What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a general term that applies to all strategies that you use to promote your business with emails.
Depending on your current needs and strategies, email marketing can perform serve different purposes:
- Educate about your products;
- Raise brand awareness and recognition;
- Drive traffic to where you need it;
- Warm up subscribers;
- Generate sales;
- Move customer down the sales funnel;
- Collect feedback;
- Keep your brand on top of the mind;
- Build a community around your business.
The reason for such service versatility is the cross-functional format of email messages. They can include text, numbers, symbols, promo-codes, images, animation, video, links, CTA, full contacts, etc. which make them convenient and easy to use.
It can take only one email to deliver the details about the new product release or event, add corresponding photos, add other users’ reviews, include the introductory video and add the promo code on the first order. So far, no other communication channels are able to deliver so big volumes of diverse info.
What’s more, with the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology on the rise, it’s possible to create dynamic emails that would enable you to complete many transactions within the email itself, without opening a website page. For example, today you can already choose the product item and place an order straight in the email message, as well as RSVP to an event or leave a comment or feedback.
Another advantage of email marketing is that anyone can do it. There are many email editors with free email templates you can use to learn to create and test emails. Most of them are of a drag-and-drop format, meaning you need no HTML code skills to operate them. A drag-and-drop editor is like a constructor where you can build a template out of ready blocks depending on your needs.
And if you need more advanced features, like behavioral segmentation or personalization, you can use the service of an ESP. ESP is short for an email service provider. It’s a software platform that, among other things, helps you track and store customer data and use it to segment and personalize your campaigns.
Most modern ESPs are multichannel and not limited to emails only. They can help send different types of messages, like SMS, web pushes and mobile pushes, and provide other marketing solutions, like pop-up forms, chatbots, website recommendations, subscription forms, etc.
Types of Emails
In terms of content and purpose, emails are divided into promotional and educational. However, few emails solely belong to one category. Most often, one message incorporates features of both types and is a mix of promotional and educational content. There are also service emails like confirmations, reset, alerts etc. that aim to provide details on your account or shopping activity.
In terms of the final recipients they’re meant for, emails are divided into bulk and transactional.
Educational and Promotional
As suggested by their names, educational and promotional emails serve to educate people on your brand and promote your products, respectively. Of course, the final aim of all emails is to drive sales, but educational emails do it in a less direct way. They rather warm up the audience, tell the story of the brand and its values, and share the current company’s activities.
Newsletters, welcome email series, onboarding guidelines and manuals, pro advice and Q&A, download files typically belong to educational content.
Promotional emails are emails whose main goal is to generate an instant sale. They contain several CTA, sales terms (if you run one) and promo codes or other incentives like free shipping, gift for a friend, access to gated content, etc.
Holiday sales, product promotions, limited-time offers, event announcements, new arrivals, giveaways, seasonal clearance belong to promotional content.
Educational vs. promotional email
Bulk and Transactional
Bulk emails are emails sent to multiple recipients. It can be your whole contact base or certain segments. Newsletters, promos, event announcements, welcome emails, and holiday congratulations belong to bulk emails.
Transactional emails are emails sent to one recipient in response to their account or shopping activity. A subscription confirmation, order placement, password reset, payment, and even abandoned browse on the website can trigger a transactional email.
Bulk vs. transactional email
How to Use Email Marketing the Right Way
Any brand serious about their marketing results should incorporate all the above types into one solid strategy. But when you’re only starting with email marketing, it’s easy to get confused with abundant information and unknown terms. The best way is to get started steadily and build your email strategy step by step. Here are some tips on how to do it.
- Grow your email list slowly. Even if you have only 50 subscribers in your base, don’t rush into buying contact lists. Such a purchase can cause you many problems with contact base hygiene and sender reputation. Instead, add a subscription form on your website or social media pages. Introduce a referral program that would encourage people to share your content with friends. Collaborate with brands that have a similar target audience and promote each other via all channels.
- Start segmenting from the start. The earlier you start dividing your customers based on their preferences and shopping behavior, the better. Even with a small contact base, start to build segments and test different condition combinations. And then, when you have one million subscribers, you’ll already know the mechanics and will have lean segmentation processes.
- Deliver relevant content. With competition flourishing, people can always go looking for more interesting things elsewhere. To avoid this, monitor your audience’s preferences and respond to changes in them. Also, keep the track of the email design trends and add the most relevant to your campaigns.
- Analyze the results. Provided you have no problems with deliverability, open rate and click rate are the first metrics to pay attention to. Their fluctuation is normal but a sudden decline is a warning sign and a signal to revise your strategies.
Today, email marketing offers more solutions than just to send promo codes. It’s an effective tool to draw your customer portrait, build brand recognition and promote other channels email subscribers may not know about. And with mobile optimisation offered by most ESPs, you can be sure your message will be opened and consumed on any device.