Email marketing

Email Marketing Explained: Verified Steps to Create Your First Campaign

Email marketing is a powerful digital marketing strategy that involves sending emails to prospects and customers in the hopes of improving sales.

When done well, email marketing converts prospects into customers and turns one-time buyers into loyal, raving fans.  

By using email as the primary communication channel, businesses can reach an extensive audience with minimal costs, providing timely information and offers directly to people who have opted in to receive these messages. It’s an essential tool for nurturing customer relationships, enhancing brand awareness, and driving sales.

Pros and Cons of email marketing 

While email marketing is a cost-effective way to engage with your audience, offering personalization and measurable results, it also faces challenges like email overload and the potential for high spam rates. Understanding these aspects is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy.

PROS

  • High ROI: Email marketing offers an impressive average return on investment (ROI) of $38 for every dollar spent. This statistic highlights the efficiency and profitability of email marketing strategies, making it a lucrative channel for businesses of all sizes.  In fact, email is one of the most effective marketing strategies out there, followed way behind by things like paid ads and organic search. 
  • Wide reach: With over 4 billion daily email users, the potential benefits of email marketing are immense. By reaching out to new or existing users through email campaigns, companies can seize a significant opportunity not only to connect with a global audience but also to increase their share of search on Google, as well as improve their online presence on social media platforms.
  • Personalization and segmentation: Email marketing allows for high levels of personalization and segmentation. Research shows segmented email campaigns have a 14.31% higher open rate and a 100.95% higher click-through rate, highlighting the effectiveness of targeted communication. 
  • Measurable results: Email campaigns offer actionable data on open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, enabling marketers to measure success and adjust strategies in real time. 
  • Customer retention: Email marketing excels at customer retention, with 80% of business professionals believing that email marketing increases customer retention. Regular, personalized emails keep your brand top-of-mind for consumers, fostering loyalty. 

CONS

  • Overcrowded inboxes: With the average office worker receiving 121 emails per day, there’s a significant challenge in making your message stand out in an overcrowded inbox. This saturation can lead to lower engagement rates if not strategically managed.  
  • Spam filters: Around 14.5 billion spam emails are sent daily, representing 45% of all emails. As a result, even legitimate marketing emails can sometimes get caught in spam filters, reducing the effectiveness of campaigns. 
  • Design and delivery issues: Creating emails that display correctly across different email clients and devices requires expertise and testing. Without proper design, emails may not render as intended, potentially harming your brand’s image and engagement rates.
  • Changing regulations: Email marketing is subject to strict regulations, such as GDPR in Europe, which can limit how data is collected and used for email campaigns. Non-compliance can result in huge fines and damage to your brand’s reputation, making it crucial for marketers to stay informed and compliant.
Starbucks uses warm and appreciative email copy and clear communication of the next steps.

Costs of email marketing

The investment required for e-mail marketing can fluctuate greatly, influenced by several factors such as the choice of platform, the scale of your subscriber list, the intricacy of your email campaigns, and whether you opt for self-management or professional agency assistance. 

On average, mid-sized businesses allocate between $10 and $1500 monthly toward their email marketing efforts. 

For those embarking on basic email campaigns with a hands-on approach, it’s possible to start without incurring any costs, especially with platforms offering free tiers for small-scale operations. 

However, as your needs grow in terms of subscriber numbers and campaign sophistication, expenditures can rise, typically peaking around $1000 monthly for businesses managing their campaigns independently. This cost varies depending on the chosen platform’s pricing structure, which often scales with the number of subscribers.

Other costs to keep in mind: 

Cost CategoryDetailsCost Range
Agency partnershipComprehensive support including strategy development, content creation, and analytics.$300 – $1500/month
Additional costsCustom template designs, advanced automation features, and integration with other marketing tools or CRM systems.Varies
Email marketing softwareSoftware providing analytics and A/B testing tools for campaign performance insights.Varies

Understanding these cost variables is essential for businesses to budget effectively before they start their marketing email campaigns, ensuring they leverage this powerful channel’s full potential while maintaining a balance between cost and return on investment. 

TIP: Read more about the true costs of email marketing in our post, How to Figure Out the True Costs of Email Marketing.  

Email marketing types

Email marketing encompasses a diverse range of strategies designed to engage with your audience in various ways. Let’s explore some of the key types of email marketing:

  • Welcome Emails: Greet new customers and offer a glimpse into your product or service, often with a special offer to get started.
  • Newsletter Emails: Share updates, articles, new products, and customer reviews, aiming to engage readers further with your brand.
  • Lead Nurturing Emails: Target interested groups with a series of emails to guide them from consideration to purchase.
  • Confirmation Emails: Confirm actions such as sign-ups or purchases, reassuring recipients of their successful interaction.
  • Dedicated Emails: Address specific segments of your audience based on their behavior or status, such as recent purchases or membership level.
  • Invite Emails: Announce special events or product launches, inviting your audience to participate or learn more.
  • Promotional Emails: Broadly target your audience with announcements about new offerings or special deals to maintain interest and engagement.
  • Survey Emails: Request feedback to show you value customer opinions and to gather insights for improving your offerings.
  • Seasonal Marketing Emails: Leverage holidays and special occasions to promote sales or special offers, enhancing relevance and timeliness.
The visuals are strong from the beginning in the Doomlings’ email and the way how they encourage sales is very effective email marketing strategy.

How to start with email marketing

Embarking on email marketing begins with understanding its potential to forge stronger connections with your audience. The journey involves meticulous planning, from building a subscriber list to analyzing campaign results, ensuring each step is data-driven and strategic for maximum impact.

How to build your email marketing list  

Building your email marketing list is the foundation of a successful campaign — and it all starts with offering value through sign-up incentives like exclusive discounts, ebooks, or informative newsletters that align with your audience’s interests. 

Other things you must keep in mind:

  • Ensure your sign-up forms are accessible, straightforward, and placed strategically on your website, social media profiles, and at the point of sale if you have a physical store. Transparency is key; clearly communicate what subscribers will receive and how often, reinforcing trust and compliance with regulations like GDPR.
  • Another critical aspect of list building is maintaining list hygiene. Research shows that regular list cleaning can increase email ROI by ensuring your messages reach engaged and interested subscribers. Regularly cleaning your list with EmailListVeryfy will improve engagement rates and deliverability. 
  • Segmentation plays a crucial role in list effectiveness as well. By categorizing subscribers based on their preferences, behaviors, and demographics, you can tailor your messages more precisely. This personalization enhances engagement, with segmented campaigns driving a 760% increase in email revenue.

Always remember — a well-built email list is about cultivating a community of engaged subscribers eager to hear from you, making your email marketing efforts both more rewarding and effective. And that takes a number of different ongoing approaches. 

How to create your emails

Creating compelling emails is an art that combines strategic structure with engaging content to capture the attention of your subscribers. 

Each element of your email, from the subject line to the conclusion, plays a crucial role in driving engagement and action — and here’s how.

Subject lines

Your subject line is the first impression and often determines whether an email is opened or ignored. Data shows that personalized subject lines can boost open rates by up to 50%. That’s because using the recipient’s name or mentioning a recent interaction can make your email stand out in a crowded inbox.

Subject lines that create a sense of urgency or exclusivity, such as “Last chance!” or “Exclusive offer for you,” can also increase open rates. 

While each component of your email plays a vital role, the subject line is perhaps the most crucial. No matter how valuable or well-crafted your message is, it won’t matter if the email isn’t opened. Crafting an effective subject line is the first step in achieving successful email engagement.

Sending out cold emails? Check out this list of 30 Cold Email Subject Lines That Actually Work.

Introduction 

The introduction sets the tone and should hook the reader immediately. Begin with a personal greeting, using the recipient’s name to add a touch of personalization. The first few lines should convey the value of the email, answering the “What’s in it for me?” question for the reader. 

Content

The content of your email should be relevant, valuable, and aligned with your audience’s interests or needs. 

Use concise language and break up text with headings, bullet points, or images to enhance readability. Including compelling visuals or videos can increase click-through rates by up to 300%

In addition, tailoring content based on subscriber segmentation can lead to an increase in click rates. Whether it’s educational content, product updates, or exclusive offers, the key is to provide clear value that encourages readers to take the next step.

Conclusion

Your conclusion should reinforce the email’s main message and include a clear call-to-action (CTA). Whether you’re encouraging subscribers to make a purchase, read a blog post, or follow you on social media, your CTA should be straightforward and easy to find. 

This kind of promotional emails are common and very effective for shops like Marine Layer. Your effective email marketing might be as simple as a few images and CTAs.

Create your first campaign

Launching your first email marketing campaign can feel like a daunting endeavor, but breaking it down into manageable steps makes it achievable and exciting. Assuming you’ve already selected your email platform and have a subscriber list ready, here’s how to move forward with crafting a campaign that resonates and achieves your goals:

  • Set a clear goal: Identify what you want to achieve, whether it’s sales, brand awareness, or engagement.
  • Define success metrics: Decide on the key metrics that will indicate your campaign’s success, aligned with your goal.
  • Know your audience: Understand the needs, interests, and pain points of your audience to tailor your content effectively.
  • Content relevance: Determine what content will make your audience engage with your emails.
  • Craft your content: Plan the messaging for each email to ensure consistency and relevance across the campaign.
  • Decide on CTAs: Each email should have a clear call-to-action that aligns with your campaign’s goal.
  • Plan campaign structure: Think about the number of emails and their delivery schedule, considering automation for efficiency.

Always design your emails with a consistent look and feel, check how they render across different clients and devices, and plan for simple A/B testing to refine your approach. Finally, have a clear plan for tracking results to monitor campaign performance and make necessary adjustments. This structured approach sets the foundation for a successful email marketing journey.

Measure the results

Understanding how your email campaigns perform is crucial for refining strategies and achieving better engagement. These are the essential metrics to track and how to calculate them, providing a comprehensive view of your campaign’s effectiveness.

Open rate 

The open rate measures the percentage of subscribers who open your emails, offering insights into your campaign’s initial appeal and the effectiveness of your subject lines.

The formula for open rate calculation is:

Open Rate = (Number of Emails Opened / (Number of Emails Sent – Number of Bounced Emails)) x 100.  

Bounce rate 

Keep an eye on soft bounces (temporary issues like a full mailbox) and hard bounces (permanent issues, such as an invalid email address). A high bounce rate can harm your sender reputation, potentially leading to being marked as spam.

The formula for Bounce Rate is:

(Total Number of Bounced Emails / Total Number of Emails Sent) x 100  

Click-through rate 

The click-through rate reveals the percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links, showing how well your content engages your audience. You can enhance your CTR by personalizing content, creating urgency, optimizing CTAs, and segmenting your list.

CTR = (Total Number of Clicks / Total Number of Delivered Emails) x 100

Unsubscribe rate 

The unsubscribe rate indicates the percentage of recipients who opt out after an email, providing feedback on your content’s relevance. An unsubscribe rate of 1% or less is generally acceptable; rates above 2% suggest a need for content strategy adjustment.

Use increases in this rate as an opportunity to refine your content and better align with subscriber expectations.

Conversion rate 

Measures the percentage of recipients who complete a desired action, directly correlating with your campaign’s return on investment. If your conversion rate is lower than desired, tweak your email design, optimize landing pages, refine copy, or segment your audience for more personalized content.

Conversion rates can vary, but aiming for a 2% to 5% rate is a good benchmark, depending on your sector.

Each metric offers unique insights, from how well your subject lines work (open rate) to how engaging your content is (click-through rate), and ultimately, how effective your emails are at driving conversions. 

How can I prevent my emails from ending up in spam

Ensuring your emails reach the inbox rather than the spam folder is crucial for the success of your email marketing campaigns. Here are effective strategies to avoid the spam folder and maintain a strong sender reputation:

  • Obtain explicit consent. Start by collecting emails through a clear, opt-in process. This ensures recipients expect and welcome your emails, significantly reducing the likelihood of them marking your messages as spam.
  • Regularly clean your email list. Remove inactive subscribers and those who haven’t engaged with your emails over a set period. A clean list improves engagement rates and reduces spam complaints.
  • Personalize your emails. Use subscriber data to personalize emails, from addressing recipients by name to tailoring content to their interests. Personalized emails are less likely to be marked as spam and can improve open and click-through rates.
  • Avoid spam triggers in your content. Certain words, phrases, and formatting styles can trigger spam filters. Avoid using excessive capital letters, multiple exclamation marks, and spammy phrases like “Buy now” or “Free offer.”
  • Include a clear unsubscribe link. Making it easy for subscribers to opt-out of your email list can actually help your emails stay out of the spam folder. A visible and functional unsubscribe link ensures compliance with email marketing regulations and respects subscriber preferences.
  • Use a recognizable sender name. Emails from a recognizable sender name and address are more likely to be opened and less likely to be marked as spam. Use your brand or company name to build consistency and trust.
  • Authenticate your emails. Implement email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. These technical measures verify your identity as the sender, making it harder for spammers to forge your email address and helping your emails avoid the spam folder.
  • Monitor your sender reputation. Regularly check your sender score, a measure of your reputation as an email sender. A low score can lead to your emails being filtered as spam.
  • Test your emails before sending them. Use email testing tools to check how your email performs against common spam filters. This can help you make necessary adjustments before launching your campaign.

By adhering to these practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of your emails being marked as spam, ensuring they reach your intended audience.

Building and maintaining a respectful relationship with your subscribers not only helps your emails stay out of spam but also enhances the overall effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

And since you made it here, don’t forget to claim your 100 FREE credits for email verification! Boost your deliverability rates immediately with our simple yet effective email verification tool.

Diana Bocco

Written by

Diana Bocco

Diana is our go-to expert in email list verification at ELV. With a knack for turning complex challenges into simple solutions, Diana has spent years making sure businesses reach their customers without a hitch. She's all about clean, efficient communication, thanks to verified email lists that cut through the noise.

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