The basics of email marketing

Why is email marketing an important element of your marketing strategy? Because it’s a great tool to create and nurture a dedicated audience. Plus, it’s relatively easy to set up. In this post, we’ll discuss the basics of email marketing and give you a few practical tips on how to get started.

The four benefits of email marketing

Before we start with the basics, let’s review all the benefits of email marketing—there are plenty!

1. Committed audience

First, it’s good to remember that people who sign up for a newsletter want to receive information from you. They’re very committed, which is why email marketing pays off — because the people you’re sending your newsletters to actually want to read your stuff!

2. Low costs

Second, the costs of email marketing are very low. This means email marketing has a relatively high return-on-investment. Plus, it helps that a newsletter is relatively easy to set up through a service like MailChimp or TinyLetter.

3. Increase retention

Third, email is a great way to increase your customers’ retention. This means it can increase the amount of customers that purchase repeatedly instead of just once. In other words, email will help you turn your clients into return customers. How? By emailing your customers regularly, your brand will stay top of mind and they’ll return more quickly to buy something again. Of course, your emails must be interesting, enticing, and engaging for this to work.

4. Specific messaging

Finally, targeting specific subgroups within your entire audience is easy. You can easily create these in your mail service and then send dedicated emails to your audience. Just don’t forget to regularly ask your audience what topics they’re interested in, and make it easy for them to opt in or out of receiving certain emails.

Three pitfalls of email marketing

1. A lot of work

Of course, creating content for a newsletter can be a lot of work. Especially if you’re also maintaining a blog. Plus, if you want to send out a newsletter regularly, you’ll have to ensure your emails are filled with useful content. Don’t send your audience something they’re not interested in or have seen a million times before.

2. Don’t be clickbait-y

What’s more, don’t try to tease or bait your audience too much. Just like with clickbait articles — which no one likes — people want to receive useful and helpful emails. Your emails can become frustrating if you constantly ask them to read on without providing much information. Plus, they’ll take up too much time to fully engage with.

3. People are busy

Nowadays, people receive hundreds of emails every day. Which means most people don’t have the time to read all their emails. At best, they’ll scan through your email before clicking away. At worst, they’ll only read the subject line and then decide to read or delete. So you only have a few seconds to get your message across. Remember to be helpful and to the point so people won’t get frustrated!

How to set up a newsletter?

Let’s examine the basics of email marketing. If you follow these tips, you’ll quickly write great newsletters.

1 Start with the most important message

As we just discussed, most people won’t read your entire newsletter. That’s why it’s crucial to start with the thing you want people to know more about. You could also choose something that people would like to read.

Bonus tip: one focus

While you can put in tons of messages and calls-to-action, keeping your newsletter focused and to the point is probably better. Ideally, you only want one call-to-action. Ask people to read, subscribe, or purchase. Don’t ask them to do everything at once. People are far too busy for that.

2 Choose a good subject line

Whether people open your newsletter depends on the subject of your newsletter. MailChimp, for example, makes it easy to test open rates of newsletters with different subject lines. So, it pays off to think about and test which subject lines work for your audience. Just don’t be too clickbait-y!

3 Clarity and focus

Make sure your newsletter’s layout is clear and appealing. Also, remember to make your design responsive so people can read it on their phones and tablets. Finally, make sure your calls to action are clear by using buttons or bolded text, for example.

4 Tone of voice

The people who signed up to receive your newsletter like your products, blog, or company. So, your tone of voice should be friendly and enthusiastic, not aggressive or salesy. Your newsletter should make your audience even more fond of you and your products, so try to make them feel special!

5 Make it visual

No one likes receiving a wall of text. It makes your email look cluttered and stressful, and people will generally not want to read it. So, use illustrations and pictures to break up the text and make your newsletter look more attractive.

Tips on making your newsletter more awesome

1. Choose the right tool

There are several helpful tools that make sending out emails that much easier. MailChimp is a popular one, and with good reason. It’s has an intuitive interface and a good free plan that allows you to easily get started with sending newsletters.

2. Test!

It’s smart to test what works and what doesn’t to get the most out of your email marketing. For example, you can look into the time and day of the week you’re sending your newsletter. For personal blogs, the weekend could be a time to draw people to your site, while for others, it might work better to send their newsletter during office hours.

Read more: A/B testing your newsletters »

3. Getting people to subscribe

To send people your newsletter, you have to convince them to subscribe first. Make sure you offer a subscribe field beneath your posts and in other visible places on your website. You can also use a pop-up to invite people to subscribe.

4. Make sure your newsletter is mobile-friendly

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again! You need a responsive email design because many people check their email on their phones. Luckily, a lot of mailing services offer default templates that are mobile-friendly and will scale down nicely. This is a good option if you don’t want to spend too much time or money on your newsletter.

Conclusion about email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to reach your audience. You can communicate with clients who really want to be informed about your products or your company. Plus, email marketing is relatively cheap and helps keep your audience coming back to your site. So get those subscriptions, and make sure you create a newsletter with interesting content and an appealing design that works on mobile as well!

Keep reading: Social Media Strategy: where to begin »

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