What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a powerful marketing channel, a form of direct marketing as well as digital marketing, that uses email to promote your business’s products or services. It can help make your customers aware of your latest items or offers by integrating it into your marketing automation efforts. It can also play a pivotal role in your marketing strategy with lead generation, brand awareness, building relationships or keeping customers engaged between purchases through different types of marketing emails.
A brief history of email
The very first email was sent in 1971 by a computer engineer named Ray Tomlinson. The message he sent was just a string of numbers and letters, but it was the beginning of a new era of communication. Tomlinson was also the person who introduced the usage of the “@” symbol in email addresses.
In 1978, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp named Gary Thuerk used this new method of direct communication to send out the first commercial email to let people know about a new product. His email list only had 400 addresses, but the emails he sent resulted in about $13 million in sales.
By the ‘90s, the internet had become commercially available to the masses. The way people communicated with one another began to change dramatically, and marketers discovered that email could be an effective way to advertise. The emergence of marketing emails also ushered in the need for regulatory updates; the U.K.’s Data Protection Act, for example, was adjusted to require an “opt out” option for all marketing emails.
How To Do- Email Marketing?
Wondering how to get started with email marketing? Email marketing is made up of several moving pieces, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Here’s how it breaks down…
1. Start With Your List: The bottom line is that you can’t send out email marketing campaigns if you have no one to send them to. And the other thing to remember is that email marketing won’t work if you don’t have the right people on your list.
That means you need to capture leads to grow your email list with your target audience.
2. Add an Email Service Provider: An email service provider (ESP) lets you segment your audience, organize your list, and distribute email campaigns to your audience. You can also track the results to improve future campaigns.
A good ESP should integrate with your other marketing tools so you can turn everything on autopilot as you grow your leads.
There are a ton of email service providers out there, but we take the guesswork out and make it really easy to choose the right one for you and your goals. A big later in this guide, we’ll list out our favorite ESPs that you can choose from.
After those two steps, it’s just a matter of refining your lists and your messaging so you’re reaching your audience and really connecting with them. Plus, you’ll be able to set up some automation in your email service which will make things much easier for you. rowing Your Email List
What most people do when they want to build an email list is to put an optin form on their website and hope that people sign up. Unfortunately, this strategy usually doesn’t work very well.
To grow your email list, you need to attract people with a compelling offer. You need a lead magnet.
What is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet (a.k.a. an optin bribe) is something awesome that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. It doesn’t have to cost you anything to create; most lead magnets are digital materials like PDFs, MP3 audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no
It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value to your visitors for free.
Some popular lead magnet examples are:
- A cheat sheet of tips or resources
- White papers or case studies
- A webinar
- Free trials or samples
- A free quote or consultation
- Quizzes or a self-assessment
- A coupon
The possibilities are endless!
For even more lead magnet ideas, check out our list of lead magnet ideas to grow your email list.
What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?
You already know that a lead magnet needs to provide value for free. But if you want your lead magnet to be highly effective, here are 5 criteria for you to consider:
1. Easily consumed: Lead magnets are only effective when the audience uses them, so if you deliver a 300-page manifesto, you won’t gain traction.
2. Actionable: Lead magnets need to provide an actionable tool, skillset, or useful information that your audience can apply.
3. Creates noticeable improvement: People continue to buy products and services if they work well. Your lead magnet will become successful if it’s as valuable as your products and services.
4. Relevant: If you’ve done your homework about your prospects, you’ll have no trouble coming up with a lead magnet subject that solves problems.
5. Immediately available: People love instant gratification, so give it to them right then and there. Check out 4 Ways to Deliver a Lead Magnet to see how easy it is to get your lead magnet out there using OptinMonster.
Tips for building your email marketing list
But how do you build an audience of people to send email to as part of your internet marketing efforts in the first place? There are a few ways, and all of them have to do with treating your customers right, taking into consideration marketing best practices.
Don’t buy email lists. Many email marketing companies (including Mailchimp) have a strict, permission-based policy when it comes to email addresses, which means that sending to purchased lists is prohibited. Instead, concentrate on encouraging folks to opt into receiving messages from you by using lead magnets. You could offer a discount on your customers’ first orders when they sign up for your email list via a custom signup form. Or maybe you can offer new subscribers free shipping on their next order—or give them a chance to win a prize when they join your list. Here are some more tips to help you build an email list.
Be aware of national (and international) email regulations. Make sure you adhere to any legal requirements and applicable laws in your area when sending automated emails, like the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL), or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union for the treatment of personal information. The regulations are based on both your location and the location of your subscribers, and it’s your responsibility to know which laws apply to you. Here’s more advice on avoiding email spam filters.
Use email to have a conversation with your customers. Email is a great marketing tool, but it can help your business in other ways, too. Consider taking the occasional break from your regular marketing content to send out surveys, tell you customers how much you appreciate them after buying from you, following up after an abandoned cart, or just say hello. Not only does it give your audience a chance to provide you with valuable feedback, but it also allows them to get more insight into the person behind the business.
Only send when you really need to. Once someone has trusted you with their email address, don’t abuse that trust. Flooding your audience’s inbox with superfluous emails will cause them to lose interest or unsubscribe entirely. Focus on sending them relevant, engaging messages about the stuff they like, and they’ll be loyal for a long time to come.
The Benefits of Email Marketing
From order confirmations to newsletters, emails are an essential aspect of the growth and management of your business.
Email marketing will help fulfill 3 key objectives:
1. Conversions (selling your products and services)
Launching a sale or promotion? You can send an email marketing campaign to your subscribers to drive sales.
Other email marketing techniques known to increase conversion rates include:
- Emailing a discount or special offer (birthday/anniversary emails, welcome emails, reengagement emails)
- Abandoned cart emails (triggered whenever a visitor abandons a cart at your online store)
2. Brand awareness
What’s great about email is that it lets you reach someone directly. It’s one-to-one communication at its best. And besides, people don’t just let anyone into their inbox these days. It’s a curated space reserved for favorite brands and publications.
Showing up in someone’s email inbox will help your brand stay top of mind. A personalized marketing email is more impactful than a social media post where you can’t be sure if someone has actually seen your message.
One of the major benefits of email marketing is its scalability. This means that emails can be sent to a large number of recipients for a relatively low cost (compared to other marketing channels).
3. Customer loyalty
Email drives customer loyalty at every stage of the buyer journey: lead-nurturing, conversion, onboarding, retention.
It’s a powerful tool for building a community, as discussed at length in our guide to building relationships with email.
You can create newsletter content so good that subscribers will be waiting for it to arrive each week. Keep reading and we’ll tell you how.
Is email marketing still important in 2020?
Email isn’t a new technology. In fact, it was one of the very first means of digital communication to arrive back in 1971. But get this: Email marketing — almost 50 years old — is more widely used today than ever.
The phrase ‘Email is dead’ gets bounced around the marketing echo chamber every now and then. But don’t believe it. Email is only getting bigger. Just take a look at these statistics:
- In 2019, there were 3.9 billion global email users (source: Statista)
- 80% of Americans check their email at least once per day, with nearly a quarter of them checking their personal email several times a day (Fluent Inbox Report, 2018)
- 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention (Emarsys, 2018)
Given the figures, it’s not surprising that email is hailed as the most effective channel in B2B marketing.
Not having an email marketing strategy means missing out on sales opportunities and the chance to strengthen ties with customers.