Getting started with email marketing involves some strategic thinking that's relatively simple on its own but will add up to a campaign that is an essential tool for your business. All of us have received our fair share of marketing emails, so a smart first move would be to consider the approaches that have stood out to you as particularly effective—the messages you're still receiving because you didn't unsubscribe from that list.
Just as those businesses have found a way to connect with you, your business can use email marketing to develop a relationship with customers. You can use your messages—both the tone and the content—to develop your brand and increase recipients' sense of connection with your business.
Emails are also an extremely useful source of data about what customers respond positively to, and what turns them off. Armed with that information and some well-defined goals for your email campaigns, you'll have a powerful tool to support your brand strategy.
The advantages of email marketing
Email marketing activities are most effective when they operate hand-in-hand with your overall marketing strategy. When it’s done right, email marketing has multiple advantages for your business:
Streamlined customer communication. Email gives businesses a direct, dependable link to talk to their audiences and tailor content and messaging to their specific needs. Unlike other marketing channels, you don’t need to rely on search algorithms or paid media to ensure your communications are being seen by the right people.
Easy social media cross-promotion. You can grow your audience by using your social media accounts to encourage email list sign-ups. You can also connect your social and email audiences by sharing previously sent emails as new content on your social channels, and including links to your social media accounts in emails to customers.
Brand enhancement. Email marketing campaigns function as a seamless extension of your site and brand, from the tone of the writing to the visual aesthetic. With some email marketing platforms, you can even update your website and send campaigns within the same dashboard, meaning it's easy to pull content like your website logo, blog posts, and products directly into messages. Platforms like Squarespace Email Campaigns even applies your brand colors to emails seamlessly.
Useful analytics. For marketing purposes, analytics are crucial to gleaning a holistic understanding of your subscribers and site visitors. Email marketing analytics offer even more information about audience behavior, as you can see who opens your emails, what links they click, and who unsubscribes.
Flexible messaging and scheduling. Create automated emails to reduce hours spent on marketing activities. You can also build blast emails for one-off announcements about things like a big sale or business update, and build and schedule email campaigns in advance of busy cycles in your business.
The different types of email campaigns
Email campaigns serve different functions depending on your business goals.The two main email campaign types are:
Blast campaigns. This is a single email that you send to one or more mailing lists or subscriber segments, with content tailored to those specific audiences. Email blasts are best suited for one-off sales or important news.
Automated campaigns. This is an email that people will automatically receive after they perform a specific action, like subscribing to your mailing list or purchasing an item from your store. You set the message content and timing in advance, and then these emails run in the background.
Look at your business's current challenges and pain points, and see which kind of email marketing campaign could help address those. For example, if your business needs a revenue boost, you might send a one-time email blast to customers or leads with a sitewide discount code to encourage sales.
Define your email marketing goals
Before launching an online business, it’s important to identify your business opportunity. The same holds true when you're planning an email marketing strategy. Before launching any campaigns, define what you hope to accomplish.
These questions will help you devise a winning strategy:
Why do you want to communicate with customers? Think about why you've decided it's time to initiate an email marketing strategy. Do you want to promote goods, events, or services to your existing audience? Do you want to grow your reach? Are you looking to develop your repeat customer base? Do you want to highlight promotions or sales, or offer special discounts to keep your business top of mind?
What information are you sharing with customers? Emails can communicate many messages. Are you looking to share only notable news, such as new product launches or service offerings? If your business has a blog, will you share excerpts from these posts with your audience?
What results do you hope to see from your email marketing campaigns? Even if your goals are broad at first, write down what a successful email marketing campaign looks like for you. Goals can include increased sales, more site traffic, or stronger engagement with your content. Clear goals will help frame your thinking and strategies going forward.
Based on the answers to the above questions, you can develop a tactical plan. When you’re launching an email marketing campaign, focus on one goal at a time and give your readers one simple action to take that supports that goal.
Looking for more information? Read the checklist for launching your email marketing.