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As email marketing is recorded to be the strongest form of a marketing campaign in history, we think it is essential to provide the latest and authentic information to educate about email marketing.
Our Top 3 Email Marketing Tools for Small Business
Hence, we bring forth a community-driven guide to email marketing where you can get first-hand information on the subject matter from experienced email marketers, elucidating everything you need to know about “email marketing.” This guide will be updated from time-to-time, by the industry experts, with the latest additions and revisions in the email marketing arena.
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If you are keen to be a part of the expert team and share your knowledge and experience with regards to the email marketing domain, please feel free to reach out to us.
What is Email Marketing
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing used to send a commercial message, usually to a specific audience, using email. Broadly, it can mean every email sent to a potential or existing customer to bring brand awareness, attract new customers or the current customers to make a purchase, retain a relationship with existing customers to maintain customer loyalty, and share third-party advertisements and other marketing purposes.
The whole concept behind email marketing is to make an effort to engage your targeted customers, existing and potential customers, by directing them to the company’s website repeatedly; it would most often result in purchasing or re-purchasing the products/services. Besides engaging customers, these emails can obtain sales, acquire new customers, lead the youth, gain customer loyalty and brand awareness using a single email campaign list.
The most important part of email marketing is to get the email addresses of buyers/customers. Many established companies, be it a clothing brand, an electronics store, or a restaurant, maintain a diary in which the visitors are requested to provide their feedback and enter their valuable information, like email addresses, postal addresses, and mobile numbers.
The data collected from the customers is the key to a successful email campaign. Using this information, companies can directly approach their existing and potential customers with targeted content, including deals and discount offers, via sending emails directly to their inboxes.
The major advantage of email marketing is that the emails can be sent selectively to the users based on their purchase, view, or wish-list history, for example, if a customer is obsessed with viewing boots online, using this data, a marketer can send emails displaying latest collections, or offers, it will grab customer’s attention immediately.
This trend has been growing vastly in the email marketing campaigns to send personalized emails containing customer’s things-of-interest and has proven to be highly successful.
Further reading on Email Marketing Trends
Why Email Marketing?
At present, marketers are under pressure to achieve an objective with limited means or a budget. As the gap between business and customer is reducing more and more, marketers are challenged to build and maintain a personalized relationship with customers, to connect with their audience in a highly targeted setting.
“No marketing category has the longevity of email marketing. While some marketing trends come and go, email remains the most powerful channel available to the modern marketer,” as per the VentureBeat report.
Email Marketing is the most powerful source, due to the following reasons:
Deliver the Message
The basic motive behind email marketing, or any form of marketing for that matter, is to deliver the message across to your targeted audience. In the case of email marketing, a massive volume of emails, up to 90%, are delivered straight to the recipient’s inbox. This is because the customers or potential customers have actively signed up for the email newsletter.
Unlike the social media platforms where the advertisements are flashed without the user’s consent, email marketing is decidedly chosen and subscribed to. Hence, it’s an easy and effective way of delivering the message related to your product/service.
Reach a Larger Audience
Image source: smartinsights.com
It has been recorded, year after year, that email marketing has the largest audience reach. It would be surprising to believe, considering social media boasting, especially in recent years. Still, statistics clearly state that the email market is the most effective customer or potential customer source.
This is due to the blatant fact that all the active users of the internet possess an active email, or multiple active email addresses, making email the widest-reaching platform.
Longevity of Email
Email is a highly personal platform for an individual’s use for communication, be it for work, family, or friends; it has a long history of being stable and everlasting. Unlike social platforms, the people you communicate with, using email, contain vital information and hold a great deal of importance to email users. Ever since the first promotional email was sent in 1978 to about 400 customers, email marketing has grown and evolved tremendously.
High Conversion Rate
Any form of marketing is focused on driving conversions.
“Regardless of whether this is in the form of leads, sales, memberships, or a metric unique to your business strategy, the ultimate goal for marketers is to turn potential customers into paying customers.”
Therefore, email marketing is the most powerful platform for conversions, is preferred over various other marketing channels, including Facebook or Twitter. According to a Monetate survey, 4.24% of customers visiting from email marketing actually make a purchase compared to customers visiting via other sources.
Highest Return on Investment
Statistics Source: lyfemarketing.com
Email marketing generates the highest return on investment (ROI). On every $1 spent on email marketing, the company can expect to generate up to 38% of revenue, as per the marketer, Neil Patel. According to Statista, the number of e-mail users worldwide is forecasted to rise to 2.9 billion users by 2019. The increase in email users will allow the marketers to reach out to more potential customers, leading to an increase in ROI.
Advantages or Benefits of Email Marketing for Business & Growth
Businesses can gain plenty of benefits from email marketing, specifically because most people now access their emails on smartphones on a day-to-day basis. Thus, email remains the most preferred form of marketing for any organization that is used to communicate with customers for business and growth.
Some of the email marketing benefits for business and growth are as follows.
Global Audience Reach
The key feature of email marketing is its ability to target customers globally. No other platform allows businesses to reach out to the audience in masses on a global level. Even though social media provides a similar platform, it is not as effective as email marketing as it is non-measurable.
In email marketing, the emails are sent directly to the existing or potential customers, unlike social media, allowing the maximum amount of visibility. This can help businesses in promoting their products and services across the world, as well as in their future growth.
As mentioned above, email is the only form of marketing that is measurable. It provides accurate statistics regarding the rate of delivery, the number of emails opened, click-to-deliver rates, and subscriber retention rates, unlike other marketing channels that provide metrics representing only ambiguous analytical estimations unreliable.
Email marketing, with the help of marketing tools, presents businesses with an opportunity to monitor and attain a detailed insight into customers’ behavior patterns and interests.
Building trust and credibility with the customers is an essential part of a successful marketing channel. Email marketing provides a business with the ability to achieve credibility. With the help of relevant and personalized email newsletters with engaging content, businesses can attract large audiences while gaining their trust and loyalty and maintain rapport with them. This can help businesses to turn their audience into buyers or potential customers.
The low-cost investment involved in sending email newsletters is the most advantageous factor of email marketing. As discussed earlier, the return on investment (ROI) on every $1 invested is 38%, making email marketing the most affordable channel for business promotions and growth.
Additionally, businesses can save huge monies using email marketing, as emails neither require printing and postage nor require advertisements in newspapers, magazines, holdings, and television, which can cost a fortune with a lower return on investments (ROI) compared to email marketing.
Email marketing can really boost the sales of business if done correctly. As email marketing is a mature channel compared to other marketing channels, including social platforms, it can generate more sales than others.
For decades, it has proven to convert leads into buyers and buyers into loyal customers. In fact, email continues to be the topmost platform to heavily influence customers to buy and repeat purchases, according to surveys conducted by Forrester in 2012 and Campaigner in 2015.
Email marketing is time-saving, as it requires a single page of a promotional email draft that is short and simple and conveys a direct message. Businesses today also have the luxury to use ready templates available online that allow businesses to design their newsletters or promotional emails quickly and easily and have a professional appeal at the same time.
Nevertheless to say, email marketing is the fastest marketing platform. The amount of waiting time in an email marketing campaign is very less than the response is pretty quick. Email marketing can be a terrific channel to speed up the sales cycle and provide the results almost immediately, with the help of the right content, sent to the customer at the right time, and efficiently track the campaign.
Further reading on benefits of email marketing for your business
Best Practices of Email Marketing
When it comes to email marketing, the best practices begin with learning and understanding the basic etiquette of email before drafting, designing, or sending out an email campaign. Below are some of the basic email marketing tips known to practice the best email marketing campaigns regularly.
Fixing Delivery issues
It is essential to deliver the promotional emails to the user’s inbox in an email marketing campaign. What’s the point of sending an email if the user doesn’t see it in his inbox to open and view it otherwise? Hence, it’s important to solve the delivery issues, including emails reaching spam folders, users complaining about unwanted emails, emails sent to spam traps, etc.
Testing Email Content
Testing the email content before sending out promotional emails to the clients is equally essential. Running the content for a spell check, incorrect or incomplete information, broken links, image resolution, etc., can help you avoid errors. Practicing sending out test emails to check how the email appears to the customers can help you ensure that all the information and links are correct and working.
There are many tips and rules about writing effective subject lines, but it’s not about what you say; it is about how you say.
Avoiding Spammer Content
The idea behind reaching out to customers using an email marketing platform is to create brand awareness, build trust, provide business, product, or service information, gain loyal customers, etc. Hence, it’s best to practice sending genuine emails containing relevant information, free from spammer content. Some of the known words that contribute to spam include free, deal, urgent, win/won, etc. Therefore, avoid spammer words or phrases at all costs.
Avoiding Phishing Links
Emails with phishing links, like spam emails, are unwanted and trick people into believing false information. Cheaters use such links to get traffic to their website with every click or access to the user’s personal information, including passwords deceivingly. Hence, it’s best to avoid such links.
Sending Multipart Messages
The spam filters need to receive multi-part messages containing both HTML & text email drafts. Certain email marketing software automatically generates text content for you; find the one that best suits your needs and practice using it.
Proofreading seems to be a dead art on the internet, and even established online publications and email marketing campaigns are littered with typos and grammatical errors.
Want to turn off your potential customers? Write poorly and don’t proofread.
On the other hand, if you want to command the respect of your audience, you need to have a good grasp of the English language.
Just because your email isn’t going to be publicly available on the internet for all to see, you should still make sure to proofread your content thoroughly.
Humans have a habit of jumping over words and missing mistakes when reading back our own content; consider getting a fresh set of eyes to take a look for you.
Power tip – Use the Grammarly Chrome extension to scan for contextual mistakes and incorrect grammar automatically. The free version will suffice, and you might, but typos do you a massive disservice.
By David Alexander from Mazepress.
Direct Mail: The Present & Future of Marketing
Is direct mail marketing a thing of the past? Barely. In fact, with the modern digital movement in advertising, direct mail has seen massive growth and success in the present generation. Talking about the generation, direct mail is the oldest form of marketing, has been around for decades.
From the generation of Baby Boomers (born between 1940 to early1960s) and Generation Xers (born between 1960 to early 1980s) to Millennials (born between 1980 to early 1990s), direct mail has been used by all as a successful source of marketing.
Today, as the marketers target the current youth ‘Generation Z’ (born between 1990-the 2010s), direct mail is an even more powerful and sought-after marketing tool than before, even though there are many more options available.
What is Direct Mail Marketing?
Direct mail is a type of marketing where a printed document is directly mailed to potential customers in brochures, catalogs, postcards, newsletters, etc. It is broadly classified into two types.
- Involving actual paper with marketing content mailed to the mailbox of potential customers.
- Soft copy of the marketing content emailed (also known as email marketing) to the email addresses of the potential customers.
Why is Direct Mail Marketing Successful?
Direct mail marketing has distinct advantages over other forms of marketing. In general, mailing lists can be purchased by businesses from reputable sources that have already demonstrated an interest in their type of business or product.
Direct mail marketing, unlike others, pinpoints a specific demographic and targets marketing content for this demographic, which makes it, perhaps, the most effective way of grabbing the target audience’s attention.
In fact, the ‘Four Ps’ of marketing communications strategy:
- Promotion, and
are best managed via direct mail marketing.
Direct Mail Marketing for Small Businesses
“Small businesses often lack the capital for large digital marketing strategies. Even if they build a website to receive and direct Internet traffic, there’s little to guarantee that they will pull in the kind of digital traffic required to sustain a successful marketing strategy.”
Therefore, direct mail marketing serves as a powerful tool for small businesses. Its simple and straightforward process to approach potential customers makes it ideal for small businesses, especially those with restricted budgets.
For small businesses, it is not only simple and easy to generate a mailing list from the current customer base and use it to market directly through the mail, but also to combine direct mail marketing with email marketing while conveying the same message to the email list generated, which increases the chances of getting the customer’s attention and, in turn, increasing sales.
Role of Generation Z in Direct Marketing
Generation Z is an emerging generation, which is anticipated to comprise about 40% of the consumer market in the years to come. Even though still teenagers, Generation Z has been estimated to wield as much as $44 billion in discretionary spending, which is a humongous amount of money spent on products and services. Hence, the market for Generation Z cannot be ignored.
This generation has grown up using the Internet; they understand screens, apps, and mobile phones. In fact, their thought process comprises digital information. Many businesses use this approach to their advantage and use direct mail/email marketing strategies while targeting the Generation Z consumer market.
Direct Mail: A Successful Marketing Tool
As direct mail marketing is turning into an even more powerful tool than before, with its unique ability to grab and retain customers’ attention, it is clear that direct mail can be the ideal marketing strategy for the future. It sure isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
By Jenny Cruz from IPrintNMail
Boost open rates with a multichannel approach
When you plan your email marketing campaign, you can sometimes forget that multichannel is still an option. However, reports show that you can boost open rates for email across the board by using SMS messaging, push, and other channels.
This comes back to the idea of using all the tools at your disposal. Why spend so much time on your email campaigns only to have a small fraction of your audience actually read and engage with your messaging?
Instead of simply hoping for the best, try sending an accompanying text message with something basic like “Did you see our last email?” Not only does this casual reminder boost open rates, but it can prove the value of your SMS campaign as well.
As customers continue to be pulled in many directions by constant targeted email advertising, marketers will need to find new ways of providing value with their messaging. A multi-channel approach ensures that your customers always know where to reach you and engage with your business. The more engaged they are, the better experience they will have, and the higher your retention rates will be.
By Nathan Ellwood from Gleantap.
Video Email Marketing
Video is everything. Every market is influenced by the content they are watching. Email marketing is one of the oldest digital marketing, is not at all lagging behind here. Video email marketing has been around for a while now. But it was never popular due to many reasons, like the lack of technologies that could make it seamless.
Now is the right time for videos to shine in emails. Every good email marketer will tell you videos are the next evolution of emails. But how do you integrate videos with emails? Let’s talk about it.
Most people think that adding a video into an email is as easy as uploading it. But it is not. Most service providers won’t even allow you to upload a video even if they do; it is a terrible idea. It will just make your email clunky. There are a few ways you can do it.
The first and the most simple way is to upload your video to YouTube and add a link in the email. This may seem pretty basic, but the objective of a video is not to come across as fancy but to share informative/ impactful video content with your subscribers. And this is one of the easiest ways to do this.
Embedding a video into the emails is the best way to do this. You can use a slew of different services to do this. Wistia is such a service; it allows you to upload videos and embed them in your emails. This is an easy process, and your emails will stay lite. For me, this is the best way to do it.
Bonus: Use a gif instead of a video. This is just a workaround but will be effective in a lot of use cases. A gif can keep your email lite, and you can use these instead of small videos. The maximum length of a gif is 15seconds. But it is always advised to keep it for less than 6seconds. Also, make the gif clickable if you can and see your engaging shooting up.
By Christeen Paul from SendX
Types of Email Marketing
Transactional Email Marketing
The emails sent based on a customer’s action with a company are termed transactional email marketing. The primitive motive of transactional email communication is “to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender.”
These emails include:
- Email address confirmations
- Password resets
- Purchase receipts
- Thank you for [some action]
- Account balance updates
- Weekly manifests
- Support requests
- Cart abandonment
- Monthly invoices
- App error alerts (developer tested!)
- Automated re-engagement (marketer approved!)
Direct Email Marketing
Direct emails are sent with the sole purpose of delivering a promotional message, such as discount offers, season collections, and product catalogs. A list of customer email address data is generated by the companies, or rented from service companies, to send direct promotional emails.
Mobile Email Marketing
There is constant research on grabbing potential customers and engaging them in email advertisements as much as possible, and smartphones and tablets are some of the massive sources to draw traffic using email marketing; hence, they cannot be ignored. A relatively big part of communication and revenue is represented by mobile email marketing.
It has been recorded that 81% of people, on average, check their emails on smartphones. Therefore, mobile email marketing is perceived as a pull strategy. The Apple iPhones email client market share was estimated to be 33%, followed by Gmail at 19%, in December 2016. This was calculated for 1.44 billion opens.
Statistics Source: emailmonday.com
How to choose an Email Marketing Software or Tool
Email marketing should be a necessary tool/software for every business, regardless of running the email campaigns. However, selecting the right software/tool that meets your business requirements and works for you at the same time is not an easy thing to decide.
Here are some of the important features you need to look for in an ideal Email Marketing platform or Email Marketing software or Email Marketing tool, which can help you make the right decision.
Features to consider while choosing an Email Marketing Software
As every email sent adds value to the subscribers and serves as a deciding factor in attracting them to take action, each email must be designed to perfect and reflect professionalism, be it text-based emails, custom-coded emails, or others. An ideal software/tool offers various sample templates to select from based on your requirement and gives you the flexibility to create and publish landing pages that work best for your business.
Responsive Email Templates
- HTML Templates which are optimized for various resolutions and devices
- Easy to use Drag and Drop Editors
The ideal email marketing software/tool offers you the key feature of turning your emails on autopilot. The one that allows you to automatically email your subscribers, like sending out welcome emails when new subscribers sign up or sending out thank you (for the association) emails when someone chooses to unsubscribe. When choosing an email marketing software/tool, make sure that it is user-friendly and fits best with your needs.
- Create and send emails automatically from your newest blog posts using RSS/JASON/XML feeds.
- Easy to create automated email sequences, autoresponder follow-up emails, welcome emails, birthday emails, event-based emails, lead campaigns, etc.
- Scheduled and location-based best time email delivery
Further Reading on Email Automation
Understanding what works
What works for your email marketing campaign and your business doesn’t necessarily work for other campaigns or businesses? You need to understand what works best for your campaign. The ideal email marketing software/tool provides you with valuable insight into your performance, including reports on visitors, clicks, conversions, as well as revenue. This can help you to learn and better understand what works for your business.
Connecting with other Marketing Channels
Email is undoubtedly the best channel of marketing, and social media follows right after. Connecting your email marketing campaign with other marketing channels will be an added advantage, as it helps in reaching and attracting wider audiences.
Social Media Integration
- Easy to integrate social media with emails to deliver integrated campaigns that help connect with users who are not subscribed and help your campaign to go viral.
- The ideal software/tool will allow you to integrate campaigns across different marketing channels, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. This will help in growing your business and improving your bottom line.
- Sign Up Forms to collect, track and manage your subscriber’s list
- Easy to integrate newsletter sign-up / subscriber forms in various CMS platforms, Social networks, etc.
- Responsive subscription forms
- WordPress plugins or HTML code snippet to integrate sign-up forms
- Popup, appear on a scroll, exit intent, and embeddable signup forms
- Easy to import contact lists from various other platforms
- Segmentation of contacts based on geolocation or interest etc., so that you can send the right message to the right customer.
Integrating with other tools and software
Apart from the feature to connect with other marketing channels, some of the best email marketing tools/software offer other e-commerce integrations, like connecting your account with innumerable apps and websites, to sync customer data where you can learn about the things your customers are investing their money in, and create targeted campaigns. This will be useful in generating more revenues and in the growth of your business.
- Easy to create landing pages
- Seamless integration with other landing page creation platforms like LeadPages, OptimizePress, InstaPage, UnBounce, etc.
Reports & Analytics
- It helps to monitor and track how your email campaigns are performing in real time
- Should contain detailed statistics of email open rates, click-throughs on links or call-to-action buttons, behavioral data, engagement reports, etc.
- Email delivery statistics
- Unsubscribers stats
- A/B testing helps to maximize user engagement with advanced split testing, which considers variables like Sender Information, Subject, body content, etc.
Compliance with anti-spam laws
- The software should ensure that there should be 100% deliverability rates and help you land the email in the Inbox instead of SPAM folders.
- Your email should automatically include Unsubscribe links to ensure the user can remove their subscription with just one click.
- Robust and extensible APIs to integrate with your favorite apps or custom apps.
- Detailed API developers guide.
Another important factor to consider while choosing an ideal software/tool for your email marketing campaign or your business is the customer support feature. You must know if they provide a team that offers their dedicated support, like live chat and 24 hours call availability in emergencies, and email support otherwise. It is crucial to find out about the customer support you will be provided before you choose to sign up.
Tips for Improvement
As we all know, there is always room for improvement, no matter how good you are at what you do. An ideal software/tool will update you on your performance from time to time and provide you with improvement tips, considering your previous records. So, make sure you choose a software/tool that helps you improve with time.
Lastly, choose a software/tool wisely as it will cost you money. Most of the software allows you to sign up for free, giving a trial period to test and decide if you like it and if it serves your needs. There are many softwares that offer a free plan depending upon the email subscriptions.
You can use different software to compare and learn what works for your business in terms of features, user-friendliness, affordability, etc. At the end of your trial period or a free plan, you can decide if the software is worth your money.
Great Email Marketing Tools to Consider
Here are some great tools you can consider bringing forth the most professional looking and start your first email newsletter campaign to take your business to the next level.
Below are some best Email Marketing Tools to consider:
|Tools / Software||Free||Subscription
|ActiveTrail||Trial||$7||0 – 500||Unlimited|
|BigMailer||Forever||$10.00||1000||Unlimited||Use the link and get 30% off on first month.|
|ConvertKit||Trial||$29||0 – 1,000||Unlimited|
|EmailOctopus||Trial||$19||3,000 – 10,000||Unlimited||Use the link and get 30% off on first month.|
|Uplead||Trial||$49||N/A||Unlimited||witty (free 30-day UpLead account with 25 download credits)|
|HubSpot Marketing Hub||No||$200||0 – 100||Unlimited|
|MailChimp||Forever||$20||1,000 – 1,500||Unlimited|
|Sender||Forever||â‚¬9||2,500 – 5,000||60000|
|SendPulse||Yes||$9.85||2,500 – 3,000||10000|
|SendX||Trial||$7.49||1,000||Unlimited||WITTY_SPARK_25 (25% discount)|
Further reading on Email Marketing Tools or Software