Email Marketing 2021: The Complete Guide For Getting Started

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We are living in the age of high-speed internet. It has opened several digital mediums for businesses to advertise their products and services. But email marketing is considered one of the most successful ways to advertise your business.

Email marketing is a fast and cost-effective way to reach new customers and retaining existing ones. When it comes to choosing the right marketing medium for your business, it’s important to be where your consumers are.

Facebook has over 2.7 billion monthly active users and Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users.

According to data provider Statista, 4 billion people around the globe are using email in 2020. Some industry leaders predict that the number will grow and reach 4.6 billion users in 2025.

Many marketers know the effectiveness of email marketing. If you are a beginner just putting your step into this digital world, this guide is dedicated to you. Here we will discuss everything regarding email marketing.

So let’s get started.

What is Email Marketing?

Before going to discuss anything long, let’s start with what is email marketing.

Email marketing is a part of digital marketing that uses emails to connect businesses with potential customers.

Your company can promote sales, new product or service launches, business achievements, share helpful, informative, and non-sales content with your email audience through email marketing.

email marketing

As you are doing marketing, it does not mean sending emails to random people.

Best email marketing practices suggest that you need their permission, and the audience needs to provide their email addresses willingly.

You don’t have to sit and send thousands of emails as a part of email marketing. There are many email marketing services making life easier for marketers. One of the biggest benefits of this software is email automation. You can trigger emails based on certain conditions.

If done correctly, email marketing can give the best return on investment (ROI). ROI is an essential metric to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

On average, an email marketing campaign can drive $44 for every dollar spent. It is very clear that email marketing worth your focus when it comes to marketing.

How Does Email Marketing Works?

Like every marketing medium, email marketing has some working procedures. It all starts with choosing an email marketing service. You can send emails manually but it takes a lot of time and effort.

So you can fully automate email marketing using the software. Inside one dashboard you can manage all your marketing campaigns. Some of the most popular email marketing tools are Mailchimp, Aweber, ConvertKit, etc.

Email Marketing working email marketing

Then you can create an email list. There are several ways to add users to your email list. It ranges from simple email pop up to free goodies distribution.

Then email segmentation comes into play. Segmentation is the categorization of email subscribers into smaller groups based on set criteria. Subscribers can be divided based on their interests, geographic location, purchase history, and much more.

In the next step, you have to create an email marketing campaign based on your marketing goal. Choose the right segment and use the software to send emails.

Then you can check the email deliverability, the number of bounces, open rate, conversion, etc. using the email marketing software. It also helps you to run A/B testing for maximum marketing success.

Benefits of Email Marketing

Email marketing has several benefits. Let’s discuss them.

1. Super Targeted

Digital marketing mediums are known for their super targeted nature. But email marketing allows you to contact customers directly. As they have signed up for your newsletter or service, any email from you will not be strange for the subscribers.

In other marketing mediums, you are just showing ads in front of unknown persons. You don’t know whether they will like you or not.

Your target audience is in the email list and you have to retain them. Email segmentation gives you more freedom to divide the audience based on their interests or actions.

2. Amazing ROI

Results matter the most in any kind of business. If your marketing campaign is generating more revenue for the business, then well and good.

Email marketing is one of the highest return on investment marketing mediums. On average, an email marketing campaign can drive $44 for every dollar spent. It is higher than any other digital marketing channel.

3. Affordable

The marketing budget is one of the major concerns for most businesses. Email marketing is more affordable than any other marketing strategy.

In fact, you can start your email marketing campaign for free. Some email marketing service allows you to use their tool for free.

Once, your business grows, you can go with the paid version. Some of the best tools in the market provide plans under $100. You can get some important features to boost your marketing campaigns.

In paid ads, you have to test few ads & spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. You can save money on email marketing and get more revenue.

4. Instant Impact

You can start selling products after sending emails. After receiving your email, it creates a sense of urgency and encourages you to take action immediately.

Paid ads can take time to show the result as you have no control over the ads serving. You have to wait weeks to achieve the sales goal.

5. Easy To Get Started

You don’t need to have any special skills to start email marketing campaigns. Marketing software making life easier for marketers to start the journey right away.

Those tools offer, drag and drop email builder, a library of templates, easy to use dashboard, and more. Using all these things, you can create email campaigns quickly and easily.

6. Gather Customer Data

Using email marketing, you can collect customer data. Surveys and reviews tell you about what they like or dislike. You can distribute these survey forms directly to customers in the email campaigns.

7. Measurable

All the leading tools in this segment come with built-in analytics. You can see your email marketing campaigns’ performance directly on the dashboard.

Here you can see stats like email delivery rate, open rate, bounce rate, conversions, etc. These tools display metrics in real-time so that you can improve your email marketing campaigns.

8. Personalized

Personalization plays an important role in modern marketing. You can’t show the same generic content to each customer. Using email marketing tools, you can create personalized emails that someone can’t avoid.

9. Automate Everything

One of the biggest advantages of this marketing medium is automation. You can automate your email campaigns and turn everything on autopilot. It opens the space for passive income and less human involvement.

Automated emails can be triggered based on certain conditions. When someone signs up for your newsletter, you can automatically send a welcome email.

Best Email Marketing Services in 2021

Email marketing service is a must-needed thing if you want to adopt this marketing channel. Choosing the right software can have a great impact on the overall success of your email marketing campaigns. There are many services available. But I am going to list some of the best ones.

1. Constant Contact

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the largest growing email marketing tools in the world. Create a professional-looking email in no time using the Constant Contact email builder.

No coding knowledge is required to create an email campaign. Using drag and drop email builder you can add text, image, video, coupons, polls in the email body. This tool allows you to set complete automation that triggers emails based on a certain action. The constant Content plan starts from $20 per month.

2. GetResponse

GetResponse email marketing

GetResponse is an all-in-one email marketing solution for small and large businesses. This tool is known for its marketing automation feature that allows you to create smart email campaigns.

Using the drag and drop email builder, you can create stunning emails. This email marketing service comes with beautiful responsive forms, an email template library, landing pages, A/B testing, segmentation, unsubscribe tracking, autoresponders, and more. The basic plan of GetResponse allows you to send unlimited emails to 1000 subscribers and costs $15 per month.

3. SendinBlue

Sendinblue

SendinBlue is one of the most used email marketing solutions. You would get an easy-to-use email builder with a drag and drop interface. It best fits beginners without any experience in email marketing.

You can use an email template library, or create a new design from scratch. You can give a personalization touch by adding the contact’s name dynamically. There is a free plan in SendinBlue that allows you to send up to 300 emails per day.

4. MailerLite

Mailerlite email marketing

MailerLite is an affordable email marketing software. It is a simple and effective software that does the job. This tool allows you to create stunning and highly engaging emails in seconds.

You can use MailerLite to send promotional emails, newsletters, and other types of emails to your subscribers. This tool also comes with advanced features like A/B testing, segmentation, marketing automation, and more. MailerLite has a free plan that allows you to send up to 12,000 emails to 1000 subscribers.

How To Build Your Email List?

Now you know that the ROI of email marketing is the highest among all digital marketing channels. This might encourage you to start adopting this marketing medium.

But wait! Do you have an email list to get started?

As a beginner, your answer should be NO. You need to have a list of emails to start email marketing campaigns. If you don’t then it’s OK. I will show you how to build an email list from scratch.

Before jumping into the list-building strategies, let’s understand what is an email list? An email list is a simple collection of email addresses of users who have spontaneously subscribed to your newsletter from a blog or website, or any other medium that you used to gather.

1. Put Sign-Up Forms On The Website:

Placing a sign-up form on the website is one of the most traditional ways of capturing email subscribers. Embed signup form in website visible areas, such as header, footer, or sidebar. It will act as a humble reminder for your website visitor to sign up.

2. Welcome Pop-Ups:

The study shows that the average conversion rate is 3.09%. Welcome pop-up usually shows after few seconds of landing. You can offer a free eBook, discount, or free shipping inside the pop-up.

3. Exit-intent Pop-Ups:

A special type of pop-up shows when a visitor is about to leave your site. According to a Conversion Sciences study, 10-15% of potentially lost visitors can be saved using exit-intent popups.

4. Gamification:

If the normal sign-up form or pop-up doesn’t work, then apply interactive elements to attract and engage your visitors. Some gamification elements include quizzes, spin-to-win, and scratchcards. It will encourage visitors to give an email address and try the thing.

5. Landing Page:

A dedicated landing page can be used for email capture. The sole purpose of this page is to capture visitor email in exchange for 10-30% discounts or other freebies that shoppers must claim.

6. Giveaways & Contests:

Giveaways are very popular on social media channels. It will do free marketing and generate user engagement. Create a landing page where visitors can sign up and take part in it.

There is a famous dialog in the email marketing industry. “The money is in the list.” This means your revenue depends on the length and health of your email list.

How To Start Your First Email Marketing Campaign?

Now you are all set to start your first email marketing campaign. Let’s see how you can start the journey.

  1. Choose an Email Marketing Service: We have already discussed what are the best email marketing service providers. You need to choose one of them and work with a tool. It will make the whole process hustle-free and fast.
  2. Build an Email List: Successful email marketing starts with an email list. I have described how to build your email list. Follow that and build your first list.
  3. Add Your Emails To Email Marketing Software: Some tools allow you to automate the email insertion into the platform. Otherwise, you can import emails from the list and upload them to the software.
  4. Define Your Goal: Set a marketing goal that you would achieve through email marketing. According to the business niche, you must know who your audience is. Typical goals of an email campaign include welcome email, boosting engagement, increase sales, etc.
  5. Create Your First Email: Email marketing tools make it easy to create stunning emails. Using drag and drop editor you can create any type of email in few minutes. You can also use email templates. Don’t forget to add personalization and dynamic elements.
  6. Send an Email: Now you are ready to send the first email of your email marketing journey. As you have added the emails into the software the sending process would be hustle-free. Just hit the send button and let the tool do the rest.
  7. Monitor Your Results: Sending emails to subscribers should not be the last step of email marketing. You have to track your email open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rates, conversions, etc. regularly. Spending a few minutes in your email performance dashboard, you can know everything. Also, A/B test everything including design and layout, email copy, subject lines, multimedia elements, and calls to action.

Email Marketing Best Practices for Maximum Result

Email subscribers have given emails to you for making a connection. Keep them engaged with your business and product by giving valuable things. Here is some best email marketing strategy to maximize the result.

1. Offer Something Extra

You must admit that the inbox is full of promotional emails. These emails are encouraging us to start a free trial, download an e-book, join a webinar or follow someone on Twitter. It is overwhelming for users.

Based on your business you can offer something extra that grab attention. If you are giving any service, then offer some extension or discount on prior renewals.

Of course, you can’t give this to all customers. But trying new things with business can increase customer trust and they will never ignore your emails.

2. Clear Call to Action

If you think CTA is just an attention-grabbing button with catchy text then you are wrong. You might have designed an awesome email with a glossy body. If your call to action is not clear or properly defined then how subscribers will take action?

In your email, tell subscribers to take action. It can be a website visit, register for a webinar, purchase some collection, or download the mobile app.

Many marketers think of a call to action (CTA) as a single element in their email content. But CTA starts with the appealing subject line and follows through the email.

Based on the email formats the CTA can be a text with a hyperlink or a button. The placement of CTA should follow the logic of the email content. It will encourage users to click and results in more click-through rates (CTRs).

3. Never Buy an Email List

Most people are in a hurry to start email marketing. But they don’t have an email list to start marketing. But it is a bad idea.

By doing so, you are violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the European data privacy act. Avoiding these rules can bring serious consequences.

Many agencies are selling bulk emails at cheap prices. These are harvested using automated algorithms and users are not known about it. If you send emails to them, then it would be annoying. No one is going to read your emails as they don’t know.

The hard truth is that no one is going to sell a valuable email list. You heard that “The money is on the list.” This means email marketers are dependent on the list. Why they sell the asset?

The selling email list contains spam and inactive emails. It would affect your deliverability and reputation of the email server. Instead of that, try to build your own email list using the above methods.

4. Add Personalization

If you implement personalization into your email marketing strategy then campaign performance will be drastically improved and your business will continue to grow.

Personalized emails have the context with specific data such as the first name, the last product they bought. It gives the feeling that the company has written an email for you.

Email subject line is just like a good movie trailer. So it needs to be either interesting or entertaining with personalization elements. It can include the recipient’s name, power word, emojis, questions, etc.

Personalizing your email marketing campaigns is a data-backed way to increase the open and click-through rates. Studies have found that emails with personalized subject lines got a 26% open rate than those without.

Modern email marketing tools make it easy to create a personalized email. You just have to put a variable on the email context or subject and it would be replaced by the personalized data automatically.

So personalization in emails has a great impact on your ROI and revenue.

5. Pick a Stunning Email Design

We have passed a decade on email marketing. Now it’s time to level up the way and bring new email design trends.

Now you don’t have to start an email design from scratch. Just use one of the free email templates available in the template library and customize them according to your brand seamlessly.

Now Animated PNGs (APNGs) and CSS animation are rising in popularity as more email clients support them. High quality images and graphics are also in the design trend.

 The dark mode is everywhere and you can feel the presence. According to Android Authority, around 90% of people want to keep dark mode on their devices. So you will have to send dark mode friendly emails.

6. Use Double Opt-in

We always recommend you use the double opt-in feature for growing your list. In a double opt-in system, the email marketing software sends a confirmation email with a link to the new subscriber.

Subscribers have to open the email and click on the link to complete the verification process. You can also set a fixed time for the validation to prevent any suspicious activity.

The double opt-in system guarantees that emails added to the list are only valid email addresses. It will also help you to improve email deliverability.

You can set up the double opt-in system in email marketing software in just a few clicks.

7. Focus on Responsive Emails

In email marketing, responsive emails have shifted their position from optional to necessary. Responsive emails have become important as more people using a smartphone to check emails.

According to a study, more than 70% of users read emails in a mobile app. Before sending emails, make sure that emails are formatted for mobile devices.

devices used regularly check email email marketing

Email marketing tools come with built-in email templates that are responsive by default. It would be automatically adjusted based on the screen size. 

8. Performance Monitoring

You have followed all the above things and started your email marketing campaign. Now you have to measure all the results.

You have to measure many email marketing metrics like open rate, click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, bounce rate, ROI, etc.

You need to constantly monitor your email marketing performance to determine how to boost your efforts. Email marketing services come with a detailed analytics dashboard where you can find all the matrices.

9. A/B Testing

You might have created the best email marketing campaign for your business goal. But there is no guaranty that your audience will love it.  So you should always have a plan B for this.

A/B Testing is a great way to find out what kind of email generates higher user engagement and more conversions.

Things to tweak with A/B Testing includes:

  • The length of the email subject titles
  • The length of the email body
  • The email format (HTML, plain text, with or without images, videos)
  • The frequency of sending emails
  • Email sending timing
  • Promotional languages used inside the email
  • Placement of your CTA (Call to Action) buttons text over it
  • The design used in your signup forms
  • The authentication method used for email verification (no authentication, double-opt-in)

This testing helps you create effective email campaigns and boost your profits.

10. Regularly Clean Up Your Email Lists

Many people think that a bigger email list means a higher number of conversions. But you have to admit that a large portion of the people on your email list never read your messages.

So these users can be termed as inactive subscribers to your list. A small percentage of subscribers also mark your emails as spam. This will hamper your email server reputation and overall performance. On the other hand, you are wasting resources behind subscribers who are not interested in your business.

No business wants to lose a single customer. It will be sad to see them go but better for your email marketing campaigns. Allow users to unsubscribe from your email list. You can show a unsubscribe button on the bottom part of the email.

So better to clean up your email list regularly. It will minimize your marketing cost and increase the healthiness of your list. Remember that it is always better to have a tiny list but with energetic subscribers than a giant list full of inactive subscribers.

11. Implement Email Automation

One of the biggest advantages of email marketing software is you can automate the whole process. No need to stick with your PC and regulate all the campaigns.

When I say email marketing automation, this simply means sending targeted emails to your users based on a certain action. One of the simplest forms of email automation is autoresponder.

Can you remember the welcome email when you subscribe? This automatic personalized email sends to you without any human interference.

Some usual email automation task includes:

  • Welcome Emails: Sending a welcome email instantly to users when they subscribe to your list. Welcome emails get 5 times more clicks and 4 times more reads than normal marketing emails. (link)
  • Email Sequences: Sending a specified series of emails as a part of the sales funnel.
  • Abandon Cart Emails: Sending emails to users who have added a product to the shopping cart but did not complete the order. Around 70% of e-commerce buyers abandon their shopping carts for many reasons.
  • New Products or Promotions: Sending emails when new products/services are added.
  • Upselling/Cross-Selling: Suggest some more products to customers based on their current order or purchase history.
  • Feedback/Review Forms: Sending a feedback/reviews email to customers after some days of purchase.

Email marketing software makes it easy to set email sequences using if/then/else logic. There is no universal rule on the exact number of emails you need to set in your automatic email sequence. Your sequence should be crafted to help you achieve business goals.

Conclusion

So these are some of the things you need to know about email marketing. Despite the instant rise of social media networks, email marketing is still one of the best ways of communication with your audience. It is a must-have marketing medium for all kinds of online businesses.

If you have yet to start email marketing, then there’s no better time to jump into it. Follow this beginner’s guide and start your email marketing journey today.

Bibhu Prasad Bal is a content writer at BloggingForge and a tech-savvy guy. In spare time you will find him watching Ancient Aliens and exploring the web. Contact - bibhu@bloggingforge.com

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