The definitive email marketing guide: is it possible to learn this power?

Yes, Padawan. It is possible. You want to learn how to do email marketing? We’ve got some of the goods right here. As you’re probably aware, the best email marketing campaigns are still a big part of content marketing strategies for many kinds of organizations out there – from big enterprises to smaller startups. And the reason is quite simple: email marketing campaigns are truly cost-effective and provide a big return on investment.
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Think about it: what other channel offers you the unique opportunity to enter into straight, unmediated communication with your users? When done correctly, you can reach and connect with wide audiences, engage with them in an effective way and influence them towards an action or goal – precisely because they expect your content to arrive in their inboxes and will relish it when your company’s name shows up in there (at least in theory).

From businesses that are just starting out to the ones that are already a staple in their respective fields, email marketing can help in many ways – not only by creating much-needed brand awareness (in both cases, by the way), but also in that they keep your brand relevant by reminding your customers or audience that you are there. This is the case regardless of the objectives of the email marketing campaign in question: whether it’s to sell products, get more traffic or simply make an important announcement to your user base.

But before our email marketing tips begin, let’s go with the “what is email marketing” part. 

So yeah, the basics first. Email marketing means, in essence, sending emails to your audience/customers/leads as part of a marketing campaign with specific goals in mind. These might be newsletters, special announcements (such as new products or new hires by a company, for example), promotional information, news articles (in the case of media outlets), quizzes, discounts… the list goes on and on (we’ll get to it later). It should also be mentioned that – as with any other content marketing piece – email marketing is, in essence, an effort to build trust and credibility with a user (or potential customer).

Consider this question: why would anyone spend money on email marketing campaigns?

Quite simply: because they work. That’s where you say, “I don’t believe you”. And here’s where we say, “Just because you don’t believe it doesn’t mean it’s not true…”

OK, writer. Care to explain why email marketing campaigns really do work?

Sure. Let’s start with another question: how does email marketing still work when people aren’t using their emails so much these days – what with all these social media and instant messaging apps around to take up so much of their attention?

It still works precisely because reaching a person’s email inbox – with their consent – is a very distinct, special way of communicating with them. It means they’ll be more interested in what you have to tell them – at least if you’re not a spammer. It means you aren’t relying on some algorithm to (maybe) show up in front of your potential leads and customers.

You’re not floating around some feed like a boat drifting over the ocean. You’ve reached their personal email inbox! That’s quite something – no doubt about it. And that’s why the return on investment for each person that subscribes to an email marketing campaign is still very high – higher than you’d think, and probably higher than some advertising/marketing programs from very established brands. And that’s not all: the engagement that email marketing gets from users is often higher than some big social networks out there.

As a matter of fact, you’d be surprised to know the ratio of people who actually open email marketing messages in the first place. And the rate of users who actually perform conversions from email campaigns to which they have willingly subscribed. We’ll try not to bore you with numbers here – feel free to google that data if you don’t believe us. 🙂

Ok, I’m almost convinced. Shall we get to the “how to do email marketing” part? 

By all means. Here’s what you’ll find in our totally awesome email marketing guide:

  1. The beginnings: where does it fit in to your overall strategy?
  2. Who’s your target audience again?
  3. What kind of content will you use?
  4. More content tips – because they’re important
  5. Which platform/software are you going to use?
  6. Did you test it?
  7. Do you have an email list set up?
  8. Did you check some templates?
  9. Did you schedule it?
  10. Are you sure your emails will get delivered – and opened?
  11. Do you have automation features in place?
  12. Did you check the applicable regulations?
  13. Are you verifying your performance?
  14. Conclusion!

1. Every email marketing campaign has to start somewhere, right?
First things first: where will it fit in?

Right. And the best way to start is to define where your email marketing will fit in to your overall marketing strategy. Also, how it relates to your marketing goals – and your business goals, for that matter.

We do have a great article about how to create an awesome content marketing campaign, and we recommend that you check it out. But what’s really important here is to define where exactly your email marketing campaign piece is going to be in your content marketing puzzle. For that, we need to bring up the buyer’s funnel – or journey – again. We’re going to use a simpler version here (you might have seen some different versions) and consider the different stages every user goes through when they engage with your brand, product or service:

  • Awareness/Attention: where you want to attract an audience, and let them know your company exists
  • Interest/Consideration: where you want the audience to know you have a solution for your problem – and that your solution is the best one
  • Decision/Action: where you want them to commit to your brand and make a purchase

So, try to forget all the email marketing tips for a second: the question here is, where in those stages do you see your campaign? And where will your other content initiatives be? Of course, the natural answer would be to align it with the “Interest” and “Decision” steps – and to offer content options that are aligned with these stages. Right? After all, we’re talking about people who have already signed up to your campaign and are actively interested in what you have to tell/sell them. They might even be at the “Loyalty” stage, further down the funnel, where they’re already recommending your company to others.

Well, not so fast!

Remember that some of the best email campaigns might work when connected to other content initiatives as part of a bigger context. You might be promoting some product – or piece of content – for an already established audience, sure. But you might also consider creating specific email marketing actions for the “Awareness” stage. Think of a new company that belongs to an already solid enterprise, and is now announcing a new product. If you create email marketing announcing that product to the former enterprise’s customers – which makes sense – you’re setting it at the “Awareness” phase. Right?

See where we’re going with this? So, with that in mind, dedicate some time to carefully evaluating which part your email marketing campaigns will play in the overall backdrop of your business goals – and your content marketing strategy. It might be just one of the vessels in your marketing armada (clever metaphor alert!), but it might also be the flagship. That’s up to you and your organization to decide.

And, lest we forget, you should also have clear goals when it comes to specific metrics for your email marketing campaign. Otherwise, you won’t be able to tell if it’s doing well or not, right? More on that later – read on, because we’re going to list the main metrics associated with every email marketing campaign in step no. 13. From there, you’ll get a better picture of what to track.

2. If it's got "email marketing guide" written all over it,
it's going to mention a target audience somewhere.

Maybe you’re thinking that defining a target audience doesn’t make sense here, because your target audience is basically your email list – that is, as broad as possible – right?

We don’t think so. First of all, because your email marketing campaign has to fit in to your overall marketing strategy (as stated above). And, in that sense, it needs to be targeted at a specific audience in order to be effective. Basically, you need to know who you’re talking to – the famous “buyer persona”, a concept of who your intended viewers are, what their interests are, and how they relate to your brand.

Second: having a definition of your target audience/buyer persona will also help you acquire more emails for your lists (more on that later). You might even create different sub-sections/audience segments in your campaign, depending on how you’ve acquired their emails. In the end, few things in content marketing are more targeted than an email campaign. So do consider this very important aspect when learning how to do email marketing – which is what you’re doing here anyway.

And there’s more: depending on how your sign-up process is structured – and the tools you use (more on this later) – you might even get more relevant details from users who do subscribe to your campaign. And this is going to make your target audience – and its related segments – even clearer and more defined.

3. What kind of content are people using in their email marketing campaigns these days?

So, hopefully by now you already have a clearer idea of how your email marketing campaign relates to your business and overall marketing objectives. And you also have a sharper idea of who your target audience is. Time to decide on the “what”. When users gleefully see your company’s name appear in their inboxes and quickly open the email, what will they see?

Before even getting into what you’ll actually write, think about this: what exactly will your users expect when they open your emails? What is their main purpose? Some reference needed right here. Let’s check some different content types that are part of many email marketing campaigns out there (some of these already mentioned in this very article):

  • New products available
  • Special/relevant announcements about your organization
  • Sales or promotion-related content
  • Product guides
  • New/upcoming/featured/seasonal events
  • News articles
  • Content related to social media (posts, videos, etc.)
  • Reviews

Quite a list, right? The thing to keep in mind here before even starting: first, why should your users care about said content? Why is it interesting to them? And, second, how is this content going to help promote the other content pieces that are part of your overall strategy?

This second question is important because – we can’t stress this enough – the best email marketing campaigns work when integrated with other content channels, creating a cross-promotion virtuous circle that enhances your brand’s awareness and helps your organization to reach its goals.

4. Your emails should have the best possible content,
so let's get further into what you should write.

Some other interesting – and relevant – email marketing tips that you should really consider before starting to create your content:

  • Make it fun: your emails are very likely going to broadcast other types of content within your strategy, so they need to be compelling and inviting. Well, this goes for every single content piece you write, but your email content should be especially interesting – it’s not going to be very long anyway, so use the text space you have to create something truly attractive.
  • Make it special: it’s all about the audience. Remember, they signed up to receive your emails, so it’s only fair that they get special content. Whether you’re promoting other pieces of content or offering product sales and discounts, create a feeling of uniqueness and exclusivity for your audience. They deserve it, don’t they?
  • Make it short: this one pretty much explains itself. It’s an email, not a blog post or a case study. Don’t bore your audience with long emails.
  • Make it beneficial: sure, it always depends on what kind of content you’ve set out to create in your campaign (as per previous chapter), but try to keep it useful with relevant information as much as possible. And don’t forget: work on an incredibly useful subject line as well. That’s going to help with getting your email opened in the first place (more on that later).  

Bonus tip: this one’s a given, but do try to look at what other companies and organizations are doing. You probably have a lot of newsletters in your own inbox (and maybe some spam too), right? Go ahead and check those. Competitors? Yep, check their content as well. Entertainment companies? Definitely. Artists? Absolutely. You get the point. The goal here is to have lots of references and to create the best possible content – and really connect with your readers.

5. Just like you probably have a toolbox to fix stuff at home,
there are toolboxes for email marketing campaigns.

By toolbox, please remember that we’re talking about email marketing software. After all, this is an email marketing guide, and as such we need to list anything that’s remotely helpful. And let’s face it, without something like this you wouldn’t even have an email campaign in place. There are great services available nowadays, which offer a wide list of features and are comparatively un-pricey. With that in mind, let’s go over some of the best services available. Most features are shared by all of them, but we’ll try to list the main ones:

  • Mailchimp: one of the best-known tools and a staple of email marketing platforms, Mailchimp offers email design options and four different plans (including a free one). There’s also the possibility of promotion initiatives with landing pages and social channels.
  • GetResponse: offering the option of creating landing pages and other content types as well, GetResponse comes with a variety of helpful features (such as autoresponders, A/B testing and more). It also offers a free trial period of 30 days, but no free plans. 
  • Drip: with an easy-to-use interface and integration to platforms such as WordPress and Facebook Ads, Drip is a great choice for e-commerce owners due to specific tracking options related to customers and shopping behavior. Plus, it does have a free plan option available (although limited to a few campaign users). 
  • Aweber: one of the oldest and best-known tools out there. Aweber comes with the basic package of every email marketing tool (templates, integration features, automation, etc.), as well as A/B testing, data visualization, sign-up form creation and more. No free plan available here, but – as with other tools – there is a 30-day trial period available. 
  • Constant Contact: with design features, email templates and e-commerce options, Constant Contact comes with many integration tools to connect your campaign to your main social media channels. There’s no free plan available, but there is a free trial period where you can test it for 60 days. 
  • HubSpot: combining email marketing and CRM features, HubSpot comes with the advantage of a free plan along with the paid ones. The free version comes with many useful options that one would expect from an email marketing service, such as email analytics, templates, automation tools and more.

It’s good to remember that we’re only listing some of the best-known tools here. There are lots of options out there. And, as you can see, there are a lot of common features and characteristics in all of these services. Which means that you’ll have to try them and decide which one works best for you, your company and – of course – your budget.

And, as a bonus, many of these tools will offer their own email marketing guide as well. Not bad, right?

6. Treat this as a scientific project. You need some testing before it goes live. For real.

This one is a must for everyone learning the ropes of email marketing: your emails need to be tested. Why? Simple: just like with any other content initiative, you want to make sure you’ve got the best possible version – the one that’s going to get the most clicks, the most openings, the best timing – in short, the best results.

  • A/B Testing

It’s really important to pick a software or platform that will allow you to conduct A/B testing. There are many variables to check before you’ll have come up with a great email: content type, images, length, design, links, subject lines, sending times – anything that might produce different results. Also, try to create different combinations with all of these variables in mind (according to your audience, of course) and see which one performs best.

Here’s a good example. Incredibly designed emails are not guaranteed to be an astounding success with everyone. Some audience segments will prefer text-oriented emails, with really useful content instead of just images. It really depends on what kind of audience you’re dealing with, and what kind of message you’re trying to convey.

Whether you’re handling an e-commerce business, a media outlet or a blog dedicated to a specific subject, testing is going to make sure you get more results – period. They could be conversions, revenue, traffic, social media following – anything related to your campaign’s original goals (more on this later). The important thing is being able to identify – and send – the version that’s going to connect with your users more effectively, and entice a reaction out of them.

  • Email services 

It’s also good to test your emails with different clients, because they might not be delivered and received in a 100% uniform manner with all available services out there. Some might render HTML differently, some might not show your layout the way you intended, and some might not even show your images correctly. With that in mind, try to work with a tool that also offers the possibility of looking at previews on various email clients before sending.

This is especially important when you consider your audience segments. Let’s say, for instance, that a critical segment for your campaign uses a particular email client. In order to avoid any risks, you should definitely test your email campaign in that service and see what happens. Makes sense, right?

And, as a bonus tip here, do test your emails with people you know – friends, family, coworkers, etc. They will not only be able to offer you some feedback about how it looks overall, but might also see something you didn’t – like spelling or grammar mistakes, for instance.

7. It’s no email marketing guide if it doesn’t talk about an email list.
Here's how to create – and maintain – one.

This is one of the fundamentals: the best email marketing campaigns wouldn’t be anything without their email lists, right? You’ve already studied your target audience, worked on your buyer persona, and defined who you want to talk to. But in order even to have a real audience for your campaign – segmented or not – you’re going to have to build an email list. And it’s not a quick process, as you might imagine.

In short: what we’re trying to create here are opportunities to convince your users to sign up to your email lists. It all comes down to a few questions. Where will you put your email sign-up form? Are you going to use social media to convince them? Will you employ “gated content” sign-up forms? And are you going to analyze where your users actually signed up, in order to better communicate with them in the future? Also: is your sign-up form structured correctly, with a good headline, nice visuals, a great useful description and so on? And, most importantly, is the form actually working from a technical standpoint?

That’s a lot of questions, we know. But they’re important. By using your website as a starting point, there are some interesting things you can do. Here are some good examples:

  • Use your own website’s content 

Your website is very likely a mix of different pages and content types. While some of them will act as landing pages, attracting a broader part of your audience, others will attract a more specific kind of user – members of your audience that are already hooked into your brand, your products and your services. We’re talking about pages such as these:

  • Homepage: if people are actively accessing your homepage – regardless of the traffic source – it means they’re interested in your organization to some degree. Whether it’s a brand-new user who just arrived from a navigational search query or a returning user who’s been coming back all the time, offer them the possibility of joining your email list – and becoming the recipient of exclusive content through email.  The approach here might vary – you may create a homepage that’s 100% focused on the sign-up process, like some social media platforms do with more aggressive pop ups, or you can create a sign-up form that’s more integrated with your content and purpose. Test both versions and see which one stands out.
  • Informational pages: pages that contain more in-depth content about your company, its history and values, the corporate section of the website, and so on. Users who are interested in this information are much more likely to subscribe to your email lists. Create a sign-up form in those pages offering more relevant content, promotions, exclusive news, events, etc.
  • Dedicated sign-up pages: these pages will be totally focused on converting your users into members of your email lists. This means that, in theory, they shouldn’t have any content other than a sign-up form – and what advantages the viewer will obtain from this. The good thing about this option is that you can create different kinds of pages for each audience segment, improving your chances of getting more emails for your list.
  • Pop ups: these can be quite controversial, because many people (if not most people) hate pop ups, and not without good reason. The fact of the matter is that if you use them well and offer real value with them, they can be a great tool. For instance: when people are leaving your site for whatever reason. They’re leaving anyway, so why not offer them an email sign up – with some benefit attached to it, of course? 
  • Repurpose your already existing content into special/useful/”gated” content 

Does your company work with any sort of educational/informational content? Like white papers, case studies, manuals, guides, etc.? Maybe something like this very email marketing guide right here? Or maybe you already have that kind of content published – in the form of blog posts or web pages – but it’s in need of a few updates, such as more in-depth information, to make it more complete. Why not create a file with that content and a sign-up process – with email required – to download it? With a nice call to action, of course.

Let’s say, for instance, you have a blog post about how to write a screenplay. It’s not very long, because you’re dealing with the fundamental tips. Why not expand this very content into an eBook or a PDF file – something like “The Complete Guide to Screenplay Writing” – and tie it to a subscription to your newsletter? This is what marketers usually refer to as “gated content” – content that is “locked” by a submission form, usually requesting an email contact, for instance. And guess what? It works. Because such content has a very high perceived value, and people will give something in return for accessing it.

Some people don’t actually like to read content that’s published on the web, and prefer to go over it on a different medium (such as a PDF document on another device, for example). If you’re confident that your content is truly valuable – and people are truly interested in it – make this a priority. Things on this list will include case studies, white papers, tutorials, eBooks, presentations, keynote transcriptions – anything that your audience can benefit from, and for which they’ll be willing to sign up to your list.

  • “Lead magnets” 

The name says it all. And, to be fair, much of what we’ve covered in the previous bullet point could fit in here too – after all, eBooks, manuals, guides and all of that are perfect lead magnets. But this term also covers other things that you can offer your audience in exchange for their email addresses: discounts on your products, invitations to an event/keynote your company (or a partner company) is hosting, coupons, tests, quizzes, games, etc. In any case, regardless of what you’re offering, it should be aligned with your target audience’s expectations about your brand. And, most importantly, it has to have an immediate, easily usable benefit. Nobody likes to feel scammed.

  • Segmenting your email lists 

Once you’ve built your huge email list (woohoo!), it’s time to work on it. How? By creating smaller groups of users, a process called “segmentation”. This is one of the best email marketing tips out there, and it will allow your email marketing campaigns to be more specialized, targeted and, of course, effective.

And how, you might ask, is this done? Simple: by classifying users according to how they react to your content – and eventually preparing special campaigns targeted at them. Examples:

  • By interest: users who like specific topics/sections of your website
  • By opening rate: people who have a higher engagement/opening rate with your emails
  • By location: audience members who live in specific countries/regions/cities
  • By subscription: new users, or people who have just signed up to receive your emails

As you can see, there are many variables to cover here and a lot of room to operate. What’s important is to create email marketing campaigns that will connect to each audience segment in a productive way – according to which segment they belong to, of course. 

  • Removing inactive subscribers… or maybe not! 

This is one of the great email marketing tips out there, but it’s aimed at a later stage – when you already have a cool campaign going and are making full use of your contacts. Not only does it allow you to keep an email list of active and engaged users – which is always good – but it also gives you one more opportunity to connect with inactive users and possibly bring them back to the fold. How? By sending them a last email trying to convince them to “come back”.

It’s a good idea to use a funny and more engaging tone – from the subject line to the content itself – because the goal is to provoke a reaction. Some people will answer, others won’t. But by doing this, you basically get two benefits: keeping a better email list with fewer inactive users, and possibly getting a reaction from users who previously weren’t engaging with your brand. 

8. Some template knowledge required:
it will help you create your own best version

 We’ve already covered some of the main content types for email campaigns. Now it’s time to get up to speed with some templates. These can be very helpful when you’re trying to figure out how to do email marketing campaigns that will really – and we do mean really – connect with the audience. These are some of the main templates that can be used for your benefit:

  • The one with a new article/blog post: email marketing campaigns are a great tool to promote new and fresh content on your website, such as blog posts, for instance. The key here is to list some benefits that the reader can expect from your content, a good lead explaining what the content is about, an attractive subject line related to the topic of the post and, of course, a link to the post or article itself – maybe in the form of a button, to make it more attractive! 
  • The one with an announcement: as the name suggests, here you’re trying to maximize the impact of something new coming up: new products and services, changes or updates to products, limited offers, etc. The goal here is really to make this look like something big, so it should begin by having a very catchy subject line (which makes it clear that something new is up). A good lead is also crucial here – you can go straight to the point and make your announcement, or alternatively develop it a bit more and do a reveal later on. And, of course, a powerful call to action is necessary: whatever it is you’re announcing, we’re pretty sure you expect something from your audience in return, right? So go ahead and ask them – whether it’s a click to the product page, a sign up or something else.
  • The one with the offer: no big secrets in this one – the clear goal is to reach a conversion from your user. It starts with a clear subject line – preferably mentioning the offer straight up, such as a discount, for instance – and a quick lead describing the offer itself (with the product or service involved). You may add some further details regarding the offer (such as the dates, for instance). But always, always go for a big call to action here, telling your audience what you expect them to do.
  • The one with… content: this one is special – you’re not trying to sell or announce anything here. You’re actually providing quality content directly to your user’s inbox – instead of a link to another area of your website, for example. What’s important here is to create an enticing and compelling subject line – you know, the kind that will get people wanting more. From there, a quick and clear introduction, and then go for your valuable content right away. The kind of content is really going to depend on many factors, but what’s key here is to keep it useful and beneficial. That’s how you’re going to keep users engaged. And – even though you’re not selling anything – try to include a call to action as well, one that’s related to your content anyway. It’s going to help engage with the reader.

Bonus email marketing tip: as you can see, every template we’re mentioning here has a call to action in it. Keep in mind that you should restrict this to a single call to action per email. It might be tempting to include more, depending on which kind of email you’re using, but if you keep it simple, the results should be better. Including too many CTAs prevents your emails from being focused, and might confuse your readers a bit.

9. Schedule some quality time to think about
the scheduling of your email marketing campaign.

 This one is critical and it starts with a very simple question: at what time will you be sending your emails? And how often – once a week? Twice? More? Some studying of your target audience – including its segmentation – is required to correctly determine the best sending times. And, obviously, there’s no easy answer here. Each audience has special requirements, but the overall idea is obviously to send your emails when the audience is more prone to seeing them – and actually interacting with them. That is, when their inboxes aren’t full, when they’re not at work, when they’re not sleeping, etc.

The key here is really to test and come up with a timing that is best for your campaign objectives. That’s the best possible advice – extensively trying different time slots (based on the characteristics of your audience) and frequencies, carefully watching the results and re-adapting the entire campaign to the times that show the most promising numbers.

10. But is your email going to actually get delivered… and opened?

Apart from maintaining a good and active email list (maybe re-check our nice point no. 7 above), what can you do to make sure your emails will actually get to your users’ inboxes instead of ending up in a spam folder or, worse still, not even delivered at all? Here are a few tips on that.

  • Don’t send too many emails: also known as “don’t spam”. Keep your email marketing campaign focused and regular, but don’t even think about shooting countless emails at users. That’s going to hurt your reputation and likely make your emails go to the spam box (or block list), because these very users will likely flag them as such.
  • Test different clients and services: just reiterating what we’ve covered previously. Test different email services and see what happens before starting your campaign – just to make sure there’s nothing wrong. If there is, discuss it with your technical/development team (if you have one) to try to identify the problem and fix it.
  • Offer a clear “unsubscribe” option: if your users can’t find the “unsubscribe” option in your emails, they might not like it very much – maybe they’ll feel a little cheated. Avoid being labeled a spammer by providing this option to your audience in every single email – in a clear way.
  • And, of course, create great subject lines: you already know this one, but it pays to reiterate it. Go ahead and re-read our entire template part, and come up with amazing subject lines that are totally related to your audience, your email content and your campaign goals.

11. Don't be afraid of robots. Try some cool automation features.

Automation is definitely a great tool for the best email campaigns out there, and we wouldn’t leave it out of our email marketing guide. When you’re dealing with scalability and many different audience segments, anything that’s helpful is very much welcome, right?

Depending on which tool you’re using, you can configure it to send automatic emails to specific/segmented audiences and a particular event triggered by them. For example: new subscribers, purchases, notifications of all sorts, incentives, event subscriptions, and much more. And, as you’ve probably guessed, you can use this to employ calls to action, lead magnets, promotions, conversions, and many other things. This kind of automated feature allows you to take advantage of the engagement generated with these users without having to spend too much time on it – except for the time you’ll spend studying, creating and setting up the emails, of course.

These automatic emails are usually referred to as autoresponders. What is key here – regardless of what you want to do with your automation features – is to have clear goals about what you expect to accomplish, and to have a structure of the email sequence in place. Kind of an “email map”, where you have more than one email or maybe a series of emails as part of a specific automation sequence, and the events that will trigger them. Why? Because it will allow you to have control over the entire process and change things whenever needed.

And, of course, you need to closely monitor the performance of these emails. Test different variations if needed, to make sure they’re compelling regardless of their goal, and that they’re not missing their “human touch”. Even though they aren’t being operated by humans.

12. Looking at the applicable regulations doesn't hurt at all.

Before setting up your full email marketing campaign and sending out those nice emails of yours, we recommend that you take a look at all applicable regulations in regards to emails – and all the territories where you’ll be sending them.

We’re not going to go into much detail here, otherwise this email marketing guide would be too big (it already is!). But it’s sufficient to say that your email marketing campaign is expected to adhere to rules regarding:

  • User data protection
  • Necessary information that needs to be present in every commercial email (such as “unsubscribe” links, for instance)
  • Compliance with user requests

And so on. Obviously, these regulations apply to the countries/regions where your business operates, so we strongly advise that you check them – and abide by them, of course – before beginning.

13. Aaaaaand we arrive at the performance part. How do you know this is working?

No surprise here, right? Just like every other content marketing initiative, you have to keep track of how your campaign is doing – and, depending on the context, you’re going to have to report it too. The good news is that pretty much every email marketing tool out there comes with comprehensive performance tracking tools. But regardless of which tool you’re going to use, keep these metrics in mind. Also, consider your specific campaign targets with these metrics as well:

  • Traffic (and conversions): surely, most of your email marketing campaigns will deal with some sort of content that’s available within your website. So it’s only natural that you look at how your traffic (and subsequent conversions derived from it) performs. Also, look at implementing tracking features in your email campaigns and closely following what your email users are doing (such as their buying behavior, for instance). This will allow you to further analyze your performance in your web analytics platforms (such as Google Analytics).
  • Email openings (and click-through rates): this one is also a must. It’s very important to keep track of the rate of people opening your emails in the first place – and actually clicking your links, for that matter. And, obviously, to do something about it when things aren’t looking great.
  • Delivered emails: you need to make sure that your emails are actually being delivered at an acceptable rate. Your email marketing tool should provide this information with relative ease.
  • E-commerce: remember to take a look at purchases and associated metrics coming from your email campaigns. It could be an interesting step to further segment your audience based on the products they like – and lead to even more successful campaigns in the future.
  • Unsubscribe rates: although unsubscribe rates are to be expected in every campaign, it’s not something entirely bad, since you’re actually getting rid of inactive users. In any case, this needs to be checked in order to identify anything unusual. And to come up with improvements – when necessary. 
  • Other: bounce rates, number of sent emails, email length, subject-line categories – any information that will clearly demonstrate how you’re reaching your original goals (or not) and help you to make better email campaigns in the future.

14. Conclusion: we're pretty sure you'll look differently
at an email newsletter after reading this article.

Well, congratulations for reaching the end of our massive (sorry!) email marketing guide/article. We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed it and that you’ll use it for your future email marketing efforts.

Whether you’re dealing with a B2B enterprise, a B2C e-commerce, a news media outlet, a snappy mobile app or a non-profit organization, email marketing campaigns can have a tremendous impact on your long-term goals and results. Much more than getting tons of brand awareness, acquiring great leads, seeing massive spikes in your numbers or registering steep upward trends over your performance charts, the main benefit of email marketing is to build trust with your audience – as with many of the other content marketing types out there.

And, as you’re reaching your users’ very own email inboxes, the chances of actually accomplishing that are enormous. Which obviously makes email marketing an incredibly powerful way of conveying your message – and reaching your business goals in the process, of course.

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