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What You Need to Know About Email Marketing

guide to email marketing

First things first.

Enough with the "email marketing is dying" mantra!

Email marketing is still going strong, and that will be the case for many years to come. Why? Because people still check their emails.

If and when done right, email marketing can help you raise brand awareness, improve engagement, drive sales and promote customer service. If you're not really buying this, let's take a look at the numbers that prove how important emails are.

Why Email Marketing? Behind the Numbers

checking email on laptop

Let's start with the obvious. According to Statista, In 2017, email users globally amounted to 3.7 billion, who sent and received 269 billion emails. This clearly shows that people are using emails more than ever, so it's one medium you can't afford to ignore.

Now let's talk about money. According to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), you get a return of 32 dollars on every dollar you spend on email marketing. In addition, ecommerce stores that send 3 abandoned cart emails are 69% more likely to convert than stores that send out 1 email.

So if there’s anything to learn from this, it’s that emails are now more important than ever. Whether you’re a blogger who wants to increase readership, online store that wants to boost sales, or a new business wanting to build brand awareness, it's clear that email marketing can help you achieve your goals. Now let’s talk about the basics of email campaigns and the best practices that help you achieve greater success than your competitors!

Building An Email List

email list

If you already have an email list, then well and good. If not, then follow these three rules to heart:

  1. Always be clear: Will potential subscribers learn something new about your business, get content they need, or receive discounts on things they want to buy? Will they receive more relevant offers or just junk? Answer these questions for them beforehand.

  2. Use forms smartly: Don't overwhelm your visitors with forms that pop up everywhere. Use pop up forms that display after a few seconds on pages with high traffic, and forms that display when the user is about to leave on pages with low traffic. Always include a form in the footer as well.

  3. Give people incentive: Don't write ‘sign up and get offers’. It's won't get you many subscribers. Instead, write something like ‘sign up now and get a 10% off welcome discount code’. This shows you are providing value to the visitor right from the time they sign up.

Simple, right? Now that we have this list, you should decide on the types of emails you want to send to your subscribers.

Finding the Balance

sending emails

When someone gives you their email address, they’re basically inviting you to their house. If you're not respectful and show up every day, sometimes for no reason, they won't hesitate to kick you out.

Similarly, when people give you their email, they expect something in return.

Your emails should consist of automated emails and periodic emails. Welcome, abandoned cart recovery, shipment, order notification and unsubscribe emails can all be automated, and should be for an e-commerce site.

Abandoned cart emails are very important for ecommerce site. Why? Because more than 60% buyers will abandon their cart while shopping online. That is an alarmingly high number so there is no reason why you shouldn’t remind your subscribers that they have items in their cart.

You could offer them small discounts on their abandoned cart. This type of emails should be perceived as nudges rather than nagging reminders, so make sure not to send more than three such emails. How you choose to mix it up is entirely up to you though.

Periodic emails can be daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal, based on the nature of your business. These emails can be about new content, special offers, promotions, news or updates about your business, and more.

You could even do a series of emails to map a journey for your subscribers. The series of emails can be about your recent blog posts. For example, you can send the following emails every week of a month:

  • Week 1: Why Email Marketing Is Changing

  • Week 2: What Is the Best Email Marketing Platform

  • Week 3: Crafting Elegant Email Campaigns

  • Week 4: Measuring the Success of Your Email Campaigns

Free downloads are always good. Think of them as bringing gifts for the hosts when you’re invited for dinner. Free downloads can be in the form of eBooks, whitepapers, your products as part of a competition, and more.

Newsletters and update emails basically notify your subscribers of new things. This could be changes to your policy, new additions to your product catalog, flash sales, and special offers that can only be attained by referring others to your business.

Choosing the Best Software

There are over 200 email marketing platforms. Some are of course more prominent than others, such as MailChimp, GetResponse, Drip, and AWeber. We recommend MailChimp as it's not only easy to use, but the templates are just gorgeous.

With MailChimp, you can create all types of emails mentioned in the previous section. It integrates with popular CMS like Wix, WordPress and Shopify, so you're able to add emails directly to MailChimp. You can even create Facebook and Google Ads directly from MailChimp now!

For e-commerce, MailChimp allows you to create automation emails for order notifications, abandoned carts and more. MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, so it's a great platform to kick start your email marketing efforts.

AWeber is another awesome platform that is generally preferred by web designers and developers. Drip is another one with possibly the most features you can find in an email software. It even allows you to integrate landing pages you make on Leadpages.

The right email marketing platform can be a game changer. However, that doesn't guarantee that your emails will end up in the inbox instead of the junk mail.

Getting Whitelisted

email spam

Even the best email marketing software can’t save your emails from junk or spam folder if they are, well, junk. It’s true that the software will improve the quality of your emails, it is up to you to make a strong first impression.

This means providing clear instructions with the first few emails you send. For example, if your website has a login option, users should receive an email to verify their account when they sign up. This is important because it will ensure that the email accounts of your website users are verified, and will confirm that your email is now in the inbox.

Once the sign up is complete, you can send a ‘Welcome’ or ‘Thank You’ email. The follow up emails should focus on quality and providing what your subscribers are looking for in the first paragraph or content block. The idea here is to produce emails that will prompt the recipient to click on ‘it’s not spam’ if the email gets downgraded to the spam folder.

Don't add too many links in the body, especially to sites that look spammy or have security issues. Also avoid shrinking URLs because it's one of the common things spammers do. Unless necessary, don't add attachments to emails as they may be considered malicious or spammy by the email service provider.

Try to avoid some spammy words in the subject line and email body, such as "100% free" or "100% satisfied". You can download a full list of spam words here. Also, try avoiding excessive punctuation, especially in the subject line, and all caps letters. Keep your emails short, sweet, simple and sexy.

Frequency of Emails

sending emails

Alright. Now you know what types of emails you should send, what platform you should use, and how to get whitelisted. The next thing is scheduling and timing the emails, also known as drip.

The drip could be set to 24 hours, 48 hours, one week, just the weekends or just the weekdays. The ideal drip marketing strategy will depend on your business. Here are some examples that will help you understand the drip better:

  • E commerce – Daily drips are practical with e-commerce. The bulk of the emails consist of automated and order notification emails, along with special offers, coupon codes, update emails, and abandoned cart emails.

  • News/Media Site – Daily drips are also practical here, as the content is produced in high volume daily. However, it is best to segment the emails according to interests, such as local news, world news, sports, celeb, etc.

  • Service Provider – Most service industry businesses, like plumbing or cleaning services, should refrain from daily emails. Switch to bi-monthly and focus on quality to retain the interest of the subscribers.

  • Blogger – This is kind of tricky. If you write about 3 to 4 blogs every day, then you may drip emails every 2 to 3 days. This gives you enough time to write engaging email copies and promote your content across the web.

Timing is also key. So for example, if your target demographic is Generation X, then emails during working hours can do wonders. With millennials, you are more likely to win more eyeballs by dripping emails outside of working hours.

In fact, 70% of millennials check their emails from their bed, more than any group. In addition, millennials are more likely to check their email from mobile devices, so your newsletters and other dynamic content must be responsive.

Segmenting Your Audience

Group of people

Segmenting your audience means dividing it into highly targeted groups. If you’re a digital marketing agency, your groups will consist of:

  • Marketers

  • Business Owners

  • Clients

Since these three groups are different, it will be a crime to use the same email marketing strategy for all three. Dividing them into groups makes targeted communication much more achievable. If you’re an e-commerce site offering a diverse range of products, you can segment your subscribers according to their purchasing habits.

So if 15 – 20 consumers solely buy electronics from you, you should send them emails on promotions, discounts, and new releases in electronics. It’s more or less like using long tail keywords, in that you implement a highly targeted strategy for a small group that is more likely to convert.

And That's All!

People will always read their emails, which means you will always have a medium to reach out to potential customers.

At the same time though, remember that you now have more competition than ever. Quality content matched with great value and engagement is the key to winning in email marketing.

If email marketing is not your cup of tea, but you realise how important it is for your business, then you're at the right place. Our email marketing service is so good, you'll want to subscribe to your own newsletter!

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