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Email marketing

The Basics: What is Email Marketing and How to Start It?

COVID-19 pandemic changed the landscape for the majority of businesses. No surprise there as to operate many had to move their brick-and-mortar stores online. And traditional advertising started to shift to digital, online marketing. In particular, many companies turned to email marketing.

What is Email Marketing?

I frequently see questions like these: What is Email Marketing? What is Emarketing? What is newsletter marketing, and what is mailshot marketing? All of these questions refer to the same thing. Email marketing includes newsletters and other types of email campaigns.

To answer the question, let’s start with the definition. Email marketing is a form of digital marketing that uses electronic mail [i.e. emails] to communicate promotional messages at scale. It is pretty self-explanatory. You collect your subscribers’ email addresses (and consent), and then you send them marketing emails.

Why Should You Start Creating Email Marketing Campaigns?

There are many reasons why a business, even a small one, should start capturing email addresses and creating targeted campaigns. Let’s find out what the most significant benefits are.

  • It is cost-effective. Email marketing offers you a great reach at a low price compared to many other digital advertising channels.
  • It offers excellent tracking information. Get unique insights into what your audience likes and dislikes. Moreover, discover what makes them engage and, of course, convert.
  • It can be super-personalised and very targeted. Use dynamic content, A/B tests, personalised merge fields and audience segmentation.
  • Flexibility. You can adjust your sending frequency, types of content, template layouts and creative.
  • Email marketing can generate excellent ROI for your business.

Emarketing helps any business: large and small. Businesses of any size can build a mailing list. It does not matter if you are a blogger who wants to promote a new blog post. Or maybe, you run an e-commerce store. Everyone can benefit from email marketing.

Email Marketing ROI Rocks

Check out this chart by Statista. You can see a breakdown of different digital marketing channels according to their perceived level of generated ROI. Email marketing is standing strong, with 30% of respondents saying that this channel generates the highest ROI and 43% indicating medium ROI.

ROI generated by selected digital marketing channels
Source: Statista.

How to Start Email Marketing?

It’s a great time to start if you haven’t yet done that! I’ll give you some pointers on where to start.

  • Email list

First and foremost, think about how you want to grow your list – is it trying to capture your subscribers through your own website, or using other digital or social media channels to sign up? Most important, think quality, not quantity!

  • Find an email service provider

Next, you’ll need to search for a tool that you can send these marketing campaigns from. These platforms are called email service providers or ESPs in short. If you’re just starting out,  look for an ESP that isn’t costly (there are many good ones that have low prices or are free!).  If you’re not HTML savvy, make sure there’s a drag-and-drop editor to help you build professional email templates.

  • Strategy and best practices

Work on your email strategy, understand your target audience. What content would they want to receive? What are your competitors doing? Think about the types of emails and how often you should send them out. Get familiar with best practices, local regulations and laws.

  • Email templates

Design and build your email templates. As mentioned before, nowadays it’s pretty easy to build them right in the ESP. Usually, there’s a library of templates you can select from and modify to fit your business. Or simply use the WYSIWYG editor or drag-and-drop tools.

Try It, It’s Going to Benefit Your Business

There are many benefits to adding email marketing to your marketing mix. It might sound scary and complicated, but it really isn’t. And, the insights you can get from each campaign are so valuable. And please, don’t spam, respect your subscribers’ data privacy.

If you’re feeling lost, get in touch with me or join an email marketers’ community (here’s where you can find them).

Originally published April 2018, updated January 2021.

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