especially for your eCommerce business, this guide is a real eye-opener!
Step #6. Measure Your Performance and Optimize
Now it’s time to take things to the next level.
To get the most out of your email campaigns, you need to track their performance and identify areas that can be improved.
Almost every email service provider offers complimentary reporting and analytics, which you can find in the Reports tab of your email marketing tool.
Some of the metrics you’ll encounter are the following:
- Number of unique opens and clicks
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Bounce rate
- Number of spam complaints
The three key metrics that you should focus on as you start should be your open rate, click-through rate, and unsubscribes.
What Reporting Tells You About Your Campaigns
First of all, your open rate illustrates the relationship that you have formed with your subscribers.
Ideally, they should be able to open your emails and read them quickly. If the open rate is low, then chances are your subscribers are unengaged.
What you can do is provide more value to them and meet their expectations. Also, the usual suspect for low open rates is usually a spammy subject line.
So, why not add your subscriber’s name to it to make it more engaging? Also, running A/B tests can help you find what makes your audience open your campaigns.
Moreover, your click-through rate (CTR) shows how many people clicked on a link in your email. If this is low, then either your mail isn’t targeted enough, or your copy isn’t as compelling as it should be.
To tackle this, you should consider improving your copy and using A/B Testing for CTA placement!
You can take a step further and examine what happened after people clicked a link and landed on your website. Which you can do by integrating Google Analytics with your platform.
Finally, unsubscribes are very common, and I’d say unavoidable. High unsubscribe rates, though, are an indication that you’re losing potential customers.
If that’s the case, then you need to figure out why they are leaving and take action.
Think of the following: Did I deliver upon the promises I gave? Are autoresponders sending the correct targeted message? Am I sending too many sales emails instead of providing value first?
Whatever the case, the takeaway here is that you need to pay close attention to what the data show and act!
Frequently Asked Questions on Email Marketing (FAQ)
Here you’ll find some of the most frequently asked questions regarding email marketing.
1. When is the best time to send a marketing email?
The best time to send a marketing email is between 9 and 11 am, based on various analyses. The next best time slot that also works well is 1-2 pm as most consumers have their lunch break at that time, so they are more likely to check their emails.
2. What is email marketing automation?
Email marketing automation is the strategy of sending triggered email messages to subscribers on your email list. These personalized email messages are sent automatically to prospects or customers when they make a predetermined action or a condition is met.
3. How much does email marketing cost?
To run successful email marketing campaigns, you’ll need as low as zero upfront investment depending on the email marketing service you choose. If you opt for a dedicated employee or agency to do your email marketing, this would probably cost you anywhere from $15 to $100+ per hour.
4. What is the average open rate for email marketing?
The average open rate for email marketing across all industries for 2022 is 21.5%. While this number is a great starting point to have in mind, you should look at industry-specific numbers to establish whether your businesses’ open rates are within normal limits or they have room for improvement.
5. What is the best email marketing service?
There are several great solutions in the market right now such as Sendinblue, Omnisend, Mailchimp, and Campaign Monitor, but Moosend is the best solution among them due to its advanced functionality, ease of use and affordable pricing that scales as your business grows.
Take Your First Email Marketing Step
If you had been ignoring email marketing, then it’s time to get your hands on it!
Of course, to do that, you need a great email marketing tool to help you and email marketing become best friends. And if you feel like it, don’t forget to give Moosend a try by signing up for a free account!
To succeed, remember to always ask for permission, deliver upon your audience’s expectations, and send targeted messages to the right people at the right time. Once you master this, you’ll be having results better than ever before!