What is email marketing and how to get started

You may have heard the rumour that email marketing is dead, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

According to Hubspot, 38% of businesses are increasing their email marketing budget in 2024 and we can see why. 

For any business, email marketing has so much potential and can come with many opportunities. 

Figuring out how to get started with email marketing can often be the hardest part, but we’re here to help you out!

We’re going to jump into why businesses use email marketing, its benefits, and some handy steps to help you on your journey. 

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message via email. 

It’s a solid tool if you want to increase brand awareness, promote a product or service, and boost revenue. 

Depending on your business and who you’re trying to reach, you may have different goals for your email marketing and campaigns. However, with any email marketing campaign you’d want to aim to convert potential customers and keep existing customers engaged. 

Why do businesses use email marketing?

It’s easy to see why email marketing is still favoured by many marketers with an average ROI of $36 for every $1 spent (that’s higher than any other channel). 

Whilst there are a lot of tools and strategies available, email marketing is one of the best tactics to drive business growth and target a large audience. 

What’s more, email marketing gives you the chance to personalise your content on a budget and is a form of owned media. 

Let’s dive into these more. 

Personalisation in email marketing

Personalisation is nothing new, but it’s set to grow in 2024. It’s a marketing strategy that uses consumer data to create tailored content, this makes consumers feel valued and encourages them to keep engaging with your business. 

You can personalise your email marketing by – 

  • Using segmentation (e.g. location, gender, interest) 
  • Utilise automated emails (e.g. welcome, reminder, or lead nurturing emails)
  • Acknowledge events (e.g. birthdays, anniversaries)

So, you want to incorporate personalisation into your email marketing but need some inspiration? Let’s take a look at Moonpig. 

The international gifting platform is THE place to go for any occasion and knows exactly how to make their customers feel special. 

From cards and flowers, to app notifications and emails, Moonpig is hyper-personalised. 

With a growth strategy centred around getting more orders from existing customers and improving retention rates, Moonpig focuses on creating long-term partnerships with loyal customers through personalised content. 

We’ve all forgotten a birthday or anniversary, but Moonpig is there to give customers a helping hand by sending app and email reminders. 

In the run up to any special occasion, Moonpig sends a series of emails to reassure and remind customers that they are there to offer a helping hand. 

Moonpig took personalisation one step further with their opt-out emails. Praised by customers online, Moonpig sends emails offering an opt-out option when it comes to Mother’s and Father’s day for those who have lost loved ones.

And, there’s no doubt that Moonpig’s relentless focus on personalisation is a hit as the company reported revenue growth of 6.5% year-on-year to £152.1 million in 2023

Email as a form of owned media  

Another huge bonus of email marketing is that it’s a form of owned media. 

Owned media is any online property owned and controlled by a brand. For example, a website, social media channels, blog, or email marketing. 

Having owned media allows businesses to have complete control over content and positioning, and build relationships with their consumers – you can easily and immediately contact an audience whenever you want.

What are the benefits of email marketing?

When executed effectively, email marketing can come with an array of benefits including:

  • Nurture your audience by creating personalised content (as we mentioned earlier, personalisation is paramount this year)
  • Promote your products and / or services
  • A cost effective way to communicate with your audience on a wider scale
  • You can collect feedback with your audience 
  • A measurable marketing tactic that can contribute to a higher ROI
  • Boost brand awareness and engagement

Another brand who uses email well (and to keep their customers engaged) is Netflix. 

With over 247 million paid subscribers worldwide, Netflix is the world’s biggest streaming service. 

To beat out their competitors and keep their audience engaged, Netflix sends consistent emails to new and existing subscribers. 

Netflix’s emails aren’t boring or pointless, they’re personalised and carefully curated based on a subscriber’s interests and watch history to drive engagement. 

To boost open rate and engagement, Netflix uses personalised subject lines and headers that a reader just can’t ignore. How can you resist knowing Netflix’s top pick for you or a TV programme you might like? When it comes to a call to action (CTA), Netflix always encourages a reader to watch a new trailer!

What’s more, Netflix makes sure their emails are easy to read, visually appealing, and recognisable – they’re made to feel as though you’re scrolling through the homepage. 

Where to start with email marketing?

1. Establish your email marketing goals 

Before jumping in, it’s best to think about what you want to achieve with your email marketing. 

Do you want to build relationships with your consumers by creating personalised content? Or maybe you want to try to increase leads and sales?

Whatever you want to achieve, knowing your objectives will help you determine what types of campaigns and content would work best and who to target. 

2. Build your email mailing list

If you want to incorporate email marketing into your strategy, you need to build your mailing list. 

A mailing list is a collection of email addresses made up of consumers, partners, or website visitors. 

Start by adding a signup form to your website – you’ll often find one in the header and / or footer of a website. This way, potential subscribers won’t have to go out of their way to sign up.

If you want to push your mailing list and boost your subscribers, consider scheduling a website pop up to grab visitor attention and encourage them to become a part of your community. 

A common tactic used by businesses is to offer people an incentive to sign up. For example, a downloadable guide, exclusive content, or a time sensitive discount. 

Consider the types of email campaigns you want to send 

An email marketing campaign is a single or sequence of emails created to meet a marketing objective. 

There are several types of email campaigns you could send:

  • Onboarding email campaigns
  • Discount or sale offer campaigns
  • Product launch or announcement campaigns
  • Event based campaigns

You can create an email campaign to promote a product or service, share valuable content, and connect with your audience. 

Depending on its purpose an email campaign may be made up of one or multiple emails. 

Pick your email marketing platform

Having a strong structure in place to help with your email marketing is pivotal. 

Without one you won’t be able to target your audience in the way you want to, encourage engagement, create eye-catching content, and ultimately increase revenue. 

That’s why you need to pick an email marketing platform.

An email marketing platform will allow you to create, send, and track emails to your audience. You’ll be able to create well-designed, user-friendly emails from scratch or using a template, and see key metrics so you can keep on top of your email marketing strategy. 

There are lots of email marketing platforms out there, but some popular examples include:

  • Mailchimp
  • Mailerlite 
  • Hubspot
  • Zoho Campaigns
  • Drip

The platform you choose will depend on your business, your audience, and your email marketing objectives. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of the platform you choose, it will determine the way your emails look and their deliverability.

Your email marketing platform should make it easy for you to:

  • Design engaging content (using templates or your own creation)
  • Manage your email list
  • Track key metrics (e.g. open-rate, click-through rate, conversion rate)
  • A/B test if you need or want to
  • Segment and / or group subscribers
  • Personalise your content
  • Create and send automated emails

We’d recommend setting time aside to do your research. Remember, no email marketing platform is the same so you need to know what each one offers. 

You now know where to start with email marketing, but how do you stand out from the crowd? We’re here to help you learn how to build a successful email strategy, create killer content, and keep your subscribers coming back for more.

Our brand NEW course ‘Elevate Your Email Marketing’ is now live in The Girls in Marketing Membership. 

This course is your end-to-end guide, designed to equip you with the essential knowledge and tools to harness the power of email marketing. 

If you want to level up your email marketing then this course is perfect for you!