Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of online communication but is also one of the most profitable. Email marketing provides an audience base of over 4 billion daily users In contrast, the top contender, Facebook marketing, boasts a global audience of less than 3 billion. 

According to Hubspot, there is an ROI of $38 for every dollar spent on email marketing. This high ROI makes it the most affecting marketing channel. The first marketing email made $13 million in sales. with expected revenue of over $8.49 billion in 2021 alone. The revenue is expected to reach almost $18 billion in 2027. 

The infographic below shows the revenue projection.

Why is email marketing still popular despite the intense competition from SEO, affiliate, and social media marketing?

It is simply because of the increasing number of email users worldwide. While many people have their preferred social media channels, almost everyone has an email address. If you can get their email address, you can reach them.

Email marketing is also a great digital marketing tool because you are in control of your network. Baring regulations that are easy to comply with, there is no rule dictating how you employ email marketing. As long as you provide value to your email list, you are on the right path.

The problem is that many people are not doing it right. You probably know a few examples from your inbox and spam folders.

This article will explain email marketing, starting and growing a mailing list, and the best marketing strategies for success.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a relationship and profit-building tool (in that order). It is the process of massively sending messages to people within your target audience through email. It typically provides subscribers with valuable information while generating sales or leads.

Emails follow the win-win principle. They provide value for those in the subscriber list and include advertising to boost conversation and revenue. Emails contain direct and indirect advertising. 

One of the biggest reasons any brand uses email marketing is that they own the connection. You are responsible for when, how, and why you reach out to your email contacts. 

There are a few regulations to comply with, but you remain the channel owner and have the final say on what happens.

How Does Email Marketing Work?

Email marketing is a straightforward marketing approach. It comprises three essential elements. These are:

An Email List

You need email addresses if you are going to send emails. So the first and most crucial element is an active email list.

An email list is a database of email contacts who show interest in receiving messages from you. Someone has to be checking the inbox associated with those emails regularly.

There are many right and wrong ways to collect first-party data to build your email list. But the best and most straightforward approach is to offer something in exchange for an email address. You should be clear on the promotional messages you will send to the person after they subscribe to your email list.

Wrong ways to build an email list include buying email lists and using clickbait to make people sign up for messages they don’t want. 

Although these approaches can get you thousands of email addresses, most recipients will either unsubscribe, report you as spam or ignore your emails.

An Email Marketing Platform 

An email marketing platform, also an email service provider, is software that helps you manage your email list and execute email marketing campaigns.

The provider allows you to design and automate actions based on your subscribers’ activities. They also help you to personalize emails, schedule future promotional messages, and measure the effectiveness of your email marketing strategies.

Email service providers come in different types and offer different tiers of services. Some offer free plans with limited features, while others target specific niches such as B2B email marketing.

The right choice of email marketing platform depends on your needs and budget.

Regardless of your email list size and marketing budget, an email service provider should help you have personal, meaningful interactions with your subscribers and record positive engagement and conversion rates.

Clearly Defined Goals

Email marketing has a lot of uses. You can use it to:

  • Build relationships: Email marketing allows you to build a positive relationship with your customers by providing consistent, personal interaction, boosting customer loyalty and lifetime value.
  • Boost brand awareness: Consistent, valuable promotional messages can keep your businesses and services in the minds of your prospects. So when they are ready to make a decision or purchase, your brand instantly comes to mind.
  • Promote your brand: email marketing allows you to advertise your offerings discreetly. Your subscribers will be eager to check your products and services when done right.
  • Generate leads: Email marketing allows you to attract prospects who may be interested in your brand offerings. Typically, anyone that subscribes to your email list believes your company may be of value to them. You can then nurture these leads and convert them into buying customers over time with timely, valuable content.

Like many other forms of marketing, you get the best results when you focus on one goal at a time. Your goal will influence your method of building an email list and the email service provider you choose.

All of these three elements combine to create your email marketing strategy.

How to create an Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing can be the key to building sustainable, profitable relationships with your target audience. 93% of B2B marketers use email marketing to connect with their target audiences. 

However, getting a robust, effective email marketing campaign is not a game of luck. You need to design and execute well-thought-out and measurable email marketing strategies.

Here are the key steps you need to know to create an effective email marketing strategy.

Start with your buyer persona

Email marketing works well when you send the right emails to the right persons. So the first step is to define your audience. Set up a buyer persona that includes their characteristics, needs, and how you can meet them.

Define your marketing goals

We can’t say this enough: You need clear goals for email marketing to work. If you are in the early stages of your business, you might want to focus on brand awareness. 

If you already have an extensive email list, you may want to focus more on customer engagement and conversion.

In addition to your goals, you must set up benchmarks based on the current market stats. For instance, if your industry’s average email marketing open rate is 50%, you might want to set your benchmark around that figure.

Build your email list

Your email list is a group of people who subscribe to receive regular email content from your brand. We will cover how to build and grow an email list. But in the early days, you may have only a few people on your list. How you treat these early subscribers can influence your email list growth.

We recommend you set up the structures and experiments with different email marketing strategies in these early stages. When you have settled on what works, you can begin to scale.

Select your preferred email campaign type

There are many types of email campaigns you can implement. Some send out weekly newsletters, while others make updates and announcements on their new products and services. Another option is to send blog-style promotional messages.

The right type for your brand depends on your marketing goals and buyer persona. You can also set up different email types so subscribers can sign up for the ones they like.

Make a schedule.

It would be best if you decided how often you send emails. It could be daily, a few times a week, weekly or bi-weekly. It will help to inform your audience about your schedule when they sign up. Not doing that can result in a high unsubscription rate and your emails entering the spam folders.

You should also comply with your emailing schedule. Sending more emails than your subscribers expect can be seen as spamming. Conversely, sending fewer emails without informing your audience upfront can make your brand seem unserious.

Measure everything

You need to track your results to know which email marketing strategies are working and which aren’t. Every key metric will allow you to make minor tweaks to your strategy that will provide massive results.

How to build and grow your email list

There are many great ways to build your email list. It boils down to offering people something in exchange for their email addresses. There are two elements to building and growing your email subscribers. These are lead magnets and opt-in forms.

 Lead magnets

A lead magnet is something that attracts people to join your mail list. It is usually an offer of something valuable in exchange for an email address. 

Your lead magnet should be something that helps to identify and solve people’s problems. Lead magnet comes in different types, such as:

  • Ebook
  • Checklist
  • Template
  • Infographic
  • Online tool
  • Whitepaper
  • Report or Study
  • Webinar or Course

For a lead magnet to be effective, it needs to be a valuable asset to your prospect. If you can’t create new resources, you can repurpose your current content to work as a lead magnet.

Regardless, your lead magnet should be:

  • Relevant to your prospects
  • Be solution oriented
  • Contain actionable steps
  • Be easy to consume and implement
  • Be aligned with your other offerings

Opt-in forms

An opt-in form is a gateway between your prospects and the valuable assets you are offering.

Like lead magnets, you need to make an exciting offer through a distinct, appealing design, excellent copy, or exciting offers.

While your goal is to get email addresses, you don’t want to mislead people. Tell them instantly what they are signing up for and how often they can expect messages from your brand.

To maximize your success, you should make your opt-in form as simple as possible. While requesting multiple information such as location and occupation is tempting, the best approach is simply asking for a first name and email address.

Many people might be open to providing extra information if you have a recognizable brand and exciting offers. If not, asking for too much information can set off the wrong triggers.

Tips for an effective marketing campaign

The infographic below shows some of the biggest challenges that email marketers face. In this section, we will give you tips to help you create an effective marketing campaign. 

With the steps and advice below, you should have a robust list of prospects and leads eager to receive your promotional email. We’ll cover some things you should know if you don’t want your messages to end up in a spam folder or get a high unsubscribe rate.

Here are some essential tips to help you start on the proper steps.

Choose the right email service provider

Your email service provider can influence how your email marketing efforts result. A great provider will allow you to manage, personalize and optimize your emails. And to give them a professional touch without coding or graphic design experiences.

There are a variety of features your provider should provide. So if you are looking for a free email marketing provider, you should ensure all of these features are available on the free plan.

  • Easy to build landing pages, opt-in forms, and CTA
  • Email automation services
  • Built-in analytics support
  • a/b email testing support
  • Segmentation capabilities
  • Good standing with Internet Service Providers
  • Downloadable reports

Optimize the content of your marketing emails

Marketing emails require much consideration in their headings, content, and formatting—everything matters, from the choice of color, design, fonts, and arrangement.

Here are the key components you want to get right in every marketing email you send out:

  • Subject line: The subject line is what your subscriber sees first and can be the biggest decider of whether they open your email or not. It would be best if you made your subject line hard to ignore. To do so, include the benefits in the subunit line, writing in the active voice, and optimize your preview text to act as an elevator pitch.
  • Copy: People are busy. If anyone clicks on your email (thanks to a well-crafted subject line), they expect to find value in seconds, or they will click out. To ensure people read your email, make your copy straight to the point and easy to read. Using formatting tools like Bold and bullet points allows readers to get the main point quickly. And unless you are speaking to a specialized audience, you want to use everyday word choices and structures.
  • Reader psychology: Humans have fixed reactions to specific stimuli. For instance, many people enjoy reading stories, especially if they can relate to the characters in your story. You can also use psychological triggers such as social proof and FOMO (fear of missing out) to make your readers make the decisions you want.
  • Optimization: You must optimize your images to be catching, relevant, and viewable on all devices. A report recommends sending emails on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Research your field to determine the best time and day to send your emails.
  • CTA: Don’t just assume people will take action by reading your emails. Make your CTA clear, relevant, and exciting. It also helps to break down the steps you want your readers to take after reading your emails.

Implement email segmentation

Your subscribers are going to have different needs and interests. Some will be interested in reading long-form articles from your brands. In contrast, others might only need notifications on exciting deals and discounts. 

Segmentation allows you to divide your audience into sub-categories to attend to their interests and preferences.

One way to segment your email subscribers is to use different lead magnets and opt-in forms for unique categories. 

You can also set up your forms to get more information such as occupation, job role, language, industry, and expectations. This extra information will help you create personalized emails that align with each part of the buyer’s journey.

Add personalized touches

You may have anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands of email subscribers. Still, you can make them feel like you are talking to them individually.

How?

By sending personalized emails! According to Litmus, 8 out of every ten customers are likely to purchase if they receive personalized experiences. Customers will provide more information if it creates a more customized experience. 

You can send personalized emails with the data you collect, including first names and email addresses.

At the very least, you can address your subscribers by name. Many great email marketing providers allow you to automatically insert the subscriber’s first name when sending emails to them.

You can personalize your emails further with additional data like location, industry, job role, and date of birth. You can

  • Tailored emails around region-specific events and information
  • Spend special communication around personal occasions like birthdays
  • Offer special deals and discount that helps subscribers make their work and life easier

Use email marketing templates.

You can save a lot of time and resources by using email marketing templates. These templates come in different types for specific purposes. Go through the available catalog and select one effective for reaching your goals.

The best thing about email marketing templates is that they make your marketing emails look professionally designed without the need for learning coding or designing. 

All you need to do is insert your content in the design files, make a few customizations, and you are good to do

Many email service providers offer free and paid templates. If you are on a budget, you should stick to free templates from the most reputable email service providers.

Comply with Email Regulations

Email regulations are helpful to your marketing goals. Complying with them helps ensure your subscribers are interested in your marketing emails.

CAN-SPAM Compliance

CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) is a law that protects email users from receiving unsolicited emails. In addition to only sending emails to people who subscribe to your email list, you should also do the following:

  • Provide visible unsubscribe links in your emails
  • Ensure all your emails contain your company name and address
  • Include real email addresses in your “From” and “Reply to” fields should 
  • Ensure your subject line reflects the content of the email.

You should check the FTC’s site for more information on CAN-SPAM laws. 

 GDPR Compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) creates trust between marketers and customers. It allows customers to choose the kind of promotional emails they want to receive. 

It gives customers the right to view any information you have on them. You should also honor their requests to delete any data you may have collected on them.

The GDPR only applies to businesses that operate within the European Union or target EU citizens. There are hefty penalties for noncompliance. To comply with the GDPR, you should

  • Only collect customer data that is relevant to your business
  • Request consent in clear language when collecting and storing personal information
  • Store data securely and only use it for the agreed-upon purpose.
  • Delete personal request information.
  • Provide visible unsubscribe buttons in your emails
  • Provide user’s data to them upon request.

You can check the GDPR website for a complete overview of how to stay compliant. 

Use best email marketing practices

Complying with GDPR and CAN-SPAM is not enough. You want to ensure your emails are in the inbox, not the spam folder.

Your subscribers will not read your well-crafted emails if they are in the spam folder. So you want to avoid some email marketing mistakes. Here are a few tips to help you avoid that. 

  • Get whitelisted: In your introductory email, ask your subscribers to whitelist you by adding your email address to their address book. You should also include a step-by-step guide for those unfamiliar with the process.
  • Avoid spam triggers: Most internet service providers (ISPs) will automatically flag your email as spam if they contain specific triggers. These include intense words like “opt-in, “order now,” and “click below.”
  • Use reputable social service providers: The reputation of your email service provider (ESP) influences how the ISPs react to your message. Using a reputable ESP is one sure way to ensure your messages are delivered.
  • Ask your customers to confirm their subscription: When someone joins your email list, ask them to confirm their subscription. This process ensures that those who survive are interested in your words. Most email service providers allow you to set up an automatic confirmation email.

Summarizing the Launch of Email Marketing

If we have to summarize everything in one sentence, it would be this: treat your emails as guests in your customers’ email boxes.

This perspective will make you create relevant emails that your customers will welcome and hope to see again.

If you find everything a bit complicated, you can check out more resources on our blog. You can also speak with a digital marketing consultant to clear the air and start the initial process.

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