12 July 2022

What is email marketing?


Email marketing is when businesses send promotional and relationship-developing emails to their potential, current, or former customers.

Emails can be sent at any point in the buyer’s journey and for any marketing purpose. It’s a flexible tool that suits every marketing budget and branding style. Entire campaigns can be automated well in advance, but it’s also incredibly easy to fire off a quick campaign in response to a trending event.

This is the digital form of direct print marketing and it’s the hottest form of marketing today. Email marketing is one of the most powerful and profitable marketing activities. It generates an average of $36 for every $1 spent. That works out to an ROI of 3,600%!

Email’s profitability is due to a few factors:

  • It can be used to reach almost every customer
  • It’s personal and personalized
  • It has a fairly inexpensive cost of operation

Email has incredible reach

Email might be the best way for businesses to keep in touch with their customers. Over 4 billion people around the world are active email users.

Virtually every consumer has a working email address and their inboxes represent prime marketing real estate. This gives marketers a direct personal line to their customers.

Mobile email use is rising as well. This has increased the chances of emails being seen and opened.

Email marketing leverages the power of personalisation

Personalisation allows businesses to tailor their services, marketing, and communications to individual customers. This increases customer satisfaction, loyalty, and sales.

Companies that get this right can boost their revenue by up to 40%.

Email marketing is one of the easiest places to use personalisation. The programs are built for segmentation, data integration, and analytics.

Email is accessible and affordable

Email is an inherently low-cost activity in comparison to physical direct marketing, purchasing ad space, or purchasing airtime for advertisements.

This is why marketers can send out weekly, daily, or even twice-daily emails without a problem.

Most businesses use high-end email marketing applications. But even those don’t compare to the expenses of mailing out a resource-intensive print campaign.

Nine ways businesses use email marketing

Email is the ideal channel for frequent, personalised, and timely communications. It can be used to guide customers down a marketing funnel, educate them, nurture relationships, promote products, and win continued business.

Here are the top 9 ways that businesses use it:

1. Welcome emails

Welcome emails are considered standard in email marketing. These emails have two important roles to play.

The first is to thank a customer for subscribing to an email list and assure them that their privacy will be respected. Getting a customer’s email address along with permission to market to them is a big deal. That needs to be acknowledged.

The second is to welcome a customer to the brand itself and let them know what they can experience from the emails.

2. Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing sequences follow right after the welcome email. These sequences focus on moving them through the buying journey, stoking their interest, and getting them ready to purchase.

If a customer needs to be educated before making a purchase, the lead nurturing sequence is the place to do so.

A business can have several lead nurturing sequences, with each one tailored to a specific customer segment.

3. Newsletters

Newsletters are emails sent out at regular intervals to a group of email subscribers. These emails can contain news, advice, tips, and other helpful information.

Newsletters have to blend information with entertainment. That’s the only way to get email subscribers to be interested enough to read or open them.

4. Seasonal campaigns

Seasonal campaigns revolve around holidays and other seasonal events. This type of email marketing is usually sent to the entire active email list.

These marketing campaigns are planned out well in advance. It’s usually a collaborative event where marketing works with the branding team, product owners, and sales.

The emails can be written and entered into the email marketing program weeks or months in advance.

5. Behaviour initiated sequences

Email marketing isn’t an isolated activity. Email marketing programs can be linked and automated with websites and other applications.

Marketers also use intelligence gathered from a customer’s behaviour on the company’s website, social media, and other platforms. They use this intelligence to create behaviour-related email sequences.

Behavioural emails are triggered when a customer makes a certain action. These emails get a high level of engagement since they’re both timely and relevant to customers.

6. Sales alerts and other promotions

Sales emails are a marketing staple. Marketers send them to generate instant interest and demand in time-sensitive sales.

Email marketing has made it easier than ever to run sales on-demand. It can be as simple as wanting to get rid of overstock before bringing in new inventory.

7. Personalised promotions

Email marketing is used with marketing analytics. This makes it easy to run personalised promotions. Marketers can up-sell, cross-sell, and offer customers personal rewards or promotions.

Advanced marketers routinely segment and automate their personalised email promotions.

8. Company updates

Email marketers also provide their customers and clientele with company updates. It’s easy to fire off an email or two if items are restocked or a new product is available.

This might not seem like pure marketing, but it can prevent customers from feeling frustrated or disconnected from a brand.

9. Customer retention

A customer isn’t forever. There’s always a point in time when a customer decides to move on. But marketers fight to get the longest customer lifetime they can. Email marketers do this with re-engagement and re-acquisition emails.

A re-engagement email targets customers who haven’t opened or responded to an email in a certain amount of time. A re-acquisition email targets customers who haven’t purchased after a certain length of time. Both are necessary for keeping customers engaged, purchasing, and happy with a business.

Enrol in an email marketing course

Email marketers were responsible for generating over $7.5 billion in 2020 and are set to generate $17.9 billion a year by 2027.

Those numbers reflect the power of email and the skill that goes into this work.

You can get those skills by enrolling in an email marketing course. It’s the best way to upskill yourself into a thriving modern profession.

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