What Is Email Marketing?
No type of promotion is surrounded by so many stereotypes as email marketing. It’s believed to equal intrusive chaotic messages and is constantly expected to pass away. However, being a dinosaur of the digital marketing world, it still continues to adapt new technologies, retain customers, and bring profit. And whatever predictions, the era of automated email marketing is far from sunset.
What is email marketing?
This is a communication between a business and its audience via email that aims to promote products or services, raise brand recognition, drive sales and build long-lasting relationships.
Marketers like email because it’s relatively easy to use, has a high ROI, and can serve to perform different goals.
According to Campaign Monitor, the ROI of email, depending on the industry, is 3800% – 4000%, which means that every dollar spent on average brings 38-40 dollars of profit.
90% of messages are delivered to customers' inboxes, except for those whose boxes are full or inactive, while a Facebook post appears in the feed of 2-4% of subscribers of the business page.
According to Litmus, 43% of emails are opened on mobiles, which means the user can receive information regardless of the device.
While the feed in social media is scrolled through quickly, the read session of email is constantly growing. 61% of recipients interact with the email content for more than 8 seconds, 23.5% – for 2 to 8 seconds, and only 15% spend less than 2 seconds reading the message
Interaction with email content can be really engaging, and the results are always measurable:
- The AMP technology has made it possible to make an order or booking in a couple of clicks straight in the email without going to the website or other platforms.
- Email design has unlimited options – quests, quizzes, surveys, interactive elements like wheels of fortune, etc. – while communication via messengers has its limitations.
- Built-in analytics provided by ESPs has statistics on delivery, opens, clicks, domains, devices, browsers and more. Businesses can analyze, optimize and calculate return on investment.
Automated Email Marketing for Your Business
Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing is primarily a client-oriented strategy that starts with engagement and aims to generate repeat sales and build long-term relationships. It fits any type of business yet differs in strategies and set of triggers (automated emails). The strategy is typically a separate document with a plan of action which is implemented step by step.
The strategy includes:
1. KPI and goals you want to achieve.
2. Budget and list of necessary resources (salary of marketers, cost of ESP, web tracking, data storage).
3. Competitive analysis.
4. Contact collection plan.
5. Necessary automated workflows:
- purchase follow-up;
6. Segment creation and management.
7. Plan for mandatory promotions.
The list of strategy stages largely depends on the sales funnel.
Email Marketing Service
Personal email is only suitable for personal communication. Business campaigns require a corporate address and tools to automate processes and analyze the result.
If you want to build a good domain reputation and become a trusted sender, you need to set up digital signatures. Otherwise, your campaigns may be blocked by email clients or get into Spam.
To follow up customers, especially B2B, it’s enough to set up campaigns in CRM. If you plan to send regular bulk messages, follow up orders, send automated emails, for example, abandoned carts, it’s better to opt for a specialized system (ESP).
Compared to CRM, marketing via an email marketing platform provides more possibilities to:
- create and manage segments;
- easily build beautiful emails in the corporate design without knowledge of HTML and CSS;
- adjust responsiveness and preview emails on mobile and desktop;
- get reports on the campaign results;
- create omnichannel workflows. For example, send an email and a web push, and if not opened, send a Viber message;
- set any workflows with the necessary conditions: send to those who clicked the link in the email, performed an action on the website, specifying the time of sending, etc.
- track clicks in Google Analytics without complex settings and manual configuration of UTM tags, and more.
What Email Marketing Can Do
Email marketing can be incorporated as a separate sales funnel, or complement the digital tools that are used to attract and retain customers. Let's take a closer look at what it can help with.
Drive Visitors Back to the Website and Convert Them Into Customers
Find a product or service, read the description on the website, add to a cart, go to another site for comparison, get distracted and forget the initial intention – is the typical behavior of the buyer. You can fix the situation; email marketing has all the necessary tools.
With triggered emails, you can remind about the abandoned browse, inform on the product arrival, etc., and do it automatically:
- Abandoned browses – are sent if the visitor browsed the product and studied the card with its characteristics.
- Abandoned carts – are sent if the visitor had added the product to the cart, but did not complete a purchase.
- Emails with wishlisted products – the item has been added to such a list, remind about it and stimulate the purchase.
- Arrival notification – a trigger works when the visitor wants to pre-order or informs they want to know when the item is back in stock.
Teach to Use a Product – Onboarding
Such emails help retain and engage subscribers. They show the value of the product and teach to use it as efficiently as possible. For example, onboarding emails are part of the email marketing strategy of Zapier.
Customer success is very important in terms of retention. If they understand what to do with the product, learn about the new functionality, they won’t keep looking for a more convenient alternative of competitors. Want to reduce the customer churn rate? Consider launching a series of tutoring emails.
Base burnout is an inevitable process. People change email addresses, are no longer interested in the product, there are more interesting offers from competitors. Such segments require more active interaction: offer additional incentives, ask about the reason for their inactivity and take measures. If the subscriber ignores you, it is better to unsubscribe them – it’s the basis of the contact list hygiene and optimizes costs.
Built-in analytics of the ESP allows to segment people who don't open your emails or don't make purchases over a certain period of time. You can stimulate their activity by:
- valuable lead magnets (for example, white paper);
Promotions are responsible for this function. Regular and up-to-date offers encourage repeat sales, retain customers. The main thing is to balance frequency and not get annoying.
Addition to the Company's Service
Many companies have realized that the quality of service is an important part of the sales process, which affects customer loyalty and revenue.
While working on the company's service design, include transaction emails, order notifications, thank you messages in your strategy.
Pros and Cons of Email Marketing
Like any other service, email marketing has its pros and cons which you need to consider before setting.
We’ve already mentioned that, according to Campaignmonitor, a business can get 40 times more revenue. At eSputnik, a user is given 2,500 free emails at the start, next 1,000 emails will cost you $1,99 under the Pay As You Go pricing plan, and even less under other pricing plans. The cost of campaigns also includes the services of a designer, copywriter, template designer, marketer. But even with a small product margin, the company's revenue is usually higher than the cost. The better the base and segmentation, the more sales they will generate.
- Fast return on investment.
You can evaluate the results of the campaign almost the next day. Yes, the message can still be opened within the next 3 days or more, purchases can be delayed in time, but you can measure the basic profit 24 hours after the message was sent.
- The most informative messages.
The format of the email allows you to give it an individual structure, design, put in it text, pictures, videos. This makes it an attractive, understandable, informative message.
The value of the service provider is not only in its reliability and technical capabilities but also in tools for result assessment. Built-in reports show:
- delivery rate, open rate, CTR, CTOR;
- errors, spam complaints, unsubscribed;
- comparative scale of campaign efficiency, based on industry statistics (implemented in eSputnik);
- response time;
- click map;
- statistics by domains and segments.
And you can also highlight the best and worst campaigns, analyze them to further optimize and improve the email marketing efficiency.
Or analyze the client behavior: how many emails they opened or, on the contrary, did not open.
90% is the average deliverability for an active inbox.
Emails are not delivered to non-existent addresses and full inboxes, so the quality of the base and its regular validation determine the result. Proper contact base management is key for effective email marketing.
- The ability to quickly replenish the contact base in exchange for contacts that unsubscribed or became inactive.
Natural burnout of the base isn’t a sentence. Attracting new subscribers contributes not only to the stability of the channel but also to its development. To do this, you need to at least create a noticeable subscription form with a good offer.
- A way to create good customer service.
A series of triggered emails helps notify the customer on the order status at every step of the way from the warehouse to the customer's home. This makes them comfortable and proves the reliability of the company.
- Full channel automation.
Neither SEO, nor PPC or SMM give such opportunities as email marketing. We are talking about fully automated communication with a subscriber.
An email service provider, such as eSputnik, allows one-time setting of customer interaction workflows, which will then automatically generate sales.
The system also collects statistics about the behavior of subscribers, stores some personal data, such as shopping history, birthday, subscription categories, etc. This allows you to send triggered messages with gifts for a birthday or anniversary, reactivate those who have long not interacted with your campaigns or bought on your website.
- Automatic increase of an average check.
Want to upsell or cross-sell in emails? It's easy! Artificial Intelligence gives such an opportunity. The automation system stores the user's browsing history and allows adding to emails blocks with individual recommendations.
- The ability to segment and personalize campaigns.
The eSputnik system not only allows you to add personal data but also forms entire blocks of individual content for each recipient.
Available options for conditional segments let build the necessary micro-segments:
- Complex workflows may require the help of specialists. The service support typically responds quickly and for free, but to set up events and product feed you may need a programmer.
- Users can abandon their inboxes because they create them spontaneously to fulfill a certain task, get a lot of campaigns, forget the login, etc. With time, inactive addresses get blocked by email clients, can become spam traps. This not only reduces behavioral metrics but can even damage the sender reputation.
- A subscriber can always unsubscribe. The unsubscribe option should be in every email, it can not be hidden or made unnoticeable.
How to Start Email Marketing
Your email marketing setup plan should include the following steps:
1. Choose an email service provider. Each business has its own product and tasks: someone sells webinars, someone – toothbrushes, so companies need different functionality to automate sales.
There are universal systems with the maximum set of tools, and there are limited and focused on, for example, e-commerce only. Some ESPs have more options for segmentation, analysis, testing, etc., others have less. Form your list requirements before subscribing to the pricing plan.
How to make a choice?
- ask your marketing colleagues for recommendations, for example, in groups on Facebook;
- study reviews of email service providers;
- ask the sales department all the questions before making payments and setting up email marketing on the platform.
2. Start collecting subscriber contacts offline and online. Add subscription forms on the site and Facebook, at the store, when registering in the loyalty program, ask the customers for consent to receive campaigns, launch targeted ads in the lead-form format.
3. To NOT get unwonted, create signatures DMARC, DKIM, SPF. Email clients primarily pay attention to their presence, otherwise you will not become the trusted sender, as you can be mistaken for a scammer.
4. Create a master template that will cover all possible structures to use in future campaigns. This saves a lot of time on email creation.
5. Start to the first campaign:-) Prepare content, send to the proper segment.
Ready email templates and workflows
How to set up your campaigns: Marketer vs. Agency
You can always learn the basics of email marketing yourself and improve your skills step by step. There are quicker ways: hire a specialist or contact an email marketing agency.
A full-time email marketer definitely has its pros and cons:
|involved in the company's general marketing strategy||additional payment for the services of a designer, copywriter|
|knows the product||quick burnout when working with a mono project|
|is authorized to make decisions, not many approvals needed||
does not have enough cases to solve emerging problems
|focused on the goals of one project||no exchange of experience|
A full-time marketer needs to know the basics of copywriting, design, programming, even if they only have to control the work of specialists; be an analyst; have experience in direct marketing, have a set of soft skills to build productive work with colleagues and partners. They may not have enough competence, but their involvement in the project is 100%.
What about an email marketing agency?
|has all the necessary professionals||does not understand how its work affects the results of the marketing department because doesn’t see the context of the company's strategy|
|extensive expertise in the industry||more expensive than a full-time specialist|
|experience shared within the agency||limited hours for the project|
|well-functioned processes, developed algorithms that speed up the channel development||can exceed the budget due to situational tasks|
|acts as external consultants in the development of direct marketing||has other clients|
Email Marketing Metrics
The main metric to evaluate the result is, of course, sales. To assess them, set up ecommerce in Google Analytics or other analytics systems.
What other indicators to analyze?
- Conversion rate;
- Spam reports.
Email marketing is a complete customer strategy that has nothing to do with spam. Its tasks: build communication, retain customers, follow up, provide quality service, sell.
To start email marketing, you need:
- develop a strategy or ask specialists for help;
- choose an email service provider;
- find the performer;
- start implementing the strategy.