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When a business wants to grow, email marketing is a critical tool to help your business take a step in the right direction. Currently, 3.7 billion people across the globe use email, and that number is expected to rise to 4.1 billion by 2021.

With millions of marketing dollars spent on email marketing every year, businesses need to know how to get a profitable return on every dollar they invest.

If you’re interested in starting an email marketing business, read on for some essential tips and strategies to help get you started.

What is an email marketing business?

While there are two ways to cover email marketing businesses, this post will focus more on the agency or freelancer model of businesses (performing email marketing on behalf of others). But keep in mind many people launch entire publishing companies centered around email marketing.

Your email marketing business could make a substantial difference in a company’s ROI. Every business can benefit from an effective email campaign, but few business owners are equipped to make the most of this channel.

As an expert in email, you’ll need to focus on these tasks to master the email marketing business for your clients.

1. Identify your client.

No matter how amazing your marketing campaigns might be, they won’t be right for everyone. Your ideal customer isn’t the company that has a full internal staff to handle their digital marketing needs. And it won’t be the client that doesn’t realize the importance of email marketing—unless you convince them.

The best customer is the one that has experimented with this mode of advertising, maybe had some success, and then didn’t have the time to make the most of their opportunities.

This business recognizes the importance of an effective email campaign but doesn’t have the time, knowledge, or resources to put it into motion.

2. Identify your client’s needs.

Businesses have plenty in common when it comes to the challenges of successful email marketing. Creating campaigns that present relevant information and convert customers down the sales journey is vital for just about any user of email marketing. But they may need someone to code emails, build them in a template, write copy and content, or develop advanced marketing automation journeys.

3. Offer the right solutions at the right time.

Once you pinpoint their needs, you can offer solutions that take their email marketing to the next level. Your expertise is the key that transforms ROI and builds the bottom line exponentially.

How do I measure my email marketing business?

There are plenty of reasons why you need to measure your success objectively and consistently. First, you need to know that what you’re doing for your customers is actually working. Second, you need to be able to demonstrate your effectiveness to potential clients. Finally, you can use your success to build customer loyalty, even while you expand your customer base.

There are numerous ways to track the success of your email campaigns:

  • Open rate: number of times recipients open a campaign
  • Click-through rate: number of recipients that click on a link within the email
  • Conversion rate: number of recipients that become customers as a result of the email
  • Bounce rate: number of emails that don’t make it to the recipient
  • Unsubscribe rate: recipients that unsubscribe from your email list

Does it really matter?

If you’re going to launch a successful email marketing business, you need to convey the value of your services to prospective customers. More numbers come into play here, since the stats on email marketing are quite compelling. Consider these figures:

How to do email marketing

Have your facts ready to share with prospective customers and customers that you would like to work with again. The numbers are a critical support in helping you build your email marketing business.

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How to do email marketing

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The use of email within your marketing efforts to promote a business’s products and services, as well as incentivize customer loyalty. Email marketing is a form of marketing that can make the customers on your email list aware of new products, discounts, and other services. It can also be a softer sell to educate your audience on the value of your brand or keep them engaged between purchases. It can also be anything in between. Mailchimp can help you design, build, and optimize your email marketing to get the best ROI in your marketing program.

When you want to grow your brand or sell your stuff, email marketing is one of the most popular—and effective—tools around for marketing campaigns. In this article we’ll discuss how email marketing – and the usage of promotional emails – can help you to grow your business, and we’ll give you a few tips to help you get started with a successful email marketing campaign.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a powerful marketing channel, a form of direct marketing as well as digital marketing, that uses email to promote your business’s products or services. It can help make your customers aware of your latest items or offers by integrating it into your marketing automation efforts. It can also play a pivotal role in your marketing strategy with lead generation, brand awareness, building relationships or keeping customers engaged between purchases through different types of marketing emails.

A brief history of email

The very first email was sent in 1971 by a computer engineer named Ray Tomlinson. The message he sent was just a string of numbers and letters, but it was the beginning of a new era of communication. Tomlinson was also the person who introduced the usage of the “@” symbol in email addresses.

In 1978, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp named Gary Thuerk used this new method of direct communication to send out the first commercial email to let people know about a new product. His email list only had 400 addresses, but the emails he sent resulted in about $13 million in sales.

By the ‘90s, the internet had become commercially available to the masses. The way people communicated with one another began to change dramatically, and marketers discovered that email could be an effective way to advertise. The emergence of marketing emails also ushered in the need for regulatory updates; the U.K.’s Data Protection Act, for example, was adjusted to require an “opt out” option for all marketing emails.

Advantages of email marketing

Email has become such a popular marketing tool for businesses partly because it forces the user to take some kind of action; an email will sit in the inbox until it’s read, deleted, or archived. But email is also one of the most cost-effective tools available, too. In fact, a 2015 study by the U.K.-based Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that for every $1 spent, email has an average return on investment (ROI) of $38. For more on the power of email marketing, check out our email marketing statistics by industry.

Email marketing can help you build a relationship with your audience while also driving traffic to your blog, social media, or anywhere else you’d like folks to visit. You can even segment your emails and target users by demographic so you’re only sending people the messages they want to see most. Here are some email marketing campaign tips to get started.

Email marketing also allows you to run A/B tests of a subject line or call to action to identify the best performing message by using email marketing software that can also be configured to easily send out emails. Check out Mailchimp’s email templates to see more of what you can do with email marketing.

Tips for building your email marketing list

But how do you build an audience of people to send email to as part of your internet marketing efforts in the first place? There are a few ways, and all of them have to do with treating your customers right, taking into consideration marketing best practices.

Don’t buy email lists. Many email marketing companies (including Mailchimp) have a strict, permission-based policy when it comes to email addresses, which means that sending to purchased lists is prohibited. Instead, concentrate on encouraging folks to opt into receiving messages from you by using lead magnets. You could offer a discount on your customers’ first orders when they sign up for your email list via a custom signup form. Or maybe you can offer new subscribers free shipping on their next order—or give them a chance to win a prize when they join your list. Here are some more tips to help you build an email list.

Be aware of national (and international) email regulations. Make sure you adhere to any legal requirements and applicable laws in your area when sending automated emails, like the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL), or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union for the treatment of personal information. The regulations are based on both your location and the location of your subscribers, and it’s your responsibility to know which laws apply to you. Here’s more advice on avoiding email spam filters.

Use email to have a conversation with your customers. Email is a great marketing tool, but it can help your business in other ways, too. Consider taking the occasional break from your regular marketing content to send out surveys, tell you customers how much you appreciate them after buying from you, following up after an abandoned cart, or just say hello. Not only does it give your audience a chance to provide you with valuable feedback, but it also allows them to get more insight into the person behind the business.

Only send when you really need to. Once someone has trusted you with their email address, don’t abuse that trust. Flooding your audience’s inbox with superfluous emails will cause them to lose interest or unsubscribe entirely. Focus on sending them relevant, engaging messages about the stuff they like, and they’ll be loyal for a long time to come.

See how Mailchimp’s free email marketing tools compare to the competition.

Definition and Examples of Email Marketing

How to do email marketing

How to do email marketing

Email marketing is the use of email to promote products or services while developing relationships with potential customers or clients. It is essentially direct mail done electronically instead of through the postal service.

Learn about the perks of email marketing, methods do it right, and how it compares to some other forms of marketing.

What Is Email Marketing?

Anytime a company sends out an email, aside from order confirmations and direct responses to customer questions, it could be considered a form of email marketing. Email marketing is one segment of internet marketing, which encompasses online marketing via websites, social media, blogs, and more.

Email marketing can include newsletters with updates on the company, or promotions of sales and exclusive deals for subscribers. Marketing emails may also seek to share a general message on the company’s behalf, such as in the wake of a natural disaster or company scandal.

At its best, email marketing allows businesses to keep their customers informed and tailor their marketing messages to their audience. At its worst, this kind of marketing can drive customers away with persistently annoying spam emails.

How Email Marketing Works

It’s easy to set up and track an email marketing campaign, which makes it accessible for small businesses. You can add a newsletter sign-up option to your website, for instance. As people sign up, you can send newsletters to a growing audience. You can also direct customers to the newsletter from your social media profiles.

The two biggest advantages of email marketing are price and ease. Compared to other types of marketing, emailing is an inexpensive way to advertise your company and its products or services.

A regular newsletter is a simple and effective way to send updates about your company, upcoming events, and special offers. Email software also makes it easy to schedule automated promotional emails for customers who haven’t purchased recently.

Email marketing allows you to target particular groups of customers or even specific individuals. Offering individual customers special birthday deals on merchandise or services is one way to do this.

A restaurant, for instance, might send an email to customers on their birthdays offering 50% off an entree. This kind of personalization helps a business develop and maintain a relationship with a customer—and that can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.

Email Marketing Remains Relevant

In the age of social media, it’s tempting to write off email. However, there is statistical evidence that it remains an important aspect of marketing efforts. For instance:

  • Experts with the email marketing company Litmus estimate that email marketing returns an average of $42 for every $1 spent.  
  • One survey found that 59% of respondents were influenced by email when it came to purchasing decisions.  
  • A study of more than 1 billion shopping sessions in 2019 found that email marketing has a conversion rate of 2.3%, compared to 1% for social media.  

One huge advantage of email over social media is that customers are more likely to see an email than social media. Just posting something on social media doesn’t mean that everyone you want to see your message will see it. However, an email will sit in an inbox until it’s read (or deleted).

Ideally, email marketing should go hand in hand with social media. Adding social media “Like” or “Share” buttons to your marketing emails gives an additional way for customers to connect with your brand. Snippets of positive reviews from social media fans can be included in emails, and social media posts can drive customers to your email newsletters.

Email marketing can substantially increase your income if you do it correctly. It’s a great way to get people to visit (and revisit) your website or blog. More traffic usually equates to more income.

Email Marketing Strategies

Effective email marketing takes effort. Here are a few strategies for making the most of your email marketing campaigns.

Build Your Own List

All you’re going to do by sending an unsolicited email is turn off most of the people you were hoping to turn into customers. Whether through your website, in your store, or at an event, make it clear when customers are opting in to receiving your emails.

Follow the Law

Email marketers must adhere to the rules of the CAN-SPAM Act. These rules include having a non-deceptive subject line, providing a clear way to unsubscribe, and including your name and address at the end of the emails.

Mix Up Your Messages

Don’t just send out ads to buy all the time. Use your emails to build rapport with customers by sharing your expertise or that of others, giving them tips and insights they can value. Share information that lets them know more about you and your company.

Respect Your Subscribers

Treat your list well. Remember that the people you’re communicating with have trusted you with their information; they deserve your respect. If you want a chance to convert them from customers to fans and even evangelists for your brand, then make them feel special.

Follow a Schedule

Stick to a schedule if you’re doing a newsletter. Sending out an email on the same day (or days) every week will help your subscribers know what to expect from you and when.

Optimize for Mobile

Studies by marketing analysts with the company Litmus have consistently found that just under half of all emails are opened on mobile devices.   That means, if your email doesn’t display correctly on mobile platforms, half of your audience is going to think you don’t know how to properly craft an email.

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When it comes to customer interaction, email is the Holy Grail of marketing communication.

That’s because done right, it produces phenomenal results. In fact, the ROI for email marketing can be as high as 4400%. That’s $44 for every dollar spent on an email marketing campaign.

What is email marketing ROI?

Return on investment (ROI) is a measure used to evaluate the efficiency and profitability of an investment. In this case, it is a measure of the profitability of email marketing.

Here’s the basic formula for calculating ROI: gained – spent/spent = ROI (expressed as a percentage).

As a marketer, every email marketing campaign must produce a healthy return—and you need to be able to calculate it easily.

Know your email marketing goals

Tracking your email marketing ROI is not as straightforward as it may seem. That’s because email is a versatile marketing strategy that can be used to achieve a number of goals such as:

  • Raising brand awareness
  • Lead nurturing
  • Increasing sales and revenue
  • Website traffic

Once you know the goal of your email marketing campaign, it becomes easier to calculate your ROI, since you’ll know the exact metrics to track.

How to calculate email marketing ROI

With the foundation laid, let’s get to the crux of the matter—calculating email marketing ROI.

How do you do that?

Calculate your spend

The first step in calculating your email marketing ROI is calculating how much you spend on your email marketing. This may seem simple, but it does have its complications.

The most obvious expense is your ESP, and luckily, this calculation is pretty straightforward. However, that alone will not give you a reliable result when calculating ROI, especially since there are other expenses to factor in—like time spent on email marketing.

This means you’ll need to calculate how much time each member of the team spends directly on email marketing and convert it into an hourly rate.

If all your email marketing expenditure goes to your ESP and your email marketer’s time, your total spend is ESP + team bandwidth.

Calculate your gain

Calculating how much your email campaign brings in is fairly easy, if you sell your goods online. If your ESP has Google Analytics integrated into the dashboard, it’s especially easy to trace every sale that comes from an email. This can be for a particular campaign or over a certain period of time.

How to do email marketing

So how do you calculate your gain?

The easiest way to go about this is to calculate the value of a lead. By using Google Analytics, you can trace every conversion that can be attributed to your email campaign, including website traffic. You can then multiply the number of conversions by the value of a lead to get the total revenue brought in by your email campaign.

Calculate your ROI

Having compiled all your data, you can then plug it into our equation:

(Gain – spent)/spent = ROI

Let’s say you pay $200/month for your ESP. In a year, that comes up to $2,400. You also have a marketer directly working on email campaigns for 2 hours, 5 days a week and at a rate of $16/hour. That amounts to $7,680 a year.

Your email marketing spend in a year is $7,680 + 2,400 = $10,080.

If the cost of your lead is $100 and your email campaign brings 300 leads/year, your total revenue from email becomes $30,000.

With all this data, you can then calculate your ROI as:

($30,000 – $10,080)/$10,080 = 197.6%

Does it matter?

Operating a business without knowing which strategy is profitable and which isn’t is a sure recipe for failure. That’s why, when you employ an email marketing campaign, you need to be able to calculate the ROI so as to know whether it’s bringing you revenue or draining from the business.

What now?

Now that you know how to calculate your email marketing ROI, calculate the ROI for your last campaign.

In order to improve it, here’s an article to help you improve your email marketing strategy.

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How to do email marketing

Straight to your inbox

Get the best email and digital marketing content delivered.

Join 250,000 in-the-know marketers and get the latest marketing tips, tactics, and news right in your inbox.

Get started with Campaign Monitor today.

With our powerful yet easy-to-use tools, it’s never been easier to make an impact with email marketing.

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An effective email marketing campaign can quickly boost sales if done correctly. Follow these 5 steps to get started.

By: Sean Peek, CO— Contributor

Email has become the backbone of not only business communication, but all online communication. While it isn’t new technology, it’s also not going anywhere. Studies show email communication is expected to grow to 4.3 billion users by 2023.

For businesses, using email effectively can grow your business substantially with little effort. However, if you stray from a well-defined path, you could end up annoying your customers and detracting them from engaging with your business.

Follow these five steps to set up an effective email marketing strategy.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is communicating with your customers through a medium that they already use on a daily basis. It’s a targeted, simple, effective way to get in front of your customers. Different content can be created to accomplish different goals: Coupons and deals sent via email can entice customers into your store, emails highlighting blog content can funnel them to your website, and customer contact information can help you better understand your audience.

How to get started with email marketing

The following five steps can get you started with email marketing:

Choose an email marketing provider

The first step toward building an email marketing strategy is finding a provider that works best for your business. There are countless email marketing tools out there, like MailChimp, Constant Contact and Hubspot, all with differing features. In order to choose the one that makes the most sense for your business, determine your email marketing goals, some marquee features you need, the size of your audience or contact list, and overall budget for your marketing program. Your email marketing provider should be flexible and cost effective.

Establish your goals

As you begin to set up your email marketing provider and build your new campaign, consider the overall goals of your email marketing and digital marketing efforts. Set benchmarks to measure your campaign’s overall success. This means thinking about things like customer acquisition, open rates and how email marketing will build into your overall strategy. Remember, your email marketing campaigns should be targeted and purposeful. Don’t just send a hodgepodge of messages with random news about your company. By establishing some early goals, you can maintain the proper course as your marketing efforts grow.

As with planning your overall goals, set up your first campaign with goals and benchmarks to determine its overall success.

Where business leaders go to grow

CO— is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Build your contact list

To have an effective email marketing strategy, you need to have a solid contact list. Some good tips to get started include featuring an email newsletter sign-up section on your website, adding an opt-in form as part of the e-commerce section of your website and adding opt-in forms on order confirmations and other customer surveys. Keep in mind that effective email marketing starts with customers opting in to receive messages. If you send emails to customers who haven’t opted in, you’ll end up in the spam folder.

Plan and execute your first campaign

As with planning your overall goals, set up your first campaign with goals and benchmarks to determine its overall success. The main goal of each campaign should be to feed into your overall marketing goals. Focus on template design to create a beautiful message type that fits your business. Consider other important aspects, like subject line, open rates and conversion rates to better plan your overall email marketing effort.

Test and refine

Email marketing is a process that will never truly reach perfection. It’s constantly changing, and your approach to building an effective strategy should be done with this in mind. As you introduce new campaigns, make sure you track different aspects of your emails. This includes deliverability, open rate, click through rate and conversion rate. Keep measuring these benchmarks as you optimize subject lines, overall design and message frequency. As you get better at email marketing, you can fine-tune these aspects to create an efficient program.

Email marketing is an essential tool for small businesses today. It’s the best way to get in front of your customers in a way that is both organic and effective. By taking the time to establish your goals, find the right partner and better communicate with your customers, your business can reap the benefits of an effective email marketing strategy.

To stay on top of all the news impacting your small business, go here for all of our latest small business news and updates.

How to do email marketing

If you’re sending email campaigns to customers, you want your messages to look good when they land in the inbox.

Because when your emails look good, your business looks good too.

And that can lead to more people actually paying attention to your emails, trusting your business, and acting on the messages you send out.

This may seem pretty straightforward, but if you’re a business that’s still using a personal email account (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.) to send your emails, you’ve probably already noticed that there’s not a lot you can do to make your emails look good in the inbox.

You’re able to reach your email readers, but you know that your emails don’t look their best.

Luckily, email marketing services like Constant Contact make it easy to look great in any inbox.

If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you’ve hopefully already seen the benefits of our customizable email templates, which allow you to add your content and send out customized branded emails.

Ready to do more business with email marketing?

One of the most important aspects of using an email template is making sure you add your branding and brand identity to the messages you send out.

Branding your emails will help your business stand out in your current customers’ inboxes.

Since they already know your brand, it’s important to make your business recognizable so they can quickly associate an email with your business. It will also help you build familiarity with potential customers who signed up to learn more about what you have to offer.

Here are a few examples of emails with consistent email branding:

How to do email marketing

Each of these examples includes a few simple steps you can follow:

1. Add your logo

You can easily upload and store your logo in your Constant Contact account. Make sure to position your logo at the top of an email you send out so that it’s one of the first things people see when they click to open. Adding a branded email signature with your logo can help to add brand consistency throughout your email.

2. Customize your colors

You don’t have to guess which colors fit your brand. Tools like Color Cop for PC users, or Classic Color Meter for Macs, allow you to pull the RGB or Hex value of the colors on your website or in your logo. You can then enter these values into your Constant Contact account and we’ll provide the colors that match.

3. Use consistent fonts

When choosing fonts for your emails, it’s typically best to keep things simple. Using too many different fonts can make your emails look messy and distract readers from the message you want to get across.

Hopefully, you’re already using a consistent font on your website or blog that you could also use in your emails. Choose one or two fonts that fit your brand and be consistent with each message you send out.

4. Add visuals

Your email should have an eye-catching image that pulls the reader in and makes them want to pay attention. One of the best places to find photos that help with branding will be on your social media sites.

Constant Contact customers can integrate their accounts with Facebook and Instagram, and easily add photos to the emails they send out.

Choose photos that help people get to know, like, and trust your business — like photos of your staff, products, or loyal customers.

5. Include relevant links

In addition to the links you include for people to take action on your emails, (shop online, donate, register, etc.) you should also include links to places like your website and social channels so that people can connect with you beyond the inbox and learn more about what you have to offer.

With an email template, you can easily add social media buttons that link directly to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Instagram accounts.

6. Find your voice

This one can take a little practice, but as you continue to send emails on a regular basis you really need to think about the “voice” and brand personality you use in the messages you send out.

After all, your brand isn’t just about the look of your messages; it’s also reflected in the content that you write.

This is something Peter Lovis, owner of Concord Cheese Shop talked about when he was a guest on the second episode of our Small Biz Stories Podcast.

“We write it. We re-write it. Then we edit it. Then we re-write it again. It’s really a labor of love to do it right. Also, mine tend to be less commercial. More chatty. Talking about the employees went to vacation in Florida, had a great time in Santa Bell, the sand as soft as sugar, stuff like that. So it’s much more connected than it is commercial.”

Take a look at some of your recent emails. Are you using a consistent voice that’s reflective of the type of service your business offers? Does it sound like it’s coming from you, or could it be mistaken for an email from any other company?

Finding your voice will help your emails better connect with your readers and strengthen your brand in the process.

What can you do today?

If you’re still not using an email marketing service to do your email marketing, your first step should be to sign-up to get started. You can try Constant Contact free for 60 days and see how using a customizable email template can help.

If you’re already using email marketing, take a look at your latest email to see if you can put any of these branding tips to work. Once you have a branded template created, you’ll be able to copy it next time you’re ready to send and just update your email content. Log in now to get started.

How to do email marketing

Ready to do more business with email marketing?

Ryan Pinkham

I want to hear your story and learn the creative and innovative ways that you’re marketing your business. I’ve worked in small businesses my entire life and now I’m excited to work with them!