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The Fundamentals of Email Marketing



There are a multitude of great reasons to figure out an email marketing strategy that works for your business.

Email marketing campaigns are one of the most cost-effective marketing efforts you can make for your brand. Not only do email marketing campaigns help you reach a huge segment of your audience with one simple click. They’re also an essential tool for building brand awareness, converting prospects, staying top of mind with current and potential customers and offering your audience an exceptional digital experience.

Need more convincing? Here are some impressive stats about email marketing that should encourage you to invest — if you haven’t already:

It’s no wonder that marketers around the globe devote so much of their time and resources to email marketing — and why it’s become such a mainstay of effective outreach.

Below, we’ve put together our best insider advice on the email marketing fundamentals you need to know to hit it out of the park with your campaigns. Use these tips to get you started — then put what you learn to work and start seeing the benefits of emails for yourself.

1. Grow Your Email List

A great email marketing campaign is nothing without a solid list of contacts. For that, you need to have a plan for establishing and growing an organic email list. There are several ways to do this, and we recommend pursuing as many of these avenues as you can — after all, more contacts means more possibilities for conversions.

Here are some tried-and-true ways to build your email list:

Make it Easy to Subscribe

Create various checkpoints where interested contacts can quickly and easily enter their information to hear more from you. These include website pop-ups, social media outreach, and static sign-up boxes in the header, footer, or sidebar of your website. Keep it simple by including a short CTA (“Sign up for our newsletter!”), a box where users can fill in their email address and a button to submit.

Create Gated Content and Lead Generation Landing Pages

Create gated content behind landing pages — in other words, create content that users can access only after entering their contact information. Just be sure to provide an opt-in box where users can confirm they want to receive your email campaign content in addition to the asset.

Host Webinars

Show off your thought leadership skills and tap into a wider audience by creating and hosting webinars. Like gated assets, these can be a great tool for collecting high-quality contacts who are genuinely interested in your brand. Create added value by partnering with similar (but non-competing) brands and access their audience as well.

Don’t Buy Email Lists

Walk away from anyone who’s offering to sell you a list of contacts. On top of these contacts being low-quality and likely uninterested in what you’re selling, buying email lists could put you in hot water with your email service provider and the law.

2. Understand Your Audience

Not all audiences are created equal. Be sure to target the right group of people with the right type of content. To do this successfully, you need to understand who you’re trying to reach in the first place.

A target audience refers to the group of people who your email campaign is aimed at. These should be the people that your content is most likely to convert with — not just in terms of interest in your product or service, but in the likelihood of making a purchase.

Targeting the right audience often means segmenting your contacts based on who you think will most connect with any given campaign. That’s because not all of your contacts will find all of your content/campaigns relevant. For example, existing customers have no reason to engage with a new customer promotion.

Some tips for segmenting your audience and targeting the right people:

  • Research demographics like age, gender, and job title.
  • Consider where contacts are in the purchase cycle.
  • Look at past purchasing behavior.
  • Check previous email activity.
  • Leverage surveys to learn more about interests and preferences

Segmentation takes time but is worth it — especially when it comes to your performance outcomes. And fortunately, email marketing automation can help you do it.

3. Use Email Marketing Tools

Many tools exist to ease the workload of managing contacts, content, and analytics. Two of these tools can be absolutely integral to your email marketing success, so let’s take a deeper look into them.

Email Marketing Automation

About 51 percent of companies are already using marketing automation in some form — and they see a ton of benefits, including increased productivity, better analytics, and improvements in marketing outcomes and efficiencies.

Email marketing automation is simply about adding shortcuts that let your team work better, harder, and smarter. For example, an automation platform can segment your contacts with ease and then send out timely automated messages or conversion-driven emails based on behind-the-scenes customer behavior. And it doesn’t even have to cost you anything.

Content Management System

A CMS is essential for organizing your content and optimizing content output with your emails. Integrate it with your marketing automation platform to quickly pull the right content for the right people. A CMS can also identify content gaps that need to be filled. In addition to being useful for emails, you’ll also use it to keep your website informational and up to date. While there are a ton of CMS options available, our users overwhelmingly prefer WordPress.

4. Use Content Creatively

We’ve talked about content a lot in this guide, and for good reason. Content is the fuel behind your email marketing campaigns — and the foundational element behind how you engage, nurture, and convert your contacts.

Knowing you need content is one thing — knowing how to use it is another. Here are three great places to start:

Drip campaigns. Send content to your audience over time or based on specific behaviors. Automate campaigns based on segments —  so that new prospects are provided with a stream of content describing what your company does. In contrast, established prospects get content geared toward why they should choose you over your competitors.

Newsletters. Every brand should have an email newsletter. Use them to share various types of content, like recent blog posts, videos, images, and user-generated posts.

Promotions. Compelling content is behind every successful promotion. Whether you’re running a special or hosting an event, use content to drive interest and promote the value of your efforts.

5. Utilize Analytics

Last but not least, let’s talk about analytics.

It’s crucial that you pay attention to key email marketing metrics. These tell you what’s working and what’s not — and are critical for determining your ROI.

There are numerous ways to utilize analytics to your advantage but focus on these key performance indicators for starters.

Pay closest attention to your:

  • Conversion Rate. The number of times users perform a desired conversion, such as clicking through to your website or signing up for a demo.
  • Click-through Rate: The percentage of emails that received at least one click-through from the opener.
  • Unsubscribe Rate: How many people decided to opt-out of hearing more from you.
  • Un-open Rate: Just as important as paying attention to how many people opened your emails is paying attention to how many people didn’t.

Ultimately, the analytics that matter to your brand will be based on your unique objectives. That means you’ll likely look at more KPIs than just those mentioned above — and you’ll have specific goalposts from which to determine what success looks like.

You know how to target and understand your audience —  and have tools to reach them and metrics to understand their engagement —  you’ve got the basics. Now hit the ground running and put email marketing to work for your business!





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