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Email marketing 101

July 7, 2020

If you’re looking to implement some outbound digital marketing strategies to boost sales, ROI, or B2B lead generation, then email marketing may provide the solution.

This article is aimed at the beginner digital marketer/business owner. It provides a short overview of what email marketing is, why you need it, and how to do it.

Scroll 👇 for more!

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is often a small piece within a company’s larger digital marketing strategy. It typically works hand in hand with your company's sales strategy and lead generation funnels for the best results. Email marketing is, as the name would suggest, marketing directly into your user’s inbox.

In most cases, this requires the collection of email addresses for the purpose of building an ‘email list’. This is how inbox marketing fits into a larger strategy – emails are usually gathered in one of two ways.

1 - A sign up form within your website

If your website features a blog for organic search purposes and the marketing content is valuable to your audience, you can gather emails organically by offering updates directly to their inbox.

You may also want to incentivize your opt-in campaign by offering a ‘value-add’ for the users, often in the form of a free eBook or short video course.

Offering something in exchange for user data is a quick win for boosting your subscriber numbers. It’s worth noting, however, that an email list should never be bought, as that carries with it a whole host of problems that you don’t want to deal with.

An email list you build yourself is not only going to be filled with relevant, interested parties, but you won’t be breaking any data compliance laws. Consequently, this lowers the risk of your marketing being flagged as spam.

2 - Funnels

If you’re looking to start generating leads, chances are you're going to be using paid search strategies to place your lead capture funnels within the SERPs.

The overall view is this: you create a landing page/funnel and then boost its visibility through paid search and paid social strategies.

Contained within your funnel is a lead capture form. If the funnel’s good enough then your B2B lead list will grow; if it isn’t, then you need to test, optimise, and retest for the results you want.

Why is email marketing important?

As a marketing strategy, inbox marketing is not only versatile, providing many avenues for the marketer, but is enormously effective.

As an average, email marketing boasts a return on investment of 4200%. That means for every dollar spent on email marketing, there is a return of $42 for your efforts!

This is thanks to the widespread growth and usage of email, with an estimated 3.9 billion regular users of email across the world today. When we investigate this, it makes sense – how many modern services and eCommerce stores require your email address to sign up or check out?

The importance of email marketing can be said like this – your customers are using email, so you should too. If you fail to reach your targeted audience in their inbox, one of your competitors will.

With a rise in popularity, it’s expected that as many as 333 billion emails will be exchanged every day by 2022. The best time to start email marketing was when you launched your site; the second best time is right now!

So, where do you even start with email marketing? 🤔

Email marketing basics

The first step towards any email marketing campaign is to build an email list. The strategies you use to do this may change depending on your industry; but I highly recommend this post that provides a fantastic overview of the process as a starting point.

The next step is to invest in your efforts by getting the right tools for the job. This means taking advantage of one of the many fantastic ESP (email service providers) available today.

Using a quality email marketing tool effectively not only streamlines your workflow but gives you the ability to automate a large part of the process – freeing up time to focus on other areas of your business.

Spending some time creating auto respond and email sequences lets you engage your audience more often, but more importantly, at the right times. For instance, creating an email sequence to trigger when a user leaves an abandoned cart has boosted conversion rates by up to 50% for marketers taking advantage of the technology.

Segmenting your email list

An important aspect of email marketing is to segment your email list.

But what does this mean?

In simple terms, segmenting your list is dividing your users into smaller ‘segmented’ email lists based on demographics or interests. This is exceptionally powerful when used correctly, keeping engagement and conversion rates high while reducing unsubscribe rates and spam flags.

For example, if you run an online music store selling a wide range of instruments and one of your customers buys a guitar, it’s unlikely that they’ll want to receive emails containing special offers on trumpets!

By segmenting your users, you can send them emails that are targeted and relevant to their interests. Data driven marketing is successful marketing!

Email marketing tips

1 - Build your subscriber list organically

Spend time curating your email subscriber list. Your list must comprise of a highly-targeted audience that has a proven interest in what you have to offer.

Buying email lists can not only lead to fines for breaching data protection, but the users are typically uninterested in what you have to offer. This only leads to poor conversions.

2 - Use the right tools

Investing in a good email marketing tool is one of the best things you can do for your business. Not only do many provide pre-made email templates and auto responder sequences, but they free up your most valuable asset – your time.

3 - Segment your list

Segmenting your list is the best way to improve ROI from email marketing, making sure your efforts are highly relevant for the user.

4 - Personalise your emails

Where possible, with B2B data allowing, you should add personalisation fields to your emails. Using snippets of shortcode, you can place the recipient’s name, geolocation, or other details (if available) into the email.

Users are more receptive to emails that have a personal touch, rather than a blatant sales effort.

5 - Make your emails mobile friendly

With the prevalence of smartphones in today’s world, many emails are checked on the go. If your emails aren’t responsive to mobile devices then they won’t be as effective.

Thankfully, most email marketing tools provide fully responsive templates that remove this task for us. However, if you’re using a custom-made email template, it needs to respond well on mobile.

6 - Include an obvious CTA

This may seem like a no-brainer, but many businesses taking their first steps into email marketing fail to realise how effective a proper call-to-action can be. Don’t be afraid to make it stand out.

7 - Provide value for your users

People don’t like to be sold to constantly. If all your emails are sales-focused then there’s a high chance your audience will become unresponsive.

Provide them with value-add emails regularly; using an 80/20 split between value and sales emails is a good place to start.

8 - Test your results

One of the most important things an email marketer needs to do is test their emails. Typically, this is done through A/B split testing – sending out two identical emails with slight changes to copy/images/CTA/subject lines and seeing which performs best.

You can then optimise future emails, and retest against other parameters. Get into a constant cycle of testing, optimising, and retesting to get the best results.

About the author

Peter Day is the co-founder of Optimize to Convert, a digital marketing agency that specialises in generating leads and sales.

Peter co-founded the company with his brother, Tyler. During their time in the industry they have managed 8-figures in ad spend, generated more than 6,000 leads per day consistently for clients and on an affiliate basis for the past several years.

For more information on Optimize to Convert, please click here.