Email Marketing Strategy and Tips for Successful Campaigns to Use in 2021
Are you new to email marketing or wish to improve your current results? It is a huge topic indeed, but to succeed, you need to start small. With this post, you will make it easily: here we are explaining the essentials of email marketing and guiding you through the main steps for crafting effective email campaigns. You will find practical advice on how to plan your emails, choose email marketing service, and design engaging messages. Let’s start from the strategic goals of email marketing and then step-by-step move to the practical implementation and useful resources.
What is email marketing and why is it important to your business?
Notwithstanding the growing popularity of various messengers, email is still the main channel of your communication with clients. With your email messages, you lead your subscribers through the whole sales and marketing funnel, converting them to customers. You assist your users in interacting with your app, engaging them, and increasing their loyalty to your brand. Email marketing is one of the most efficient channels for customer retention. According to Bain & Company, “a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit” (in financial services). This dependency is equally valid for e-commerce and SaaS businesses, where the role of email marketing is invaluable.
How to plan your email campaigns?
Before you start creating your campaigns, you should define the answers to the following questions:
- What are your goals?
- Who are your email recipients?
- What benefits will they get from your emails? (Or simply, why will they want to read them?)
Depending on the answers, you will be able to pick the types of email campaigns you need. On a high level, all emails can be divided into two big groups:
- Transactional emails (event-triggered ones, sent to one user at a time, as a result of their interaction with your app or service. Examples: account confirmation, welcome emails, password reset, order confirmations, billing messages, reminders, abandoned shopping cart emails, etc.)
- Marketing emails (delivered emails to your database, also called mass or bulk emails. Examples: newsletters, special offers, promotions, product updates, etc.)
However, such a division is mostly technical: many transactional messages have marketing, branding, and even sales purposes. Welcome emails are a part of the user’s journey, reminders can be also used to offer upgrades, while abandoned cart emails generate almost 30% of revenue for e-commerce. What does it mean to you? All emails are a part of marketing and product strategy, with a need for proper branding, well-crafted templates, and carefully worded messages.
How to create your email campaigns
“Creating email campaigns” can include two big areas: crafting email templates and handling your email recipients. While email templates can be built manually relatively easy, it is recommended to delegate the database management and sending logic to the dedicated email marketing service.
Email marketing services
To choose the best email marketing service that perfectly fits your needs, you should first decide which tasks you wish to solve with its help. There are a variety of tools on the market, from bulk email software like Sendblaster, to full-fledged marketing automation, CRM and user management saas like Hubspot. There are many email marketing services, which can help you with creating and setting email campaigns, managing your subscribers, and tracking your results. Let’s review several popular ones.
AWeber aims at helping small businesses with simple but powerful email marketing solutions. Its main features include:
- drag and drop and HTML template editors
- subscribers segmentation
- email automation
- split testing
- sign up forms
- email tracking and analytics
The cost starts at $19 per month and depends on the number of your subscribers. To evaluate the service, you have 30 days of free usage.
Sendinblue is a bulk email service that takes into account the interests of both marketers and sales managers. It provides the former with an advanced analytics dashboard and a robust range of templates for newsletters, transactional emails, and other types of content.
- Automates email marketing, SMS campaigns, and live chat with customers.
- Built-in CRM for next-level personalization.
- Subscriber segmentation
- Built-in templates for newsletters, transactional emails, and other types of messages.
- Sign-up form designer.
Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform featuring the following tools:
- email automation
- real-time analytics
- marketing CRM
- website builder and landing pages
Mailchimp has four billing plans and the total cost is calculated according to the number of subscribers as well. It features a free plan with a small set of features, paid options start at $14.99 per month.
Sendgrid focuses on both email marketers and developers providing email marketing tools and email API:
- email automation
- email design and templates
- email statistics
- web API and SMTP service
- transactional emails
- email validation
- Google, Facebook, and Instagram Ads (in Beta)
Sendgrid pricing has a complex pricing, which depends not only on the number of contacts but also on the type of service you use. Marketing campaigns plans start at $15 per month. For small needs, a free plan is available as well. As you can see, all services provide a similar set of functions for email marketing but each of them has a particular focus. To make your choice, define if you need special features, check websites, compare pricing, and watch product demos.
Whichever email marketing tool you choose, most likely it will provide you with a built-in email template builder. At the same time, the majority of tools support custom email templates, which means that you can code your own HTML, use a template engine or a third-party email template. The choice depends on your preferences. Design trends can change over time but it’s crucial to choose the proper email structure and visualize the content in order your recipients can clearly understand your message and associate it with your brand. Especially when you’re doing global content marketing and emails are sent in different languages.
Your templates may vary from campaign to campaign, depending on their type and purpose. But in general, each email has to contain certain elements put in their proper place. Email message headers. Headers are not part of the email template itself but it is hard not to mention them describing the email structure. Email headers include the sender’s name, message recipients, and a subject line. Pay special attention to email headers and always check them before sending: the decision on whether an email should be opened depends on the headers. For email clients, it is one of the spam triggers as well.
Email template header. It may sound confusing but the same word is used to describe different parts of the email. This is why we prefer to differentiate the template header. Here we are talking about the email title. Its purpose is to attract readers’ attention, set association with your brand, and explain the purpose of the message. Your company logo is the ultimate element of the template header. Depending on the type of email, you can also include a branded design pattern, put a short title, add a simple website navigation (which is most common for e-commerce).
Email content. This is the main part of your message, which can’t be standardized or organized with one universal formula. This is the place for your creativity. Just make sure your message looks clear and not overloaded with design elements. You can use images, GIFs, videos, text formatting, etc. If you expect some actions from the email recipient (like reading a blog post, viewing a proposal on the online shop page, upgrading the subscription plan, etc.), it is recommended to include an action button.
Email footer. For marketing emails, it is required to include the unsubscribe option to the footer. Also, you have to clearly state the company, which sent this email, and the reason why it was sent (for example “You received this email because you subscribed to our newsletter). These are the requirements of GDPR, mostly. All other elements are optional. Usually, the email signature is also referred to as a footer as well. In addition, footers often contain social media buttons and feedback proposals.
Thank you for choosing this article as your guide on this email marketing journey. I have described the first steps in planning and creating email campaigns, which are an essential part of any online business. With all the variety of email marketing platforms and resources, it's easy to implement your email communication strategy. Define your goals, choose a tool that is convenient for you to work with, conduct experiments, analyze their results and enjoy the results of your business!