Check this out.
That is my inbox, friends.
It’s full of 23,000 unread messages. (The important ones go straight to my predefined folders). You can say my Inbox is an extension of my Spam folder.
Thousands of businesses are competing to win our attention every single day. If your email gets opened, that’s a win in itself.
So when other marketers say that email has passed its peak because of the rise of other newer channels, it’s hard to believe.
The facts show email was and is still a superior channel worldwide:
- There were 4 billion email users worldwide in 2020, but this number is expected to grow to 4.6 billion by 2025.
- About 306 billion emails are sent and received daily in the world.
- Gmail recorded 1.5 billion active users worldwide.
It’s a no-brainer to do email marketing for your business. People are still using it!
But if you’re wondering, How do I start with email marketing? Is it smart for me to invest in email marketing in 2023? How to launch an email marketing campaign for my business?
Then keep on reading. This article is written for you.
Before we dive into the gritty nitty details, let’s pause to refresh the basics.
What is Email Marketing?
Email Marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves the use of emails to promote your business, earn loyalty, and build brand awareness.
Let’s say you are promoting a webinar on sewing techniques for beginners. If you send emails to invite, remind, and follow up with the webinar attendees, you’re practicing email marketing in your business.
The reasons email marketing was created in the first place are still the very reasons why we’re sending emails up to this day.
Mankind hasn’t changed a lot, and neither has human psychology.
Ray Tomlinson invented email because his colleagues weren’t answering his phone calls. Just like all of us, maybe they were too busy at that time. Or perhaps some were really ignoring his calls.
By 1978, a marketing executive at Digital Equipment Corporation earned the title “Father of Spam”. His name is Gary Thurek, and he’s the first to find the use of email to make money. He sent an email marketing message to 400 ARPANET users and claimed to have brought in $13 million in sales. Wow!
More than 20 years later, email marketing has evolved while preserving the fundamentals of personal communication.
It’s quite interesting to discover how email was born and changed over time, so we highlighted the best bits below.
History of email marketing
|1971-1972||Birth of modern email system||The first email was sent|
The first email management system was developed
The @ symbol was introduced
|1978||Sending of first email marketing blast||The email blast was sent to 400 recipients|
Gary Thurek earned the title “Father of Spam”
The email blast earned $13 million in sales
|1982||Standardization of Email||Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) was born|
|1999||An Ethical Approach to Email Marketing||Permission Marketing was published|
Junk folders are created
|2000 – present||It’s all about email marketing||Email goes mobile|
The CAN-SPAM Act
Data Privacy Regulations
Alright, that’s enough history. Let’s go back to email marketing today.
Am I already doing email marketing?
Doesn’t matter if you’re into eCommerce, own a small bakery, or run a high-tech SaaS startup.
As long as you’re using emails to promote your products or services, you’re doing email marketing.
If you’re not aware of the term, chances are you’re not automating it (or maybe you are). But if you aren’t, that’s a real bummer. That’s a great disadvantage — your competitors may already be doing it. But we’ll deal with that later, don’t worry.
For now, you should recognize the two of the most common types of emails used ― marketing emails and transactional emails.
By definition, marketing emails are promotional messages that you send to market your product, service, or brand. They also include nurture emails because, at their core, these emails are meant to promote what your business does through informational content.
Here are some examples of marketing emails:
A transactional email is normally a system-initiated email that you instantly (and automatically) send to notify a user of an important action as they do business with you.
They’re one-to-one emails with content specific to a single person. Common examples are invoices, receipts, password change notices.
Here are some real-world examples:
Further reading: 11 Best Practices for Transactional Emails
But as businesses further leverage email marketing, another type of email became popular ― cold emails.
Cold emails are a whole new breed of emails. Cold emails are a type of outbound marketing. They’re used to acquire new target customers and have the sole purpose of winning new business from a previously untapped audience.
When done right, they’re highly effective in selling your product to a “cold” audience. “Cold” meaning, people who have no prior engagement with you or your brand. Cold emails are primarily used in the B2B space.
Nowadays, cold emails are not just email blasts to several receivers. They’re now more personalized and relevant to already filtered recipients.
Note that depending on where you are based and what kind of email you send they might be legal or illegal.
So, is email marketing dead in 2023?
From the Middle Ages, Romans, extended families, and traders exchanged information through “newsletters.”
It became their standard form of communication when they liked to share an announcement. And you know how that story ended — the Roman empire eventually fell… I’ll stop here. This is not a history class.
The point is, newsletters outlived the Roman empire.
So, back to the question… “Is email marketing dead in 2023?”
The short answer is no, and the numbers still prove it.
- Over 60% of customers prefer getting reached by brands through email.
- You can gain a new customer 40 times more easily via email than Facebook or Twitter.
- Over 28% of revenue on Black Friday comes from email marketing.
- About 70% of consumers think email is the best way to contact companies.
Here are 4 email marketing trends that we believe will be big in 2023:
Privacy-led email marketing
Ironic as it may seem, but more customers demand personalization and privacy at the same time. That said, companies need to be creative in collecting customer information. Many consumers now should express full consent when signing up for newsletters or receiving any form of email.
Leveraging Artificial Intelligence tools
Email marketers will continue to use AI to create email messages fast. Tools like the Encharge free AI Subject Line Generator and Jasper can get your copy ideas brewing and help you create emails that get opened.
Minimalism is growing
Minimalism is a trending design topic for 2023. Plain text emails will be on the rise again in this new era of minimalistic communication. Stripped-down emails are easier to pull off and have shown to have 17% higher CTRs than their HTML counterparts. Litmus also found plain text as the winning variation with up to a 60% conversion rate.
54% of all emails are first opened on mobile. More people are expected to continue the switch with their browsing habits. In 2022, we’ll see more marketers optimizing email for mobile to continue helping people who want to view content on the go.
OK, email marketing is not dead, but is it still effective?
This is a common question that can only be answered with good ol’ statistics.
Many claim that email is still one of the best channels that generate revenue. But savvy marketers should not blindly believe this without facts.
- According to a 2020 survey, for every dollar invested in email marketing, brands earn $36-45.
- 65% of industry professionals said that their email marketing ROI was either good or excellent according to their perception of return on investment
- 60% of consumers say they’ve made a purchase as the result of a marketing email they received
Did these prove the effectiveness of emails as your channel for marketing? Aside from ROI, here are other reasons why you should do emails.
- Email is personal. When you email someone, it feels like all attention is on them. They can be personalized in an instant by adding their name. Creating a friendly tone of voice and adding some extra customization will help you connect on an emotional level, which in turn improves customer engagement.
- Email service providers are an affordable investment. Most platforms start with basic, low-cost plans and can be expanded upon as your company grows or needs to evolve over time.
- Email marketing is exciting because its success is measurable. Most tools used for email campaigns can measure the wins (or losses) in getting positive responses from potential customers.
- They let you reach an even larger audience. What medium can reach thousands of customers at once? Email blasts can reach them anywhere in the world.
Further reading: How Morning Brew Makes $13M From Email Marketing
How does email marketing work?
Email marketing is a straightforward process that anyone can do.
But first, let us introduce you to Email Service Providers or ESPs. These are tools like Encharge that will help you automate the tasks involved in Email Marketing. In the simplest form, they can store email addresses (and other contact data) and send emails.
We’ll dive into how you should choose the right email marketing provider in the later section.
For now, let’s focus on your email marketing strategy. This is the plan that will turn your subscribers into becoming loyal customers.
Let’s explore them one step at a time.
1. Start with audience (or list) building
The most important thing to have when creating email campaigns is an active email list. Who will receive your well-crafted message if you have no audience? With so many people afraid of privacy restrictions these days, it is crucial that your email audience is collected through consent.
How can you do that?
Gated content and lead magnets are the way to go to get this info.
A lead magnet is what you use to get people on your email list. It can be a free offer, free trial, a promo, or anything that gives something of value. A lead magnet is what you use in exchange for their contact information.
Usually, they are:
- Discount codes
- Report or Case Study
- Free trial (if you’re a SaaS)
It is important to note that you should use opt-in lead magnets — i.e., the contacts have to show explicit interest in receiving emails from you. This is the most effective way of building quality leads. Decide if you should single or double opt-in.
A single opt-in registration requires a person to only enter their email address once on any given website. No confirmation is needed; they immediately become a subscriber after submitting your form.
Double opt-in takes things up a notch, though. There are two steps to subscribe in this setup: first, they give up their email address when signing up. Next, they need to open a verification email to confirm their subscription.
2. Set your email marketing goals
Email marketing goals are what you want to achieve through your email campaigns. They usually include: increasing sales, driving traffic, and gaining new customers.
3. Segment your audience
Next is email segmentation. Email segmentation is a process of dividing your audience into smaller groups based on your defined criteria. So only the right people receive the right message
4. Write the email copy
You know who you’re writing to now, which means it’s time to write the content. Make sure your emails are targeted and relevant. Always keep your ideal customer persona in mind when crafting messages so they will enjoy reading them as much as possible.
5. Automate and optimize
Email optimization is a company’s best effort to make sure their messages are working by adjusting email campaigns.
One good thing to do is practice A/B testing. It is when you try to find the best version of your campaigns. Sometimes a tiny tweak like changing your subject line can have a significant impact. Constantly monitor your performance. If needed, adjust accordingly.
There you go. It seems like a lot of work, but did you know that these steps can be done using one tool?
Encharge is a marketing automation platform that makes email marketing a lot more efficient. You can send behavior-based emails too. But besides emails, you can also automate your sales tasks, lead generation processes, and more.
Email marketing vs. Marketing automation
When we say marketing automation, most people think it’s just email, but it’s not.
That’s why email marketing and marketing automation are used interchangeably. But in reality, email marketing is just one part of marketing automation.
What is marketing automation, then?
Marketing automation is the use of tools to accomplish and automate specific marketing tasks, especially recurring processes that take up most of your team’s time — social media, blogs, content, and more. It’s not limited to just emails.
Here are their key differences:
- Email marketing is great for staying in touch with customers via email. When you want to communicate and deliver messages on different platforms, you can use other marketing automation tools.
- Your email marketing tool knows only the data you give it ― typically just the contact information. Marketing automation can track your contact’s behavior outside their inbox as well. Think about their behavior on your website, Facebook lead ads they submit, Typeform surveys they complete, and even what channel they came from when visiting your website for the first time.
- With email marketing, you only get information on how people engage in their inboxes. Marketing automation can provide a customer’s entire lifecycle journey from when they first enter your website all the way through becoming customers.
By using both email and automation together, you can make sure you’re providing cohesive and compelling messaging at the right time and on the right platform.
Choosing the right email marketing tool
If marketing automation provides a considerable portion of the benefit, then you might ask, “Why would I need tips on choosing which ESP is for me?”
The simple answer is that not all businesses require the level of capabilities of automation software. Some can get away with email marketing alone.
So, here’s what you need to consider in choosing the right email marketing provider.
Does it require a professional designer to create beautiful emails? Is the interface of building segments hard? Is it hard to create a basic drip campaign? If yes, think twice before purchasing the software. The tool should be simple to use, or the provider gives full support during onboarding.
2. CRM integration
Do you have a high-touch sales process? If the answer is yes, we can’t stress enough the importance of having the contact information of your user base. Choose a provider that integrates seamlessly with your CRM software and helps you align your sales and marketing departments.
Further reading: What is the Difference Between CRM and Marketing Automation?
Some platforms offer a cheap basic plan. But most of the time, they limit the number of subscribers. When the time comes that you need to scale, their prices double. So when deciding on a platform, keep in mind your estimated list size in the future. You want to be able to afford that price when the time comes, so transparent pricing plans are essential.
4. Mobile friendly
Make sure that your email marketing software offers mobile-friendly formats. Mobile-responsive designs allow your customers to browse effectively on small screens and to read your emails comfortably.
9 types of emails you can send
Now that you know some considerations when choosing the right email marketing provider, it’s time to maximize them. Send a variety of emails, depending on your marketing goals.
Nurturing emails are the emails that you send to a visitor who has turned into a lead by interacting with your brand. The tone of this email is meant to be educational and engaging. If you’re trying for a sale, it may work well in educating your subscribers first.
If you’re just getting started, don’t forget your onboarding emails! These are the first set of messages that people will receive from your product, app, or service. Onboarding emails are critical in helping your users reach the aha moments in your product and feel welcomed.
Emails that are asking for a sale. These are emails where you directly push for purchases to new customers. They can also strengthen loyalty to the brand by promoting re-purchases to existing clients.
Trial expiration emails
Trial expiration emails are used to remind your users that their trial is expiring. On the day of expiration, notify them too. The email can emphasize the benefits they are about to due to failure to upgrade.
Transactional emails are the perfect way to keep your users informed about their account activity. The transactional email provides updates on things like orders, deliveries, or any other event that could affect them in some way.
Also known as nudge emails are re-engagement emails for inactive subscribers. They nudge these users to interact again with a brand, usually by including coupons or deals in the email body as incentives to get them back on board!
Abandoned cart emails
Automated reminders to finish what they started. Since cart recovery emails are so relevant and interesting, they have some of the best open rates for any marketing email.
Reward emails are the best way to make your users feel appreciated with every milestone they reach They are usually used in conjunction with incentives, like points that they can use when signing up.
Also called cold emails, these emails are used to reach out and establish new working relationships. They help you build new business partnerships with other industry professionals while also starting mutually beneficial exchanges that lead to success for all parties involved.
5 email marketing practices you should never forget
Never purchase an email list
Have you ever been tempted to buy an email list? Buying an email list certainly sounds easy and convenient — why not just purchase some addresses from somewhere?
It’s simple…you run the risk that your open rates will plummet along with many contacts never seeing your emails at all! Also, you will get a ton of spam reports.
Don’t get fooled with a large number of contacts simply because most of them will never respond or even open your emails. Chances of getting engagement are close to zero, and worse, you might get marked as spammy sender.
Spam emails will drop your open rate, and ISPs (internet service providers) like Gmail and Yahoo! begin directing all of your emails to recipients’ spam folders. In that case, your customers won’t even see your messages.
Last but not least, ESP platforms like Encharge do not allow sending to unsolicited contacts, so your account will get banned.
Separate your subscriber database into segments
Your goal when it comes to business includes scaling, of course. And that consists of growing your email subscriber base.
This user base might be from different geography, wants, and needs. It’s a good practice to treat each contact differently by sending only relevant messages. To do that, divide the list into smaller groups called segments.
Clean your contact list regularly
Here are 3 hard-to-swallow truths about your contact list:
- As they grow bigger, so does your expenses
- Not all your contact will remain active forever
- They signed up today, but it’s not 100% sure that they still like you tomorrow
As a recommendation, clean up your ist regularly, say every 3 months, to remove inactive subscribers with no engagement and spammy email addresses.
But as a rule of thumb, try sending a re-engagement campaign first. Who knows? Maybe they’ve just been away too long, and they need some reminding again? As long as your dormant contact base is not older than 3 months… in that case, you might get a high number of spam reports, so not worth the risk.
Personalize your emails
Personalization of email is more than adding your recipient’s name in the subject line, and greetings arealso the act of tailoring email content depending on their current activity.
Like Encharge, you can use them to send behavior-triggered emails. These emails are more personal and relevant to a subscriber.
Implement a cohesive strategy
Cohesive marketing is based on promotion across multiple mediums that leads to one central objective. Your email campaign should align with your other creative efforts for the best results.
So make sure the tone, design, and especially the messaging emanate from one single brand identity.
Further reading: How to Create a Successful Marketing Automation Strategy
Email marketing meets marketing automation
When it comes to email marketing, there are many tactics you can use to attract new customers. One way is through the practice of automation, which involves using software that will send out emails from your account on pre-defined triggers.
Automating this process helps ensure efficiency by freeing up time for other tasks in your business. They can provide data about what works best with each customer segment.
If you’re looking for a tool that makes email marketing easy… Or, if you just want to try it out without committing any resources beforehand, we recommend Encharge – our free all-in-one digital marketing platform that offers email management tools.