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With email marketing, you can do wonders. But, if you’re fairly new to this scene, it’s crucial to grasp the basics, like what are the benefits of email marketing, how to do email marketing effectively, and how to set up your first email campaign.
Time to take your first steps with the help of our email marketing for beginners guide!
Table Of Contents
- What is email marketing?
- What are the 11 key benefits of email marketing?
- What’s the average email marketing ROI?
- Choosing the best email service provider
- Growing your email list
- Segmenting your email list
- Types of emails you can send
- Email marketing strategy and metrics
- Setting up your first email campaign
- Time to send your own email marketing campaigns
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a form of marketing where one uses commercial emails to build relationships and sell products or services to their audience.
An effective email program will help you keep your audience informed and engaged with your brand and its offering. Also, it’ll help you turn window-shoppers into customers and one-time buyers into loyal brand advocates.
Despite the fact that email marketing has been around for a long time, it continues to generate an impressive return on investment for thousands of marketers around the world making it one of the most effective digital channels.
What are the 11 key benefits of email marketing?
Before you decide to invest in email marketing, it’s worth learning about its advantages. These are 11 of the main benefits that make email marketing the perfect choice for your digital marketing activities.
1. Low cost
Let’s start with the most important aspect – how much does email marketing cost?
To run professional email campaigns, all you need is an email list, a basic strategy, and an email marketing software provider that’ll help you run your campaigns.
Most professional email service providers, like GetResponse, offer several plans based on the size of your email list (number of subscribers.)
For example, the GetResponse Free plan doesn’t cost you a dime for up to 5,00 contacts with unlimited sends and provides key features like email marketing, website builder, web forms, and landing pages.
As with most marketing tools, you’ll see that some are more affordable and others are more high-end. In most cases, this is related to the type of audience they’re targeting and the number of features that are included in the platform.
We’ll look at the most popular email marketing services and how you can choose one later in this article. And if you’d like to practice while you learn, sign up for the GetResponse Free plan. On top of its email marketing features, it gives you limited-time access to its premium features and you don’t need to provide your credit card details.
2. Full control
You have full control over your email marketing communication.
- design your assets (e.g. web forms, emails, and landing pages)
- decide on the kind of email marketing campaign you want to run
- segment your email list for precise targeting
- tag your contacts for better personalization
- build email automation workflows that’ll help you deliver even more targeted emails at the most optimal time
The only thing you can’t fully control is your email deliverability, but if you follow email marketing best practices and engage your audience effectively, you won’t need to stress over your emails missing the inbox.
Speaking of inbox placement, it’s worth mentioning that the global average inbox placement is around 83%, according to the Return Path Deliverability Benchmark report.
Compared to other digital channels where the organic reach is heavily dependant on the ever-changing algorithms, this result gives you a much better chance of reaching your audience with your marketing communications.
One of the key benefits of email marketing is precision.
Unlike with other marketing channels, when you send an email marketing campaign you’re targeting people who you already know and have their details in your contact list.
They got there through one of your contact forms on your blog post, attended a webinar you organized, or maybe downloaded an ebook you were promoting.
While doing so, they not only gave their contact details but also showed you what topics they’re interested in.
In addition, if you’re using an email marketing service, say GetResponse, you get access to a variety of data that you can use to send even more targeted campaigns.
Starting from the basics, you can target specific segments like new subscribers, existing customers, or your most loyal customers.
When you decide to dig deeper into the analytical dashboards available, you can target specific email accounts that clicked on your call to action or visited your website but didn’t end up converting.
And when you want to turn it up a notch, you can even run a/b testing campaigns to analyze which individual elements in your marketing campaign (e.g. subject line, call to action, offer) drive sales and which ones detract users from your key goal.
4. Ease of use.
Creating an email marketing campaign is simple.
You can design your email templates, signup forms, and marketing automation workflows with intuitive drag and drop editors that are available either as standalone tools or built into an email marketing service.
And if design isn’t your thing, you can just use ready-made templates to set up your first email marketing campaign in next to no time.
5. The preferred marketing medium
According to both the DMA and Adobe, most people prefer to be contacted and receive offers from companies through email rather than other channels.
The results of these studies make perfect sense since well-designed marketing emails are relevant and non-intrusive – emails wait in the inbox and subscribers decide when’s the right moment to open and read an email. And if they no longer want to receive the content, they can unsubscribe in just a couple of clicks.
6. You can reach mobile device users
The percentage of email opens on mobile devices continues to grow. According to our Email Marketing Benchmarks report, desktop opens make up 45.69% of all email opens, followed by mobile opens at 34.31%, and webmail opens at 20%.
This means that you can reach your customers and influence their buying decisions wherever they are. You can also integrate your online and offline marketing e.g. by collecting email addresses at events or during shopping at a brick-and-mortar location.
7. Email is an owned medium
Traditionally, digital marketing strategy is divided into paid, earned, and owned media. Email falls into the owned media category (unless we’re talking about sponsored mailing). It means that your business has full control over this online channel.
In fact, over time, your email list becomes your greatest online marketing asset: a massive database of people who want to hear from your brand.
If you use professional email marketing services, your emails will reach almost everyone on your email list as opposed to e.g. social media, where you cannot control your organic reach. That’s why investing too much in social media following is often called building a house on rented land.
8. Targeted and personalized communication
You can collect relevant information from your contacts along the subscription process and use it to tailor the communication to their needs and preferences. Based on the data you can create segments of people sharing common traits and deliver them content that’s relevant and builds customer loyalty.
Your subscribers will stay on your list as long as they see value in your communication – that’s why over time you can build a big email list that brings impressive revenue.
9. Easy to measure results
You can gain full control over your email marketing efforts by integrating your email marketing software tool with online analytics tools such as Google Analytics. Just add UTM parameters to your emails and you’ll know exactly which email, subject line, or call to action button brought you the best results.
You can control the performance of individual emails in your email marketing tool’s statistics panel and then track user behavior on your website. You can set goals for individual email campaigns, track conversions, and measure the ROI.
10. Fully automated
With marketing automation, you can build custom workflows for your campaigns. You can easily create any kind of automated email marketing campaign by using a drag-and-drop editor to program the communication flow with the available conditions, actions, and filters.
11. Excellent return on investment
Email marketing keeps on bringing the highest return on investment of all online channels. This is something we’ve seen first hand & that came out in the study we’ve conducted along with Smart Insights (see the chart below). This results from all of the factors mentioned above. If you run and measure your email marketing activities the right way, they’ll become a proven source of revenue for your business.
What’s the average email marketing ROI?
According to a 2021 study by DMA, email marketing’s return on investment is 38:1 on average. Statistically, if you invest $1 in your email marketing activities, you’ll get $38 in return.
Of course, this is not a fixed number – it’s an average. The return of investment in your company will depend on various factors, e.g.:
- size and quality of your email list
- content relevance
- design and copy
- call to action (is it clear and persuasive?)
One of the biggest advantages of email marketing is that you can track performance and present data to prove the ROI. This is especially important if you don’t have extensive marketing budgets and every decision you make needs to be data-driven.
How to measure email marketing ROI?
Usually, it’s easy to calculate the return on investment in your email marketing activities. All you need to do is track total revenue and divide it by the total spend.
Here’s an example, let’s say you’ve generated $100 in sales and invested $30 in the email marketing campaign. You’ll measure your campaign ROI as follows:
How to calculate your email marketing return on investment (ROI):
Total revenue: $100 – $30 = $70
Total spend: $30
ROI: ($70 ÷ $30) * 100 = 233%
That’s a simple way to prove your success and get more budget for future campaigns. Naturally, this equation will become more complex if you include other costs like your staff’s time or the cost of producing the goods you’re selling.
Choosing the best email service provider
Before we go into the exact process of setting up a successful email marketing campaign let’s spend a few moments talking about email marketing services and whether you even need one in the first place.
So do you actually need an email marketing software provider?
In short no.
In theory, you could do all the individual activities like setting up your signup forms, designing email templates, segmenting your audience, and even sending your emails all by yourself without using any email marketing services.
However, this process would be both resource- and time-consuming. Plus, there are many technical aspects of email marketing that most marketers don’t even know about. Like how to design your email templates so that they render well on various devices and email clients. Or how to manage bounces or spam complaints and not get penalized by spam filters.
The good news is that most popular email marketing services come packed with great tools and teams of in-house experts that’ll help you launch your marketing emails with ease and confidence.
So let’s now review three popular email marketing software providers on the market and what they offer.
Yep, that’s us.
Like other similar tools, GetResponse started as a pure email marketing service over 20 years ago and evolved into an all-in-one marketing solution.
Not only does it pack all the essential tools you’ll need to create and send marketing emails, but it also will help you grow your email list, segment your audience, report on your campaigns, and run automated campaigns through email automation.
In addition, it’ll also let you build a website for your business, talk to your audience via live chats, organize webinars, send transactional emails, launch web push notifications, or even reach your contacts via SMS.
- Free plan that’ll let you get started with email marketing
- Email marketing and email automation to help you create and send emails
- Signup forms, websites, and landing pages to help you build an online presence and grow your list
- Live chats, web push notifications, and SMS to help you reach your audience through other channels
- Transactional emails if you’re an ecommerce that wants everything under one roof
- Conversion funnels if you want to sell digital products and create sales funnels
GetResponse offers a free plan that lets you store up to 500 contacts and gives you access to its essential email marketing features along with the website builder, landing page creators, and signup forms.
The paid plans are based on the size of your email list and the features you want to use.
- Basic: starts at $15 per month for an email list up to 1,000 subscribers.
- Plus: starts at $49 per month for an email list up to 1,000 subscribers.
- Professional: starts at $99 per month for an email list up to 1,000 subscribers.
- Max: custom pricing available for transactional emails, migrations, dedicated support, and more.
The Basic and Plus plans are designed for those who are primarily interested in email marketing features, building their website, and growing their audience. Professional and Max, on the other hand, are aimed at those who want extra tools like web push notifications, transactional emails, or SMS.
In its free plan, GetResponse also gives you limited-time access to its premium features, so you can not only build your website, collect emails, and send newsletters but also try marketing automation, webinars, or live chat.
Mailchimp is probably the most known tool out there. And much like GetResponse, it started as an email marketing service and developed into a solution that packs many more tools small business owners will find useful
It will help you grow your email list, manage your contacts, build templates, and send campaigns both manually and automatically.
What it’s great at is integrating with many other marketing tools you may need. Whether you’re planning on using a CRM or building a website on WordPress you’ll be able to easily connect them with Mailchimp.
The biggest critique regarding this tool is that it’s great for the start, but once your list and needs grow, it’s no longer cost-effective. The free plan is also a bit limited and doesn’t let you do the basic actions like scheduling email send-outs or getting help from the customer support team.
- Email marketing and automation that’ll help you send emails
- Ready-made integrations that’ll simplify your work with other marketing tools
- Free account that’ll help you get started if you don’t have a budget
Mailchimp offers a free email marketing service for those who are new to email marketing and don’t yet have an email list.
While the free plan is great for the start, most marketers end up going for one of their paid plans as soon as they realize there are some serious limitations that come with the free service.
Here’s how their paid plans are structured:
- Essentials: $11 per month for up to 500 contacts
- Standard: $17 per month for up to 500 contacts
- Premium: $299 per month for up to 10,000 contacts
You can also pay-as-you-go using an email credits plan.
Constant Contact is another popular email marketing service you probably have heard about.
Founded 16 years ago, it’s also extended its offer beyond email marketing and began developing tools such as a landing page builder, website builder, or SMS.
Although many small businesses rely on Constant Contact in their daily activities, some of the reviews we’ve seen mention that the platform’s slightly lagging behind its competitors and is less cost-effective than other platforms.
- Email marketing and email automation features that’ll help you send email campaigns
- Contact segmentation and filtering that’ll help you target your audience better
- Signup forms and websites that’ll help you grow your list
Constant Contact operates two pricing tiers for its email newsletter software and like other tools, its pricing is based mostly on the size of your email list.
- Core: 0-500 contacts for $9.99 per month with a 24x number of sends limit.
- Plus: 0-500 contacts for $45 per month with a 24x number of sends limit.
They also offer a month-long free trial period but you’ll need to provide your credit card details to get started. Also, your subscription will automatically renew as soon as the trial period ends, so you’ll need to cancel your subscription manually to not get charged.
How to choose the best email marketing service for your business
We’ve just reviewed three tools but as you’re well aware, there are many email marketing platforms out there on the market.
FYI: You’ll find an updated list of the best email newsletter software tools in 2022 here.
To find the single tool that’ll work best for your case, you’ll need to start by answering key questions like:
- Who’s your target audience?
- What’s the primary reason why you want to run email campaigns?
- What’s the size of your email list and what will it look like in say 6 to 12 months?
- What types of communications are you planning to run?
- What channels and tools are you planning to use?
- What are the core capabilities your tool should offer?
It may sound like a lot of questions, but there’s a good reason for each of them.
Some email marketing platforms have great ecommerce integrations while others are a better fit for a B2B audience.
Some email marketing services are affordable when you’re just getting started but turn out to be expensive when you grow.
Some offer great automation capabilities but their drag and drop email builder is super hard to work with.
And if you’ve already got a tech stack you want to work with, you’ll need to check whether the email marketing platform integrates with them seamlessly.
The good news is that most platforms offer a free account or a free trial period so that you can test them out. That’s why I’d highly recommend that you go around and do some first-hand testing, to ensure that you find the best fit for your business.
You can start using GetResponse today, simply by signing up through this link:
Growing your email list
Email list building is one of the main ongoing tasks of an email marketer.
You want to attract a large and engaged audience to be able to directly communicate with them inside their email inboxes.
There are multiple ways in which you can build an email list. Let’s now explore the main tactics & tools you can use to acquire a high-quality list.
If you’d like to dig deeper, consider reading our complete guide on how to build an email list from scratch.
You need to provide a good reason for your target audience to convinced them to sign up for your email list. Most people will want to receive something in return for their effort and the opportunity to contact them directly inside their inbox. That’s where lead magnets come in.
A lead magnet is an incentive you give in return for your visitor’s email address. Most commonly, lead magnets come in a form of an ebook, a checklist, or a free tool – but they come in all shapes and forms.
Our recent study showed that marketers have seen the highest conversion rates with video (e.g. webinars) and written type (e.g. guides) lead magnets.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t use other kinds of incentives. You’ll want to use a variety of different lead magnets depending on the type of industry you’re in, the type of audience you’re trying to attract, or the goal of your email marketing campaign.
To learn more about the most popular types or how you should go about choosing the opt-in incentive for your business, read our guide to lead magnets.
An optin form, web form, or signup form is an HTML form that is installed on a website to enable visitors to sign up. This is the key mechanism that you’ll use to capture leads.
There are different kinds of optin forms you can use. The difference between them is usually about how or when they appear in front of your visitor’s eyes.
The most popular types of web forms include:
- Embedded/Inline web forms
- Popups and lightboxes
- Exit intent forms
- Scroll forms
- Fixed bars
- Welcome mats
- Click forms
On your website, you’ll want to use a variety of different types of forms. The minimum you should aim for is to have an embedded form on every page of your website & pop up forms on the pages that get the highest traffic.
When designing your web forms and choosing your lead magnets think about what information you need to run an effective email marketing campaign.
It’s tempting to ask your audience for more information (e.g. their company name, website URL, or their budget), but the more you ask for the fewer people will fill out your forms. Each additional input field will lower your subscription form conversion rates.
At the same time, you don’t want to end up collecting many email addresses, none of whom fit your target audience.
Another key aspect worth keeping in mind is user experience. By showing too many interstitials you may negatively affect your website visitors’ experience and discourage them from returning to your site in the future. To overcome this, you may want to keep an eye on whom you’re showing your forms and potentially limit the pop ups to shown only when users have spent a reasonable amount of time on your site.
To learn more about building your list with signup forms, consider reading our post on effective lead capture forms and website popup examples. You may also want to watch the following video, where Andy Crestodina goes over the entire process of how to optimize your signup forms – including where you should place them, how to pick your CTAs, and what works for webform copy.
Most websites and homepages have multiple objectives to meet. They’re meant to provide information for all the types of visitors that enter the page and as a result, they’re often quite messy. They’re also not designed to convert email subscribers effectively. This is why marketers build dedicated landing pages.
While landing pages also can have various goals, there’s one specific type that’s built solely for capturing emails and that’s squeeze pages. Squeeze pages are designed to collect visitors’ email addresses. They contain just enough information to convince them to fill out the form and keep them focused on that one single goal.
That’s why most squeeze pages contain only the following elements (sometimes even fewer):
- A headline that makes a promise and captures attention
- A subheading that builds upon the promise
- Key benefits of the offer and the lead magnet
- The signup form
- Additional elements increasing the conversion rate like social proof or trust symbols
As you can see, they’re much simpler than your normal website homepage. And that’s exactly why they’re so effective. The average conversion rate for landing pages is almost 6%, but it’s not unusual to see better results.
In one of our case studies, Alex Terrier, a jazz musician and a music teacher offering online music courses, describes how he’s managed to get a 19% email signup rate thanks to free high-quality content.
While landing pages can be placed inside your website’s navigation, marketers primarily use them to capture leads from external traffic sources, like paid social media campaigns, sponsored mailings, solo ads, and various content marketing activities.
If you’d like to learn more about using landing pages in your list building campaigns – how to design them effectively & what could potentially hinder your conversion rates – you may want to check our beginners guide to squeeze pages and how to create landing pages that convert.
While you can use paid ads to drive traffic onto your squeeze pages, there’s also another way to collect emails without making visitors leave the page they’re currently viewing.
On Facebook, these are called Lead Ads. In Google, they’re called Google Lead Form Extensions. And on LinkedIn, you’ll find them as Lead Gen Ads.
Every platform has its own name, but the principle behind them is the same – they offer a simple way to collect emails from the platform’s users. And why is it simple? It’s because the platforms prepopulate the lead capture form with the email address the user’s signed with.
While this significantly increases the conversion rates, it also has a downside. Most of us are signed into Facebook using our personal email address and not our business one. And if you’re interested in capturing a B2B audience, this makes the process more complicated.
That said, lead ads can generate impressive results. One of GetResponse’s customers, InfoShare Academy, used them to successfully capture 1200 new contacts in just one month and kept the cost per lead around $0.35. They achieved this by creating a highly relevant content piece (an IT Glossary Guide) and targeting people wanting to learn how to become a developer.
Segmenting your email list
We’ve mentioned how email marketing allows you to run targeted email campaigns as opposed to sending the so-called email blasts. It does so through the use of segmentation.
The purpose of email list segmentation is to identify cohorts or groups of customers that share common characteristics and tailor the communication to better meet their expectations & needs. By making your email communication more relevant you can achieve higher engagement and conversion rates.
And not just by a fraction, according to the Email Marketing Benchmarks report data, personalized emails see on average an uplift of 19% in the click-through rates.
How you’ll want to segment your audience will vary depending on the type of business you’re running or your email marketing campaign’s goal. For example, a nonprofit organization may want to look at the average donation size of their customers while an ecommerce brand may be interested in a segment that purchased in the last 90 days.
That said, most marketers segment their email lists based on:
- Demographic information (e.g. gender, age, income)
- Contact engagement with communication (e.g. page visits, link clicks, email opens)
- Contact buying behavior (e.g. products purchased, products added to cart)
- Contact stage in the buying cycle
To find out more, about how you can use contact information to improve your email campaigns, read our getting started with email segmentation and 9 super-easy ways to personalize your emails.
Types of emails you can send
When it comes to what can go into your emails the sky really is the limit.
You can use email marketing throughout the entire customer lifecycle aiming for different kinds of objectives for each stage. Here, we’ll focus on the types of emails you can send based on how they’re sent and not what’s inside them.
If however, you’d like to explore further the different content types that you can include your messages, consider reading these posts on the most interesting newsletter ideas & employee newsletter examples.
Newsletters and marketing offers
Most marketers use email marketing to communicate their offers and send regular updates regarding their company.
These types of emails are usually sent as a one-off type of campaign that’s targeted to the whole of their audience (that’s when you call them an email blast) or a particular customer segment.
Newsletters are very popular and simple to run, but because you send them out manually they tend to get lower engagement rates than triggered emails.
On average, an email newsletter sees an open rate of 22% and a click-through rate of 3.4%.
Triggered emails or automated emails see much higher engagement rates. Their average open rate is around 44% and click-through rate is above 10%. Why so much higher than newsletters?
What makes triggered emails so effective is that they’re sent in response to your contact’s actions. It could be after they signed up to your mailing list or after they left your website without completing the order. You decide when such emails get sent out.
But it’s not only the timing that makes automated emails powerful. It’s also about the fact that they’re super relevant. Most automated emails contain information that’s specifically intended for the recipient who’s just performed some sort of action.
To learn more about automated emails and see over 30 template examples, check out our guide to email automation.
Here’s another type of email that’s popular among marketers. Blog updates or RSS-emails are messages that you send out after you’ve published a new article on your blog.
You can send these emails either automatically or manually, depending on your preference.
These kinds of emails also tend to get higher open and click-through rates than marketing newsletters. This is especially true for those bloggers who offer unique content & focus mostly on providing value rather than marketing their products or services.
Email drip campaigns or autoresponder emails are similar to triggered emails. You send them automatically, but unlike triggered emails, they follow a predetermined sequence and schedule.
Usually, marketers use drip campaigns to set up email courses, lead nurturing sequences, or onboarding sequences. Setting up an email sequence this way gives you the opportunity to keep your brand at the top of your audience’s mind and makes your content easier to digest.
Email drip campaigns are easy to create and tend to get pretty high engagement rates. Their average open rate is almost 30% and CTR is almost 6%.
If you’d like to find out more about setting up email sequences, here’s a handy email drip campaign guide.
Email marketing strategy and metrics
To be successful in email, you need to develop a strategy and focus on the right kinds of metrics to know whether you’re going in the right direction.
Put simply, email marketing strategy is the big picture showing the long-term vision and future direction of your email activities. Although many businesses operate without a strategy, it’s crucial to have one if you want to be successful.
Here’s why you need an email marketing strategy:
“You need a strategy with your email marketing and your marketing automation. Driving prospects down the funnel won’t happen by accident. (…) You need a planned project to map out all the different potential customer touchpoints and when you can potentially send emails, and then to build them in.”Dr. Dave Chaffey
Developing a basic email marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. (In fact, it shouldn’t.) You don’t need to cover everything at once – you can include more areas and details as you go.
On our blog, you can find more information on how different businesses can use email marketing:
- email marketing for SMBs
- email marketing for B2B
- email marketing for ecommerce
- email marketing for musicians
- email marketing for real estate agents
In general, your email marketing strategy should cover areas like:
Key long-term objectives
Decide what you want to achieve with your email marketing in the long run. Your objectives should be business-related and measurable. Here are a few examples to consider:
- increase the number of subscribers by 20% by the end of the year
- increase email marketing relevance expressed by 5% higher open rate and CTR
- collect meaningful information about subscribers to improve segmentation
- increase ROI from promotional campaigns by 10% by the end of the year
You’ll want your goals to be ambitious but also achievable. But before you sell yourself short, make sure you follow these email marketing best practices and you’ll be on the good path to achieving even the most ambitious objectives.
Who are the people most likely to become your customers? Make sure that you know your target audience well. The more you know about their needs and preferences the more effective your email marketing campaigns will be.
Competitive advantage and key USPs
Do you know what your unique selling proposition (USP) is? Do you know your competitive advantage? I hope so. If not, you’re going to have a rough time trying to create email marketing campaigns that will persuade your target audience to buy from you.
Your USP should answer the question “why us?” Analyze your product or service and identify the benefits for the customer. Keep it short and precise. Clearly explain your solutions and match them to your customers’ needs.
Also, reach out to your current customers and ask them for your competitive advantage. Find out why they chose you from all the other options.
Clearly defined competitive advantage and USPs will help you tremendously with planning your overall marketing communication and CTAs in individual emails.
Define the resources you need to make your email marketing campaign happen. Think of people (e.g. email marketing specialist, graphic designer, content specialist) and tools (email marketing platform, project management tool, etc.) that will help you plan and execute your strategy.
Metrics and KPIs
There are a lot of metrics worth tracking. The trick is to tie them to your business goals and define the KPIs that will help you make better decisions.
Below you’ll find the most important metrics you should keep an eye on when running your email marketing campaigns.
Bear in mind that to have a full understanding, you’ll want to look at various email marketing metrics simultaneously. Otherwise, you might be ignoring an important element of the puzzle that’s stopping you from reaching a high ROI.
You’ll also want to keep track of the average engagement metrics observed in your industry or geographical location. You’ll find such information in the Email Marketing Benchmarks report.
Email list size
The number of email addresses on your list is one of the metrics you should pay attention to. Given that you build your email list organically with your target audience, you can be sure that it will translate into business results. In this case, the bigger the list – the bigger the total results.
The percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened your email. Bear in mind that opens can be calculated only in HTML messages since they need tracking pixel.
Some marketers say it’s a vanity metric but tracking email open rates have multiple benefits. For example, it gives you a quick overview of how good your email deliverability is or what’s the quality of your email list.
As you run your email campaigns, you want to make sure that your open rate beats the industry standard and doesn’t decline.
The three main elements that affect open rates are the from name, subject line, and the preheader text. Naturally, your deliverability or timing of your email marketing campaign also play a role.
To learn how to improve your opens and get more people to read your emails, follow this post on increasing email open rates.
The percentage of the total number of clicks on any given link in your email. It’s expressed by the total number of clicks on any given link divided by the number of emails sent.
Now this one is an actionable metric and the closest one you get to the actual conversion. Marketers throughout the world want to ensure their click-through rate (CTR) is strong, otherwise, it’ll mean their content isn’t interesting.
Making your calls to action more prominent, placing them in the above the fold, or using engaging content formats – these are just three ways how you can increase your CTRs. For more ideas, refer to our article on increasing your click-through rates.
Comparison of the number of unique clicks and unique opens giving you a better idea of the engagement in your email marketing campaigns.
A high click-to-open rate (CTOR) might indicate that subscribers find the content of your emails interesting or that you’ve delivered on the promise that you made in the subject line.
A low CTOR suggests the opposite. It may mean that either your subject line was misleading or that the email message wasn’t convincing enough to click through to your website.
A specific valuable action like visiting a landing page after clicking a CTA button; visiting a thank you page after buying a product, etc.
Sometimes expressed as a ratio, conversion rate gives you a precise signal of whether your email campaign was successful.
Plan your first email campaign
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Setting up your first email campaign
This section contains a short step-by-step guide on how to set up your first email campaign. If you’re never done this before, just follow these steps and make sure to note down your observations and track your results.
Email marketing is a long-term game and you’ll want to make sure that with every campaign you roll out you’ll learn something new about your audience and what makes them ‘click’.
1. Set a measurable goal
First, decide what you want to achieve.
For the purpose of this article, let’s say you want to create a welcome email that’ll greet your new subscribers and offer them a discount code for their first order in your online store.
According to our Email Marketing Benchmarks, the welcome emails have the highest engagement, open rate, and click-through rate:
Not to set the bar too high, let’s say your goal will therefore be to roll out a welcome email campaign that’ll generate an open rate of over 60% and CTR above 15%.
2. Pick your target audience
You’ll now want to decide whom you’re going to send your email campaign.
In this case, it’s simple – the target audience will be every new person who joins your email list.
But it could just as well be anyone else, e.g. folks who’ve visited your store in the last 30 days but haven’t placed an order or people who’ve recently bought from you but didn’t leave a review.
Keep in mind who your target audience is before you run off creating copy and designing your email templates.
3. Create your email template
Now it’s time to put your creative hat on and craft that email.
Don’t worry though, you don’t need to be a designer or a copywriter to create email campaigns that generate results. The most important element is to always think of your target audience and what objective you’ve set for your campaign.
If you’re using an email service provider like GetResponse, you can either use the drag-and-drop email creator or customize one of the ready-made templates that come out of the box. Using premade templates will save you a ton of time and ensure that your emails will look great across all devices and email clients.
In our case, we want to greet new email subscribers and convince them to click-through to the site and use the discount code we’ve given them. What this means is that your email needs to be welcoming but also draw the recipient’s attention to the main action you want them to take.
To do that, you’ll want to follow email design principles such as making your CTA prominent, sizeable, surrounded by a reasonable amount of negative space. You’ll also want to pay attention to your copy and make sure it communicates the key benefits of your offer.
To explore these topics further, consider reading these two resources:
- Email design best practices guide
- How to write effective email subject lines
- How to write newsletters that get opened, read, and clicked by Joana Wiebe
4. Schedule your email campaign
Once you’ve created the emails you want to send, it’s time to schedule them so that they’ll reach the right audience at the right time.
If you were to send a one-off email blast, you could send it immediately or schedule it for later. Additionally, you could adjust the send time to match your subscriber’s time zone.
In our case, we want to set up a simple welcome email, which we can do by using a marketing automation template called “Simple Welcome Message”.
The workflow consists of only two blocks, where we need to specify what email template we want to send and which list it should be applied to.
5. Measure and improve
As we mentioned before, you can’t run a good email program if you’re not measuring your campaign’s results.
If you’re sending a one-off marketing offer, give yourself at least 24 hours before you start analyzing your open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. This will give your recipients enough time to respond to your message and place their order.
When analyzing your results, keep in mind all the main factors that could have affected your results – the subject line, your offer, your target audience, email template you used, the time at which you sent out the campaign, and additionally any external factors that could also be important.
Take the timing of your email campaign as an example. In our recent study on the best time and day to send an email, we’ve identified which hours and days correlate with higher opens and clicks:
Equipped with that, you can start coming up with new ideas & planning your future campaigns that’ll generate even higher results.
Time to send your own email marketing campaigns
Now that you’ve learned the foundations of email marketing it’s time for you to act.
If you feel you’re ready to start running effective email programs – to build and segment high-quality lists, design high-converting email templates, continuously test and optimize your campaigns – I’ve got good news for you.
You can do all of this inside of one single tool. And it’s completely free for 30 days – no credit card required.
If any of that sounds interesting to you, just sign up for a free trial & start making some real results.