Email Marketing and How Does it Work? Definition and Best Practices [make direct mail marketing]

1. Make Mailers Useful

“Consumers use scrap paper every day for grocery and to-do lists, phone books and notepads. So, why should your promo, assuming it’s not immediately trashed, languish uselessly in a drawer somewhere? This year, we sent something people tend to keep — a New Year’s resolution sheet (with business info, of course). Brands should think of an additional use for their mailers; consumers sure could.” 

What is email marketing, and where did it begin?

The first email, sent by Ray Tomlinson in 1971 or 1978 depending on your source, marked the beginning of the modern communication era. The message was nothing special, a series of numbers and letters that looked more like a password than a message, but its significance was profound.

The email was sent from one computer to another, traveling through a network of machines not unlike the internet we know today. Tomlinson also introduced the “@” symbol in email addresses to the world.

Gary Thuerk, a Marketing Manager at Digital Equipment Corp, sent the first commercial email years later, where the message reached a list of email addresses. And voila, email marketing was born. There were only a few hundred people on the list, but that was enough for Thuerk to claim the mantle, “Father of Spam.”

Today, we’re inundated with email marketing campaigns, and yes, some of it still feels spammy, but there’s no denying the impact a well-crafted message can have on your customers—not to mention CRM and lead nurturing.

Email marketing helps you connect with your audience to promote your brand and increase sales. You can do a lot of things with emails, like sell products, share some news, improve your cart abandonment rate or tell a story.

2.Use a Stamp

“Consumers can tell when something has been mass-mailed. If you make the envelope look like it came from a person rather than a machine, then the piece will more likely get opened. Try using stamps instead of metered mail, and use a font that looks like handwriting instead of typed text.” , UniversityParent

It’s best learn how to do email marketing before launching your first email campaign. This way you’ll get better results and avoid embarrassing mishaps. So hang tight while we teach you:

Examples of different types of marketing emails

Emails can either be promotional or informational and fulfill a specific purpose in the buyer journey.

Promotional emails

Email marketing campaigns are used to promote, whether it’s to promote a special offer, a new product release, an ebook, or a webinar.  A campaign could consist of 3 – 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 visit a webpage or make a purchase. 

This type of marketing email is sent as and when required, in line with the rhythm of your business.

How to start email marketing: what do I need?

Keeping it simple, there’s two main things you need to run email marketing campaigns.

3. Email marketing software

As we’ve just explained, a dedicated email marketing provider is the way to go. Sending marketing emails through an ISP will only put your brand and email sender reputation at risk. 

4. Choose the right email marketing software

Evaluate your needs. Distinguish between must-have features and nice-to-have features. Make a list.

Here are some questions to narrow it all down:

  • What’s your budget? If it’s very limited, then cheap email marketing services should be your starting point.
  • What kind of emails do you plan to send, and how often? This’ll give you an idea of your required email volume (i.e. number of email sends). 
  • If you’ve already got a list of opt-in contacts, how many are there? 
  • What’s your skill level when it comes to designing emails? If you’re a complete beginner you’ll want a drag and drop email editor as this is easiest to use. Email templates will also come in handy. Inversely, if you prefer to code emails from scratch, you’ll surely be on the lookout for an HTML editor.
  • Do you plan to set up automated email workflows? See what the potential ESP offers in terms of email marketing automation. Some solutions only offer basic autoresponders. 
  • If your business communicates with different buyer personas, what segmentation capabilities are offered?
  • Will your business be sending transactional emails (note that these are not considered email marketing). Some folks like to manage these emails with a separate service, others prefer all emails under the one roof with a tool like Sendinblue. 

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