Email Marketing: Step-by-Step Guide

email marketing campaign

Email marketing is one of the oldest strategies, but it’s also one of the easiest and most effective ways to connect with your leads. In fact, according to a study by Campaign Monitor, every $1 spent on email marketing on average can provide a $44 return on investment. Which such high ROI potential, email marketing can yield great results for businesses. But knowing how to run a successful campaign is crucial. We’ve come up with this step-by-step guide to help get you started with email marketing so you can launch your own path to success.

What is Email Marketing?

An email marketing campaign involves sending a series of personalized and targeted emails to a list of people in order to promote a product, service, or business. The object is to bring awareness to your brand, build a connection with your audience, and ultimately drive them to take an action. The action they take is dependent upon your preset goal objectives such as making a purchase, signing up for a service or membership, or visiting your website.

Email marketing campaigns work by delivering coordinated sets of emails over a set period of time. Sequential emails can be sent based on the previous actions the recipient takes. This means you can create dynamic emails and personalize parts of a mass message that will change based on user behavior or data you have collected about your subscriber list. These types of drip campaigns alone make email marketing a cost-effective strategy to drive conversions to your existing customers and prospects. It’s also a great way to turn one-time buyers into repeat business.

Types of Email Marketing Campaigns

How you structure your email campaign comes down to your objectives. There are several types of campaigns that businesses can use, but below are some of the more common types.

Newsletter Campaign

Newsletters are a great way to build equity in your prospects and current customers. They offer gentle reminders about your brand and are a great way to keep subscribers informed about tips, trends, and updates that can benefit them. Newsletters also offer a lot of variety in their content. You can send blog articles, and quick videos, share upcoming news or events, and more. They can also be segmented out based on your audience’s specific needs or interests, or even to push other products or services they aren’t currently utilizing with you.

Promotional Email Campaign

Promotional emails are a great option for businesses that want to promote sales, discounts, or special offers to their recipients. These types of emails are a great way to generate revenue in a short period of time. They can also be personalized based on your audience’s behavior such as previous purchases and website browsing history

Welcome Email Campaign

Welcome emails can be done one time or as a series to onboard your new customers. With an average open rate of 50%, they are highly successful at delivering a warm welcome to new subscribers. The main objective of welcome emails is to guide your customers to the next steps of their journey. You can also encourage other actions within the welcome email such as asking new customers to leave you an online review.

Abandoned Cart Email Campaign

Cart abandonment email campaigns are sent to any shopper who visits your store, puts some items in their cart, but didn’t complete a purchase. These emails are designed to encourage potential customers to complete their transactions by reminding them they left their cart. These emails can also be sent with incentives to drive action such as free shipping or a discount on their next purchase.

Re-engagement Emails

Re-engagement emails are a great tool to win back disengaged subscribers. These can be sent to past customers who have stopped buying or engaging with your content. You can use these emails to highlight new features or products or ask for feedback on why they are inactive and what will improve their experience. They can also include incentives to win back their business.

How to Create an Email Marketing Campaign

Now that you know more about how email marketing works and the main types of campaigns, let’s talk about how to set up an email campaign. From creating lists to segmenting groups to content creation, here are the main aspects that go into creating a successful email campaign.

1. Choose Your Email Marketing Platform

If you’re ready to get started, you’ll need to partner with an email marketing service that can help you create and automate your email campaigns. An effective email marketing provider will provide all the logistics you need to manage seamless campaigns.  We recommend Active Campaign. ActiveCampaign is a comprehensive marketing automation suite allowing you to automate advanced marketing campaigns incorporating email, SMS/text messages, sales outreach, and lead scoring in the built-in customer relationship management (CRM) system. It’s a robust tool with a range of plans for businesses of all sizes.

2. Establish Your Goals

Any good email campaign starts with pinpointing your objectives. Think about exactly what type of action you want your prospects to take and what will entice them to take that specific action. Here are some examples.

  • Boost engagement  and awareness about your business
  • Welcome new subscribers if they have just joined your newsletter list or made a recent purchase
  • Nurture existing subscribers to keep them loyal to your brand
  • Re-engage subscribers who have lost interest in your brand
  • Incentivize subscribers to generate more revenue for your business

3. Build Your Email Lists

The most successful email campaigns start with targeted lists. This list can be made off of your current contact list and grouped based on specific conditions or actions you want them to take. They can be created by regions, demographics, industries, products or services, and so on.  Don’t be tempted to buy email lists. This is not only bad for engagement rates, but it can also get you marked as spam by email service providers.

4. Design Your Email

Thankfully, nearly all email marketing provides offer a collection of email templates to work off of. These templates are also designed based on the type of campaign you are wanting to create. That being said, you’ll still need to generate branded and engaging content. Here are some tips.

  • Apply to brand – include your logo, brand colors, and any other elements that align visually with your brand
  • Use images and video – while plain text emails can still create engagement, adding a few images can help grab more attention. Make sure whatever you upload is responsive across all devices.
  • Personalize it – utilize the tools within your platform to mention the subscribers name in the email, use the subscriber local to promote events or sales nearby, and send tailored product or service recommendations based on previous purchases
  • Craft a good subject line – most subject lines range from 41-50 characters. Tell people exactly what they will get when opening your email. Avoid spam trigger words that don’t correlate to the email’s content
  • Write effective copy – Gone are the days of excessively long emails. When creating your ad copy consider making it as personalized as possible. Your copy must include something of value to your readers. This can come in the form of resources to help them, useful information, or a benefit to them by doing business with you.
  • Include a Call-To-Action – your CTA reflects the one thing you want people to do when they’ve read your email. The same CTA can appear multiple times and are likely to be positioned in the middle to end of the email. If you’ve got the right copy, your CTA should be the no-brainer next step.

5. Automate and Track

Email automation is when you automate the process of sending individual emails or a sequence of emails to your subscribers. It can be as simple as automatically emailing a coupon after someone submits their email on your site or as complex as incorporating behavior tracking across channels for a months-long email nurture campaign.

Email automation systems typically set up triggers based on “if-then” scenarios to determine when to automatically send a message. For example, if a customer makes a purchase, the email automation platform sends them an order confirmation. Simple automation like this allows your campaign to run seamlessly in the background and maintain touchpoints to help drive conversions.

Once your campaign is up and running you can continuously track its performance of the campaign. Most email marketing services provide in-depth analytics to help you see what’s working and what’s not. Key metrics that you should be tracking are:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Unsubscribes

Aligning your email marketing goals to zero in on what you’re wanting to achieve. Remember to make adjustments to any low-performing campaigns and utilize A/B testing to try out different content.

Final Thoughts

Email marketing helps businesses stay connected to customers, generate revenue, and reach new prospects directly through their inboxes. Like most things, it can feel overwhelming, but we hope this guide will help give you a confident start. If you’re looking to improve your digital marketing efforts or want help with your own email strategy we can help. Contact us today and let us develop a marketing plan custom for your business.