Email marketing has been around forever, and for good reason. It’s the most direct and effective way of connecting with your leads, nurturing them, and turning them into customers, consistently winning out over all other marketing channels.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of setting up your email marketing funnel so that you can acquire leads and generate sales, 24/7.
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 them 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.
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. Marketing Mantra can help you design, build, and optimize your email marketing to get the best ROI in your marketing program.
Why Email Marketing is important?
Many people look at email marketing as an outdated method. But marketers know how beneficial email is to their overall marketing strategy. Email marketing is an effective way to connect with leads, nurture them and convert them into customers. It is crucial for various marketing strategies like inbound, content, and account-based marketing. Your prospects and customers can receive personalized messages that can help them connect with your brand. It is a great way to get your customer’s attention and engage them.
Stay in contact with your audience
Emails have the ability to keep your customers informed. Consumers are capable of checking their email when it is convenient for them. It can give them a feeling that you are thinking of them. This email can be as simple as saying: “Hi, you’re on our mind, here is a special offer!” or “Here is an update on what has been going on here in recent weeks.” Those that have signed up to your email list have already made a commitment to receive these notes. So they will likely enjoy these emails (as long as you give them something worth reading) and it will boost engagement with your customers.
Increase brand awareness
Nope, social media isn’t the only platform that helps a company’s brand awareness. Possessing a customer or prospect’s email address means one thing: they showed a level of interest in your business. Email marketing gives you the ability to increase that interest level, that brand awareness, by staying top of mind.
This doesn’t mean sending four daily emails to every single customer. That’s actually a great way to get customers to hate you… Instead, try some email marketing that promotes your activeness in the local community. Too many times companies try to sell, sell, sell their products via email marketing, and completely ignore the brand awareness factor. By doing so, they’re also prohibiting the ultimate possibility of building customer trust and adding a sense of personality to their brand.
Reach customers in real-time
This is significant and should come into play when planning any marketing strategy. More and more consumers are using their mobile devices to access not only emails but all other types of media and information. Not only that, well-designed emails produce higher conversion rates on mobile than any other medium. Hit ’em on the go!
People engage with emails
For a long time now, over 40 years actually, email has been a form of communication. As the years have gone by, email has fast become one of our main choices of communication. We have all been groomed to reply to an email in some fashion. Whether it is to reply, to forward, click through to something else embedded within the email, delete, or buy something, or to sign up. We tend to do something with the email. Knowing this, you can use email to drive people to your website, to pick up the phone and call, or any other call to action. In fact, over 25 percent of sales last year were attributed to email marketing.
Email marketing is easy to measure
Most email marketing tools offer the ability to track what happens after you have sent out your email campaign. You can track delivery rates, bounce rates, unsubscribe rates, click-through rates, and open rates. This gives you a better understanding of how your email campaigns are working, which ones to tweak, or which ones to get rid of altogether. These metrics should not be ignored. They are an important part of your internet marketing campaign as a whole. While there are various studies and surveys that present “optimal” numbers to aim for, it all depends on your industry and target audience. If your customers not only want but expect daily emails, you better provide them. However, sending too many emails to consumers who don’t want more than once a week will see your unsubscribe rate increase. It’s all about knowing your customers and providing valuable content.
How to get started with Email Marketing?
Wondering how to get started with email marketing? Email marketing is made up of several moving pieces, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated.
let’s break down a few key steps to get you started building a strong email campaign that will delight your customers. You can think of these steps as the way to create a successful email marketing strategy.
This fundamental step provides campaigns with coherence, structure, and definition. It keeps your message on target and helps you accomplish your marketing goals.
To create a winning strategy, you need to know what it entails. Then it’s a matter of following simple steps and constantly evaluating how your strategy can improve.
1. Define Your Audience
An effective email is a relevant email. Like everything else in marketing, start with your buyer persona, understand what they want, and tailor your email campaign to your audience’s needs.
2. Establish Your Goals
Before you come up with your campaign goals, gather some context. Research the average email stats for your industry and use them as benchmarks for your goals.
3. Create a Way for People to Sign Up
You need people to email, right? An email list (we'll cover how to build your email list in the next section) is a group of users who have given you permission to send them relevant content. To build that list, you need several ways for prospects to opt-in to receive your emails.
Don’t be discouraged if you only have a few people on your list to start. It can take some time to build. In the meantime, treat every single subscriber and lead like gold, and you’ll start to see your email list grow organically.
4. Choose an Email Campaign Type
Email campaigns vary and trying to decide between them can be overwhelming. Do you send a weekly newsletter? Should you send out new product announcements? Which blog posts are worth sharing?
These questions plague every marketer. The answer is subjective. You can start by learning about the different types of email campaigns that exist, then decide which is best for your audience. You should also set up different lists for different types of emails, so customers and prospects can sign up for only the emails that are relevant to them.
5. Make a Schedule
Decide how often you plan to contact your list, inform your audience upfront so they know what to expect, and stick to a consistent schedule to build trust, and so they don’t forget about you.
6. Measure Your Results
This should come as no surprise. As marketers, we measure everything. Being meticulous about every key metric will help you make small changes to your emails that will yield large results. We’re going to touch on the exact KPIs to monitor in a bit (or you can simply jump ahead).
Now that you understand the steps to creating an email marketing strategy, we'll look at what's involved in building your email list.
How to Build Your Email List?
What most people do when they want to build an email list is to put an opt-in form on their website and hope that people sign up. Unfortunately, this strategy usually doesn’t work very well.
To grow your email list, you need to attract people with a compelling offer. You need a lead magnet.
What is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet (a.k.a. an optin bribe) is something awesome that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. It doesn’t have to cost you anything to create; most lead magnets are digital materials like PDFs, MP3 audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost.
It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value to your visitors for free.
Some popular lead magnet examples are:
A cheat sheet of tips or resources
White papers or case studies
Free trials or samples
A free quote or consultation
Quizzes or a self-assessment
The possibilities are endless!
What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?
You already know that a lead magnet needs to provide value for free. But if you want your lead magnet to be highly effective, here are 5 criteria for you to consider:
1. Easily consumed: Lead magnets are only effective when the audience uses them, so if you deliver a 300-page manifesto, you won’t gain traction.
2. Actionable: Lead magnets need to provide an actionable tool, skillset, or useful information that your audience can apply.
3. Creates noticeable improvement: People continue to buy products and services if they work well. Your lead magnet will become successful if it’s as valuable as your products and services.
4. Relevant: If you’ve done your homework about your prospects, you’ll have no trouble coming up with a lead magnet subject that solves problems.
5. Immediately available: People love instant gratification, so give it to them right then and there.
How to Create an Optin Form that Converts?
The purpose of your optin form is to convey the big benefit of your lead magnet, so your website visitors subscribe to your email newsletters in exchange for getting the lead magnet.
To create an opt-in form that converts, it needs to have the following components:
1. Enticing headline: Make sure your headline clearly describes the big benefit of your lead magnet
2. Helpful description: Is your description brief, clear, and to the point? Use bullet points to help the reader’s eye quickly scan what they will get.
3. Attractive visuals: Include an image of the lead magnet if you can (like a mockup of your eBook). A photo of a person looking towards the option form is also a great way to boost conversions. We’ve got a great list of visual content creation tools that can help you create amazing visuals.
4. Simple form: Don’t try to ask for more than a first name and email address. Asking for too much information too soon will kill your conversions.
5. Compelling subscribe button: Make sure to use a contrasting color for your subscribe button, so that it really pops out on the page. Also, use non-generic email copy that compels people to click right away (“Send me the 7 steps!“).
How to Send Marketing Emails?
If all goes well, you’ll have built a robust list of subscribers and leads that are waiting to hear from you. But you can’t start emailing just yet unless you want to end up in a spam folder, or worse, a blocked list.
Here are a few extremely important things to keep in mind before you start emailing the precious list that you worked so hard to build.
1. Choose an email marketing service.
An email marketing provider (ESP) is a great resource if you're looking for any level of support while fine-tuning your email marketing efforts.
Here are examples of features services like Marketing Mantra offer to consider when choosing an email service provider:
CRM platform with segmentation capabilities
Good standing with Internet Service Providers
A positive reputation as an email service provider (ESP)
Easy-to-build forms, landing pages, and CTAs
Simple ways to comply with email regulations
Ability to split test your emails
2. Use email marketing tips.
While you probably don’t think twice about the formatting or subject line of an email you send to a friend, email marketing requires a lot more consideration. Everything from the time you send your email to the devices on which your email could be opened matters. Your goal with every email is to generate more leads, which makes crafting a marketing email a more involved process than other emails you’ve written.
Let’s touch on the components of a successful marketing email:
Copy: The copy in the body of your email should be consistent with your voice and stick to only one topic.
Images: Choose images that are optimized for all devices, eye-catching, and relevant.
CTA: Your call-to-action should lead to a relevant offer and stand out from the rest of the email.
Timing: Based on a study that observed response rates of 20 million emails, Tuesday at 11 AM ET is the best day and time to send your email.
Responsiveness: 55% of emails are opened on mobile. Your email should, therefore, be optimized for this as well as all other devices.
Personalization: Write every email like you’re sending it to a friend. Be personable and address your reader in a familiar tone.
Subject Line: Use clear, actionable, enticing language that is personalized and aligned with the body of the email.
3. Implement email segmentation.
Segmentation is breaking up your large email list into subcategories that pertain to your subscribers’ unique characteristics, interests, and preferences.
Our subscribers are humans, after all, and we should do our best to treat them as such. That means, not sending generic email blasts.
We talked about segmentation briefly above. The reason why this topic is important enough to mention twice is that, without it, you run the risk of sending the wrong content to the wrong people and losing subscribers.
What is Email List Segmentation?
Email list segmentation is the process of breaking your subscribers into smaller groups based on specific criteria so that you can send them more personalized and relevant emails.
Rather than blasting every email to your entire email list, segmentation lets you send certain emails only to those subscribers you think will be the most interested in that content, resulting in higher conversions.
Why Segment Your Email Marketing List? Segmenting your list is proven to increase your email open rates, boost your click-through rates, and decrease your unsubscribe rates. That’s why smart email marketers use segmentation to drastically improve the effectiveness of their email campaigns.
Once you’ve “tagged” your subscribers into different segments, you’ll be able to send really powerful autoresponders, a series of emails that get sent out automatically based on certain conditions, that you can use to nurture your leads and make sales. We’ll talk more about autoresponders in the section on automation.
Segments make it so much easier to know what subject lines and messages to write that will entice the users to open and engage with your email campaigns.
The goal with segmentation should be to find out how did the user get on your email list in the first place?
Did they purchase a product? Visit a specific page? Download a specific lead magnet?
There are many different ways to slice and dice your list into segments. Here are a few ways to get you started:
New subscribers: send new subscribers a welcome email or a welcome series.
Preferences: subscribers who want to hear about blog posts vs. those who only want sale notifications.
Interests: subscribers who like classical music vs. those who like pop.
Location: notify subscribers who live in the area about your local event.
Open rate: reward your more engaged subscribers with a special offer just for them.
Inactivity: remind subscribers who haven’t engaged for a while of the next step you want them to take.
Lead magnet: send targeted emails based on the topic of the lead magnet that they opted-in for.
Shopping Cart Abandonment: remind subscribers who put items in their cart that they haven’t checked out yet.
4. Personalize your email marketing.
Now that you know who you’re emailing and what’s important to them, it will be much easier to send emails with personalized touches.
You’ve gathered all this unique data. Your email marketing software allows for personalization tokens. You have no excuse for sending generic emails that don’t make your leads feel special.
Here are a few ways to personalize your emails:
Add a first name field in your subject line and/or greeting
Include region-specific information when appropriate
Send content that is relevant to your lead’s lifecycle stage
Only send emails that pertain to the last engagement a lead has had with your brand
Write about relevant and/or personal events, like region-specific holidays or birthdays
End your emails with a personal signature from a human (not your company)
Use a relevant call-to-action to an offer that the reader will find useful
5. Improving Your Email Open Rates
This section is super important because even with all of the hard work you’ve done to grow your email list and segment it, you won’t benefit from any of it unless your emails actually get opened.
There are several factors that play a role in whether or not your emails get opened. Let’s explore each of them.
Avoid Spam Filters
Probably the most obvious problem is when your email gets sent to the subscriber’s spam folder. Since you’ve already gotten permission to send emails, and you’ve chosen one of our recommended email marketing providers, you’re off to a great start.
Here are some email marketing best practices to keep your emails from falling into spam folders:
Make sure all recipients have actually opted-in to receiving your emails. Seriously. We can’t emphasize this point enough.
Send your email campaign from a good IP address. That is an IP address that hasn’t been used by someone else who has sent spam in the past.
Send emails through verified domains.
Keep your email template code clean.
Use merge tags to personalize the “To:” field of your email campaign.
Show subscribers how to whitelist your emails, and ask them to add you to their address book.
Avoid excessive use of “sales” language (these are spam trigger words like “buy”, “clearance”, “discount”, or “cash”).
Don’t “bait-and-switch” by using deceptive subject lines.
Include your location.
Include an easy way for subscribers to opt out of your emails.
Almost all of this is handled when you choose a reputable email marketing service.
Remove Inactive Subscribers to Keep Your List Fresh
It’s important to email your subscribers on a consistent basis, so your list doesn’t go stale. Even then, over time, email subscribers still go stale.
Some people may have changed email accounts, or maybe they just aren’t interested in your brand anymore.
So to keep your list fresh and filled with engaged subscribers, it’s a good idea to periodically remove inactive subscribers. An inactive subscriber could be anyone who has not engaged with any email in the past 6 months or more.
But before you get rid of them, try sending one more email campaign to try to re-engage your inactive subscribers. For example, Carol Tice sends a last-ditch-effort email to her inactive subscribers that says, “Do I bore you?” and asks if they still want to stay subscribed. Some people respond, but all others get purged.
Another way to keep your list fresh is by checking in with your subscribers every once in a while to ask if they would like to update their information and their preferences. This way, they are reminded that they can take control of how they want to engage with you.
Perfect Your Timing
Timing can have a huge effect on whether or not your subscribers open your emails and on your conversion rate, so think carefully about what time and day you send your emails out.
You won’t be able to figure out the perfect time immediately but perform some A/B tests to identify which timeframes seem to do best and explore those in future campaigns.
But you may be wondering, has anyone else already done some tests that you can benefit from? Yes!
Make Your Subject Line Stand Out
When it comes to email open and click rates, your subject lines are everything. Your job is to make your subject lines stand out.
Here are some tips for crafting the best email marketing subject lines:
Entice curiosity, but don’t be too clever. You want to make them curious enough to open and click, but without being so cryptic that the subscriber hasn’t a clue as to what you’re talking about.
Include numbers. There is something about numbers that draw the eye.
Use a friendly and conversational tone.
Speak in the language and style that your subscribers use themselves, especially when talking with their friends.
5. Use email marketing templates.
Email marketing templates — like these ones from Marketing Mantra — are another great resource to help you with your email marketing.
Unless you’re a designer and developer on top of being a skilled marketer, templates will save you a ton of time — they take the design, coding, and UX-definition work out of crafting your emails.
6. Incorporate email marketing automation.
Automation is putting your list segmentation to use. Once you’ve created specific subgroups, you can send automated emails that are highly targeted. There are a couple of ways to do this.
An autoresponder, also known as a drip campaign, is a series of emails that is sent out automatically once triggered by a certain action, for instance, when someone downloads your ebook.
You’ll use the same guidelines for writing your emails that we discussed previously to ensure that your readers find your emails useful and interesting. You should decide how far apart you’d like your emails to be sent, say every few days or weeks or even months.
The great thing about autoresponders is that you can set it and forget it. Every user that is part of your autoresponder will receive each email that you’ve added to the series.
Workflows take autoresponders a step further. Think of Workflow like a flow tree with yes/no branches that will execute actions based on the criteria that you set. Workflows have two key components:
1. Enrollment criteria, or the action that would qualify a user for the workflow.
2. Goal, or the action that would take a user out of the workflow. Workflow tools are smart enough to know if a user opened an email or downloaded an offer, and it will set off a series of actions based on that behavior. That means, it can send an email series, or even change a prospect’s lifecycle stage based on what a user does.
And if you’re ready to grow your email list right away, sign up for your risk-free Marketing Mantra account!