The Benefits of Email Marketing
From order confirmations to newsletters, emails are an essential aspect of the growth and management of your business.
Email marketing will help fulfill 3 key objectives:
1. Conversions (selling your products and services)
Launching a sale or promotion? You can send an email marketing campaign to your subscribers to drive sales.
Other email marketing techniques known to increase conversion rates include:
- Emailing a discount or special offer (birthday/anniversary emails, welcome emails, reengagement emails)
- Abandoned cart emails (triggered whenever a visitor abandons a cart at your online store)
2. Brand awareness
What’s great about email is that it lets you reach someone directly. It’s one-to-one communication at its best. And besides, people don’t just let anyone into their inbox these days. It’s a curated space reserved for favorite brands and publications.
Showing up in someone’s email inbox will help your brand stay top of mind. A personalized marketing email is more impactful than a social media post where you can’t be sure if someone has actually seen your message.
One of the major benefits of email marketing is its scalability. This means that emails can be sent to a large number of recipients for a relatively low cost (compared to other marketing channels).
3. Customer loyalty
Email drives customer loyalty at every stage of the buyer journey: lead-nurturing, conversion, onboarding, retention.
It’s a powerful tool for building a community, as discussed at length in our guide to building relationships with email.
You can create newsletter content so good that subscribers will be waiting for it to arrive each week. Keep reading and we’ll tell you how.
Why email marketing is important
Email is accessible to all age groups. It opens the door to a wide range of audiences — even the least digitally-savvy among us.
We might live in the digital age but not everyone is that comfortable using the internet. However, most people do know how to check their email. This makes it the most mainstream form of marketing.
Email marketing is extremely cost-effective. Most email marketing tools offer pricing packages to suit all budgets. In reality, the barrier to entry has never been so low.
Many email tools — Sendinblue included — offer free plans without any commitment. These are ideal for first time email marketers who want to get a hang of the software before purchasing. With nothing to lose, there’s no excuse not to give it a go.
You own your email list
Think about it: Your social media could disappear in the morning and take all your followers with it. You’d be left with nothing. But therein lies the beauty of an email list — it’s yours.
So if all else goes belly up, you’ll still have a direct line of contact with the people who are most interested in your brand. And the intimacy of email as a one-to-one channel will bring you even closer to that audience.
How does email marketing work? Introducing ESPs
Businesses use what’s known as an Email Service Provider (ESP) to send marketing emails.
An Email Service Provider is software that sends and manages email marketing campaigns.
It’s also referred to as an email marketing platform, email marketing tool, email marketing service, or email marketing software.
How to launch your first email marketing campaign in 8 steps
1. Choose the right email marketing software
The first step is finding an ESP to send and manage your email campaigns and email subscribers.
Popular email tools include Sendinblue, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Convertkit, Mailjet, Mailerlite, and HubSpot — to name a few.
With hundreds of ESPs on the market, it’s hard to know which one is right for your business. And it’s easy to get sucked in by shiny bells and whistles you probably don’t need (not yet, anyway).
Evaluate your needs. Distinguish between must-have features and nice-to-have features. Make a list.
Here are some questions to narrow it all down:
- What’s your budget? If it’s very limited, then cheap email marketing services should be your starting point.
- What kind of emails do you plan to send, and how often? This’ll give you an idea of your required email volume (i.e. number of email sends).
- If you’ve already got a list of opt-in contacts, how many are there?
- What’s your skill level when it comes to designing emails? If you’re a complete beginner you’ll want a drag and drop email editor as this is easiest to use. Email templates will also come in handy. Inversely, if you prefer to code emails from scratch, you’ll surely be on the lookout for an HTML editor.
- Do you plan to set up automated email workflows? See what the potential ESP offers in terms of email marketing automation. Some solutions only offer basic autoresponders.
- If your business communicates with different buyer personas, what segmentation capabilities are offered?
- Will your business be sending transactional emails (note that these are not considered email marketing). Some folks like to manage these emails with a separate service, others prefer all emails under the one roof with a tool like Sendinblue.
It’s also a good idea to consider your future needs. Found an ESP you like? Do some simulations: Ok, if my list grows to X, how much will this ESP cost? If I want to add X to my strategy, does this ESP have the feature-set to support me?
A bit of optimistic projection into the future is good, but don’t get carried away. Focus on the essentials for now.
Pricing by email volume vs. pricing by subscribers
As you’re exploring different options, you’ll notice most providers base their pricing on the number of subscribers.
Lots of email marketing solutions will try to lure you in with cheap entry plans for a small number of subscribers (often 250 or 500). The catch? The prices tend to jump significantly once your list grows beyond these limits (as is the case with Mailchimp).
And hopefully your list will grow because that’s kind of the point. But it sure would be a shame to end up overpaying for email in the long run.
Sendinblue, on the other hand, structures its pricing according to email volume rather than the number of subscribers. That way, you grow your email list infinitely and it won’t impact the pricing.
The Lite Plan starts at $25 for unlimited subscribers and 10,000 emails — more than enough for any small business just starting out. Test-drive Sendinblue today on our free plan.
2. Build your email list
Can’t send email campaigns without anyone to send them to. Time to start building a list of engaged, opt-in subscribers.
Most ESPs let you create subscription forms to be embedded on your website.
Add opt-in forms to your website and other places
Place your email subscription form in highly visible places where people will definitely see it.
Typical subscription form hotspots include blog posts, the homepage, and contact page.
Share forms on social media by including a link in your bio or posts.
Run an ecommerce store? Include a signup option as part of the checkout process.
Supercharge your list with content upgrades and lead magnets
Nothing makes a list grow faster than premium content.
Create an exclusive ebook, report, checklist, or infographic. Offer the user to download it for free in exchange for their email address.
Special offers and discounts are a great way to get people onto your list. Clothing brand Mango offers 10% off your first order when you subscribe to their newsletter.
3. Set up a welcome email for new subscribers
When someone signs up to your email list, you’ve got their attention. Now’s the time to engage them even further with a welcome email.
A welcome email is an automated message sent to new customers and subscribers. The idea is to introduce your brand and any content that’ll establish your relationship with the subscriber — a welcome discount, link to latest articles, useful information, etc.
4. Define the goal of your email marketing campaign
Now that you’ve started building your email list, it’s time to think about what you want to achieve from this first campaign.
Every email marketing campaign needs to have a clear goal.
Examples of common goals include:
- Promoting a new product
- Sharing a discount with loyal customers
- Getting more downloads for your latest ebook
- Updating subscribers on some important piece company news
Your goals can either be hyper-specific or broad — as long as they fit with your business and your audience.
With a clear goal in mind it’ll be easier to create your email content. Which brings us to the next step:
5. Build a responsive-design email
You might be wondering, do I need to hire an email designer?
If you’re bootstrapped and on a budget, then no. You don’t need one. To make things easy, most email marketing services have some form of Drag & Drop email editor. These are great for producing clean, simple, hassle-free designs.
Of course, that’s not to diminish the value of having a dedicated email designer, especially for ecommerce. An email designer will help you stand out from the crowd with custom templates. It’s definitely something to consider down the line — or even now if you have the means.
6. Craft your email copy
You know your goal, you know your target audience, now let’s fill that template with words.
Your email copy needs to offer value and speak to topics that interest your audience. You also need to nail down the tone of voice.
To write persuasive, engaging email copy, keep these tips in mind:
- Ask yourself: What does my audience need from me? How can I help?
- Imagine you’re writing to one person
- Show your personality
- Tell a story
- Write to instill curiosity (starting with the email subject line — more on that below)
- Use a conversational tone, i.e. write the way you speak
- Break up the copy with short paragraphs and use bullet points where possible
The email signature should be the name of a real person. This is more personal than a faceless brand logo.
Don’t have much copywriting experience? Don’t worry. Writing emails is something you can practise and improve with time.
7. Test your email campaign before sending
Always send a test email before officially hitting send. Small mistakes can easily slip through the cracks and harm your brand image.
Keep your eyes peeled for:
- Forgotten or incorrect links
- Text formatting errors
Have some team members proofread and check the test email on both desktop and mobile.
If you’re with Sendinblue, use the email preview feature to test different screen sizes and email clients.
And when all’s good to go, double check that you’ve selected the right email list.
8. Schedule your campaign for the right time
Rather than choosing a random day and time, be strategic. Choose a time that makes sense for your audience, based on what you know about them.
Most people tend to only visit their inbox a few times each day. Find a time that’ll put you top of the inbox when subscribers are checking their emails. This is sure to increase your open rates.
Email marketing campaigns tend to perform better when sent on Tuesday or Thursday in the mornings around 10:00 AM or in the afternoons around 2:00 PM.
It makes sense: Many people check their emails in the morning when they get to work, as well as after returning from lunch.