In the era of digitization and the Corona pandemic, doing business online has become the ultimate goal. Sending personalized emails that contain valuable business information for targets and recurring customers is the golden rule for doing business.
What’s Email Marketing?
Email marketing is not just about sending personal messages to colleagues. It is neither a business email nor spam. It is all about building relationships with prospects, converting to sales leads, and in return to loyal customers. Email marketing is simply a digital marketing process that helps to identify leads through sending emails.
Why Email Marketing is Vital for Little Business
Big organizations can experiment with different marketing strategies and use the money on them. Little businesses have low funds to focus on what works well for the company.
Are you handling your email marketing campaigns? Are you appointing an email marketing agency? Well, email is one of the cost-effective ways for reaching maximum customers, thus maximize your marketing budget by spending less on getting qualified leads.
Little businesses should wisely utilize their time, funds, and resources. Email marketing can target exact prospects that are probably interested in products or services. Companies should design their strategic content and messaging effectively to determine the success of effective email marketing campaigns.
Email Marketing Best Practices
Define email marketing goals
Before you start planning for email marketing, you should define some measurable goals. What are you trying to attain with your marketing campaigns? It would be best if you quantified the questions for measuring goal progress along the way. Improving sales conversions and increasing website traffic can help you set your email marketing goals.
Email lists segmentation into specific groups
Email lists segmentation, another best practice for improving results for the campaign, helps your business provide relevant content to your leads. You can divide your email lists by interests, purchase frequency, preference levels, geography, and other demographic traits. Choose the strategy that goes well with your business.
Take advantage of automated email workflows
You can design your workflow by scheduling the next messages that an individual will receive based on his preferences. You can increase leads to your business by creating automated workflows to timely deliver the emails without sending messages manually.
Do not purchase email lists
Create your list manually, though a slow start as a beginner, but this can prevent you from different risks that a business can face, such as jurisdictions worldwide (GDPR and CAN-SPAM act), readers mark an email as spam and many more.
Use opt-in email
‘Opt-in’ means to receive consent or permission. It means you will send emails to receivers with their permission after entering their email address into an email sign up form on your blog, website, landing pages, social media, or anywhere else. Leads permitting to receive emails can be in line with data protection laws. You will be able to send promotional emails automatically using autoresponders.
You can also use double opt-in, where subscribers need to verify their email address. They will not receive emails without verification. It helps to eliminate spam traps and acts as proof of subscriber consent — a GDPR requirement.
Clean and update email database daily
Some customers or leads will stop engaging with you or become inactive from time to time. You should eliminate them from your list and update your email records. You should also add an option to unsubscribe for readers within the email you send them.
Experiment with your email
Always keep testing your email with the subject line and content of the message to search out the best one. This testing method is called the A/B test. Look at the open rates, engagement rates, and responses for results. Update your email marketing campaigns with the trend.
How Email Marketing Works
Before sending out emails to leads through email marketing software, it’s essential to know how email marketing works. Discussed below are a few characteristics for marketing emails to consider:
The subject line of an email
The subject line is one of the email’s crucial components, which can make or break an email. Construct your subject line intriguing, relevant, and worth to click that can grab your audience’s attention.
The body of an email
Your email’s body’s content should reflect your branding, offering, and the rest of the digital marketing campaign. Do not use all capital letters, instead use italicizing or changing the font to gi, bolder letters to highlight words differently. The language should be short and sweet too.
The design layout of an email
The overall design and layout of your email should be clean and straightforward. The color scheme, images, and information of the format should resemble your branding. Use dark font colors with a light background to make the design attractive and easy to read. Use images that take less time to load and design your email that is mobile responsive. Therefore, your email open rates will increase.
Example of email content
The Call-to-Action button within an email
The call-to-action button, or CTA, helps readers to go to the next step of the process. Use active verbs to let readers know what they should do next. Make it visible, easy to click, and go to the next step.
Relevance within an email
Every email that you send should be relevant for targeting the person who is receiving it. Email list segmentation helps email marketing to be effective in this stage. It enables you to improve open rates and boost conversions as well as relevance over time.
Offer to the readers
When leads or prospects open your emails, present a relevant offer in your emails that will encourage readers to open them up, read the information inside, and then take the desired action. Ensure that the offer resembles the subject line to maximize open rates.
The landing page of your business site:
A landing page is vital to convert readers into customers. If designed properly, this page should guide readers to the next step, along with a fillable form for more information.
Landing Page of Sendinblue
Timing for sending an email
Timing is also crucial that you need to consider while developing your marketing strategy. To increase open rates for the email you send, you should test and measure your email timing through automation.
Where and How to get Email Marketing Lists
You need to craft your contact list before searching for the best marketing campaigns that work best for your company. If you are a beginner, then you have to build awareness for your business image. Here are a few steps that can aid you to craft your contact list:
- Create an informative public group allowing people with similar interests to join and inform about your business’s solution.
- Create Facebook ads to target audiences who will be influenced by your products or services.
- Create and boost your Facebook business page. Add a joining form to your page.
- Create a YouTube channel and integrate its features with your marketing strategies. Add information in the “About” section.
- Upload free tutorials and informative videos. Ask viewers for their email addresses to provide in the comment section under your videos.
- Word-of-mouth is one of the ancient advertising tools. Ask your family members, relatives, friends, colleagues, and known persons to spread about your business through forwarding emails.
- Create opt-in and joining forms.
- Write blogs and send newsletters to subscribers.
- Create small contests, quizzes, and provide small but valuable gifts to customers.
Email Marketing Software
An email marketing software, email marketing platform, email marketing tool, email marketing service, or email autoresponder software provides email marketing services. It helps an organization to create and design email content. It also enables an organization to send emails automatically at defined times to target audiences. Discussed below are some popular tools, among many in the platform, with different features and pricing options
According to many websites, OptinMonster is one of the best email marketing software with the best email marketing service with many features, as shown in the image below.
Pricing Plans of OptinMonster
If you sign up for this tool, then you have to create an Optin Form, which you can place on the welcome page, floating bar, blog archive page, blog posts, and any pages you want.
Features of OptinMonster
Beginners can use Constant Contact. After 60-days of a free trial, plans start from $20/month depending on contact numbers. It helps to manage your email contacts, email templates, the marketing calendar, and more.
Constant Contact has features like easy tracking and reporting, built-in social media sharing tools, free image library, list segmentation, Facebook ads integration, and a strong eCommerce integration for Shopify stores.
Downloadable Guide for beginners
Constant Contact offers online training to individuals for learning the basics of email marketing and start using it.
Sendinblue is email marketing software for businesses, along with SMS marketing software. With its branding, you can send 300 emails daily for free. After that, you have to pay starting from $25/month with an additional SMS cost depending on delivery requirements.
Pricing plans of Sendinblue
Sendinblue is a user-friendly email automation software allowing users to store unlimited contacts. It has more advanced features like landing page builder, live chat, sales CRM, and Facebook ads integration, along with essential email marketing software features.
Features of Sendinblue
Drip is an expensive but powerful platform enabling users to send unlimited emails. With a 14-days trial for free, you have to pay $19/month for 500 contacts and $29/month up to 2000 references. The price rises by $10/month for additional 500 contacts and up to 7000 contacts for $109/month. You have to send Drip a quote after the $1,599/month payment limit for sending 1,680,000 emails with 140,000 contacts in your account.
Features of Drip
Drip has advanced features like SMS, behavior and event tracking, powerful segmentation, at-a-glance revenue attribution, multichannel automation, detailed email analytics, unlimited users, uncomplicated opt-in forms, the learning hub, live chat support, user manual, and many more. Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento can integrate with Drip.
ConvertKit, with the user-friendly interface, is easy to navigate and to maintain. It is an excellent choice for beginners.
Features of ConvertKit
ConvertKit has features like landing page templates, email sign up form templates, email designer, and many other advanced features. You can design and send newsletters to your subscribers. You can also send digital product offers to subscribers and earn income. You can easily integrate this option with some top e-commerce sites like Shopify, Zapier, and other e-commerce sites.
ConvertKit provides free classes to beginners and has an immense knowledge database to learn for free.
You can create an account freely and maintain your marketing workflows for up to 1000 subscribers with limited features. You have to pay $29/month, up to 1000 subscribers, for availing automated funnels feature with a 2-months trial period. From here, the price rises with increasing subscribers’ number.
Creator Pro plan offers some advanced features like Facebook custom audiences, newsletter referral system, subscribers’ scoring, and advanced reporting.
Pricing plans of ConvertKit
AWeber is one of the email marketing service providers who started its business in the year 1998. It connects with WordPress easily. It integrates with some top brands like Facebook, WordPress, PayPal, Shopify, Etsy, and other brands. It also provides a wide range of email marketing guides for free.
You can avail of its Free plan for up to 500 subscribers and send 3000 emails monthly with AWeber branding.
With up to 500 subscribers limit, you have to pay $16.15/month if billed annually or $19/month if billed monthly for selecting the Pro plan. The price then increases for an increasing number of subscribers. Be a Pro plan customer and send unlimited emails, remove AWeber branding, track sales and webpage, custom segmentation, and avail other advanced features.
Pricing plans of AWeber
MailChimp provides free marketing services for users with up to 2,000 contacts. You can use this platform or tool to master and test your email marketing processes and strategies. You can send up to 10,000 emails monthly with MailChimp footer and avail limited features. See the image below for detailed pricing plans.
Pricing plans of MailChimp
You have to select Standard plan, from 4 pricing Mailchimp offered, to access features like remove Mailchimp footer, custom-coded templates, download designs, social post scheduling, retargeting ads, A/B testing, and other advanced features.
You will get a comparative reporting feature, multivariate testing feature, and phone support, along with other elements in Premium planning.
MailChimp also offers many tutorials for those who want to start email marketing and carry on with the process.
Pricing plans of GetResponse
GetResponse is one of the well-liked email marketing tools and has 150 integrations, including WordPress, Shopify, PrestaShop, WooCommerce, Zapier, Magento, Stripe, PayPal, Salesforce, Etsy, to name a few. It provides solutions for entrepreneurs, mid and large businesses.
Payment starts from $15/month with 1000 list size for the Basic plan. The price then surges for in list size increment for all four pricing plans. It provides a 30-days trial. You cannot arrange webinars campaigns and can avail of a few complex features with the Basic plan.
Pricing of MailerLite
MailerLite is a marketing tool where you can start email marketing without spending any penny. You can have up to 1,000 subscribers and can send 12,000 emails monthly.
You can get a 30-days trial for using its premium features. With the Premium plan, you can customize domain name, deliver emails by time zones, locate your customers, create templates, and use A/B split testing.
You can design newsletters with MailerLite’s simple drag-and-drop email editor and change newsletter templates with HTML editor without HTML skills.
You can enhance your workflow by integrating with Shopify, WordPress, Zapier, WooCommerce, and other eCommerce sites.
HubSpot helps your business attract prospects and convert to customers with its powerful integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. You can create an account, use its services for free, and can add up to 1,000,000 contacts to your list. You can also connect its free CRM tools to Gmail, G Suite, and many versions of Outlook.
It provides free tools for marketing, sales, and service supports. The image below depicts a comparison between free and premium features. You have to migrate to a paid version for availing of all components of CMS support with a 14-day’s free trial.
Features of HubSpot
HubSpot provides many free certified courses for individuals.
All email marketing software is unlike each other, offering different features and pricing plans. The above discussed are just a few popular tools. List down your marketing plans, strategies, requirements, objectives, and goals before selecting which means you will use that suits your business best.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Email Marketing
Email marketing is a valuable tool for business owners and users. It is a jackpot if the process is successful with few drawbacks.
Email Marketing Legal Requirements
- Australia Spam Act
Australia imposed the Australian Spam Act in 2003.
- Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
This law is imposed on any organization sending marketing emails to Canadian residents. Organizations must have prior consent from receivers and must provide the organization name, their valid address, and an unsubscribing option for subscribers within the content of marketing messages.
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
European Union (EU) introduced the GDPR. Businesses collecting personal information from EU residents should follow this Act. A company should take permission from receivers to send marketing emails to protect it from jurisdictions.
- CAN-SPAM Act
The US Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act against Pornography videos and images in 2003 that require US businesses to follow the Act while sending marketing emails to US residents. Companies must use a valid email address and domain name. They cannot send false and confusing emails. They should take prior permission for sending emails to receivers, and their email should contain an unsubscribe button.
Email Marketing and Social Media
Email marketing alone cannot create brand awareness and image for a business. You have to combine different digital marketing strategies. Strategies like social media or content marketing can help you to do so.
Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and other media will help you create your social presence and will help you to increase your followers. Email marketing will help you in converting these followers to prospects and customers. For better results, you have to incorporate both email marketing and social media approach together.
You also have to keep in mind that social presence can impact, become inactive, or disappear one day, taking all your followers. On the other hand, without brand awareness, you cannot reach targets and build leads only by sending emails. Therefore, both are required to balance and maintain your business presence to increase your customers.
Email Service Providers versus Internet Service Providers
Few beginners ask whether they can use Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, or Yahoo to send marketing emails for promotion. Before answering this question, we have to understand the purpose.
Email Service Providers provide email marketing services that help in email marketing campaigns. They ensure the delivery of email in the receivers’ inbox, and thus the emails do not become spam.
Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo, and more are all Internet Service Providers. One can send thousands of emails, but this can end in the spam folder. Emails send from such an account might be disabled if considered being suspicious activity.
To conclude, it is wise to use email marketing software for email marketing campaigns. If budget is a problem, then there are many free tools to start from, and gradually, you can switch to a paid version or use any other software with intricate and advanced features.
Email marketing helps businesses to send personalized emails to target audiences. You should create your email contact list organically. The content and display of the email should resemble your company image. You should design your email to seek permission from receivers, a regulation requirement (GDPR, CASL, and CAN-SPAM). You should also update your email database to identify inactive subscribers. Remember to deliver value to your leads through emails.