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What Is Email Marketing? A Comprehensive Introduction 2024

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What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending marketing and advertising messages via email to a targeted group of subscribers who have willingly agreed to receive emails from a brand or business. It entails building a robust email list through multiple channels. Brands use email marketing to inform subscribers of fresh products and services, increase revenue, boost brand awareness, and retain consumers. 

Many years have passed, and the internet has gone through massive changes, but email marketing is here to stay. Email marketing is a sustainable and personalized marketing stint that has proven effective over time. Both large and small-medium businesses can benefit from implementing a strategic email marketing campaign.

But what is email marketing, and how can you implement an effective email marketing strategy? 

What is Email Marketing?

email icon
To avoid staying unopened, create a compelling email marketing strategy.

Email marketing is a highly effective digital marketing strategy that revolves around sending marketing and advertising messages via email to a targeted group of subscribers who have willingly agreed to receive emails from a brand or business.

What is email marketing? It is a form of digital marketing strategy that entails the crucial building of a robust email list through various channels such as websites, social media platforms, events, or lead generation campaigns. Brands use email marketing to inform subscribers of fresh products and services, increase revenue, boost brand awareness, and retain consumers. 

You can use marketing emails to engage your subscribers by crafting compelling and actionable content, updating consumers on significant changes or new releases, and boosting sales or revenue by sending emails that feature special discounts and exclusive deals.  

What are The 4 Types of Email Marketing?

Understanding what is email marketing entails being able to differentiate its four types. You can use any of these types depending on your brand’s marketing goals and objectives.

Transactional Emails

Transactional emails are automated emails triggered by a user’s interaction with your website or application. Examples of transactional emails include order confirmations, shipping notifications, password resets, and receipts. Transactional emails are highly relevant and have high open rates because they deliver essential information to the recipient.

Promotional Emails

Promotional emails are messages sent to subscribers to drive sales or conversions. They typically include special offers, discounts, product announcements, or event invitations. Promotional emails are an effective way to engage with your audience and encourage them to purchase or take action.

Relational Emails

Relational emails focus on building and nurturing relationships with subscribers. These emails aim to provide value, educate, or entertain rather than directly promote products or services. Examples include welcome emails, newsletters, blog updates, and customer surveys. This type of marketing emails help strengthen brand loyalty and keep subscribers engaged over time.

Lifecycle Emails

Lifecycle emails are sent based on where a subscriber is in their customer journey. As the term suggests, these emails are tailored to specific stages of the customer lifecycle, such as onboarding, re-engagement, upselling, or customer retention. By delivering targeted content at each stage, lifecycle emails can help guide subscribers through the sales funnel and maximize customer lifetime value.

How Do I Start Email Marketing?

Like every digital marketing strategy, starting an email marketing strategy requires following a set of steps to help you hit your marketing goals and attain success. Aside from understanding what is email marketing, here are the email marketing basics to help you get started: 

Set Clear Goals

Your goals and objectives are the roadmap of your strategy. It helps keep you on the right track and allows you to stay focused. Hence, determine what you want to achieve with your email marketing efforts. You can’t proceed to the other steps if you don’t establish clear goals first. Whether it’s increasing sales, driving website traffic, or building brand awareness, having clear goals will guide your strategy.

Choose an Email Marketing Service Provider 

After setting clear goals and objectives, source for a top-performing email marketing software within your budget and needs. These platforms offer features such as email templates, list management, automation, and analytics. You can check out one of the most reliable email marketing software in this MailerLite review

Build Your Email List

Most of those venturing into email marketing already have leads. So, start collecting email addresses from these leads, including your existing contacts and website visitors. You can create sign-up forms on your website, offer incentives for people to subscribe, or collect emails at events and tradeshows. Make sure that you have permission to email these contacts, and always give them the option to unsubscribe from your emails and newsletters.

Several email marketing software can make this easy for you. You can find an extensive review of one of the best software in our Constant Contact review

Segment Your Audience

email vs social media stats
Not all recipients check their emails first thing in the morning. Part of your job is to discover their preferred time to check emails. Source: Optinmonster

After building your email list, divide the list into segments based on factors like demographics, interests, or purchase history. Doing so allows you to send targeted and relevant content to different groups of subscribers, therefore, increasing engagement and conversion rates. Not all emails are effective for everyone, so it is beneficial for your brand to divide your list and send content tailored to their needs and interests. 

Create Compelling Content

Content is the heart of every marketing strategy, whether digital or traditional. With that, developing engaging and valuable content for your email campaigns is crucial. Your content could include product updates, promotions, educational content, or newsletters. Also, remember to tailor your content to your audience’s interests and preferences to maximize engagement.

You may use customizable emails provided by your chosen email marketing software to craft aesthetically pleasing emails. Your emails must incorporate your business’s logos, colors, and imagery to reinforce your brand identity and maintain consistency. Don’t forget to include a link to your website or social media channels. 

Write Compelling Subject Lines

Subject lines are like your email marketing content’s captions. The subject line is what your audience sees at the first glance. It pays to write attention-grabbing subject lines that entice subscribers to open your emails. Keep the lines concise, clear, and relevant to the content of your email.

Monitor Performance

unopened emails
Your biggest challenge is to compel your audience to read your email to avoid getting buried in thousands of unopened emails.

Monitoring your performance is imperative if you want to know whether or not your email marketing campaign is producing the results you need. Monitoring entails tracking key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates to measure the success of your email campaigns. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and refine your strategies accordingly.

Monitoring your performance also ensures the deliverability of your email. What is email marketing deliverability? This refers to the ability of your email to reach your recipient’s primary email inbox. 

What is Email Marketing Example?

Aside from understanding what is email marketing, it is also helpful to look at several examples of successful email marketing campaigns to supplement your working knowledge of what is email marketing. These campaigns have achieved remarkable success due to their creativity, personalization, and effectiveness in engaging subscribers.

Airbnb’s “Wish List” Emails

Airbnb website

Airbnb sends personalized emails to users showcasing properties in destinations they’ve shown interest in. These emails feature stunning images of accommodations and experiences tailored to the recipient’s preferences, inspiring them to book their next trip.

Warby Parker’s “Home Try-On” Emails

Warby Parker’s email campaigns promote their “Home Try-On” program, allowing customers to select five frames to try on at home for free. These emails feature clear calls-to-action, compelling visuals, and social proof, driving engagement and conversions.

Grammarly’s “Weekly Writing Stats” Emails

Grammarly sends personalized emails to users summarizing their weekly writing statistics, including word count, vocabulary usage, and productivity insights. These emails encourage users to stay engaged with the platform and improve their writing skills.

Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” Emails

Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” emails recommend personalized playlists to users based on their listening history and preferences. These emails leverage data-driven recommendations to deliver relevant content, keeping users engaged and compelling them to revisit the platform.

Dollar Shave Club’s Welcome Series

Dollar Shave Club’s welcome email series introduces new subscribers to their products and brand personality. These emails use humor, storytelling, and product recommendations to establish a connection with subscribers and encourage them to make their first purchase.

REI’s “Anniversary Sale” Emails

REI’s anniversary sale emails feature personalized recommendations and exclusive offers based on the recipient’s purchase history and preferences. These emails create a sense of urgency and excitement, driving sales and encouraging repeat purchases.

Many, if not all, brands implement email marketing for the expansion and success of their businesses. The examples given here are only a few of the thousands of email marketing success stories. These examples highlight the importance of personalization, compelling content, and targeted messaging in successful email marketing campaigns.

If you want to venture into email marketing, you may dig deeper and research other successful email marketing campaigns from various brands worldwide. 

What is Email Marketing Best Practices?

Now that you already know what is email marketing and how you can start one, you can also benefit from keeping a list of the best practices in email marketing. 

Optimize Email Timing

Experiment with different send times and days of the week to determine when your audience is most receptive to your emails. Consider factors such as time zones and the nature of your content to maximize engagement. Research the time your audience is most engaged in their inboxes and use this time to send out your emails. 

Use A/B Testing

A/B Testing allows you to test variations of your emails and identify what resonates best with your audience. So, experiment with different subject lines, email designs, content formats, and CTAs to optimize performance and improve results. You will not want to pursue a campaign that does not deliver the best results, so the best way to figure this out is by concrete data. 

Optimize Email Deliverability

gmail inbox
Optimizing email deliverability allows you to make it to your recipient’s primary inbox.

Monitor your email deliverability rates and take steps to improve them if necessary. Avoid spammy language, regularly clean your email list to remove inactive or invalid addresses, and follow best practices to ensure your emails reach recipients’ inboxes.

Encourage Social Media Sharing

To reach more people, give your subscribers the option to share your content on their respective channels and networks. Include social media sharing buttons in your emails to make it easy for your audience to share your content with their networks. Doing so can help expand your reach and attract new subscribers.

Provide Value in Every Email

Your audience subscribes to your mailing list because they find your products valuable. You must translate this value into your content. Every email you send should provide value to your subscribers, whether it’s through helpful information, exclusive offers, or entertaining content. Focus on building a positive relationship with your audience by consistently delivering value.

Monitor Industry Trends

Trends come and go. What’s trendy today may not be trendy tomorrow. So, stay informed about industry trends and changes in email marketing and its best practices. Subscribe to newsletters, attend webinars, and follow industry blogs to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and innovations in email marketing.

Email Marketing Delivers Results When Done Right

Email marketing will give you desirable results and bring success to your brand, especially when done rightly and implemented strategically. It may be challenging and intentional, but with the best techniques, knowledge, and mindset, a successful email marketing campaign is possible. 

Now that you already know what is email marketing, you might want to learn how to scale your marketing efforts. Check out our “Full Service Marketing Agency: Help Scale Your Marketing Efforts” article. 

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