Email marketing for beginners


Email marketing is still very much a useful and necessary communication tool to successfully communicate with your customers. It gives you the opportunity to share the message with them in a non-interruptive way and access to the information when they need it, unlike social media. According to statistics, 86% of consumers say they would like to receive promotional emails from companies they engage with on a monthly basis, and by 2020, it’s projected that there will be 3 billion email users worldwide (HubSpot, 2017). Therefore, email marketing as a distribution channel cannot be ignored.

What do you need to successfully start

  1. Tools (Sign up forms) to collect customer data in a legal way (read our guide to GDPR to find out more)
  2. Software to securely store the data. With new EU regulations coming into force in May 2018 this is incredibly important. Usually the same tool will serve you as a email service provider to effectively communicate with your customer, manager their subscriptions and their data.
  3. An email marketing plan with objectives to understand why you want to email them, what you want to achieve and how you will measure and improve its performance.
  4. Analytics & A/B testing tools. These usually are part of an integrated software and will help you measure performance of your email campaigns.

Email campaign types

You can use email campaigns to communicate through a number of email types:

  1. Newsletter updates (Blog posts, news, interviews, competitions).
  2. Marketing communication (Special offers, exclusive sales, upsells).
  3. Announcements & surveys.
  4. Lead nurturing emails (Emails you send to customers who haven’t converted, i.e. basket abandonment).
  5. Transactional emails (these aren’t necessarily marketing-led emails; they enclose all the necessary information for any bookings or purchases made).

Basic terms which are important in email marketing

  • Sent emails: A total number of emails sent.
  • Delivered email: A number of emails that were delivered to user inboxes (delivered emails = sent emails – bounced email)
  • Bounced emails: All emails that weren’t delivered.
    • Hard bounce: Emails undelivered because the address is incorrect or the inbox doesn’t exist anymore.
    • Soft bounce: Emails that weren’t delivered/received because recipient’s inbox is full or they are out of office.
  • Bounce rate: A percentage of email addresses that your campaign could not be successfully delivered to.
  • Unique opens: A number of unique individual subscribers who opened your email.
  • Unopened emails: A number of subscribers who did not open your email.
  • Open rate: A percentage of subscribers who opened your email.
  • Click-through rate: A percentage of subscribers who opened your email and clicked on a link in the campaign.
  • Unsubscribe rate: A percentage of subscribers who opt-out of your email communications.
  • Spam complaints: A number of people who marked your email as spam.

Email marketing best practices

  1. Email set up
    1. Create a text only and HTML version. Add a ‘view in a web browser’ link.
    2. Make sure to include a visible unsubscribe and update your preferences link.
    3. Ensure it is mobile friendly.
  2. Email content
    1. Make the content of your email relevant to the audience.
    2. Keep it personal but don’t use people’s names too often.
    3. Be human and use language your audience speaks.
    4. Include a call to action.
    5. Mix the content up with images and paragraphs – make it visually easy to scan through.
    6. Add ‘alt’ descriptions to images.
    7. Include your contact details.
    8. Create UTM codes for your links (this will help you measure which ones exactly drive traffic to your website).
    9. Subject line
      1. Make it engaging and punchy to encourage people to open
      2. Don’t use capitalised words
      3. Make each subject line unique.
      4. Make sure your subject line is relevant to your content.
  3. Sending your email campaign
    1. Proofread every email before it goes out.
    2. Send a test email to yourself and a colleague.
    3. Make sure your email set up is correct (the right segment, right time and date).

Useful e-mail marketing tools

There is a number of email marketing services you can use, the most popular ones are:

  1. MailChimp
  2. Mailjet
  3. MailerLite
  4. Zoho Campaigns
  5. SendPulse
  6. Campaign Monitor
  7. Litmus
  8. Benchmark



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