Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!
A mini guide to email marketing
Let’s Start Off with the Basics
There are so many amazing how-to and reference guides on email marketing. Whether you’re just starting out or simply need some clarification, having that kind of resource is invaluable! These guides are extensive, which is a positive in the long run, but what if you just want the basics? Sometimes you just want a quick bite-sized answer to your question.
This mini-guide will provide you with all the basics of email marketing, in a short-form format for easy digestion. And if you’re looking for a full how-to? Well have I got some great resources for you!
Parts Of The Email
Email marketing has a formula. With personal mail you can do as you like; send a block of text, fill your content with emojis, or forget the sub-topics line. In marketing however, every email you send is made up of absolutely integral parts, specially curated to appeal to your audience and convert readers into leads.
So what makes up a marketing email? We might know what a subject line is, but why is it important? What the heck is a lead magnet? Check out the index below for a full rundown of key email components, from top to bottom.
The name or pseudonym of the sender of an email.
Pretty self-explanatory. This is the name people see in their inbox when they receive an email. Often a senders first name, it can include individuals or groups (businesses, associations, clubs, etc.). While it may not seem as important as the content itself, choosing the right Sender Name makes a difference.
Using your companies full name has its benefits as it clearly states who you are and confirms your credibility. On the other hand, sending emails from the desk of a real person within your organisation provides a personal touch and an authenticity that appeals to some audiences. A/B testing (see below) will allow you to find which method best represents you and your business.
Text describing the contents of an email. Often shortened in your inbox preview to save space.
This is the first point of reference regarding the content of an email. Aside from the sender, the subject line is the first thing people look for when judging the value of an email. And judgement can happen in a split-second, so it’s integral to optimize your subject line.
It should be clear in its purpose. That means no clickbait or dishonest marketing. While a bit of mystery in a subject line has its place, promising an audience one thing and directing them to another is frowned upon.
Your subject line should also be captivating. While it is only a preview of the content, it should compel people to open and read your email. This can be tricky, as you only have so much space. Try for something that is punchy and concise, but be sure it gets the message across.
Tip: When appropriate, personalise your subject line with each subscriber’s name to boost open rates.
A potential customer or client who has subscribed to your email list.
When someone subscribes to your email list, it is the beginning of a relationship, with equal give and take. You provide information, offers, and other desirable content (Lead Magnets) in exchange for their prospective patronage.
A marketing tool in which you supply subscribers desirable content in exchange for their contact information.
It isn’t as nefarious as it sounds! It’s part of the relationship you’re building. Your readers subscribed to your list for a reason, and you are giving them content they expect, paired with the offer of something they may want. It isn’t pushy or demanding; it’s up to the reader to decide if they are interested.
Whatever you offer, it should be true to you, your business, and your brand. Don’t try to push something that isn’t related to the products and services you offer. Make it relevant to your readers. Provide something they can use; something that offers a solution or improves their life. And don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you offer something, and you don’t deliver – well that’s just poor practice!
An example of effective lead magnets:
- Resource Lists
Check out Christina Perricone’s ultimate email marketing guide and Kevin McGrath’s comprehensive lead magnet list for a more in-depth look at various lead magnets.
The main content of an email.
Engaging copy is key to any email marketing campaign. The body of your email should convey your message or offer clearly and succinctly. It is integral that your content is relevant and enticing. If your readers don’t find it interesting, they may unsubscribe.
The visual content of an email.
Again, pretty self-explanatory. Choosing exciting, eye-catching images is to your benefit, but make sure they are relevant to the written content. If you have an offer or want to promote a product, choose photos of the products specifically.
Very important: only use photos you own or have the rights to. And be sure to give credit! Even if the content isn’t being published on your site, if you use it, follow the regulations. That way, everyone wins!
An appeal of engagement from your readers.
Essentially, it’s a small bit of text paired with a button, link, or form that asks readers to take the next step in the relationship. It can be something as simple as a subscribe button. You are requesting action on their part in exchange for something valuable. The action might be anything from visiting your website, to downloading your ebook, to signing up for a course.
What you offer in exchange can vary greatly. It could be valuable information, exclusive membership, a free trial, or a discount on products or services, just to name a few.
For an fun list of effective CTAs, check out this extensive selection compiled by Brittany Leaning.
A link or button that removes a reader from your subscribe list.
Unsubscribing should be easy for your readers. Trying to make it difficult so people can’t leave will only cause frustration and hurt your credibility. Having a clear link or button at the bottom of your email is always a best practice.
One big benefit of including the button? You can track when people unsubscribe. This allows you to monitor which campaigns work and which content turns peoples away.
Three Key Email Marketing Practices
While each of the following practices stands on its own as an important part of email marketing, they all work together, each one functioning best when combined with the others.
The practice of separating your subscriber list into different categories, each of which receives specific content. This is the best way to ensue you are sending the right information to the right people, helping you cater further to your audience.
There are numerous factors to take into consideration when deciding how to segment your list and looking at your analytics can help you find the best option. Demographics like age and gender are a good place to start, but really diving deep into your data so you understand your readers is integral.
So what else should you be looking at?
Take a peek at Jordie die van Rijn’s blog for a detailed look at the ins and outs of segmentation.
As you would expect, it is the process of automating the delivery of emails. But there’s more to it than that!
It isn’t simply a matter of scheduling an email to be sent at an exact time. While that is a benefit, as you can batch-produce and schedule emails months in advance, automation allows for drip campaigns – a marketing campaign that auto-responds to a subscriber after a specific action triggers it to start.
Automation also works concurrently with segmentation. After dividing your list into groups, you are able to automate specific emails, newsletters, and drip campaigns for those designated groups only. This prevents the inundation of your subscribers inboxes with extraneous content.
An added bonus? It really does save you time!
The practice of customising emails to each of your individual subscribers. While this may seem time-consuming, it is actually relatively simple. A lot of the work necessary for personalisation is done through automation and segmentation.
With automation, you can set every email to be addressed to the name given to you by each given subscriber, instead of their email address or a general “Hello!”.
With segmentation, you can personalise the content of a campaign to the interests and demographics of each given segment. For example, if you have subscribers from all over the world, it could benefit you to customise the content to their location. And don’t forget to personalise the subject line!
A fun bonus? Christina Perricone suggests adding your own signature to sign off each email. That way, you readers know there’s a real human being behind the screen, providing a more personable experience!
Consider Your Analytics
Tracking you campaigns is essential to understanding what works best for you. Fortunately, most email service providers include analytics. This allows you to learn about your subscribers. Which demographics enjoy what content? Who gravitates towards one lead magnet over another? What kind of people make up your most engaged readers? So many questions! Thankfully, metrics have the answer!
There are two main ways to measure your success: Performance Analytics and A/B Testing. The first focuses on the overall success of your campaigns, while the second compares two similar emails that present differently.
Usually just called Analytics, this is the system that tracks and measures all of your emails, whether a simple welcome email or a full-blown campaign.
Knowing exactly how people are interacting with your emails is invaluable. From the first email they open, to any time they click on a CTA, your analytics tracks user behaviour to provide you with data you can use to improve your email content and structure. This is of benefit to both you and your readers, as it allows you deliver the content your readers want.
What sort of metrics should you be tracking? Some important ones include:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Bounce rate
- Unique opens by time or location
- Conversion rate
And that is just to name a few! While it can take a bit of time and energy, understanding what works and what doesn’t is integral. And if numbers just don’t click for you, hiring an email marketing professional can be a good investment.
Another benefit provided by analytics? You can learn which content resonates with which demographics and tailor your content to those groups through segmentation and personalisation.
A form of comparative testing that deduces which of two options performs better with your audience.
Put your lab coat on, it’s time for an experiment! While you do have to follow a system, it isn’t quite as complicated as it sounds. A/B testing is simply the comparison of two similar emails with a solitary difference. The purpose of the test is to deduce which email performs best with the observed audience. You can A/B test all parts of your email, from subject line, to colour, to layout, to delivery time, and more.
Much like with any form of research, you are required to have a solid research question, based on testing one sole component of your email at a time. After randomly dividing members of your subscriber list into two equal sections, send Version A to one group, and Version B to the other. Once the results are in, you can compare the data and improve your email marketing based on user preference.
Want to delve deeper into email marketing analytics? Check out FulcrumTech’s Email Optimization Guide.
A Little And A Lot
Whew, that was more than I thought! And that is just the basics! Considering that this is a whittled-down version, it’s no wonder that email marketing can seem like a behemoth from the outside. But it is a totally tameable animal! Just start with baby-steps, learn the lingo, and begin your journey!
Don’t forget to check out the resources provided. If you want to read more, check out these informative (and awesome!) digital experts:
And hey, if you’d like to get more helpful guides and notes from me now and again, you can sign up for my email list a little further down the page 🙂 see you there!