What Is Email Marketing And How Does It Work?
Email marketing is one of the most important marketing tools for online businesses, and it isn’t just for big brands with big budgets.
In fact, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective way of marketing, making it great for new entrepreneurs or small businesses with small marketing budgets. A 2015 study by the DMA found that for every $1 spent, email has an average $38 return on investment.
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a way to communicate with your customers and potential customers through email. It includes sending out educational email newsletters, special offers and promotions, and other engaging content.
For example, after I signed up for Nike’s mailing list, I occasionally receive email newsletters from Nike informing me of their latest products, stories, and so on.
Besides being one of the most cost-effective and affordable form of marketing, email marketing is also quick to set up, allows you to develop a relationship with your email subscribers, build brand recognition with frequent exposure to your brand, and encourage repeat purchases from current customers.
The fact is, you don’t even need to spend a single dollar on email marketing if you don’t want to. When you are first starting out and don’t have many email leads, you might want to consider signing up for MailChimp’s forever free plan or pay just $29 a month for more email marketing features with ConvertKit.
Related Post: ConvertKit vs MailChimp: Which Is Better?
How To Get Email Subscribers
So how do you start getting email subscribers? You can include a signup form on your website so that it pops up when visitors land on that page, by offering a content upgrade for a blog article in exchange for their email, or by running a contest.
I do not encourage anyone to buy an email list, which are ineffective and detrimental in fact. If you send emails to an email list that you bought, many of the emails will get identified as spam.
Email Marketing Best Practices
Knowing how email marketing works is just the first step in creating effective email marketing campaigns. You will also need to include these best practices to ensure that your email campaigns are being received well by your audience.
1. Segment Your List Into Relevant Groups
Email list segmentation helps your business provide more relevant content to your subscribers.
There are different ways that you can segment your email list into different groups, for example, geography so that you only send emails that are geographically relevant, demographics such as gender, interests, past purchases, engagement level, and so on.
2. Make Your Emails Personal
That includes using first names in the emails which you can do so by adding a first name code snippet, as well as sending plain text emails over fancy email templates.
3. Automated Email Workflows
Email marketing automation helps you saves time by automating the email process, and it often also results in higher conversions as it allows you to increase relevance.
To start creating workflows, think about the path that your customers typically take during their buyer’s journey.
For example, they may download a free e-book before signing up for your online course. You would want to send an automated message to the individual after they downloaded your e-book, maybe thanking them for downloading the e-book and to check out these different links or blog articles for more helpful resources.
Based on the type of content that they’ve downloaded or read on your website, you can segment them into different lists based on their interests so that they only receive topics that they are interested in.
A week later, you could send them an automated email with a follow-up call to action, which might be to sign up for a trial.
With automated email workflows, you can set it up in a way so that if the person clicks on link A, they’ll be sent an email sequence meant for that link. If the person clicks on link B, they’ll be sent a different email sequence meant for that link.
4. Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines
Make sure that your subject lines are well-thought through and attention grabbing. Though the subject line may require the least amount of copy, it is one of the most important components of your marketing email.
Your subject line has to be attention grabbing because you’ve only got a few seconds to convince them to open your email. Your email subscriber should be able to understand the purpose of your message with just a 3- to 5-second scan.
5. Timing Matters
Make sure you send out your emails at the right time. Sending the right email at the right time can make a big difference in engagement levels.
Different marketers have different opinions on when the best timing to send out emails are. Some have said in the evenings when people are done with work, on a Tuesday, on the weekends – but the fact is, it all depends on your audience.
You’ll be able to determine the best timing to send out emails after sending emails at different timings and seeing which timing results in a better open or click through rate.
You’ll also want to consider the time of the year. If your business is seasonal, you might notice a greater engagement in those months where your audience is most likely to use your product.
For example, if you sell skiwear and you’re sending out emails in the middle of the year, you might see a low engagement rate.
What Email Marketing Tool To Use?
There are two email marketing companies that I’ve used and recommend: MailChimp and ConvertKit. I’ve done a full review comparing both tools.
In general, I recommend using MailChimp for those who are new to email marketing and don’t have many or zero email subscribers. For those who want more out of their email marketing or have more subscribers, I’ll recommend going with ConvertKit, which has features and functionalities that I prefer over MailChimp.
Do you have an email newsletter? If so, how do you plan on growing your email list? Let me know in the comments below!
Chrys was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at an early age. By age 27, Chrys has started and ran two online businesses. Chrys now runs Chrys Media, a company that runs online conferences for online entrepreneurs.