Email marketing is the practice of delivering commercial messages using email to target potential customers for elevating sales. Out of the many reasons to adopt email marketing, the foremost is that it is a fairly simple, low-cost, and highly efficient means to exchange important information with your users. This article is going to be your go-to guide for email marketing where we exhaustively discuss every aspect of it.
Table of content
- What is email marketing?
- The importance of Email marketing
- The benefits of using email marketing
- What are the use cases of email marketing?
- Types of email campaigns
- How does email work?
- The journey of an email from sender to receiver
- IP Address
- IMAP vs POP3
- What is SMTP?
- What is ISP?
- What is ESP?
- Step by step guide to sending your first email campaign
- What to write in your email content?
- Email list
- Schedule and send your campaign
- Monitor your performance with email marketing analytics
- How to increase deliverability?
- What is email tracking?
- Email marketing tools to send better campaigns
What is email marketing?
Email Marketing is utilizing electronic mails sent to prospects, leads, clients, stakeholders, beneficiaries, detractors, promoters, enablers, and influencers to form a relationship. It is a form of marketing that uses emails to build brand awareness and grow a business.
The importance of Email marketing
With the emergence of social media as a platform to market a brand or product, many people assure that email marketing will collapse. That leads us to the next big question.
Do we still need email marketing in 2021?
To understand the importance of email marketing, try to imagine your life without it. Does it make your business any simpler? In fact, despite what the detractors may say, email marketing is far from shutting down. Here we share with you the top 3 reasons why email marketing still rules the marketing communication channels:
- Highest conversion rate
Quality content has the power to engage customers and convert their curiosity into sales, this yields high results and conversions. Email marketing also has the highest conversion rate(66%) of purchases made in response to promotional emails.
- Budget-friendly marketing technique
For each dollar spent on email marketing, you can gain up to $44, with approximately 4.3% of shoppers purchasing from email campaigns. Since there are no advertisement fees, printing costs, or media space costs, email marketing can be much less expensive and more rewarding than other types of marketing.
- Increase brand awareness
According to Statista, while roughly 306.4 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2020, this number is expected to rise to over 376.4 billion daily mails by 2025. Hence emails have played huge role in building communication channels for brands and spreading awareness about their beliefs, mission, products, and services, etc. and will continue to do so in the coming days.
The benefits of using email marketing
Emails are not just alive they thrive on the large number of benefits they deliver. The major benefits that make email every marketers’ favorite tool are as follows:
Emails are (almost) universal
According to a survey, 93.6% of customers (age 25-44 US internet users) use email, which in itself is a huge number to engage with for different purposes.
Easy to blend with other marketing
Emails can easily contain information about your other social media campaigns. You can include clickable icons of your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter handles in your emails.
Better Customer Relationship
Email marketing is an excellent way to establish personal relationships with existing and future customers. Consumer knowledge of your business, goods, and services is reinforced each time they receive your mail.
Performance measurements and statistics are available for each email sent. This data is crucial for determining what is effective and what needs to be changed.
Your email audience is more permanent
When you make an email account it becomes your property. Unlike many other social handles whose real control is with the provider, emails have the security where no one can cease or delete your content unless it’s spam or illegal.
What are the use cases of email marketing?
Email marketing is not only one of the most budget-friendly revenue-boosting methods, but it's practically present in every industry. It can be used for promoting any sector you want. Below we discuss a few areas where email marketing works its charm.
Marketing and Branding
Emails are used to convey important messages like product updates, market trends, onboarding, roadmaps, feature changes, offers, and more. Brands need to demonstrate their individuality and make clear what their beliefs are to stand out from the competition, and email is the best channel to do so.
Emails are considered the most professional form of sending newsletters. A perfect way to demonstrate your experience and enrich your email correspondence is to send curated newsletters. Thousands of businesses use newsletters as a low-cost, high-reward way to generate leads. Customized newsletters help you develop influence, become a trusted advisor, and entertain your subscribers and prospects by providing information.
Transactional emails are necessary emails that contain information either demanded by the user or generated in response to an action taken by the user on your website. Transactional emails help notify the user about delivery updates, shipping notifications, password reset emails, etc.
Sales with emails
Email marketing is used by businesses to nurture relationships with subscribers, product users, and leads to promote their offerings and provide deals and coupons to their loyal customers. As a byproduct of well-crafted email marketing, customers spend 138% more when they receive email offers.
These are services or information that you can offer to a person after collecting their details like name, email id, etc. Doing so will help you find your targeted audience and give you a chance to expand your email list in the right way. Few examples of lead magnets are trial subscriptions, demos, journal articles, e-newsletters, and free consultations.
People are notified about new offers, deals, and giveaways through promotional emails.
For many consumers and product users, email is the preferred mode of communication to learn about the latest promotions and offers.
Business model use cases
Emails are one of the most used and reliable sources of communication between industries.
In the Business to Business interaction, email is a hugely significant mode of communication as it accounts for 73% of professional conversations. Emails are used for interacting with interested clients, booking business meetings, and sending official documents.
Business to consumer industry sends emails like transactional and promotional emails, newsletters, milestone or birthday emails, and lead nurturing emails. 59% of customers say that business emails influence their purchasing choices.
Email is a very useful mode of information transfer and can be used for communicating private as well as mass messages. Follow along to see the most functional email campaigns.
Types of email campaigns
When you collectively look at all your emails they can be vastly categorized into many different email campaigns depending on your motive behind it. Let’s look at the 8 types of email marketing campaigns that can elevate the growth of your business.
- Newsletter Campaign
Newsletter campaigns are used to maintain regular communication between you and your subscribers. It keeps them updated on the latest product and services, and even helps educate and entertain them.
- Promotional Campaign
Promotional campaigns are used to relay specific communication or sales objectives to entice a purchase, attract customers, and increasing brand awareness.
- Onboarding Campaign
Onboarding/Welcome email campaigns are used to help build familiarity with new subscribers and educate them about your brand.
- Lead Nurturing Campaign
These emails help to build long-term relationships with your subscribers by providing them with relevant and worthwhile content and warm them up until they are ready for a purchase
- Seasonal Campaign
This email sequence is exclusively sent during the ongoing Holiday or festival season like New years, Christmas, etc to keep your subscribers informed about any sales and offers.
- Abandoned Cart Campaign
These are follow-up emails that are triggered by a user’s activity. The purpose of these emails is to remind and encourage a subscriber to complete a purchase.
- Survey Campaign:
These emails are sent to your subscribers to collect data, feedback, and suggestions to help enhance and manage your business.
- Invitational Campaign
The purpose of an Invitational Campaign is to make an experience available to a user like events, conferences, webinars, etc., and encourage them to engage, interact and participate in it.
Other types of emails:
A promotional email is a business advertisement to notify potential and existing clients about invitations, offers, announcements, new campaigns, and lucrative deals.
Transactional emails contain information that needs to be delivered to a candidate as a consequence of their action on a website.
Drip campaigns/email sequence
An email drip campaign is a triggered series of automatic emails sent to specified email subscribers to achieve a particular objective on a predefined schedule.
Sending an email message simultaneously to a diverse category is known as a bulk email campaign.
Cold email is a one-to-one, customized email aimed at a particular user. Instead of promoting a product or a service to the masses, its purpose is to get into a business conversation with that person. This is done to enlarge your email list and get new customers.
These are the most popular kinds of campaigns but there are other campaigns too apart from these. Now that you don’t doubt the impact of Email marketing and the necessity of it, let’s move to the technicalities involved.
How does email work?
An email is a fairly simple document containing information of senders and recipients, a subject line, a message body, and attachments. But it’s not so easy to get it from point A to point B. There's an elaborate process involved which works behind the scenes to make it look as seamless as possible. Various protocols like SMTP, DNS (which stands for Domain Name System, and it is an Internet protocol for transferring data), POP, IMAP, etc. Below is a simplified path of an email as it journeys from the crafting process to being read by the receiver at the end.
The journey of an email from sender to receiver
- Compiling the email
The email is crafted or created by using interfaces and tools provided by ESPs, email clients. Mostly it can be created like a rich text file, however, HTML emails require specific tools or might have to be coded.
- Sending hit
Once the sender hits the send button, the mail client contacts the outgoing mail server (SMTP) and sends the message in MIME format, which further contacts the DNS server to convert the email address to a location address.
- Locating IP address
To find the IP address, the SMTP sends a request to the DNS server to convert the recipient's email address into an IP address and get the recipient’s domain registry details (MX records/A Records if no MX records are found). For example, firstname.lastname@example.org is converted to an IP address such as "74.825.93.10."
- Asking permission from the receiver
The SMTP server now has all of the information it needs about the receiver to transmit the email from its server to the Mail Transfer Agent server of the email recipient.
- Finally sent
The Mail Transfer Agent specifies where the mail should be sent. The email message lands in the recipient’s mailbox, and the mail will be kept as such until it is retrieved by the receiver for reading.
During the course of this journey, we encountered an important detail, the IP address. An IP address is a specific sequence of numbers separated by periods that identifies each device that communicates over a network using the Internet Protocol.
Dedicated IP Vs shared IP
There are two types of IP, Dedicated IP and Shared IP, which you can use for email marketing. Read further to choose which one suits you.
A unique sequence that is only assigned to your website is a dedicated IP address. In reality, if anybody typed your unique IP address (rather than your domain name) into the search bar of their internet browser, they would be able to look up your website.
A common sequence that can be allocated to multiple websites is a shared IP address. Shared IP addresses are found with shared hosting providers.
Which one should you use?
If you need better domain control use Dedicated IP. However, shared IP is less costly compared to a dedicated one.
IMAP vs POP3
You must also decide which Message Accessing Agent protocol you want to use. Both POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) are MAA (Message Accessing Agent) protocols, used to get messages to the receiver device from the mail server.
IMAP and POP3 have their pros and cons. See for yourself and choose the best for your advantage.
Which one should you use?
It depends upon your requirements which protocol you should use. We recommend the user opt for IMAP. It is a widely used protocol. The ability to work upon multiple devices and synchronization of email data is a major plus here.
Moving on, the next protocol which will transport your mail across the internet to the desired location is an SMTP.
What is SMTP?
A Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is an email transmission communication protocol whose main goal is to send and receive outgoing mail between email senders and receivers. SMTP has two key components: User-Agent and Mail Transfer.
Types of SMTP
The two types of SMTP: end-to-end and the store-and-forward model. SMTP is in charge of email distribution as well as other protocols and methods used to retrieve and view emails. Besides, SMTP uses TCP for link establishment and segment distribution. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is the primary connection for communication between the mail sender and the mail receiver.
Two other terms you should be familiar with before starting are ISP and ESP. They have been briefly described below.
What is ISP?
An internet service provider or ISP is an organization that offers internet connectivity to businesses or individuals. Internet access, domain name registration, web hosting, user network support, internet transit, and placement, etc are standard services offered by ISPs.
What is ESP?
An email service provider (ESP) allows people to send emails to a list of contacts. Email service providers are technology firms that make creating email lists and sending emails convenient for people. Broadly known ESPs are Gmail, Yahoo, Zoho. etc.
ESPs should be differentiated from email clients which are software architectures designed to send and receive emails. ESPs often use email clients’ services to enable their email marketing software to send emails.
Step by step guide to sending your first email campaign
We have discussed the technicalities and now is the time to help you send your first email campaign.
What do I need to start email marketing?
The next section you’ll read contains a step-by-step process of how to start your email marketing journey. Let’s get started on the different tools that you will need to send an email campaign.
Email marketing software
An email marketing software will let you automate email communication to customers, prospects, and businesses. The software helps increase the efficiency of email marketing, monitor the effectiveness of email campaigns, and manage the complete mailing lists.
How to choose the right software?
Simple to use:
Email marketing software shouldn’t consume a lot of your time. They must have simple elements like drag and drop, premade templates, etc. to design good quality emails. Look for a library of email templates that serve various email marketing purposes from announcements, promotions, newsletters, and more.
Email list expansion:
Your software must organically grow your platform by providing lead magnets, sign-up forms, a follow-up system, etc.
You should be able to thoroughly divide your section and be able to customize as many details as possible. Look for a WYSIWYG editor that perfectly works, so you can just drag and drop pieces within the templates like hero images, text, CTA buttons, dividers, and spacers.
In a standard test flow, you'd either need to send an email from your test case or receive an email prompted by some action in your testing. If your email appears to be activating a spam filter, it will send you further details.
Your software should learn and advance itself with time. You need to ensure that your email marketing software automatically optimizes your email campaigns to different mobile devices and provides you with various mobile-friendly templates.
This has to be a core ground of selecting your email marketing software. The software must provide you exact numerical analysis as well as an uncomplicated view of data.
Some of the email marketing software are Mailmodo, SendinBlue, HubSpot, Constant Contact, Drip, ConvertKit, and Mailchimp.
Now that you have an email marketing software, you can use it to create your email.
What to write in your email content?
That is a very broad spectrum and depends on the objective of your email marketing. You must
Provide valuable content and make it interactive for your subscribers.
Write subject lines that are relevant and catchy to get more open rates
Proofread your emails before sending and take feedback every few months.
Send new campaigns regularly and add a call to action.
Analyze and stick to what works as this may be a trial and error method but once you realize what works best for you, continue using it.
How to use email templates
When you are using good email marketing software, you’ll have premade templates to use for crafting emails. Many software mostly contain drag-and-drop editors which can be used to customize the template. Some providers let you merge different template elements to create one for your own. Add your personal flavors and you’re good to go.
Now that your email is ready the next thing that you need to send a campaign is an email list
An email list is the list of email addresses to whom you will be sending the emails. There are various methods for building an email list.
Methods to build your list from scratch
Some of the most popular and effective methods are as follows.
Include a prominent sign-up button:
Rarely do people come to a website only to sign-up. Therefore once your content has provided them value and they are ready to be a subscriber, don’t make them search for the sign-up key.
Exchange email addresses:
When meeting people in real life, hand-out your business card with your email id.
Host events and webinars:
Use this chance to get an email id while candidates register for your event.
Lead Magnets and Giveaways:
You can ask people to provide their mail ids in exchange for rewards. These rewards don’t have to be expensive as they can be something relevant and valuable like whitepapers, ebooks, PDFs, audiobooks, etc.
Your blogs will cover a variety of topics and help build personal relationships. Follow up a blog content by asking the reader for an email id to stay updated about updates.
Build an online community:
Community members will forward your content to like-minded people and help get new people involved in that community. Your list will grow along with your community.
Use social media to promote your newsletter:
Social media promotion is a great way to sometimes catch the most loyal customers. Hence, capitalize on the social signals to build email lists.
Understanding double opt-in and single opt-in
Once people subscribe to your emails, you need to ascertain their permission for sending emails and also verify the email ids they have provided. For this, you will have to use the most suitable opt-in method. Opt-in methods are used to authenticate the email address and recheck the intention of the user using links, OTPs, and other tokens. The most popular opt-in forms are either single or double staged as follows.
In this form of sign-in, your users will have to enter their email addresses only once into a website to become a member.
Here, you have to go through two-tier verification, where you become an official member after subscribing to the website from your inbox.
Both forms have their pros and cons like single opt-in is easier while double opt-in shows more commitment. So, it is your call which one you’d prefer. But no matter what tricks and hacks you use to grow your email list, never buy it! Here’s why.
Legalities of using email addresses without user consent
If your organization is using legitimate email marketing software, you must already be adhering to the rules which are mandatory to protect recipients from spam. These laws are specifically directed at spammers and are intended to discourage them from obtaining the email addresses of individuals without their permission and spamming them with unsolicited emails.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that lays down guidelines for the gathering and analysis of individuals' personal information. The GDPR applies to all member countries of the European Union like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, etc.
The CAN-SPAM Act, a law that defines commercial email laws, sets commercial message standards, grants receivers the right to reject certain emailers, and sets out harsh penalties for breaches. The CAN-SPAM Act takes all of the United States under its account.
is an act passed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in 1996 with an aim to protect a patient's healthcare information from public access.
is a law in the United Kingdom that provides certain rights to individuals to protect their personal data from electronic marketing channels like phone calls, text messages, emails, cookies, etc.
- Receivers can mark you spam
This isn’t legality but a huge threat to your email deliverability.
Now that we understand the legalities, let’s discuss the best ways of composing an email.
Schedule and send your campaign
The next step is to schedule sending. Choose the best time to hit your receiver’s inbox. Depending upon time zones, holidays, and other marketing factors, try to send out your campaigns when your users might want to read them.
Now that you have sent your first campaign, you might be wondering what to do next. Well, this is precisely the point where you improve your campaigns by evaluating the performance of your past campaign.
Monitor your performance with email marketing analytics
To be a good email marketer, you will have to improve and learn from the performance of your past campaigns. To do this, you will have to understand the email marketing metrics that can be used to evaluate and measure the efficacy of an email marketing campaign.
Email marketing metrics
Below is a list of the most important metrics that you need to track and monitor.
Deliverability rates inform you how many emails have been delivered to your subscriber's inbox and not marked as spam.
The percentage of subscribers who open a particular email from your total number of subscribers is the email open rate.
Email click rate is the calculation of how many individuals clicked on a hyperlink, CTA, or image in an email campaign.
The number of emails that do not reach the destination address and thus are reverted to the sender is the bounce rate.
It is the percentage of customers who execute a target action after reading your email. For most marketers, this is an important metric as it demonstrates how successful your email marketing is and measures your ROI or return on investment.
List growth rate:
You must pay attention if you are getting new subscribers. If your campaign is well received, then you are bound to attract more customers which reflects in the form of email list growth.
Number of unsubscribers:
The number of recipients who have unsubscribed from your email lists is known as the unsubscribe rate. This involves all recipients who use the standard unsubscribe link in the email footer and those who use the list-unsubscribe feature in the inbox to unsubscribe.
When a person is choosing to mark your email as spam, a complaint is registered with the ISP. Such reports will impact your reputation and also your next campaigns’ deliverability rate. If you recognize a pattern, thoroughly go through the spam filter policy to check for mistakes.
The email sharing rate indicates the number of times your subscribers forwarded your email to their acquaintances. This is a crucial email engagement measure that determines the email campaign's quality and engagement values.
Domain open rate:
The domain open rate and domain click rate are the measures used to filter your mailing list by the email provider. This insight will assist you in dealing more effectively with the policies of a particular domain like Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
ROI or Return on Investment
It is your email campaigns' average profit margin. To get this number the total revenue from emails is divided by the total expenditure of email marketing.
As you might have recognized that one of the most important metrics on which the entire email campaign depends is the email deliverability rate. Let’s discuss this metric in more detail and what you can do to maintain and then increase your email deliverability.
How to increase deliverability?
When the email reaches your subscriber's inbox, then it is called email deliverability, i.e., it ensures that email is appearing in recipients’ inboxes. The major ways in which you can improve your email deliverability are as follows.
- Maintain a good domain reputation
ISPs keep a track of every way in which your domain is used in an email to assess the types of emails coming from the domain with respect to spams and how recipients treat these emails. ISPs use complex algorithms based on these data points to eventually "rank" your domain by looking at your SPF setup, history of blacklisting, spam reports, email content, and many other factors. This rank is expressed by the term domain reputation. Using SPF and DKIM to authenticate your email shows ISPs that you are who you claim you are and that you are sending non-spam emails.
- Warm-up your domain
IP or domain warm-up is the process of sending smaller volumes of emails from a new email account to a trusted email list to establish a good domain or IP reputation before increasing the campaign volume. In case you skip the domain warm-up process, you risk damaging your domain reputation.
- Maintain email list hygiene
You must maintain email list hygiene like respecting people’s choice who unsubscribed, maintaining consistent timing of sending, and not giving robotic responses. This will get you in the good books of your ISP and increase deliverability.
The higher your email deliverability, the higher are the chances of the conversion rate and, consequently, higher chances of success of the organization. After achieving a good deliverability rate, the next step is to track emails.
What is email tracking?
Email tracking is location, frequency, and time-based analysis for a detailed reporting of how often, for how long, and what actions are taken on an email sent out by your brand. You can precisely find out open rate, time stamp, and click-through actions on the links and attachments with email tracking. Email tracking software places an invisible image pixel in your emails that can find the exact time and date an email has been opened by a recipient.
Email marketing tools to send better campaigns
With email analytics, we have covered most of the ground for sending a good email campaign. Now, let’s check out some useful tools that can help you create and send better campaigns.
Email testing tool
These are like software that makes sure your emails display properly on your receiver’s devices. These tools show email previews, spam tests, and help out with email validations. Few popular HTML Validation and email testing tools are Litmus, Mailtrap, and Email on Acid.
Email deliverability tools
The email delivery tool shows you the IP of your email server, the information about your SPF & DKIM setup, the evaluation of the content of your message in the "eyes'' of spam filters, your possible appearance on any blacklists, and the general likelihood of inbox access. Few examples are SendForensics, Glockapps, MxToolbox.
Email verification tool
Tools for email verification confirm that emails are deliverable, to minimize bounces and enhance the efficiency of email marketing and outreach campaigns. In combination, email verification tools can help clean bots and inactive accounts from your mailing list to ensure genuine, active recipients are hit by business emails and avoid spam boxes. A few email verification tools to look at include Zero Bounce, Bouncer, The Checker, and Debounce.
Now you have learned the tricks of the trade. To take your game up let’s see how you can improve your email campaigns.
How to send emails like a pro?
The following suggestions are built on the best practices across industries and use cases. Try to inculcate these pointers to send out more effective, targeted, and meaningful email campaigns.
Make a responsive design email
Perform A/B testing of subject lines, messaging and CTA
Use personalization in the emails
Follow guidelines to improve deliverability
Do not buy an email list
Respect your customers
This should help you build better connections with your recipients. And as you keep sending out campaigns, do not forget to look at all the emerging trends and practices in email marketing. Here’s a brief on how email marketing is trending into the future.
Future of email marketing
Let’s hand you a fortune cookie. “You can now send interactive and actionable emails.”
Naturally, there's always been more space for email marketing to expand. And this became evident with the rise of AMP for email.
What is AMP for email?
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, an open-source service provided by Google to develop faster mobile pages. AMP for Email helps senders to incorporate AMP elements like a carousel, dynamic update, inbuilt forms, etc. making modern app features accessible within the inbox.
How do AMP emails differ from normal emails?
When you want to go that one extra step and provide a website or app-like experience to your users, it’s time to switch to AMP emails.
Content can be updated in real-time with AMP for email, ensuring that audiences have the most up-to-date details.
Interactive emails help in engaging and increasing email conversions by enabling users to schedule meetings, add forms, purchase from abandoned carts, etc, inside the email.
AMP emails have an HTML fallback version that shows if the receiver uses an email client that has no AMP email support.
As per Google, no third-party ad features would be used in AMP Emails. It is a positive move to ensure that email browsing is safe and that there are no privacy or security issues.
These are the major technological and functional differences between AMP and standard emails but do AMP email conversion metrics differ too?
Does AMP emails provide better email conversion?
Short answer: yes. We've conducted numerous case studies, where we discovered that AMP emails are highly effective at bringing more conversions. Here’s a snippet of what these conversion numbers looked like during the case studies.
During a customer feedback survey conducted with Mailmodo, we recorded a 225% increase in submissions.
We also recorded a 370% increase in form submission during a job application campaign.
So, do you want to send such high converting email campaigns right now? Let’s see how we can
How to start with AMP emails?
Sending an AMP email requires coding skills. But you can skip all that hassle and sign up with Mailmodo. Here we are driven to enable you to create and send high-quality AMP emails without any coding on your part.
Mailmodo also offers you a variety of delightful, interactive, and engaging templates for various purposes like surveys, quizzes, feedback forms, webinar registration, welcome email, etc.
The drag-and-drop editor allows you to customize and craft the perfect AMP email. You can then send the emails directly from Mailmodo. We also simplify AMP approval whitelisting for you.
The future expects better performance as competition is cut-throat and resources are ample. With the onset of the digital era, email marketer’s creativity, dedication, and patience are tested on more challenging grounds. Use the right tools and be ahead of the crowd.
If you would like to set up your email marketing channel or learn more about it, feel free to get in touch with the Mailmodo team.