A beginner’s guide to Email Marketing

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The term Email Marketing has been around for a number of years now, well certainly for most of my working life anyway. So it is definitely no spring chicken in marketing terms, but what is Email Marketing? And how do we get the most out of it? What are the benefits and potential pitfalls? Let’s take a look…

Email Marketing A Beginners Guide

Email Marketing is a method of communicating your key business’ message(s) to your customers via email. A simpler, faster and a whole lot more cost effective way of getting your message to your customers than traditional postal marketing. And although it is simple in appearance on the surface, the deeper concept of email marketing is much more complex.

Today Marketers are using email on a daily basis, but it goes beyond just sending out a newsletter once a month. Marketers are sending;

  • newsletters
  • transactional emails
  • welcome emails
  • birthday and anniversary emails
  • shopping cart abandonment emails
  • promotional emails
  • win back emails…

the list is endless.

So with such a wide breadth of emails how does someone just starting out know what to do?

At the beginning there was the LIST. Before you start to send out email marketing; first you need to collect data from the customers you want target. There are several laws in place to protect consumers from receiving unsolicited emails (otherwise know as SPAM), so before you just run off and purchase a data list, think about who you want to target, why you want to target them and what are the best ways for you to gather their information to do that? A simple signup form on your website maybe, or even a social media campaign even?

Data Capture
Whilst researching for this post I found a website who seemed to have the answer on how to collect new subscriber data legitimately. It was a simple concept of ‘Sign up here and you can receive a free copy of our latest whitepaper’. So by offering potential customers something for free; whether a guide, industry insight report or a discount code etc. in return for their information will help to get them engaged with your brand. This is a simple concept that more and more businesses seem to be using.

When it comes to building your email, think about what your goals are? Do you want to drive traffic to your website, gain responses to a survey or to highlight one of your products? Your goals will be the driving point behind the style, content and tone of your email.

Think about the recipient before you think about yourself. I personally don’t want an email telling me all of the companies news, after all you do have a news page on your website don’t you? Give your subscribers a brief insight and offer a clear call-to-action for them to to gain more information if they want to. As with when you are looking for new subscribers, treat your current ones with the same logic, offer them something of interest, a comment on industry news, or a new product that they would be interested in.

What to consider when designing your email?

Do you have a HTML template already created? Or do you need to create your own from scratch? Using an Email builder is a great way for everyone to create effective emails, without having to know complex HTML code as many offer simple drag and drop, point and click functionality to make it easier for you to get a professional looking design. Another key thing for you to consider is, do you have a lot of your subscribers opening and viewing your emails on mobile devices? If so, then you will need to look for a fully mobile responsive Email Builder to ensure your messages will display correctly regardless of which device they are opened on.

Once you have built your email, it is important to make sure your design is as effective as possible. The best way to discover this is to perform some simple testing methods on a small sample of your list. This is a great way for you to identify what part of your email works best, and which part(s) may need revising before sending out to the rest of your list. With everything in life you will rarely get it right first, but using simple A/B split testing or the more advanced Multivariable Testing (MVT) are both great ways for you to perfect your emails and get the best results possible.

After you have sent out your first campaign you will need to measure the success. Simply looking at the engagement results, open and click through reports will offer a basic insight in to the success of each individual email. However, if you have an additional reporting function available, like Return-on-Investment (ROI) tracking or heatmaps, use them to build a picture of what worked and what didn’t, so you can learn for your next campaign.

As we are sticking with the basics I won’t go in to segmenting your data and setting up automated email programmes but the possibilities with email Marketing are endless.

Email Marketing The Next Steps

About Rupert Adam

Marketing Manager at Emailcenter, the UK's largest independent ESP.