The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing

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beginner's email marketing guide

Email marketing is the most effective way of staying in touch with your audience. It’s not about advertising, it’s about building a close relationship and trust with your customers.

But before you continue reading, just stop for a second and think if you are ready to commit to a long-lasting relationship? Are you ready to fully concentrate on your customers and make them look forward to hearing from you?

​If yes, keep reading. This guide is for you.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Email Marketing Basics

Email marketing occurs when a business sends promotional or informational messages, newsletters or event announcements to the different groups of people via email.
The main purpose of email marketing is:

  • increasing sales
  • acquiring new customers
  • building and deepening the relationship between the current customers
  • developing loyalty, trust and brand awareness


In this case you have a full control on who you want to send your content.
If you are not sure if you should read further, check the numbers:

Chapter 2

When to Choose Email Marketing?

Email marketing allows you to directly reach to your customers and measure your campaign results quite fast. But the question is, when you should choose email marketing and if it’s suitable for all business types. Start with it if you want to:

  • Send short and catchy emails to generate interest in your services or products
  • Drive visitors to a specific page on your website
  • Follow up to the previous email
  • Persuade your target audience to buy your products or use your services
  • To keep in touch with potential clients and loyal customers
  • Announce about upcoming events 
  • Inform about your company’s special offers and news
  • Offer a valuable and timely editorial content

By now it’s obvious that you can use email marketing if you sell products, offer services or have a blog or a website.  

But, before you start, you should have:

  • A strong email strategy
  • Specific goals
  • Ability to continually test your campaign and the results

Chapter 3

How to Do Email Marketing?

There are simple steps for starting with your email marketing campaign:

  1. Identify your goals 
  2. Define your target audience
  3. Build an email list
  4. Write and design email content
  5. Personalize your email
  6. Pick email marketing tool
  7. Plan your follow-ups

Identify Your Goals

Before starting with your first email marketing campaign, take your time and think about your end goal and what you want to achieve with it. Goal setting is critical for email marketing campaign success. Defining your goals helps to measure your success. 

To help you to better understand your goals, they need to be:

  • Clear 
  • Achievable 
  • Timely 
  • Measurable

If you still have difficulties formulating your purpose, try to answer to these questions:

  • What actions do you expect from your subscribers?
  • Why must your email subscribers care?
  • How should you measure your success?

Here are some examples of email marketing goals:

  • If you have a lifestyle website or a blog –  increasing the number of visitors 
  • If you have a clothing or product website – promoting new products 
  • If you are a charity – driving donations or educating and informing

Define Your Target Audience

It’s crucial to make sure each email you send reaches the target audience. It means that  the individuals who receive your emails will be more interested and there is a big chance that they will open it. But first, you should create a list of segments.
 You can segment your email list by:

  • demographics, which includes age, gender and location
  • engagement level
  • active and inactive subscribers
  • purchase history
  • language
  • interests and hobbies
  • size of business (B2B)
  • industry type (B2B)

The easiest and simplest way to understand who your audience is – by building customer personas.
Except all the above mentioned, the next important step is identifying the device your target audience will open their emails on, the approximate time they will open those emails. 
After you have defined your target audience, you should build your email list.


Build an Email List

One of the difficult parts of email marketing is collecting emails. Believe it or not, your website’s or blog’s visitors will not give you their emails easily. People are very skeptical of giving their personal information, which includes emails as well, to any random website. So, the task of building an email list is really challenging. Keep reading to learn how to easily collect your target audience’s emails.

Lead Magnet

Before starting, ask yourself, why would your website’s visitors want to offer you their email? The answer is, you should give them something valuable in return. Here are a lead magnets types:

  • Ebooks
  • Cheat sheet
  • Whitepaper
  • Case study
  • Infographic
  • Free trial
  • Consultation
  • Report 
  • Research
  • Checklist
  • Template
  • Webinar or course
  • Tool
  • Coupons
  • Videos
  • Extensions
  • Toolkits
  • etc

As you can see, lead magnets don’t have to cost you anything and are mainly digital materials that you can create yourself.

Note 1: You can add multiple lead magnets to your website. This will increase the chances of collecting more emails.
Note 2: The more valuable and informative your lead magnets are, the more emails you’ll get.


Opt-in Forms

It doesn’t matter if you have one lead magnet or multiple ones, it’s a good idea offering more than one opt-in form. Your form needs to have:

  • Appealing and catchy header
  • Informative description
  • Attractive visuals
  • Simple form
  • Subscribe button
  • Position in the right place

Note 1: Be cautious to not have subscription forms come out from everywhere on your website. This will only annoy your visitors.


Squeeze Pages

A squeeze page is designed for collecting email addresses from the potential visitors.
And if you can make the visitor think that the page was made and designed specifically for him/her, it’s more likely to get the email address.

Install AI-Powered Chat

Install a chat software, which will sit at the bottom of your website that  will show predefined messages to your visitors. Try to engage them in a conversation and then ask for their email.

Ask To Subscribe in Blog Posts

Write engaging blog posts and ask the readers to subscribe to your newsletters. Be creative and try to not force anything. You don’t want to make them annoyed and leave your website without an intention to get back ever. 

Content Cliffhanger

Publish a post and try catching your reader’s attention with the first paragraphs. Keep a part of it hidden and for more ask them to give you their emails. You can also keep some posts hidden and give access after email subscription.

Use Social Media

Occasionally remind your followers on social media channels to subscribe to your newsletters. Be creative and persuasive.

Design Your Email

Consumers receive random emails from different brands every day, therefore it’s crucial to send appealing and unique emails that stand out.

Use simple and clean design:

  • Highlight or animate important features
  • Use images, GIFs or videos 
  • Use your company’s branding elements – colors, logos and visuals. 
  • Be consistent with your design.


Personalize Your Email

If you need your audience to open your email you need to know and understand them. Your readers will interact with the content that is relevant to their interests and seems to be written just for them:

  • Use the receiver’s first name 
  • Send content that is suitable to your audience
  • Try to use everyday language
  • Add a personal signature at the end
  • Use a call-to-action 


Segment Your Email List

If you want to improve your email marketing effectiveness, segment your list. This will help you with email open rates, click-through rates and unsubscribe rates.
You can segment your audience by different criterias:

  • Demographics
  • New subscribers
  • Preferences
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Purchase activity
  • Inactivity
  • Shopping cart abandonment
  • Etc

Choose Email Marketing Service

Smart email marketers know that there is now way to handle large campaigns. An email marketing provider is a great way if you want to multiply email marketing efforts, analyze the data and improve your performance. Before choosing an email marketing provider, consider price, features, interface, analytics and support. 

The most popular email marketing service providers are:

  1. MailChimp
  2. AWeber
  3. ConvertKit
  4. HubSpot
  5. Drip

Chapter 4

Measure Your Email Marketing Results

Without tracking and measuring your campaign you will never know if you are getting results or there is a need for A/B testing and changes.

Before launching a new campaign, set KPIs to track your efforts and improve your strategy.You can use your email marketing tool or Google Analytics.

The main KPIs of your email marketing success are:

  1. Bounce rate – represents the percentage of emails that could not be delivered.
  2. Open rate – the percentage of the subscribers who opened your email.
  3. Clickthrough rate – the percentage of receivers who clicked on links in your email.
  4. Conversion rate – the percentage of recipients who completed the intended action.
  5. Unsubscribe rate – the percentage of recipients who unsubscribed from your email list after receiving an email. 
  6. Email share rate – the percentage of people who forwarded your email.
  7. Number of unique opens – the overall number of unique receivers who opened your email.
  8. Number of emails not opened – the number of unique receivers who did not open your email.
  9. Spam complaints – the number of receivers who marked your email as Spam.

These metrics allow you to analyze how your email list subscribers interact with your campaigns and give you an opportunity to compare different campaigns success.

Chapter 5

How to Improve Email Opening Rates

The most important part of email marketing is persuading your recipients to open your emails. There are several factors you should consider:

Sender Name

Write your or your brand’s name into the sender name:

  • Company or brand name
  • Brand name and your first name
  • Use the same name and address for all your email campaigns 
  • Don’t use no-reply addresses


Spam Folders

It’s frustrating when you make efforts to create an outstanding email campaign and your email gets sent to a spam folder. All you need to do is to follow some email marketing best practices to avoid spam folders:

  1. Use a recognizable sender name
  2. Write to a one person
  3. Choose a reliable Email Service Provider
  4. Test your emails before sending them
  5. Be up-to-dated with spam filters technologies
  6. Don’t buy email lists
  7. Respect the unsubscribers
  8. Be cautious of spam trigger words
  9. Make unsubscription easy


Inactive Subscribers

Keep your email list fresh and leave only engaged subscribers – removing inactive subscribers who have not engaged with your emails during the past x (you can decide the time span later) months. Before removing the subscriber, outreach to them one more time and try to engage them.


Email Timing

Test with a couple of emails or campaigns to identify the best timing for your email receivers. Although, there are many studies and researches on the topic, but for understanding the time suitable for your target audience, you should try it yourself and perform some A/B testing.


Subject Line

​For CTA the subject line is everything. You have to create catchy and creative subject lines to attract your receivers attention. Keep reading on how you can craft appealing email subject lines:

  • Make the readers curious to open your email
  • Include numbers
  • Use conversational tone
  • Use up to  50 characters
  • Outline the most interesting offers


Email Content

Write unique and informative email content each time. Try to be friendly and use humor (not mush) to win your recipients trust. Don’t be too professional or sound boring. Start with easy lines and catch your reader’s attention with valuable news, funny jokes or a great offer. You can include external links to free resources, online books, free courses, etc. ​

Chapter 6

Automated Email Marketing

It will save your time and resources if you use email automation to send pre-written welcome emails, information on your offers or congratulations on special dates.

When choosing an email services tool, always test its automotive emails if they have one. Believe me, later this will be one of the most used features. The success of your email campaign will not only depend on your email list or great text and design but also on how smart you are using tools and software.

Here are some email marketing automation advice:

  • Choose the right software 
  • Set up goals
  • Set up a welcome mail
  • Segment you receivers
  • Create different automotive copies for different causes
  • Send different automated emails to a different audience
  • Use it only when it’s relevant

I put together some automotive email ideas that you can create beforehand:

  • Newsletters
  • New product launches
  • Surveys
  • Promotional emails
  • Sales or offers
  • Anniversaries, birthdays or holidays
  • Event invitation
  • Giveaway email
  • Follow ups
  • Etc

Chapter 7

Is Email Marketing Still Important?

Time by time you will probably hear that ‘Email is dead’. But opposite to it, email is getting bigger and bigger with time. If you don’t have an email marketing strategy yet, you are missing out on conversions, sales, brand awareness and customer loyalty. If you are not sure if you should include it in your general digital marketing strategy, keep reading on its benefits:
  1. It’s affordable
  2. High ROI (when done smart)
  3. Faster results
  4. High response rate
  5. It’s suitable for all business types
  6. It’s accessible to everyone


Email Marketing Cheat Sheet

As a bonus, I added a cheat sheet that you can keep if you want to look at the points mentioned in this post.
Email Marketing Cheat Sheet

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Narine Nazaryan is a digital marketing specialist with more than 5 years experience in the field and more than 10 years experience in the banking and finances spheres. She is an obsessed reader and content writer. Her hobbies include coding, astronomy, physics and following the latest scientific discoveries. As it is obvious from this short bio, she doesn’t like bragging at all and is a very modest and pleasant person.

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