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Email Marketing

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Email marketing has been around for nearly two decades and is known to stay around. The ease of sending advertisements, promoting lead magnets to acquire customers, or sending special offers to improve sales or fundraising are a few uses of email marketing. It involves sending emails to a mass audience who are subscribers to bring awareness about a brand or product and to generate sales. It also involves cold emails to create a subscriber list. Email marketing has evolved over the years and grown in popularity.

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Types of marketing emails

The emails can be broadly classified into four categories Newsletters, Promotional, Acquisition, and Retention emails depending on their purpose in the marketing lifecycle. The below figure shows the different emails that fall under these categories.


Email Types

Promotional Emails :

As the name describes these types of emails are generally used to promote a product or a service. Common email promotions include discount coupons, promo codes with offers, access to exclusive content, or admission forms for events. Giveaways are also a way of promotion to gain leads.

Email Newsletters :

Newsletters are a means of reaching the audience with the latest updates or information related to the latest products and services of the company. Some forms of newsletters are weekly digests of content, quarterly organizational updates, and promotional content for products and services.


Acquisition Emails :

This type of email is mainly for acquiring a customer or pushing the process one step closer to acquiring a customer. The email usually includes exclusive information about what the business has to offer or curated content to attract a prospect. It is undoubtedly a great way to grow business faster and drive additional revenue by moving leads faster through the conversion funnel.

Retention Emails :

The emails sent to existing customers with the purpose of retaining them and pushing them toward making repetitive purchases are considered retention emails.

Objectives of Email Marketing

Every channel in digital marketing offers a way to generate sales. In order to make the strategy successful it is always advisable to follow the AIDAA-based funnel approach. The below figure shows an Email Marketing Funnel with different email types that can be used at different stages of the marketing journey.


Email Marketing Funnel

Now that you know which email type suits which phase in the funnel, the funnel itself is created with a budget which means there could be single or multiple campaigns with a specific purpose. The purpose could be generating leads, acquiring new customers, retaining old customers, promoting new product launches, and others that can be clubbed under the following objectives carried out with email marketing.


Conversions :

Conversion usually refers to an action required after reading the content, which in our case would be an email. It acts as a primary tool in measuring return on investment (ROI) for marketing efforts. Those companies with higher conversion rates are known to generate higher sales as a result of a good email strategy. The email marketing conversion rate is measured as the percentage of subscribers performing the goal action after reading the email.

Brand awareness Building :

Brand awareness is the most necessary and one of the biggest challenges for new businesses and start-ups. Email marketing is the most cost-effective way to build brand awareness cost-effectively. Emails provide a reliable path to build trust with customers by enabling personalized messages through segmentation. With email marketing, it is easier to anticipate the needs of consumers alongside creating a positive image of the brand.

Customer loyalty :

Customer loyalty programs have proven to be the most effective tool in customer retention and encouraging brand advocacy. Customer loyalty boosts company growth. It is observed that businesses that prioritize customer experience and provide excellent customer service have often been known to have increased revenue. Sharing exclusive offers, vouchers, coupons, and incentives with existing customers push these customers into the delight zone of the sales funnel. Frequent reminders on offers and coupons, birthday messages and offers, VIP deals, and special incentives are some of the techniques to make an existing customer feel special. Personalized emails while expressing gratitude for continuing their journey as customers can take the relationship to the next level. Businesses with a larger share of customers in the delight zone have been known to carry the brand image to higher levels.


Email Service Provider vs Internet Service Provider

The ISP (Internet Service Provider) is the company that gives you access to the Internet like Verizon, Vodafone, and others. The ESP (Email Service Provider) is a service used by marketers who send bulk emails to their subscribers like AWeber, MailChimp, Drip, Get Response, etc.

Gmail and Yahoo Mail are free Email service providers. Businesses use an Email Service Provider (ESP) to send marketing emails. Sending bulk emails using free email service providers like Gmail and Yahoo Mail can lead to disabling the account for suspicious activity as it’s easily flagged by spam filters.

Email Marketing Strategy

A business's digital marketing strategy must include email marketing since email is the most convenient and cost-effective way to reach business goals, attain a higher conversion rate, and also create brand awareness. The following steps are to be taken to create a successful strategy.


1. Identify the business goals :

Most common and relevant goals considered for email marketing -

· Grow your subscriber list

· Increase your open rates

· Improve click-through rates

· Retain customers and turn them into brand advocates

2. Create an Email Marketing roadmap :

Create a specific plan and timeline for finishing your project or campaign.


3. Create an Email Marketing Campaign :

Sending a series of email messages over a certain period of time to attain a specific goal following a given budget is called an email campaign. In email marketing, a funnel represents the journey of a user from being a prospective lead to becoming a customer through educational and promotional email campaigns, which can prove to be effective in making email campaigns successful. A detailed explanation of the email marketing campaign is given below.


4. Create email automation strategies :

A few common automation strategies are :

  • Welcome Emails

  • Drip Campaigns which include a series of emails pushing the prospect towards acquisition.

  • Nurture Campaigns include a series of emails that are more curated depending on the customer lifecycle targeting a conversion.

  • Remarketing Emails

  • Upsell Emails which include special offers for Customer Retention

  • Reengagement Emails

  • Goodbye Emails

Email Blast

This strategy involves sending bulk emails to an email list usually done during an announcement of a new product through newsletters, flash sales, and webinars. Emails can be sent up to twice or thrice a week if the subscriber is a nurtured lead. The latest email automation tools can personalize these bulk emails to some extent.


Drip Campaigns

Drip email campaigns are a series of automated emails as a response to a user's action. It could be an abandoned cart email or a successful order placement. It may be sent as an invitation for an event or a request for signing up for a website. There may be 2 to 5 or more automated emails as a response to the user's action.


Remarketing Emails

They work the same way as retargeted ads, where a line of code is placed in your email signature or in the HTML of your email, and the email subscriber who opens your email will be served with ads all over the web with an intent to remarket. The purpose of remarketing also known as retargeting could be to re-engage customers, continue with order placement, drive users into clicking ads related to the brand you are promoting, or bring in more sales.


Upsell Emails

These are emails sent to increase sales which are done by putting forth upgraded versions of products with offers during buyers' purchase action to make more sales. It could be through selling more quantities of products, including protection with the product, going for an extended service period, or buying an upgraded version.


5. ESP Vendor Evaluation :

Since email marketing requires a lot of email transactions, businesses would require to use any ESP for the task. ESP Vendors have to be evaluated and scored based on the following key areas:

  • The ESP business model (are they focused on email send volume or services?)

  • Technological capabilities

  • The total cost of ownership /operation (TCO)

  • Service and Support

  • Deliverability (Monitoring, resolution, and reputation services)

  • Other services they offer

6. Identify the KPIs for measuring the campaign success :

Important Metrics to determine the campaign success :

  • Delivery rates

  • Open rates

  • Click through rates

  • Bounce rate

  • Conversion rate

  • Unsubscribe Rate

  • List Growth Rate

  • ROI

7. Evaluate and Optimize the campaigns through :

  • A/B Testing

  • Send time optimization

  • The subject line, CTA, and content optimization

  • Personalization

  • Behavior-based segmentation

  • Marketing automation

Email Marketing Plan


Developing an effective email marketing plan requires a strategic approach to ensure that your emails are targeted, relevant, and engaging to your subscribers. Here are the steps to creating a successful email marketing plan:

  1. Define your email marketing goals: Before creating any marketing campaign, it's essential to determine what you hope to achieve from it. Examples of email marketing goals include driving sales, generating leads, increasing website traffic, and promoting brand awareness.

  2. Build your email list: Once you've defined your goals, it's time to start building your email list. You can collect email addresses from sign-up forms on your website, social media, and events.

  3. Segment your email list: Segmentation allows you to group your subscribers based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. This allows you to create personalized and targeted campaigns that are more likely to resonate with your subscribers.

  4. Choose an email marketing software: There are numerous email marketing software options available that can help you create, send, and track your emails. Examples include Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and HubSpot.

  5. Create your email content: Your email content should align with your marketing goals and be relevant and valuable to your subscribers. Types of email content include newsletters, promotional offers, event invitations, and surveys.

  6. Design your emails: Your email design should be visually appealing, easy to read, and reflect your brand identity. Most email marketing software includes pre-designed templates that you can customize to fit your brand.

  7. Test your emails: Before sending your emails, make sure to test them to ensure they display correctly on all devices and email clients. You can use an email testing tool like Litmus to do this.

  8. Analyze your results: After sending your emails, it's essential to analyze your results to determine the success of your campaign. Metrics to track include open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.

  9. Continuously improve: Use the data you've collected to continuously improve your email campaigns. Experiment with different types of content, subject lines, and sending frequencies to see what works best for your audience.

By following these steps, you can create an effective email marketing plan that helps you achieve your marketing goals and build stronger relationships with your subscribers.


Email Marketing Campaign

Every business launches more than one campaign for its digital strategy. While strategy tends to achieve the mission of the brand, campaigns are a more tactical approach to meeting these targets. With a set budget, the brands have to chalk out goals and launch specific campaigns for each goal to get the desired outcome. The following steps have to be taken in order to launch a successful campaign.


Identify your audience :

One of the primary goals of email marketing is to initiate meaningful conversions. Emails that are sent to the wrong people create poor open rates with increased bounce rates that impact ROI. Conversions are created by focusing on the target audience and showing them what they wish to see.


Identify the campaign goals :

Defining your campaign goals can help you set the direction and measure the success of the campaign. Additionally, it prevents emails from being sent to the wrong audience.

Decide on the Email Type that suits the campaign :

Types of email campaigns depend on the type of Email being sent, so it is necessary to choose a style that will help achieve the campaign goal. The four types of emails have been discussed earlier, and depending on the stage the prospect is in the purchase lifecycle the campaign email type must be decided.

Evaluate the technology and email service :

Choose an ESP (email service provider) which have features like Templates, Tracking, Automation, and Mobility.

Use creative content and lead magnets :

The initial step in the email marketing campaign is to obtain the prospect's email address which can be done by offering them free value. Businesses require an effective lead generation to achieve their goals, and lead magnets can help them to accomplish that effectively.

Evaluate the email marketing design, subject, and email copy :

Marketing email must be carefully crafted in view to encourage the recipient to open, read and click through the email.


Plan for emails and follow-ups:

An email marketing tool can be used to create, send, test, optimize, and report on campaigns. In addition, there are many email marketing tools that provide free services as well, such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor.


Identify the testing strategy and optimize :

Testing must be made a part of your day-to-day processes. To determine a clear winner it is ideal to run tests on groups that are small, but large enough.


Identify the KPIs to measure the effectiveness :

Choose KPIs that answer basic questions about the campaigns, such as:

  • How many people open your emails?

  • How many people click your links?

  • Which link gets the most clicks?

  • What time do people open your emails?

  • How many average unsubscribes per email are sent?


Building Email List

Most Email Campaign goals involve building an email list for creating a prospect base that can then be targeted for higher campaign goals like brand awareness and sales.


Embedded signup forms :

An embedded form is a way to display your form as part of your own web page, without your form users needing to click a link to the parent site, and can be used to collect the email address of the signing-up user.

pop-ups and overlays :

Website elements that can be used to engage users, increase conversions, and prompt other website actions can also be used to collect the email address.

Gamification :

Add game mechanics to an email to increase participation and allow users to subscribe.

Sign up for Notifications :

When businesses want to inform their subscribers regarding the changes or updates to their website, product, or service, a Notification email is used. Interested users would subscribe to receive such notifications. This can be a way to collect email addresses by asking the user to opt for notification.

Lead Magnets :

Offer an incentive in order to receive a visitor's contact information. Lead magnets are typically long-form content pieces that offer the user a value usually free like e-books, white papers, templates, etc.

Landing Pages :

A standalone web page, created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign can be used for collecting email addresses.

Include opt-in fields at checkout :

A specialized checkbox field that presents the user with a single checkbox and supporting message for them to subscribe during checkout.


Email marketing is a proven online-marketing element that can reach a high percentage of conversions while improving customer experience. A prerequisite for this approach is the target audience which must be relevant to the structure of your message which must be well thought out and the content must be highly relevant to your target group.


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