One of the most effective ways to advertise your product or service. Basically, businesses send emails containing advertisements and information about their services to people who have given them permission (opt-in). If you are looking for easy online marketing with a great return on investment (ROI), then email marketing may be right for you.
To help you get started, we’ve put together this information page that explains the basics of email marketing, how it works, what it costs, and some best practices. We hope this helps answer your questions about this effective form of online advertising.
What is email marketing? An introduction…
If you haven’t already heard about it before – let us start by introducing you to email marketing. It is a way for businesses to promote their products and services to current and potential customers by using a targeted list of contacts, most of whom have already indicated an interest in being contacted directly by the business.
In order to get this permission from your contacts, you need an email signup form on your website where visitors can provide all of their contact information so that they may be added to your email database. In exchange for their personal info, these new subscribers will receive regular emails containing exclusive promotions that are only available through email communication with you.
Where is Email Marketing available?
It is readily available in most countries all over the world. In fact, not only is it legal in most countries but it has been estimated that approximately 90% plus of businesses around the world use it as a form of direct marketing. In addition, email marketing is also considered to be one of the most effective forms of online advertising due to its relatively low cost and high return on investment.
Who uses Email Marketing?
Nowadays it seems like almost everybody is using some type of email marketing service because it has proven itself to be such an effective form of online advertising. Over 80% of Americans have an active email account, which is just some of the reasons why this form of marketing is so popular.
This marketing medium works especially well for businesses looking to reach out to a large number of targeted prospects online since it has been shown that email subscribers are typically 8 times more likely to open promotional emails than non-subscribers. Why not try it out for yourself?
Email Marketing Statistics:
According to a survey conducted by Econsultancy, 96% of companies surveyed reported an increase in their sales as a result of email marketing. Furthermore, 79% stated that it provides positive ROI for their business. Plus, these statistics have only been increasing over the past few years with more people moving towards digital media each day.
Is Email Marketing Safe? Yes!
As long as you don’t fall prey to bad marketing practices (we’ll get to those in a minute), email is considered one of the safest forms of online advertising because it doesn’t require personal information like credit card details in order for someone to receive what you have to offer. Rather, this type of direct marketing requires only an initial signup form in order to get permission from your customers.
What is inbound email?
The term ‘inbound’ relates to getting the attention of interested prospects without them having to make the first move. This differs from outbound forms of marketing, where you are finding your potential customers through ads or banners.
An email has always been a great way to connect with current and future customers because it is considered an ‘inbound’ method since they have actively opted in to receive emails from you.
Email Marketing vs Bulk/Spam Emails:
Many people tend to confuse email marketing with bulk or spam emails that are sent by companies who basically just send out mass messages without any personalization techniques, no targeted group of subscribers, etc.
So why does this issue exist? Who knows? But what’s important to know is that these types of mass messages are often not only frowned upon but also illegal under the CAN-SPAM Act.
What’s a Double opt-in?
Many people talk about Double opt-ins because it is a widely known best practice to have when it comes to email marketing. This process entails your subscribers receiving an initial subscription request from your site, and them continuing the subscription process by clicking on a link in their follow-up email. In this way, you can ensure that the person truly signed up for your email list themselves instead of somebody else signing them up without their knowledge.
What’s an Unsubscribe or Opt-Out?
One thing that you should take seriously is to ensure that your users’ privacy and data are kept safe and secure. As such, you should provide several options to your users just in case they ever need to change their minds about receiving emails from you.
What is a Whitelist?
A lot of people confuse what exactly a whitelist is, and why it’s important. Essentially, a whitelist (AKA email list) is a list of senders from who you would like to receive emails. On the other hand, an email blacklist (AKA spam list) is used to block out all emails that you don’t want or care about receiving.
For example, if you’re on holiday and only want your Mum (or whoever else might be sending you emails at this time) to be able to contact you – then this would mean adding them to your whitelist.
How do I create a whitelist or blacklist?
What’s interesting about this is that, depending on the email marketing service you use, you might be able to control where your emails are going using either of these lists.
For example, if you were using MailChimp then every time somebody subscribes to your list they would receive an automated welcome message asking them if they’d like to join any groups they think may interest them. This is also what separates social media profiles from email marketing services – for the latter ask you first if it’s ok for them to send out promotional stuff before sending anything.
What’s the best way to get people to subscribe?
At this point, some of our regular readers might be thinking “so I’ve heard about this little tool called ‘tweet’ – how would that help me if my aim is to grow my email list?”
The answer is easy: by providing additional incentives for people who have already opted into your service. For example, creating a custom link will allow you to track exactly where users came from and allow you to compare clicks with other channels such as social media.
In general, it’s a good idea to just remind people that your email list exists at all – there are still lots of people out there who have never opted into an email list, which means they might not even realize that their information is being sold to third party companies.
What’s the difference between transactional emails & marketing emails?
This is another key thing that Unroll.me does well; by letting users select what types of emails they want or don’t want. By using this tool effectively it can allow marketers to do things like show promotional offers to users who have bought products from your store before. This sort of data is invaluable when it comes to finding out exactly what type of content you should be sending to your email list.
What about spam?
Finally, the question on every user’s lips – “Is my email going to end up in someone’s spam folder?!” Spam filters are an unfortunate side effect of doing business online; even companies with the best intentions can find themselves being blocked by ISPs or having emails filtered into a user’s junk folder. To make sure this doesn’t happen, we recommend using a reputable email marketing service provider who will work hard behind the scenes to make sure that nothing gets sent without express consent from a user.
Do you want to be guaranteed, high open rates for your campaigns? Then sign up now to our email marketing newsletter and we’ll send you weekly tips on improving your email marketing campaigns! Simply enter your e-mail below:
What is the Sender Score & how does it affect my campaign?
The sender score is a way of measuring how reputable the company sending an email is; essentially it boils down to looking at things like what other users are saying about their service – are they compliant with anti-spam laws, etc.? This sort of information can mean the difference between having future emails end up in the spam or not, so making sure that everything looks good beforehand is vital.
If there’s one thing that sums this all up it’s that you need to know that your subscribers truly want your emails; whether they’re using services like Unroll.me or marking you as spam in their address books – this is a sure-fire way of making sure that nobody wants to hear from you.
Types of Email Marketing:
In the past decade, email marketing has been used as a simple way to market a business. Some might say it’s better than using PPC or SEO since you can reach thousands or even millions of people without spending much money. There are several types of email marketing including:
Authority Emails – These emails focus on giving people advice and tips related to your niche. For example, if you operate a fashion blog then an authority email would be one that’s trying to help individuals find new looks or clothing options for upcoming events.
You might earn their trust by offering free material such as fashion ideas from your own personal wardrobe, links to fashion blogs that offer great deals, etc. The idea is that they’ll continue visiting your website because they know you can give them something of value.
Relationship Emails – Relationship emails are written to people who have signed up to your list in the past. They’re basically an announcement of some sort whether it’s related to a sale, a new product, etc. Since you already have their email address they’re more likely to open it and read what you have to say even if they don’t really care about what you’re offering or promoting.
The worst that can happen is that they’ll mark it as spam which isn’t the end of the world since email providers are usually pretty good at detecting spammers these days.
Personalization – This type focuses on adding specific words to each subject line based on previous purchases, signups, leads generated, etc. You might have something like “Congrats!” for someone who just made their first purchase or “Welcome Back” if they’ve visited your site before but haven’t signed up. Click-Through Rate (CTR) – CTR emails are usually sent to new subscribers.
They offer a reward of some sort in exchange for clicking on an email link. It’s the same concept as getting people to click on ads and could include anything from contests, sweepstakes, coupons, etc.
How does email marketing work?
In order for your emails to be read by subscribers, you need to know how they work in a general sense. So in this section, we’ll explain the basics of how an email campaign is initiated and then delivered to its target audience. If you’re wondering what’s going on behind the scenes, keep reading.
The basic steps of an email marketing campaign are as follows:
- You create your message using your computer, tablet, or mobile device.
- Your email is sent to the email service provider (ESP).
- The ESP sends it to their servers where it’s placed into a queue that is associated with the recipient’s ISP.
- Once all of the ISPs involved have approved its arrival, your message will be sent out to its target audience via SMTP.
What does my email need in order for it to get delivered successfully?
After you’ve created and crafted the perfect message for your subscribers, there are some other factors that can help ensure delivery of your emails including things like “from” name and address, what time of day your mail is sent, and the subject line.
Subject Lines – This is certainly a critical component of your email’s success because it acts as an initial way for subscribers to find out if they’re interested in opening it or not.
So you want to make sure yours is clear and catchy enough that they’ll be compelled to open your message instead of deleting it! A bad subject line can even result in a spam folder designation. If you’re looking for ways to improve them, take a look at these tips from our friends at MailChimp.
From Address – The name and address associated with the “from” field tell recipients who sent your email. In fact, some ISPs use this information as another way to filter potential unsolicited mail. So make sure you use your company’s official email address here.
Delivery Time – If your customers tend to check their emails during off-hours like during the weekend or very early in the morning, then you might need to adjust when you send out your own messages so that they’re not received at times that are too inconvenient for them.
WebForms – As we said earlier, the only way you can collect email addresses from your visitors is by using “opt-in” forms that ask viewers for permission to add them to your list.
Since it’s easy for anyone with even a minor amount of HTML skills to create one of these on their own, there are dozens of free services available that allow you just this! We suggest choosing one that lets both text and images be collected (otherwise you won’t be able to track who subscribes via their unique phone number or mailing address), lets you save information in a database, and has an interface that is easy to navigate.
Free Delivery – This means that the email address you obtained is good and hasn’t been accidentally or intentionally blacklisted by another ISP. While it’s not always possible to determine whether or not an email address is deliverable without sending a message out to it, there are some rules for how an address should look in order to ensure that you won’t have any problems getting your emails through.
Legal Issues – This is probably the part of email marketing that most people aren’t too terribly familiar with. In their eagerness to add new prospects or customers from all over the world, many entrepreneurs don’t take the time to find out exactly what they need to do in order to maintain compliance with spam laws.
However, if you’re going to be using email as a way of reaching anyone other than the owner of a company who has specifically agreed (in writing) that you can conduct direct marketing activities on his/her behalf, then there are several legal issues you need to be aware of.
First, you’ll want to make sure that your campaign complies with the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act (the law specifically forbids calling anyone who has asked not to receive sales or promotional content more than once on any given day). Next, you should know that most countries have their own regulations against spamming.
For example, if you’re planning on sending out regular emails to UK subscribers then take note that they also fall under the scope of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) Act 2003. This is why it’s so important for professionals who plan on doing business in other countries to learn about their specific regulations when it comes to electronic marketing.
Spam Filters – sometimes called “Content Filters,” these are internet security tools used by ISPs and even larger websites like Yahoo!, Google, and AOL to help reduce the amount of spam that reaches their subscribers.
While they’re not 100% effective – and some individuals opt-out of receiving messages entirely – they do provide a very high level of protection against low-value emails like the kind most businesses send out to their contact lists.
What, exactly, do you need in order to run an email campaign?
The actual process of creating and executing an email marketing campaign can be broken down into three basic steps:
- Create your message in HTML
- Send it via SMTP
- Track its progress in real-time
With the first two steps being things that only you have control over – and the last one requiring a little help from a third party – this is where you’re going to want to invest some money if you don’t already own a website or web hosting service that provides you with all of these essential tools for free.
So just what are these necessities? Read on…
SMTP – as we mentioned above, this is an acronym for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and it’s the standard email transmission protocol used by ISPs today. This is what allows emails to be delivered from point A (your own webspace) to point B (your subscribers’ inboxes). There are a couple of different ways that you can send out your messages:
– Web-based SMTP – as long as your website meets all of the legal requirements (things like having a valid SSL certificate and no open relays), you can use these services to transmit your messages. They work much in the same way as any other type of ESP, except they’re free and built right into your site! Additionally, because there is no software installed on your server itself, this approach makes them more secure than other types of SMTPs.
– Desktop SMTP – this is a program that you can install on your computer, which will allow both outgoing and incoming messages to be transmitted from it. However, these are usually much slower than web-based SMTPs so they’re not recommended if you have a lot of messages going out at the same time. Most free email programs also include an option for desktop SMTP, but because this approach only allows outgoing messages, you’ll need a separate service for sending replies to any subscribers who contact you directly.
Tracking – this step helps you gain much more insight into your campaign success by showing how many people have opened your messages, forwarded them to friends, clicked on the links inside them, signed up for more content, or responded with any questions or comments.
The great thing about most ESPs today is that they all provide tracking tools that are very similar in their presentation and features (for example unsubscribes and “bounced” addresses). And while it won’t be absolutely necessary if your only goal is to get subscribers’ email addresses and send out newsletter content, we do recommend getting at least one of these services so you can have a better idea of how many people are actually opening your messages, which links they’re clicking on, etc.
Make your Email Marketing Effective
Another every perfect email marketer needs to know is that any message he sends must include the following information: who it’s coming from, who it’s directed to, how long they’ll have access to its content before having to take action themselves (if applicable), what kinds of actions need to be taken and what kind of contact options are available.
Marketing via email can be an incredibly powerful way of reaching your target audience. However, if you’re not careful about how you set up your campaigns then there’s a very high probability that they won’t deliver results or will actually exceed their goals by spamming people who don’t want them!
The good news is that all of today’s major ESPs make it easy for even beginners with no programming or HTML skills to create great campaigns. All you need to do is sit down, plan out your campaigns and choose an Email Service Provider that will make the process easy for you.
If you are in need of a reputable email marketing service provider or web-based marketing automation, then check out one of their website links in this article. They have great prices for all different types of email marketing software plans.
Pros and Cons of Email Marketing:
You can’t rely 100% on email marketing campaigns even though it seems like they should always perform well. While this might not be perfect for every business owner, there are lots of marketers who rely on this strategy to bring in leads and customers which is why it’s so important not to neglect email campaigns.
- The main benefit is that email marketing campaigns can be extremely inexpensive compared to other online advertising options such as PPC or SEO. You can send out multiple messages without spending much money at all since free services such as Gmail and Outlook allow you to send emails to bigger audiences. (NOTE: You should always double-check the terms of service before sending out messages since you don’t want to end up paying for something that normally wouldn’t cost anything.)
- Email Marketing is the best way to go if you’re struggling with generating traffic and leads. Since people can now customize their inboxes a lot more than in previous years, it’s easier to create a marketing campaign that targets specific individuals rather than going after a general audience.
- It’s really easy to track email campaigns which make it possible to gather lots of information related specifically to your online business. If you know what times of the day get more opens, clicks, etc then you can plan future emails based on those results which possibly result in higher conversion rates down the road.
- Email marketing is a great way to connect with your audience and provide them with what they want. When someone signs up for your newsletter or subscribes to receive information from you then they’re definitely interested in hearing from you regularly.
- There’s usually a high learning curve which makes it hard for people who don’t have any sort of background related to email marketing. For example, most platforms will require HTML coding knowledge which isn’t really necessary if the only thing you care about is sending messages back and forth to your subscribers without worrying about design elements or anything else that requires advanced knowledge.
- It can be challenging to get the attention of new individuals since there are lots of emails being sent out on a daily basis by other marketers who are trying to do the same thing. In order to stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to create something that’s interesting enough for people to want to click on.
- Spam filters were created with a purpose in mind which is mainly related to stopping spammers at all costs since they’re usually associated with viruses, phishing attempts, and other harmful activities online. This means it could be difficult getting your messages in front of a large number of individuals without making them think you’re a spammer so you have to be careful when creating promotional material.
So there we go, a quick guide to all things email marketing! If you follow these simple steps and make sure that nothing looks suspicious when sending out your campaign – then there shouldn’t be many problems at all. However, if in doubt remember the golden rule: permission, permission, permission. With so much competition out there for people’s attention spans, it’s important not to waste any opportunity to engage with your audience.
We love to write about the latest happenings in email marketing, so keep an eye out for more articles being published soon! What are you currently doing that’s working well for your business? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments section below.
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