Email marketing for companies in the early days of the internet was a very different animal than it is today.
Back then, it was a simple matter of sending an email blast to a large list of people, hoping that some of them would buy your product.
There was no fancy targeting, no A/B testing, very little automation, and certainly no big data.
Today, the world of email marketing has exploded with different channels, different methods, and a lot more moving parts.
We are in the midst of a digital transformation where digital technology is being used to disrupt nearly every industry, including e-commerce.
There are now multiple tools that can help you create and send email campaigns, as well as manage and analyze the results. These tools can help you to find your audience, segment them, and create personalized messages to turn them into customers.
This article will discuss how to set up an email marketing funnel that will help you acquire leads (and generate sales) around the clock.
It will also discuss:
- How to build a quality email list with targeted leads
- Various email optimization tactics to boost your open rates and click-through rates (CTR)
- Email automation as means to turn prospects into customers
But let’s start from the beginning:
The Importance of Email Marketing for Companies Pursuing Rapid Growth
Despite the rise of social media, email still remains the most cost-effective way to nurture leads and boost customer loyalty.
With more than 99% of consumers checking their email every day, it is the world’s #1 communication channel and is only expected to grow.
According to a study, the number of worldwide email users will exceed 4.3 billion by the end of 2023.
Another reason why you should make email marketing your top priority is the level of control it gives you over your data.
See, with email marketing, you own your list of contacts. There’s no account that can get suspended or deleted without notice, which is the case with social media platforms. Your leads are your leads, and now one can take them away from you.
On top of that, email shines when it comes to conversion rates. The average shopper who buys products through email spends 138% more than those who don’t receive offers via email. In fact, it is estimated that email marketing has a ROI (return on investment) of $36 for every $1 spent. Just wow! And if you think social media converts better, think again: email has an average order value that is three times greater!
No matter how you look at it, email is the most effective way to make online sales.
But how does email marketing work?
Email Marketing Starter Kit
You’ll need two things to get started with email marketing: an active email list and a good email service provider.
An active email list is essential if you wish to run successful email campaigns. We are talking about a list of email contacts who have agreed to receive marketing communications from your business.
One of the best (and easiest) ways to build a list is to give people a compelling offer (a lead magnet) in exchange for an email address.
This doesn’t mean you’ll have to break the bank to get your leads.
A lead magnet is normally a piece of digital content you can make yourself for free or at very little cost.
Here are some common lead magnet examples:
- A collection of tips or resources
- White papers
- Case studies
- Free trials or free samples
- A coupon, etc.
As mentioned above, you will also need an email service provider (a.k.a. an email marketing tool) to help you:
- Segment your audience,
- Organize your list,
- Deliver emails at scale, and
- Track the results to improve future campaigns.
A tool like Mailvio ticks all the boxes and will automate a lot of the email marketing tasks you may have been doing manually.
Automating Your Email Marketing Efforts
Email marketing automation differs from one ESP to another, but there are some steps that are universal:
Segment Your Audience
Email list segmentation is known to increase your email open rates and click-through rates while decreasing your unsubscribe rates. Because of this, experienced email marketers use segmentation to improve the effectiveness of their emails.
Once you segment your subscribers, you’ll find it much easier to craft relevant subject lines and messages that will entice users to engage with your emails.
You can segment your list based on a number of criteria, such as:
- Age/Gender: send targeted emails based on your subscriber’s age and gender
- Interests: send offers based on your subscribers’ interests and preferences
- Location: notify subscribers living in the area about your local event.
- Open rate: engage your more loyal subscribers with a special offer just for them.
- Lead magnet: Send targeted emails on the basis of the lead magnet they went for.
- (In)activity: remind those who haven’t engaged in a while what their next step should be.
- Shopping Cart Abandonment: remind subscribers who put items into their cart to complete the purchase.
Create an Effective Email Workflow
Having segmented your email list, it’s time to create a workflow. This is the sequence of emails aimed at accomplishing the campaign’s goal.
A contact’s progress through your email workflow depends on how they behave at each step.
For instance, If a customer clicks on a CTA for a free trial, you can skip them ahead in the email workflow.
That way, they’ll start receiving direct contact from your company more quickly.
If they don’t open your first email, you can resend it with a different subject line and preheader to give them a second chance.
Determine Your Email Workflow Triggers
After you create your workflow, the next step is to determine the triggers that will set off the next email in the sequence.
Here are some email workflow triggers commonly used by email marketers today:
Whenever a new visitor subscribes to your list, you can send an email with a welcome message.
This email should focus on establishing strong customer relationships rather than on trying to sell to them.
New Customer/’Thank You’ Workflow
Sending thank you emails to visitors who have made a purchase can also lead to additional sales. These emails can also contribute to building strong relationships with new customers. Do you know how to write engaging subject lines for thank you emails?
Post Purchase Workflow
Post-purchase workflows are designed to keep customers engaged after their initial purchase. They enable you to upsell to them by offering products that are related to their earlier purchases.
Setting up a re-engagement workflow will allow you to follow up with inactive customers and entice them to re-engage with your brand.
You can use this workflow to remind them about the latest news or promotions.
Shopping Cart Abandonment Workflow
Shopping cart abandonment emails can significantly boost your sales. It’s not uncommon for customers to add items to their cart and then forget about them, or change their minds.
In such cases, you can use the shopping cart abandonment workflow to remind them about their unfinished purchase and give them the opportunity to complete it.
What Are the Best Email Automation Tools Out There?
When it comes to email automation software, there’s no shortage of options. There are also many email marketing free tools that offer paid plans as well.
While many of these tools offer similar features, it’s up to you to choose which one is best for your needs.
Below are a few of the most popular email automation tools that you can use to create and manage your email campaigns.
Get Response packs all traditional email marketing tools, as well as automation features such as autoresponders.
In a nutshell, it contains everything you need to manage subscriber lifecycles effectively. By using GetResponse’s landing page tools and webinars, you can also generate leads and grow your subscriber list.
Whenever a subscriber opts in to your list, you can use automated workflows to target individuals from your predefined segments.
Some of GetResponse’s top features include:
- Unlimited daily messages
- Cycle management tools
- Quick edits
- Drag-and-drop editor
We should also note that GetResponse integrates easily with tools like WordPress, Shopify, EtsyStripe, Salesforce, and more.
MailerLite features a simple and clean interface which is ideal for both experienced marketers and beginners.
Featuring an amazing hosted landing page service, MailerLite makes it easy for users to promote their products or gain new subscribers.
MailerLite also boasts tagging for contact segmentation, automation workflows, and good blogging functionality. In addition, this autoresponder makes it easy to:
- Import subscribers
- Edit Subscribers Data
- Manage Unsubscribes
- Deal with subscribers who mark your content as spam and;
- Reach out to unconfirmed subscribers, etc.
Moosend is an email marketing automation platform well-suited for e-commerce businesses, publishers, agencies, etc.
Additionally, the software provides lead generation tools like subscription forms and landing pages. Moosend’s best feature, however, is its autoresponder.
You can use it to create and distribute various email workflows and completely automate your email marketing efforts.
Some of Moosend ‘s most advanced features include:
- Scalable automation workflows
- Powerful segmentation and personalization
- Action triggered messages
- Easy-to-use campaign editor
- Good analytics tools
Moosend offers a free plan for up to 30 days, and its paid plans start at $8 per month.
SendPulse is an all-in-one marketing automation platform used by more than 1 million users across the world.
In addition to email, you can use it to send messages through:
- Web push (browser notifications)
- SMS messaging, and
With SendPulse, you can easily set up an autoresponder campaign. All you have to do is select an event to track and set up automation.
The workflow will start automatically once the event is triggered.
Some of SendPulse’s most notable features include:
Other benefits of using SendPulse as your email autoresponder include:
- Adaptive messages
- Subscription forms
- 130+ free templates
- Personalization tools
- List segmentation
- A/B testing
- Dozens of integrations
VerticalResponse is a versatile email automation software that can be used across a wide range of industries.
Its email autoresponder is ideally suited for:
- Welcoming new subscribers,
- Nurturing leads,
- Re-engaging with inactive subscribers, and
- Automating custom campaigns.
Some of VerticalResponse’s most notable features include:
- Easy-to-use email editor
- Advanced reporting
- Automated follow-up messages
- A/B testing
- Landing page builder
- Surveys, etc.
An underdog in terms of market share, Mailvio arrived on the scene in 2019 and has been rapidly gaining in popularity ever since.
Mailvio – which offers a 7-day free trial – packs powerful email workflows and actions that will allow you to automate all or part of your email marketing.
Unlike most autoresponders, Mailvio features a list-cleaning tool that makes it easy for users to rid their lists of potential spam traps and invalid email addresses.
This will help improve your sender’s reputation, prompting service providers like Gmail to mark your sender’s address as reputable.
Its list management skills are also second to none, as is its deliverability rate.
Some of Mailvio’s most striking features include:
- Easily-to use-drag and drop editor
- Warmed-up IP addresses
- Easy (yet advanced) segmentation
- Unlimited email sends
- Hands-free campaign scheduling
- Fast contacts consolidation
- Mail to multiple lists
- Predesigned email templates
- Blacklist email and IP addresses,
- Built-in SMTP, etc.
Read this article to find out more and see how it compares to other top email automation tools out there.
How to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaign’s Open Rates
As mentioned above, email marketing for companies online can be more than a lucrative endeavor. However, that’s only true if you adhere to certain email copywriting and other practices.
Here are a few tips that can help improve your email open rates:
Make Your Subject Line Short and Sweet
Choosing the right subject line length depends on how many characters appear on the recipient’s screen.
Desktops and tablets display up to 70 characters, whereas smartphone screens show a maximum of 60.
Therefore, we recommend limiting the number of characters to around 60.
When crafting your subject lines, you should use a friendly and conversational tone.
You should also aim to pique your readers’ curiosity without being too clever and vague.
If subscribers don’t have a clue what your email is about, they won’t open it.
DO NOT use Clickbait Subject Lines for Emails
Writing overly-dramatic subject lines for emails that don’t deliver on their promise in a big NO.
Your subscribers aren’t stupid, and they certainly won’t appreciate tricking them.
That will only serve to annoy them and make them less likely to open your email. Moreover, it will hurt your brand reputation in the long run.
Ensure your subject line gives a brief overview of your email, so you show the recipient you respect their time.
This will result in a higher engagement rate and more positive responses.
Avoid Using Spammy Words
You should avoid using words like ‘credit’, ‘money’, ‘free’, etc. for two reasons:
1. Servers monitor these words and will place your emails in the spam folder if you use them too often.
2. They are considered unprofessional, clickbait, and disingenuous.
Other spammy words you should avoid using include:
- Drastically reduced
- Discount, etc.
Include Numbers and Symbols
It is generally okay to use numbers and symbols in subject lines, as long as you keep these tips in mind:
You can use symbols such as () and // to separate and/or clarify a subject. However, symbols like * $ ~ ^ # % have no place in a subject line as people associate them with spam emails.
When used in a subject line, a question can be a very useful tool because it provokes curiosity in the reader. Using more than one question, however, may diminish its effect and could even hurt your conversions.
Avoid using exclamation marks and CAPS as people see them as unprofessional. Instead, try using emojis in email subject lines – it’s been known to work for many email marketers.
When it comes to numbers, they should be:
- Relevant to the message, and
- Spelled in their ordinal form if they are below 10 (e.g., two; not 2)
Remove Inactive Subscribers
It is important to email your subscribers consistently to make sure your list doesn’t stale.
However, even so, some email subscribers will eventually become inactive.
They may have changed email addresses or are no longer interested in your product or service. And sending emails to inactive accounts or spamming subscribers with unwanted emails can hurt your reputation with major email providers.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to remove inactive subscribers from your list from time to time. Anyone who has not opened an email for the past six months or more can be considered an inactive subscriber.
However, before you discard them, you should send one more email campaign to try to reengage them.
You can also keep your list fresh by asking your subscribers to update their information or preferences every once in a while.
By doing so, you remind them that THEY can decide what kind of interaction they want with you.
Write Quality Content
You may think you’ve won the battle when subscribers open your email. However, that won’t get you very far if the actual content of your emails is lacking. Your subscribers want to be informed by your emails, which means you should tailor your content to the specific interests of your audience. When you truly cater to your audience, they’re more likely to be engaged, and it’ll affect your open rates.
Providing clarity, proper solutions, and clarifying with infographics are helpful methods to optimize your open rates. You could also provide valuable resources such as a free e-book, a blog post, or even a webinar.
Make sure you’re not just sending emails for the sake of sending them. You should deliver real value to your subscribers every time you contact them. By building up the value of your emails, you’ll attract more subscribers and increase open rates.
Optimize for Mobile
According to research by 99firms, 47% of consumers use a mobile device to check their email. Moreover, 42% of all emails were opened on a smartphone or a tablet in 2019. These numbers show just how important it is to make your email marketing campaigns as mobile-friendly as possible.
Ensure your emails are responsive and include easy-to-load media. You should also consider using:
- Simple formatting, below 600xp wide
- Larger font
- Smaller images (to reduce load time)
- Design that looks good without images (Android disables images by default)
- A large call-to-action button that can easily be tapped.
These tips can certainly boost your open rates, but don’t give up if it doesn’t happen overnight.
Give yourself some leeway to experiment and see which tactics work best for your subscribers and business.
Monitor Important Metrics
Monitoring your email performance will help you identify areas for improvement. You can then A/B test various subject lines or individual parts of your email to see if the changes helped or not.
A tool like Mailvio, for instance, will allow you to monitor all your important campaign statistics such as:
- Open rates,
- Click rates,
- Bounces, etc.
You can also track which types of campaigns are driving more business and see where all your customers and sales are coming from.
This data will help you improve your future email campaigns by seeing what works and what doesn’t work.
Email marketing for companies has seen a tremendous surge in popularity over the past decade.
It has become an integral part of modern business, and you want to make sure you are a part of this revolution.
Start by building a healthy email list and choosing the right email marketing software for your company!
Automation makes email marketing for companies much less of a chore, and will certainly pay off in the long run.
Make sure to write engaging subject lines, quality content, and send out your email campaigns consistently.
Also, don’t forget to track the performance of your emails and A/B test frequently to ensure maximum efficiency!
And if you liked this article, let us know with a comment!
Vladimir is a passionate content writer and digital marketing enthusiast. With over 3 years of experience in the field, he loves sharing his insights on topics ranging from content marketing and SEO to social media strategy. When he’s not writing, you can find Vladimir exploring the great outdoors or experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. Connect with him on LinkedIn to stay updated on his latest articles and adventures.