Introduction to Email Marketing

Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that helps you achieve your marketing goals by sending out emails to a list of subscribers — potential customers and buyers. These emails can contain helpful information, company news, advertising, special offers, or requests to meet with a salesperson. They are often personalized based on demographic information or position in the sales funnel. Businesses typically use an email marketing tool or software to manage mailing lists and track their progress.
In this beginner's guide to email marketing, we'll discuss the benefits of email marketing for your business, explain how email marketing works, and provide some helpful tips to help you start your first email marketing campaign.
The benefits of email marketing
Email marketing is a highly effective strategy for promoting your products or services. It increases brand awareness while informing consumers about your offerings. It can help you:
  • Generate leads.
  • Attract high-quality traffic to your website.
  • Strengthen relationships with subscribers.
  • Build trust and credibility with your audience.
  • Promote leads through your sales funnel to increase conversion rates.
  • Stay focused and engage your audience.
  • Communicate with existing customers to build loyalty, increase retention rates and create repeat sales.
Email marketing is also an indispensable component of any content marketing strategy. It offers an effective channel for distributing your content and attracting high-quality organic traffic to your site. Speaking of transactions, a series of abandoned cart emails can increase conversion rates by 69%.
What's more, email tools can be integrated with many other marketing techniques to improve results. For example, you can increase opens by 50% with personalization technologies. Or you can increase engagement with interactive emails — for example, adding videos to emails can increase click-through rates by 300%.
How email marketing works
Email marketing allows you to target your audience and customers with email campaigns. You can also divide your subscriber lists into different groups and send the most relevant content and offers to each segment (more on that later). 

These emails can be sent in a predetermined sequence to turn potential customers into buyers or after readers have taken specific actions, such as clicking a link, viewing an item, or leaving an article in the cart. You can also make personalized product recommendations based on customer preferences, purchase history, location, etc.
To effectively manage customer segments and personalized email sequences, email marketers typically use email service providers (ESPs) to send and manage email marketing campaigns. The correct email service provider allows you to distribute the right content to the right people at the right time and customize campaigns to optimize your marketing ROI.
So why not use a free email service like Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo!Mail instead?
These services, also known as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), are best suited for private use only, not for sending large email campaigns. In addition, paid email services usually provide professional support, which is very important for businesses that can't afford to waste time-solving a problem or understanding how a feature works.
Tips for building email lists
Before you start running email campaigns, you need to create an email list that includes the names and email addresses of people who choose to sign up for your newsletter and receive emails from you.
Okay, but how do you create an email list from scratch? Here are some tips to help you start a successful email marketing campaign:
Don't buy email lists.There are many good reasons you should never buy an email list, and the first and most important one is that you will violate the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) consent rules.
Create and promote a lead magnet.A lead magnet is something you provide for free in exchange for a potential customer's email address. Most lead magnets are digital content (such as ebooks or white papers), so you can immediately provide them in various formats, such as PDFs, MP3s, or videos. Your lead magnet should appeal to your target audience and deliver value to make a positive first impression and help you build trust with your subscribers.
Use a form to collect your subscribers' email addresses.Your form (whether on your homepage, in a pop-up, or on a separate landing page) explains the benefits of your lead magnet so that visitors will provide you with their email address in exchange for content.

Segment your email list. You can increase engagement and conversions while reducing bounce rates if you use list segmentation to deliver relevant, timely, and personalized content to your subscribers. Because consumers expect brands to target information, an effective segmentation strategy can get your emails opened, read, and clicked on. 

What is the best email marketing service?
Email marketing services provide the tools you need to attract leads, manage subscribers and send out email campaigns. The correct email marketing service will allow you to distribute the right content to the right people at the right time and customize your campaigns to optimize your marketing ROI. Here are some of the most popular email marketing service providers and their pros and cons to help you make the best choice for your business:
Constant Contact
Constant Contact has long been a leader in email marketing. It is popular with small businesses and large corporations alike.
  • Easy-to-use tools with pre-built and mobile-optimized templates.
  • Real-time tracking of your campaign results.
  • Integration with many platforms such as Salesforce, Shopify, Eventbrite, WordPress, QuickBooks, Gmail, and others.
  • The user interface is cumbersome and sometimes unintuitive.
  • The reporting function lacks customizability.
  • Customer support is sometimes slow.
AWeber has been used by many entrepreneurs and small businesses for 20 years and offers reliable and affordable services.
  • A simple pricing structure based on the number of subscribers.
  • Sales tracking feature included in the reporting tool.
  • The industry leader in the number of emails delivered.
  • Prices can go up as the number of subscribers increases.
  • Lacks some of the advanced features offered by competitors, such as more sophisticated automation or spam testing.
  • Some of the email templates look outdated.
Campaign Monitor
With more than 250,000 clients worldwide, Campaign Monitor supports clients in a variety of industries, including media companies, tech giants and nonprofits.
  • Easy-to-use and mobile-optimized templates.
  • Dynamic reports offer a variety of ways to capture data.
  • Live map reports show the location of users and their interactions with your content.
  • Workflows and automation aren't the most advanced.
  • The domain validation process is cumbersome.
  • Limited ability to design, edit and customize templates.

Popular among startups, Mailchimp offers a flexible, scalable, and affordable email service with a branded voice that makes you smile.
  • The free plan is available for accounts with fewer than 2,000 subscribers.
  • Templates designed specifically for the purpose of each email.
  • Award-winning customer service and an extensive knowledge base and tutorials.
  • Subscription plans can get more expensive as your list grows.
  • Limited email automation capabilities.
  • Cumbersome process for updating your customer database.

Improved email open rates
The content of your emails is only effective if your recipients open and read them. First, you need to make sure that your emails end up in your inbox and not in your spam folder. Then, send emails at the right time. Here's what you can do to increase your email open rates:
  • Remove inactive subscribers from your list because email providers' spam filtering algorithms look at the ratio of active to inactive email accounts to determine if your emails are spam.
  • Make sure your subscribers have consented to receive your emails, and never add anyone to your list without permission. If too many people report that your emails are spam, it will affect your deliverability.
  • Choose a reliable email service provider who does their due diligence to make sure your emails are sent from an IP address that is not blacklisted as a mailbox provider.
  • Use a name and email address in the «from» field that recipients can recognize to increase the likelihood that they will interact with your content rather than report it as spam.
  • Avoid using misleading subject lines just to get clicks. You can get one open email, but it will increase the likelihood that your email will be considered spam.
  • Include a physical address and an unsubscribe link to make sure you're following the rules.

  • Don't use words that can trigger the spam filter, such as «free,» «congratulations,» «no risk,» and «this is not spam.
  • Increase engagement by sending relevant and valuable information to demonstrate to your email service provider that your emails are not spam.
  • Send the email at the right time — that is, when recipients are most likely to interact with your email. While every audience and every business is different, the best day is usually Tuesday, and the best time is 10 a.m. However, you need to track metrics for your own email list and adjust it according to your findings. 
Email marketing mistakes to avoid
To optimize the results of your email marketing campaigns, you also need to avoid some common mistakes. Here are the top mistakes to avoid:
  • Skipping the welcome email that introduces your brand and builds expectations.
  • Missing a clear CTA that directs readers to take the action they want.
  • Failing to meet reader expectations, deliver on promises, or deviate from the topic.
  • Using clichés and language that weighs down sales.
  • Neglecting to optimize the mobile interface.
  • Overuse of images because some recipients view emails with images turned off.
  • Not optimizing your site to attract potential customers.
  • Waiting until you have enough subscribers before sending out your campaigns.
  • Sound formulaic because you don't want to upset anyone.
Why do people unsubscribe from your email list?
While some people unsubscribe simply because your offers aren't right for them, you can avoid the right people leaving your list if you understand why people unsubscribe. Here are the top reasons, as well as the percentage of consumers who reported each one:
  • Receiving too many emails (46.4%)
  • Mail looks like spam (17.2%)
  • Irrelevant content (15%)
  • Didn't know I was subscribed to the newsletter (9.1%)
  • The content doesn't match my preferences (7.2%)
  • Too much or too little content (4.3%)
Grow your business with email marketing
Email marketing is a cost-effective way to grow your business because it allows you to reach the right audience at the right time with the right content to drive high-quality traffic to your site, build relationships with your audience, increase authority, increase conversions and build customer loyalty.
First, you need to create a lead magnet that appeals to your target audience and collect leads using an opt-in form. Then, you need to follow email marketing best practices to make sure your campaigns are providing subscribers with the most relevant content and moving them through the sales funnel.
Of course, don't forget to analyze results so you can adjust your tactics based on how your subscribers interact with the content to optimize ROI and provide your audience with the most helpful content.
Partnering with email marketing professionals gives you access to the latest knowledge, expertise, and technology so you can effectively implement and manage multiple moving pieces.