Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business, whether your goal is to build your brand or sell more stuff. Our field guide provides everything you need to know to make the most of this platform. Learn how to create an email marketing plan, design effective emails, and test them. Then discover the power of automation and how to measure the success of your emails.
In addition to A/B testing, many email marketing packages now offer multivariate testing, which involves using multiple variations of a campaign to test which one performed best. Services that offer this feature include Campaigner and Mailchimp. Another thing to consider when looking for an email marketing platform is how the email campaigns can boost search engine optimization (SEO) for your organization. The right keywords can lead your subscribers from their email platform onto your website. Whether you're looking or a simple email marketing solution or one with full automation, there are several on the market to meet your needs.
On a more basic level, AI improves email marketing mechanics such as A/B testing and smarter audience segmentation. This can have immediate benefits in terms of optimizing your marketing strategies for different customers and sending the right content to the right people. On a more advanced note, AI can actually optimize email content for specific audiences and product campaigns. Additionally, it can help with personalizing email content right down to the individual customer level, depending on how much information you can feed it from your CRM and sales systems. AI delivers strong capabilities, which means determining exactly how a potential email marketing service has implemented AI should be key criteria for most marketers before purchasing.
Mailing lists have first been scholarly mailing lists. The genealogy of mailing lists as a communication tool between scientists can be traced back to the times of the fledgling Arpanet. The aim of the computer scientists involved in this project was to develop protocols for the communication between computers. In so doing, they have also built the first tools of human computer-mediated communication. Broadly speaking, the scholarly mailing lists can even be seen as the modern version of the salons of the Enlightenment ages, designed by scholars for scholars.
The primary cost of poorly crafted or mis-targeted emails is lost business opportunities, though in extreme cases it can damage a firm’s reputation as well. But the potential payoff for effective email marketing is substantial; email messages are more likely to be seen and acted upon by decision makers than online content, social media, or advertising.
Will people understand what you’re trying to say? It’s usually better to avoid topics (or opinions) that are complex if many people are extremely passionate about them. For example, sharing almost any opinion about immigration policy is usually a bad move, unless your audience is unusually homogenous. You could agree 99% with someone and still piss them off by using the wrong term just because they have such a strong “either you agree 100% with us, or you’re our enemy” mentality. I once pointed out that I think it’s unacceptable to capture and torture people for years—especially if they aren’t charged with any crime, there’s no evidence they’ve done anything wrong, and they’re children. I got several emails back from people saying, “you have no idea what you’re talking about” or “you should stick to marketing and leave politics to people who understand it.” They took it as commentary on geo-politics. I just said I’m not okay with pointless torture of children. I thought we’d all agree on that.
Not only is InVision's newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly -- which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, too.
Social media – the undisputed king in the marketing domain… And then there’s email. Think of it as a grandparent to social media marketing. Don’t be fooled, it’s still reliable if used the right way. Today’s marketers may not be as email savvy, nor do they consider it to be a “cool” way of contacting clients, however, it has stood the test of time and proven itself to be an effective method of communication.
Whether you already have a list of subscribers or are starting from scratch, email marketing services can help. All of the services we cover let you add contacts manually using copy and paste or by uploading CSV or Microsoft Excel files. Some integrate with third-party software enabling you to import Gmail and other webmail contacts, Salesforce and other CRM data, or other software where you might have contacts stored. Depending on the size and location of your list, third-party integration could be key. Verify whether you can export contacts as well (and how easy it is to do so) should you leave the service. Managing users who unsubscribe should also be easy so you're not accidentally contacting anyone who has opted out of your newsletters.
GetResponse is an email marketing tool that helps businesses both maintain their contacts as well as coordinate professional marketing campaigns. It offers a very easy-to-manage database, users can create individual campaigns and manage multiple emailing lists within the software. GetResponse can also be used to build landing pages and surveys and publish newsletters on social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook.
Mailchimp is a very well-known email marketing tool that integrates with popular apps and services like Salesforce, Eventbrite, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey. This inbound marketing tool allows you to easily sync your data from those services, import content from other sources, and learn how your campaigns are affecting your business. Along with reports to show you how well you’re connecting with your audience and how much money you’re bringing in, Mailchimp gives you tips for improvement. Mailchimp Mobile Dashboard enables you to check in from anywhere.
This email template is direct and perfectly designed to promote events. Unusually, the brand name comes on the bottom, with the headline focusing solely on the event itself. Yet the principle remains true.The header gives you the opportunity to outline the event. For example, if it’s a business networking event then the font should be professional, supplemented with a sensible image. Alternatively, for a music concert, you can be more creative.For such a simple theme, it’s a versatile option for a variety of events.Good for:
If you’d like to keep in touch with our support team through online chat or email, upgrade to our Essentials plan starting at $9.99 a month. Whether you’re hitting a roadblock with an email you’re writing or want more information about how something works, help is available around the clock. And when you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level, we have plans for that, too.
Think targeted marketing when determining the demographic selects for your mailing list. Who are your best customers? A direct mailing list performs better when you target your prospects based on the demographics of your current customers. Our online mailing list service allows you to define your mailing list by age, income, gender, length of residence and more. Each list contains different demographic selects.
With Vero, users can track and store customer data and events in real-time. Using this information, you can create segments without having to do any coding and send out automated emails. For example, users who have just abandoned the shopping cart can be targeted with an email just hours or days later. In terms of deployment, Vero can be integrated with an email delivery provider, such as Sendgrid.
If you are intending to sell multiple products, then this is the template for you. The list structure makes it easy to follow. Once again the white background draws the reader’s attention to the content. The red CTAs stand out due to the contrast with the overall color scheme.There is room to create a heading for each product with a paragraph or bullet list of further details. For the main feature image, you can take the opportunity to explain the purpose of the email. The yellow circles can be useful to promote special offers.Good for:
High reach: When people join your email list (subscribe or “opt in”), you can reach them. If they just like your Facebook page, for example, it’s unlikely that they’d see many of your updates. Sure, not everyone opens your emails, but the numbers are heavily in favor of email marketing compared to other similar marketing tactics. I’d rather get 1,000 new email subscribers than 10,000 Twitter followers.
Sample review: Optinmonster “has various forms you can embed on your site to help with email conversion but one of the most interesting ones is the popup. You can set the popup only to appear on ‘exit intent’. This means that your website visitor can browse all they want and when they are about to exit the website you can have a popup appearing tempting the visitor to leave their email address.” — RazorSocial (World)
And that leads us right into understanding service pricing and packaging. The email marketing services we reviewed range from about $3 per month to send out 500 emails per month in Zoho Campaigns to as much as $1,250 per month for up to 10,000 contacts in Pardot. Many email marketing plans include unlimited email sends each month and bill you based on the number of subscribers. If you have a small list, then look for a company that offers a free plan, a low-cost plan for several hundred subscribers, or even a pay-as-you-go plan. On the flip side, many of these services also offer high-volume plans with up to 100,000 or more contacts. Sometimes this requires a custom plan that has to be arranged directly with a sales rep. If you're willing to commit, then look for the companies that offer discounts if you pay yearly rather than monthly. A few also offer money-back guarantees.
CakeMail is an email marketing tool intended for small businesses that makes sending out emails very easy. All users to have to do is title their new campaign, set up list of recipients, give their email a design and select a time to send it out. There is also an advanced editing section which is great for users who are more experienced with HTML. CakeMail can be integrated with Google Analytics so users have access to detailed reports on insights such as open rates, unsubscribe rates, click and bounce.
Bloggers are the most obvious example of focusing on this email marketing strategy almost exclusively. SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses are another group that typically heavily emphasize content emails. Of course, bloggers, SaaS businesses, and everyone else can send content emails while also using the other email marketing strategies. And you should do it, too.
Campaign Monitor asserts that the average open rate for email marketing is generally 20% – 30%. Your marketing message is five times more likely to be seen by email than on Facebook. Clickthrough rates from email are around 3%, while clickthrough rates on tweets are roughly 0.5%. Therefore, you’re six times more likely to get a clickthrough from email than you are from Twitter.
That isn’t to say that sales-y promotions couldn’t ever create results—as marketing “gurus” have proved. The results just aren’t as good as they could be. Take the biggest gurus’ results—the ones they boast about—and calculate their conversion rates. Often their marketing is comparatively ineffective. They just have massive volume, so the sales numbers are impressive.
The takeaway here is that if you are to use personalization as an email strategy, do so in a meaningful way. It takes little knowledge or relationship to place someone’s name in your greeting. It shows far greater care to send personalized email that is specific to a recipient’s needs and history. Again, an example from my inbox, this email from Rdio dispenses with the formalities and simply provides an update on music I actually listen to.