What is email marketing?

Email marketing consists of sending a commercial email message to your “email subscribers,” i.e., contacts who have signed up for your email list and have given their express permission to receive email communications from you.

Email marketing is used to inform, drive sales and create a community around your brand (e.g., with a newsletter).

Modern email marketing has moved away from one-size-fits-all mass mailings and focuses on consent, segmentation, and personalization.

Examples of different types of marketing emails

Emails can be promotional or informational and serve a specific purpose in the buyer’s journey.
Email marketing campaigns are used to promote either a special offer, a new product launch, an e-book, or a webinar. A campaign can consist of 3 to 10 emails sent over several days or weeks.

Promotional emails have a clear call to action – or CTA for short. The CTA represents the specific action you want the reader to take, whether it’s visiting a web page or making a purchase.

This type of marketing email is sent as needed, according to the pace of your business.

Informative e-mails

Newsletters: A newsletter, as the name implies, shares news related to your business (new milestones reached, new product capabilities) or to highlight a product use case. Sent on a set schedule (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), newsletters help maintain a constant connection with your subscribers.

But did you know that? Newsletters don’t have to be just “news.” As email guru Ann Handley says, focus on what the letter looks like. Imagine you’re writing an individual letter to your subscribers about something that interests them.

Put it this way, a newsletter is an opportunity to share ideas, thoughts, tips… whatever brings the most value to your audience.

Announcements: Email is the perfect medium to inform customers of company announcements, new launches, service changes, etc.

As a channel, email has the formality needed to convey important messages. This would explain why the email was the channel of choice for brands to send crisis communications during COVID-19.

Is email marketing still important in 2020?

Email is not a new technology. In fact, it was one of the first digital media to arrive, way back in 1971. But get this: email marketing, nearly 50 years old, is in use today more than ever.

The phrase “Email is dead” is repeated from time to time in the marketing echo chamber. But don’t believe it. Email is only growing. Just take a look at these statistics:

In 2019, there were 3. 900 million email users globally (source: Statista)
80% of Americans check their email at least once a day, and nearly a quarter of them check their personal email multiple times a day (Fluent Inbox Report, 2018)
80% of business professionals believe email marketing increases customer retention (Emarsys, 2018)
Given the numbers, it’s no wonder email is hailed as the most effective channel in B2B marketing.

Not having an email marketing strategy means losing sales opportunities and the possibility of strengthening ties with customers.

The advantages of e-mail marketing

From order confirmations to newsletters, emails are an essential aspect of growing and managing your business.

Email marketing will help you meet 3 key objectives:

  1. Conversions (sell your products and services)
    Are you going to launch a sale or a promotion? You can send an email marketing campaign to your subscribers to drive sales.

Other email marketing techniques known to increase conversion rates include

Email a discount or special offer (birthday/anniversary emails, welcome emails, re-engagement emails)
Abandoned cart emails (triggered each time a visitor abandons a cart in your online store).

  1. Brand awareness
    The best thing about email is that it allows you to reach someone directly. It’s the best face-to-face communication. Also, nowadays, people don’t let just anyone into their inbox. It’s a space reserved for favorite brands and publications.

Showing up in someone’s inbox will help your brand stay top of mind. A personalized marketing email is more impactful than a social media post, where you can’t be sure someone has seen your message.

One of the main advantages of email marketing is its scalability. This means that emails can be sent to numerous recipients for a relatively low cost (compared to other marketing channels).

  1. Customer loyalty
    Email fosters customer loyalty at all stages of the buying process: lead nurturing, conversion, onboarding, and retention.

It is a powerful tool for building a community, as discussed at length in our guide to building relationships with email.

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