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[UPDATED] Simple Guide to Email Marketing in 2022

Regardless of the industry that you are in, email marketing has proven to be one of the most powerful forms of online acquisition.

Of course, this works in your favor if you’re a digital marketer or run a digital agency.  

According to a 2018 study done by Smart Insights, email marketing was the most effective digital media channel, outranking eight of the most popular methods. 

Needless to say, email marketing is alive and well.  

Image Source: Smart Insights
Image Source: Smart Insights

Email marketing is an incredibly useful tool for building a customer relationship, nurturing leads, and boosting your conversion rate.

It’s also affordable and relatively low effort on your part once you get your campaign off the ground.

Darshan Somashekar, a serial founder and CEO of new gaming upstart Solitaired, captures well why emails are so effective. He explains, “Emails allow us to knock at the customer’s door, provide additional value, and build a relationship with them. We increased game play to our solitaire games by 14% simply by emailing.”

If you’re ready to implement email marketing into your business growth strategy, read ahead to learn how you can craft a beginner-friendly email marketing strategy that will bring positive results to your business.  

Choosing Your Email Marketing Platform

Before you jump into an email marketing strategy, the first task is choosing the right email marketing platform for your business. 

There are several factors to consider as you make this decision. Let’s go over a few of the things you’ll want to think about as you choose an email marketing platform:

  • Budget: Email marketing platforms range from totally free to premium prices. What you choose depends on what you’re comfortable spending, but also what you need out of the service. Free email marketing services are great if you have basic needs. As you scale your business, you might find that a paid option is more appropriate. 
  • Scalability: I assume your goal is to grow your business. If that’s the case, be sure to choose an email marketing platform that has the capacity to support your business as it grows. That means checking out how many subscribers each plan allows and how much it will cost to upgrade as your contact list becomes larger. 
  • Automation: Once your contact list grows to even a small size, you may find that managing certain tasks becomes tedious and unruly. A good email marketing service will provide you with helpful automation that makes repetitive tasks much easier to get done. 

How to Choose

As you search for the right email marketing platform, you’ll find that there is a huge selection of great choices. A couple of options to get you started are ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign.  

Both of these services offer benefits to their users, but your choice comes down to what works best for your specific business. 

If you’re new to email marketing, ConvertKit is more user friendly and straightforward. ActiveCampaign is more suitable for large businesses that require extensive automation. 

Check out my extensive comparison of ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign to learn more about these popular services.

Grow Your Email List

Regardless of how you intend to develop your email marketing strategy, the first step is always to build your contact list. 

The best way to grow an email list is through a call-to-action. A call-to-action is a tool used to elicit immediate audience engagement. 

In this case, the “action” is to sign up for your email list. There are several ways to do this, so let’s get right into it. 

One often-overlooked way to gain email subscribers is through social media. You may find that using Instagram to grow your contact list is surprisingly effective. 

Instagram posts often get fairly high rates of engagement, making it the perfect tool for inviting more subscribers. 

Encourage your followers to subscribe to your email list through contests, free online courses and webinars. 

Another tried and true method to grow your email list is through lead magnets. Lead magnets are resources that you offer your audience in exchange for their contact information. 

In many cases, lead magnets are fairly time-consuming to create, but once you’ve created it, you can continue offering it for as long as it remains relevant. 

Some examples of traditional lead magnets are ebooks, short video courses, webinars, and podcasts. 

If you’re not up for putting that much time and energy into a lead magnet.

Here are some ideas for quick lead magnets that you can offer to your audience:

  • Exclusive pdf: Put together some additional information that expands on the content you have posted to your blog. Offer this pdf as an added bonus in exchange for an email sign-up. This is similar to creating an ebook, but with a much shorter copy, which works in your favor. Enhance accessibility by using a pdf QR Code on your desktop site for visitors who want to sign up and access it through their mobile phones.
  • Resource guide: Compile a list of your favorite products, services, books, apps, or tools that relate to your specific niche. This is a fairly low energy lead magnet that has a lot of potential for generating interest. Your audience can download this list for free once they sign-up for your email list.
  • Gated content: This may be the most manageable lead magnet to create because you’re using content that already exists. Simply create exclusive content that can be unlocked by signing up for the email list. 
  • Offer a discount: If you have paid products or content on your website, offering a discount is an easy way to grow your contact list. 

Create Effective Emails

Once you have an email list to work with, the challenge is to keep your audience engaged. The most important thing to remember is a reliable follow-up. If you promised your audience to update them when new content, products, or services are available, it’s important that you stay true to that promise.

On the flip side, if you promised not to “spam” their inbox, don’t send gratuitous emails. The goal is to keep the audience interested, but not annoyed by your emails. 

Another important consideration is how you format your email. It’s best to format your subject line so that it’s not cut-off when it displays to the reader. In other words, keep it short and to the point. 

In the body of the email, avoid overcrowding with long paragraphs. My recommendation is to separate your writing line by line for the best audience engagement. 

Last but not least, make sure to include compelling images. Don’t be afraid to get creative here. You can use photography, artwork, and videos to make your emails far more interesting to readers.  

A study by Quicksprout found that the images that get the most user engagement are hand-drawn images, animated images, and infographics. 

Simply put, adding imagery to your emails will boost the success of your campaign. 

Segment Your Audience

Part of what makes a successful email marketing campaign is segmenting your audience. 

We know your audience is generally interested in what you have to offer, but can you break it down further than that? 

The answer is, yes. You can create far more personalized emails by breaking down your audience into demographics such as:

  • Age
  • Marital status 
  • Website activity and purchases
  • Interests

Aside from demographic segmentation, you can also categorize your audience by the type of content they’re most interested in seeing. 

For example, you may offer daily email updates that some people are interested in while other people only want to receive weekly updates.

Another example is separating your audience into those who have already purchased and those who have not. 

The emails you send to these two groups may differ significantly depending on your goal. You may want to send a thank-you email to readers who have recently purchased a product from your site. 

Segmenting isn’t overly complicated, but it takes time and effort. If you put some time into creating effective segments, your email campaign will be far more efficient from the start. 

Take Advantage of Automation

Automation might seem complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple and it makes your job much easier. 

Personally responding to an email list is simply not realistic as you begin creating more in-depth campaigns.  

Email marketing automation is the solution to this problem. 

An autoresponder is responsible for sending you scheduled emails to specific contacts according to your audience segments. 

You can create a series of emails to be sent out over a series of days, weeks, or even months. This keeps your brand in touch with your audience without much effort on your part. 

This also works in your favor when you decide to promote a new service or product. Because you’ve kept up with your email list, any promotional email will be that much more effective.  

Hit Your Benchmarks

Understanding your goals and creating a realistic plan to achieve them is your mission here. 

This task doesn’t end when you reach a given goal. Setting and achieving benchmarks is a continuous process that grows with your business.

Luckily, there are several data-driven ways to measure your success. 

Here are some common metrics that you should be tracking:

  • Open Rate: You may have guessed it but this metric tracks how often a reader opens your emails. The open rate is important because it tells you how successful you have been in building an audience relationship. What good is an email list, if nobody opens your emails? Keep a close eye on this metric and make the appropriate adjustments as needed. 
  • Click-Through Rate: This metric tracks when a reader clicks on any links included in the email. A high click-through rate means that you’ve successfully segmented your audience and sent the right emails to the target audience.
  • Unsubscribe Rate: This is one metric that should stay low. Make sure your emails don’t go to the spam folder by providing genuinely valuable information, avoiding “spam” phrases, and using thoughtful subject lines. If you’re seeing a high unsubscribe rate, you need to head back to the drawing board. Revise your copy, take a closer look at demographics, and adjust your scheduling. 

Final Advice

Crafting a digital marketing campaign may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be if done right. 

Focus on growing your email list and creating relevant audience segments. Write personalized, useful copy for your audience. 

Once you’ve done these steps, you can create an automated email campaign that takes care of the rest. 

One thing is certain– email marketing is a valuable tool for any business. If you rely on digital marketing, this is especially true. 

Follow the steps outlined above and you’ll be on your way to better growth for your business. 

About the Author

Jon is a content marketing expert and founder of jontorres.com, a blog dedicated to teaching others about affiliate marketing and SEO. Jon writes about his experience in web-based entrepreneurship and digital marketing.