There are a lot of ways of doing digital marketing, and email marketing is one of the oldest, and simplest of them all- which, of course, is not to say that it is easy. Old as it is, email marketing is still used by brands of all scales, from modest start ups to industry trendsetters. But what is it exactly, and how to do it properly? We answered these questions -and many others! – in this post.

Here is all you need to know about email marketing…

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What is Email Marketing?

As the name makes it clear, email marketing is basically using emails to promote your products and/or services. It is a very practical and cost-effective way of making your customers -or potential customers- aware of your new products, discount deals, or whatever it is that you think might interest them about your brand. If done properly, email marketing can play a very important role in your digital marketing plan, as it will not only drive your sales, but keep your contacts informed, and help you build a community; slowly, but surely.

How Does Email Marketing Work?

Email marketing used to be a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, but as times progressed, it has evolved to focus on segmentation, and personalization, for better results- not just for the brands, but for the users as well.

Technically, to be able to successfully design and execute email marketing campaigns, you will need two things:

  • An email list, which, is just a database of the emails of your contacts.
  • An email service provider, also known as ESP, which is an email marketing platform, designed to help you create, execute and automate email marketing campaigns.

If you have these two, basic steps are the following:

  • Segment your list, so you have groups of subscribers based on certain criteria important for you- might be demographics, user actions, or any other indicator.
  • Design your emails.
  • Using your ESP, send your emails to your audience.
  • Monitor the automated campaigns -again, using your ESP

Types of Marketing Emails

As we have said above, email marketing can help you achieve different goals. This means there are different types of emails you can send to your customers. Let’s see what the most popular categories are:

Promotional Emails

Emails are a great way of promoting offers, products and services, gated content, etc. Promotional emails usually include a CTA (call-to-action). These are among the most common types of marketing emails- you probably have dozens if not more in your inbox right now!

Informational Emails

Informational emails are those that inform your clients about anything they might want/need to know about your services, products, and brand in general. A few examples would be product update emails, announcements, invitations, etc.

Transactional Emails

These are the types of emails that are triggered after your contacts take a certain action, such as completing a purchase, or completing registration. A fine example would be signing up for an online lecture on a website, then receiving your log in information via email.

Re-engagement Emails

Purpose of re-engagement mails are to re-establish contact with your audience. Let’s say you notice that a portion of your subscribed audience is not active -which is quite normal- you might consider sending them a re-engagement email.

And here are a few specific examples of popular marketing emails:

  • Newsletters
  • Welcome emails
  • Review request emails
  • Confirmation emails
  • Sales follow ups
  • Customer stories
  • Tips & tutorials

What are the main benefits of email marketing?

When done right, email marketing can have an immense effect on your digital marketing strategy. Its main benefits are:

  • Builds credibility,
  • Helps you establish a community,
  • Increases your brand’s popularity,
  • Establishes authority,
  • Increases your website traffic,
  • Helps you build stronger customer relationships,
  • Helps to boost sales…

Are there disadvantages to email marketing?

Yes, unfortunately, email marketing is not without its potential disadvantages (what is, really?):

  • Spam – Commercial emails can be -and will be- perceived as spam by some customers, it is just what it is.
  • Emails undelivered – No matter what app you use, eventually some emails will be undelivered for a variety of reasons- sometimes for poor design, sometimes for including words that are flagged as spam by certain providers, etc.
  • Easy to ignore – People get lots and lots of emails every day. Which means it is really easy for your brilliant campaign to get lost among hundreds of others.
  • File sizes – If you are using a lot of pictures, they might in many cases take up too much time to load, so your customers might just give up and close the page without even having the chance to see your beautiful design!

Email Marketing Tips

When it comes to email marketing tips, the first that should always be mentioned are the famous “5 Ts”. The 5 Ts of email marketing are as follows:

  • Tease – Tease your audience with your subject line, but also make sure to deliver with your content! It is easy to cross the line between teasing and click baiting, and we strongly advise you to not do it!
  • Target – Personalize your emails. It is as simple as that. The more personalized your content, the better it will perform.
  • Teach – Emails are great tools for telling stories that matter, and useful information is always appreciated.
  • Test – Make sure you test different layouts, different approaches, and see what works better for you.
  • Track – An obvious one, should be stated none the less: always monitor the results of your email campaigns, that way you will be able to see the points that need improvement.

And here are a few more tips that we think should be considered for more successful email marketing campaigns:

  • Don’t overdo it! – All of us have at some point unsubscribed from a mailing list we have once joined, because of constantly coming emails, filling our inbox with more than we can -or want to- pay attention. This must be avoided, as it will alienate your audience eventually. You can of course find your own pace, but try not to be too aggressive.
  • Find your tone of voice – Develop a unique voice for your brand, and -unless your field of work really requires it- try not to be too serious. That being said, trying too hard to be entertaining -as some brands seem to do- is not a very good idea either. Find a delicate balance between the two, and no matter what, try to keep it interesting.
  • Automation is important – Without some kind of automation, you probably won’t get the desired results out of email marketing. Automating your campaigns will help you scale, improve efficiency, and at the end, increase conversion rates.
  • Segment your audience – If you have a big enough audience, segmentation -grouping them based on common attributes- will certainly help. This way, you will be easily create personalized content in your campaigns.
  • Always test your campaigns without sending – No matter how many times you’ve gone through your content, always test it: send it to yourself -and preferably others in your team- and check it out as a customer would. You will be surprised how easier this makes spotting errors!
  • Make sure everything is mobile-friendly – These days, if you are designing anything that will appear online, you have to always make-sure it is mobile friendly, and email campaigns are no exception. Use mobile-friendly templates, and don’t forget to test them on mobile!
  • Try to re-engage the inactive subscribers – Obviously you can’t expect everyone to stay active, but why not try to re-engage them and see if anyone comes back? With the right content -and maybe a personalized offer- you might certainly win back some of your inactive users.

How to Choose the Best Tool for Email Marketing?

There are a lot of tools out there, designed for creating and automating email campaigns, but which one should you choose for your digital marketing strategy? Well, there are a lot of things to take into consideration here. Let’s look at the most important ones.

Start by considering your needs – Some tools may have shiny features, but do you really need them with your campaigns? Make a list of what is essential for you.

What’s your budget? – Of course, your budget plays an important role here too -as it always does!- and it is a good thing that when it comes to ESPs, you have lots and lots of options from expensive ones to those more affordable, to downright cheap ESPs.  Aweber can be a good option for decent budgets. Have a look at our Aweber review to make a decision.

Consider your technical skills – If you are a complete beginner when it comes to these, you might want to opt for drag and drop editors and email templates to make things easier.

Reporting (Analytics) – This is another very important thing to consider. Just executing your email campaigns is not enough, you will have to monitor them and see how they perform, this is the only way you can better them! So, your ESP at least should be able to report you basic stuff such as open rate, bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, spam complaint rate, etc.

Integration – Many ESPs have the ability to integrate with major content management systems (CMS) and e-commerce platforms. Try to get one that you can easily set up with your CMS.

Security – Last, but certainly not least, security- your customers shared their valuable data with you, which means they trust you to keep it safe! Carefully decide what level of security your business needs and pick an ESP that will satisfy your security needs.

At the end, every brand’s priorities are different, and once you get yours straight, you should be able to easily find the best email marketing tool for your needs!

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Email Marketing FAQs

Here are some important questions about email marketing:

Q: How often should I send Emails to my audience?

A: There is no single answer to this, but as we have said above, you certainly don’t want to do it too aggressively as you will almost always end up alienating a part of your audience. There are different opinions on this; some do it monthly, while others do it weekly. One approach is to send two emails a month and slowly increase the frequency to weekly mails. As we have said before, try to find your own pace.

Q: Why not use standard email providers such as Gmail, Outlook, etc.?

A: Because they are simply not designed for mass Emails. It is, of course, possible to send mass Emails using them, but as they are designed for personal use, you are very likely to run into technical difficulties -limited bandwidth, design issues, etc.- and there is a big chance that your emails are going to be flagged as spam. Long story short, if you want to get serious about your email marketing campaigns, you better invest in a proper ESP!


History of Email goes all the way back to early 70’s, and it has been an important device of communication ever since. Although it seems dated -for the lack of a better word- when compared to some of the more “modern” methods of digital advertising, it is still a powerful tool, one that no brand with a decent marketing strategy should overlook.