Email Marketing

Chapter 01: Email Marketing

What Is Email Marketing?

The average office workers receives 121 emails a day. Globally, 269 billion emails are sent on a daily basis.

While it’s easy to send a quick message to your friends and family, many emails require a delicate balance of art and science, commonly referred to as email marketing.

Email marketing is a type of direct marketing that uses email as the main communication channel to reach an audience. In its broadest sense, any email you send to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. However, the most common definition refers to using email to reach a group of people to achieve a specific goal, whether that be increasing leads, sales, retention, or engagement.

What Is Mass Email Marketing?

While email marketing always consists of sending emails to a group of people, that group is usually carefully crafted and segmented based on geography, purchasing behavior, engagement, interest, or other factors.

Mass email marketing, on the other hand, is the practice of creating a single message for a large group of subscribers, regardless of customization and personalization. For example, sending an email about a new sales promotion to your entire email database, even people who have never made a purchase or who have never expressed interest in that particular item.

Mass email marketing is not considered to be a best practice. Most marketers prefer to send more personalized emails to certain segments to increase email KPIs and create a better customer experience.

Why Is Email Marketing Important?

Consumers are constantly bombarded with advertising. From social media to billboards to online ads, we digest hundreds of marketing messages each day. How does a marketer cut through the clutter and get customers’ attention?

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate directly with potential and current customers, in real time. Sure, you have to compete with other emails in the inbox, but at least you can personalize your message and talk directly to your audience.On top of that, email marketing is affordable and scalable. Your only cost is investing in email marketing software — after that upfront cost, you can send as many emails as you want (within reason, of course).

How to Do Email Marketing

Email marketing is a highly effective channel with the power to convert prospects to customers and build loyalty among your existing base. Depending on your industry, email database size, and goals, it can be as easy as setting up a welcome email and a few automated messages. Or, it may involve creating complex email branches and nurture campaigns.

While it will change for every business, here’s a high-level look of how to do email marketing:

  1. Set goals: Email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to reach your audience and you want to make sure you’re not abusing this privilege by sending emails on a whim. Before firing off your campaign, make sure you’ve established clear goals around what you hope to achieve. Do you want to drive traffic to a blog post? Do you want to increase sales? Do you want people to sign up for a webinar?
  2. Build your list: Once you understand your goals, it’s time to think about who to send your email to. There are two main ways to build your list: you can either important your current list of customers and/or build your list from scratch. For more information on building a list from scratch, click here.
  3. Decide what type of campaign you want to send: There are a number of different types of email campaigns you can send, including newsletters, promotional emails, welcome emails, event/webinar invites, and nurture campaigns. When deciding which format to choose, think about scalability, revisit your goals, and factor in time commitment.
  4. Create your campaign: Look for email marketing software with an intuitive, easy-to-use campaign builder. You don’t want to spend time wrestling with the HTML code to make sure your email looks right.
  5. Measure the results: Once you’ve sent the email, wait up to a week before collecting and measuring the results. Make sure to track open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. These metrics will give you a high-level view of how well your email performed and how you can improve your next campaign.

Successful Email Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re new to email marketing or refining your existing strategy, there are a lot of factors that can impact the success of your campaigns. Where do you start?

Here are some quick tips that can improve the efficacy of your strategy:

  • Always look for ways to improve your email list: This may mean you regularly prune your subscriber base and remove people who haven’t opened an email in the past six months. Or, perhaps you invest in lead magnets to consistently add new contacts to your list.
  • Design for deliverability: Most people read emails on their phone, so use the appropriate sized imagery, text, and buttons. Also, make sure your email doesn’t take too long to load.
  • Get feedback: While it’s important to track email KPIs like open rate and click-through rate, they will never be substitutes for real customer feedback. Send surveys to ask customers what kind of content they want to receive and how often.

Email Marketing Best Practices

The most successful email marketers have learned to prioritize a few lines of copy and a single design element, like subject lines and buttons, to give their emails the best chance of being opened and, once opened, foster engagement.

Here are three email marketing best practices:

  1. Focus on the subject line: An email subject line is one of the most important parts of your email strategy and will dictate whether people actually open your email. When writing an email subject line, stick to 50 characters or less so it doesn’t get truncated on mobile. Be descriptive and specific, so customers know exactly what to expect. And, always A/B test subject lines to see what performs the best.
  2. Design buttons that stand out: Most emails end with a call to action: to visit a blog post, make a purchase, or sign up for an event, for example. To increase click-through rate, use buttons rather than linked text. Choose a big, colorful button that contrasts with the rest of your text and make sure they’re mobile-friendly.
  3. Time it right: Avoid the temptation to send your email as soon as you finish it. Although it varies by industry and audience, emails do perform better when received at certain times of the day and week. As a general rule of thumb, recipients respond well to emails that arrive after they get off work (between 7pm-10pm) and open rates are highest early in the morning.

For more best practices, read our blog post, “Email Marketing Tips and Tricks.”

Best Email Marketing Software

When looking for an email tool for your business, some key features to look for include:

  • A simple drag-and-drop interface to build your emails
  • Ready-made campaign templates
  • The option to send manual emails, automated emails, and nurture campaigns
  • A/B testing capabilities
  • Client mananagement software integration, so you can keep all customer data in one place
  • Robust reporting options to measure open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and more

Final Thoughts

Put simply, email campaigns work. They are a low-cost, effective way to reach thousands of customers in a single moment, with the option of personalizing each message to build even stronger relationships.

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