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Email Marketing

Email Marketing Foundations

What Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a type of permission-based marketing that sends a commercial message using email. Businesses send such emails to potential or current customers; specific segments can receive particular messages.

What Are The Benefits of Email Marketing?

The benefits of email marketing are threefold:

  1. It’s direct: Email marketing gives you an unobstructed communication channel with your audience.
  2. It’s proprietary: An email list is exclusively yours; it’s an owned business asset.
  3. It’s durable: An email list generates long-term awareness and demand.

Benefits of Email Marketing

"While all businesses benefit from email marketing, it's particularly beneficial for B2C products with short decision cycles and low-price points, such as tea and coffee companies. For businesses like these, compelling well-timed emails can produce sales almost instantly."

Mackenzie Bailey,

Founder of Steeped Content

What Is The Goal of Email Marketing?

Email marketing often includes email newsletters, promotional campaigns, and event announcements. These messages often support two goals:

  1. deepening a brand's relationship with its audience
  2. selling goods or services.

Email marketing requires consent; you need list members’ permission to send them emails. The objective of your email marketing efforts should be delivering quality content, building trust, and ultimately selling.

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What Is The Role of Consent in Email Marketing?

As email marketing hinges on consent, your marketing must respect the preferences and requests of your list members. If an audience indicates they’re interested in a particular topic, adjust communication accordingly. If they request to be removed from your list, do so promptly.

“Consider cleaning your mailing list if your bounce rate is higher than 2%.”

Mackenzie Bailey,

Founder of Steeped Content

The Strategic and Tactical Role of Email Marketing

Email Marketing Strategy 

Strategy is the critical idea that your company strives to deliver in the market through marketing tactics. A strong email marketing strategy starts with a crystal clear purpose (e.g., sales), then is implemented with copywriting and various marketing tactics (e.g., scarcity, social proof, reciprocity).

How can email marketing fuel your overall inbound strategy?

Email marketing fuels your overall inbound strategy because it is synced with your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Email marketing gives you a direct communication channel with your customers and potential customers. By using email tools and automation, you further personalize and segment your email communications to be delivered to the right people, at the right time, and in the right context.

What is the definition of an email marketing strategy?

An email marketing strategy is used for marketing products (or services) to your audience, and a way to nurture relationships by providing value. A strong email marketing strategy is an important part of your digital marketing strategy - it allows you to effectively promote products and content.

How to write an email marketing strategy?

When you write an email marketing strategy, you need to outline your current email marketing performance and what you want it to be. Your email marketing strategy should address how you’re going to grow your list, engage your audience, and track performance.

The Tactical Importance of Email

How important is email marketing?

Email marketing is vital. It often ranks as the marketing tactic with the highest return on investment (ROI), and therefore, should be an important part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Another aspect that makes email marketing important to businesses is that it’s an owned asset. Social media marketing (SMM) and search engine optimization (SEO) rely on other platforms as intermediaries; email is direct.

Email marketing is of tactical importance to your business; it’s a channel that helps your business deliver on its strategic plan. Your email list belongs to your business; this distinction is essential. While search engines and social networks play an important role in a business's development, they are owned by other companies. 

For example, assume you're an e-commerce tea or coffee retailer. Most of your products are sold for less than $25. In such a case, pay-per-click advertising benefits you by improving your product’s visibility, but it also erodes your margins. 

Therefore, to protect your margins, your e-commerce tea or coffee brand invests time, effort, and resources in gaining organic traffic. You focus on search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing, which results in more sales. 

Yet whenever the search engines or social media networks change their algorithm, your company's sales pipeline is put at risk. This risk exposes you to lower visibility and profits. Email marketing is a risk management tool. It can stabilize revenue in the face of inevitable algorithm updates from search engines and social media platforms. 

What's the first step in implementing email marketing?

Selecting an email service provider (ESP) is the first step in implementing email marketing for your business. An ESP is how you create and send emails to your list and measure email performance (e.g., opens, clicks). You need an ESP to deliver your marketing newsletters to subscribers, prospects, and customers.

Criteria to consider when selecting your ESP: 

  1. Expected deliverability: Your ESP provider should ensure your emails arrive in your subscribers' inboxes.
  2. Ease of use: It should be easy for you to manage your list within your chosen ESP.
  3. Reporting: Your ESP should offer you clear data to make better marketing decisions. You want to determine the percentage of emails delivered, opened, and links clicked. 
  4. Automation: Consider choosing a tool that lets you construct drip campaigns and automate aspects of your customer journey.

You may also want to consider the ability to create segments, conduct split tests (A/B tests), and price.

Effective Email Marketing

How effective is email marketing

Email marketing is very effective. An email list is an owned asset for your business and lets you communicate directly with your customers. Email marketing often achieves a strong return on investment (ROI) for businesses, regardless of company size. According to some research, the median email marketing ROI is four times higher than any other digital marketing channel.

There are six success factors for effective email marketing:

  1. List growth and hygiene 
  2. Deliverability 
  3. Email timing
  4. Subject lines and sender names
  5. Content and calls to action
  6. Testing and reporting

List Growth and Hygiene

List Growth

To maximize your email marketing, you must grow your email list.

How to start an email marketing list?

To build an email marketing list from scratch, you should have a clear, pervasive, and unified call to action (CTA) for visitors to join your email list. For example, CTAs may be on blog posts, landing pages or pop-ups. There should be a clear exchange of value to motivate new subscribers to join your email list; gated content is a common tactic.

Several tactics are at your disposal for building your list; many marketing tactics (e.g., blogging, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising) can come together to support your goal of list growth.

How to start an email marketing list?

Building your email list is a critical success factor in email marketing. Even well-managed email lists experience attrition (i.e., unsubscribes), so a key element of list profitability is list growth.

List churn makes email list growth imperative. A small percentage of users unsubscribe from your mailing list every month. Therefore, you must attract new subscribers to replace those lost through attrition. Some research has found that email lists decay by 2% per month, on average. Annualized, this rate of decay depreciates your email list by roughly 25% per year (Steamworks, 2017).

Users also tend to be most engaged with content when they first subscribe, so focusing on list growth is essential. List growth is a function of two variables: clear opportunity (e.g., opt-in forms) and valuable offers (e.g., lead magnets, discounts).

Clear Opportunity

Growing your email list by providing a clear opportunity breaks down into two components:

  1. Being found by people online (i.e., website traffic), and
  2. Giving those people clear opportunities to convert into email subscribers (e.g., opt in forms)

Using Your Website To Grow Your Email List

Your website is the biggest asset you leverage to grow your email list. However, there are tactics to grow your email list beyond your website.

You can position yourself for strong email list growth by attracting and growing high-quality website traffic. 

However, it's important to recognize that different traffic sources affect the percentage of website visitors who may subscribe to your email list.

For example, visitors who arrive at your website from a search are more likely to opt-in. This is because their interests are more likely to align with your offering. By contrast, social and referral traffic can have lower opt-in rates. However, there’s no need for concern.

If your website has good traffic from diverse traffic sources, and you effectively use opt-in forms, your conversion rate for new email subscribers may be between 4 and 5%. Less effective opt-ins use may have a conversion rate of around 0.5%.

Here’s how to leverage your website to build a strong email list.

Drive Email Sign Ups on Your Website

  1. Optimize Your About Page for Conversions: Those who visit your website’s About page are interested in your brand. As such, they are often more likely to sign up for your newsletter. Adding a prominent sign-up form takes advantage of this opportunity. 
  2. Optimize Your Home Page for Conversions: A percentage of your websites visitors will first arrive on your homepage (eg. direct traffic). Adding a section for visitors to sign up for your newsletter can increase your conversion rate. Some websites, such as Backlinko’s, make email signups the sole purpose of the homepage. 
  3. Optimize Your Blogs for Conversions: If your blog leverages SEO, it likely generates much of your website’s traffic. Adding an email sign-up form to your blogs gives you the opportunity to convert traffic to email subscribers.  

Fully Leverage Opt-In Forms 

To fully leverage opt-in forms, try a range of different opt-ins on your website and determine which works best for your company.

Opt-in forms come in various styles and can be placed on many of your website's pages.

  1. Entry Pop-Up: A rectangular opt-in that appears at the center of the user's screen when navigating your website. Some consider these pop-ups intrusive, and some experts believe it negatively impacts the user experience (UX). Nevertheless, some websites use entry popups remarkably well.
  2. Exit Pop-Up: A pop-up that appears when a user takes action, indicating they are preparing to leave a page. Such pop-ups are often viewed as less intrusive.
  3. Welcome Page Pop-Up: A pop-up covers the user's entire screen with a large opt-in form. The visitor is required to close the opt-in button before viewing the page they intended to. Some e-commerce brands believe the value welcome page pop-ups contribute to list building exceeds the negative impact on user experience.
  4. Footer Opt-In: An opt-in at the bottom of an article. Footer opt-ins can attract and engage email subscribers; those who complete such opt-in forms have often already consumed at least one article on your website.  
  5. Sidebar Opt-In: An opt-in appearing on the side of your website. Such opt-ins often have lower conversion rates due to their reduced visual prominence.
  6. Hello Bar: A rectangular opt-in form at the top or bottom of the web browser.
  7. Scroll Box: The opt-in form appears on a web page after a visitor has scrolled down. This opt-in floats on the content without obstructing it and is considered less intrusive.

When using opt-in forms, it's best practice to have a clear value proposition to encourage people to subscribe to your marketing newsletter. The value proposition should clarify what visitors get in exchange for their contact details. Doing so can significantly impact conversion rates on opt-in forms.

Then, focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO). Test messaging and other variables to determine what produces the most effective results.  Refine the messaging you use to get subscribers to sign up for your marketing newsletter. The combination of a strong value proposition, persuasive language, and a clear call to action produces higher opt-in rates. 

Valuable Offers 

Providing prospective email subscribers with an opportunity to opt in isn’t enough. You must provide them with a reason to do so. Use lead magnets to persuade people to share their email address in exchange for a lead magnet, something they value.

The Role of Lead Magnets

The role of lead magnets is to provide new subscribers value in exchange for further contact details. Quick list growth happens when the perceived value of the lead magnet is greater than the perceived risk of being bombarded by low-value emails.

To increase the perceived value of your lead magnet in the eyes of potential subscribers, your lead magnet should have a clear value proposition.

A good lead magnet helps visitors learn, solve a problem, or accomplish a specific task. Lead magnets may offer a financial benefit (e.g., a discount) a practical benefit (e.g., a how-to cheat sheet), or an educational benefit. The educational benefit can be communicated in content as simple as a one-page document, or it may be comprehensive.

Often short documents may be effectively created from existing content; this is commonly called a content upgrade. For example, stylize and improve your best-performing blog post, and offer it to visitors as a PDF download on the appropriate page.

When lead magnets are substantial pieces of unique content (e.g., an eBook), the information contained therein should not be fully replicated anywhere else on your website. Doing so increases the perceived value of the lead magnet.

Websites can have multiple lead magnets. Yet the lead magnet on any given page of your website should directly relate to the content on that page. Often this requires creating multiple lead magnets for different parts of your website.

Nine Types of Lead Magnets 

  1. A Free Report or Guide: A common type of lead magnet that teaches users something they are interested in. 
  2. Resource List: A list of solutions that help subscribers get started quickly. 
  3. Free Trial: Offer a complimentary test period for your software or service.
  4. Educational Videos: show users how to perform a specific task or educate them on a topic of interest. 
  5. Downloadable Software: As a software company, you may consider requiring email addresses for someone to download your software. 
  6. Discounts Or Free Shipping: E-Commerce companies often offer one-time coupons for 10 to 20% off on a customer's first order. 
  7. Catalog: If your company sells business-to-business services or is a supplier, sending a product catalog can be an effective lead magnet. 
  8. Physical Products: You can offer a physical product as a lead magnet to get a subscriber's mailing address.
  9. Worksheets and Templates: If you're helping your subscriber achieve a specific task, send them worksheets or templates that they can use.

List Hygiene

List hygiene keeps an email list viable for effective marketing. Maintaining email list hygiene involves cleaning list members. Cleaning (or "scrubbing") your email list removes inactive, bounced, unengaged email addresses.

You should clean your email list at a regular cadence (e.g., quarterly, once every six month). Regular list cleaning is often paired with routinely verifying permission from subscribers confirming that they still want to receive messages from your company (e.g., annually).

However, it’s important to note that the right time to clean your email list isn’t limited to the time appointed by your regular cadence (e.g. quarterly). Rather, the right time to clean your email list can also be defined by contextual details. For example, it may be time to clean your email list when you're assessing campaign performance and notice that open rates and click through rates are steadily declining. Other warning signs include rising rates in unsubscribes, spam complaints, or bounce rates. 

“Consider cleaning your mailing list if your bounce rate is higher than 2%.”

Mackenzie Bailey,

Founder of Steeped Content

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You clean your email list to maintain its hygiene because a smaller list of engaged subscribers (i.e. those who read and interact with your emails) is more valuable than a larger list containing unengaged subscribers. Further, cleaning your email list can improve campaign performance across three important metrics -  deliverability, open rates and click rates. The better your performance within these metrics, the better your overall email campaign performance.

In some cases, maintaining list hygiene goes beyond removing inactive, bounced or unengaged email addresses. It may also involve eliminating subscribers that don’t align with your brands target segments, embodied in your marketing personas. By removing email subscribers that don’t align with your ideal customers, you can better serve those who do.

However, before cleaning your list to mainin it’s hygiene, you may benefit from trying a winback campaign. The objective of such campaigns is to engage inactive email list subscribers before removing them. Winback campaigns can focus on a subscribers point of origin (e.g., subscribers generated from a free eBook or webinar), activity (e.g., those who never open emails vs those who open email by don’t click on the links), or purchasing behavior (e.g., those who have purchased from you in the past, but not recently). 

Deliverability

Email deliverability is the ability to deliver emails to subscribers’ inboxes. Email service providers (ESP) provide businesses with some details about their email deliverability (e.g., hard bounces, soft bounces).

There are several elements that hurt your email deliverability. Such elements include sending without authentication, relying on a single opt-in, sending from a free domain email address, making it difficult to unsubscribe, using URL shorteners, and lack of engagement.

Engagement is the most important factor affecting deliverability. The better the sender’s reputation, the better the deliverability. For this reason brands have a vested interest in building positive engagement (e.g., opens), and reducing negative engagement (e.g., spam complaints).

Most email service providers can offer a high overall deliverability (e.g., 99%), but businesses need to consider where their emails are being delivered in their customer inbox (e.g., primary tab, promotions tab, junk). Some email providers, such as Gmail, automatically filter incoming emails into different tabs (e.g., Primary, Social, Promotions) to improve their users' experience. Emails that end up in secondary tabs (e.g., Social, Promotions) receive lower views and engagement. 

Email Timing

The time at which you send your brand’s emails can be influenced by some general guidelines (e.g., send emails during the day, avoid sending emails on Monday). However, your email timing should be most influenced by your customer persona, audience characteristics (e.g., device type) and behavior. 

What time is best to send email marketing?

The best time to send marketing emails is, in general, at 1 PM (22% click-to-open rates), 10 AM (21% click-to-open rates), and 6 PM (20% click-to-open rates).

Determining the best time to send emails for your company relies on experimentation. Fortunately, many email service providers (ESPs) offer options for brands to control their email timing. Such options include sending emails at the best time for your recipients, or delaying sending an email until a specific time (e.g., 6:00am recipient time).

Subject Lines and Sender Names

Subject lines and sender names influence the actions email recipients take. 

Subject Lines

Subject lines can make or break your email marketing campaigns. Optinmonster found that 47% of people open an email based on the subject line, and 69% of people report emails as spam based on the subject line. 

How to write a good subject line for email marketing?

To write a good subject line for email marketing you want to use a combination of emotions (like curiosity) and logic (citing statistics) to entice email recipients to open your email. A good email subject line frames expectations about what the recipient will get when they open the email (without revealing the full value upfront), and has a clear call to action (CTA).

When crafting your email's subject lines, consider physiological triggers to increase open rates. Well established physiological triggers include: scarcity (e.g., fear of missing out), curiosity, humor, vanity, greed, sloth (e.g., convenience).

Here are some examples: 

  • Scarcity: Your Shopping Cart Is About To Expire (Buy Now) 
  • Curiosity: 10 Bizarre Tea Drinking Habits That Are Making Tea Brands Richer 
  • Humor: Steeping Your Way To Success 
  • Vanity: Gift Inspiration (For the Discerning Coffee Drinker) 
  • Greed: 25% Off Your Favorite Teas
  • Sloth: Scale Your Coffee Companies Marketing (And Save 6 Hours A Week)

Subject lines should also make use of action words (e.g., go, upgrade), buzz words (e.g., wonderful, golden), and words that indicate value (e.g., content, free). They should also be short; research suggests 60 characters or 9 words work well.

Sender Names

The first thing 42% of people do is look at the sender name (from name) when deciding whether to open an email. Therefore, choosing a sender name is an important component of your email marketing. Such names should be trustworthy, easily recognized and consistent.

From names can be personal, corporate, or a hybrid of the two. Using a personal name is effective when the person sending the email is well known by their audience (e.g., Dan Bolton or Jane Pettigraw in tea). Corporate names are easy and effective to use and often work well for B2C brands (e.g., DAVIDsTEA, Starbucks). A hybrid approach uses a personal and corporate name in the send name (e.g., Mackenzie at Steeped Content) and is often used by B2B brands.

Content and Calls to Action

Email Content

Email content should be crafted for your target market; everything else is secondary.

Strong email content supports your campaign’s ultimate goal. Common goals are nurturing, driving conversions (e.g., sales, reviews), promotion (e.g., promoting your content), building loyalty, customer research (e.g., surveys, net promoter scores), and addressing customer behaviors (e.g., high engagement, low engagement), and communicating information (e.g., announcements).

How to write effective email marketing content?

To write effective marketing content, you must create concise, compelling copy. This includes a strong email subject line that entices a recipient to open the email, engaging body text within the email, and a clear call to action (CTA) specifying what you want the recipient to do. Underpinning effective email copy is a deep understanding of your audience and where they are in the customer journey.

How to write effective email marketing content?

The ideal length of a marketing email is between 50 and 125 words. Emails within this length have an action rate above 50%. When in doubt, keep emails short and under 200 words.

Call to Action

A call to action (CTA) is a button or link prompting readers to click. A call to action can be styled differently, ranging from a simple URL, to vibrant, prominent buttons. Button-based CTAs increase click-through rate by 28% over a link-based CTA, according to Campaign Monitor.

Urgency and action are two core characteristics of high performing calls to action. They produce higher click through rate, and can be created in your call to action copywriting. Brevity is also often effective. An example of a call to action that meets these three principles is “Shop Now”.

Types of Email Marketing 

Manual Vs Automated 

Manual

Manual email campaigns encompass emails you send to your audience one at a time. They aren’t triggered but rather crafted, assigned to a list or segment, and sent manually. Manual emails take more time than automated emails, but they play a role in effective email marketing.

By manually crafting and sending emails, marketers can sometimes test responses more effectively. If the response is positive, marketers can automate the email for future use. Manual campaigns also allow for responsiveness - not all events can be predicted, and manual emails allow you to respond in a timely manner. 

Automated
What is email marketing automation?

Email marketing automation lets you send triggered emails to subscribers. This allows you to create email sequences in advance and deliver them to your email list segments, based on time, action, or tags. The benefit is that it lets you create emails that reach the right people, with the right message, at the right moment, and track actions the recipient takes.

Email automation allows you to send relevant and contextual emails. Messages can be sent to those members of your list who meet certain conditions (e.g., preferences, behavior). Email automation can be used to send a single email (e.g., birthday email) or a series of emails (e.g., sales sequence).

The benefits of email automation include the ability to personalize your customers' experience and use your marketing resources (e.g., time, money) more effectively. It also allows you to improve customer retention, and make your strategy scalable.

Broadcast Vs Segmented

Broadcast Emails

A broadcast email sends messages to your entire list; they are not segmented. Newsletters and important updates (e.g., privacy policy changes) are a common type of broadcast emails.

Broadcast emails serve three purposes:

  1. They keep users who have completed your automated email sequence (autoresponder series) engaged with your content. 
  2. They make announcements effectively, keeping your audience informed. 
  3. They can effectively monetize in specific situations by promoting products or services.
Segmented Emails 

Segmentation breaks your mailing list into smaller groupings, known as segments. These segments are based on shared interests, behaviors, or other characteristics.

Segmenting a list gives you the ability to send more targeted emails. List segmentation allows you to email list members content and offers that are of specific interest to them. Segments benefit your email marketing efforts; emailing subscribers only content and offers they are interested in produces higher engagement and lower unsubscribe rates.

Segmentation is often highly effective for large mailing lists, such as lists with 25,000 or more subscribers. List segmentation is also particularly valuable to lists addressing broad topics with distinct clear subtopics.

“Tea Biz is a global source of tea news. However, specific segments of the Tea Biz email list may be more interested in specific topics than others. For example, the decision of a large tea retailer to shift to a digital-first strategy may be of interest to other, smaller tea retailers operating in the North American market. Such news may be less interesting to tea farmers in producing countries, for example.”

Mackenzie Bailey,

Founder of Steeped Content

It’s best practice to use segmentation in your email marketing efforts.

Sales Vs Educational

Sales

The objective of a sales email is to drive product or service purchases. Sales emails may take various forms for B2B or B2C businesses. 

Educational

Educational emails promote content (e.g., blog posts, podcast episodes, case studies). 

Email Marketing Campaigns 

How to run a successful email marketing campaign?

To run a successful email marketing campaign, first identify your goals and target segments for your email list. Next, determine the different types of emails you want to send (e.g. welcome emails vs. sales emails), then plan and deliver them appropriately. You must write compelling copy, as well as grow and clean your list on an ongoing basis.

Creating an Email Marketing Campaign

  • Step 1: Build Your Email List
  • Step 2: Lead with Value
  • Step 3: Segmentation and Analytics
    • Segmentation creates a more effective email campaign
  • Step 4: Scale, thoughtfully

Email Marketing Campaigns 

How to run a successful email marketing campaign?

To run a successful email marketing campaign, first identify your goals and target segments for your email list. Next, determine the different types of emails you want to send (e.g. welcome emails vs. sales emails), then plan and deliver them appropriately. You must write compelling copy, as well as grow and clean your list on an ongoing basis.

Creating an Email Marketing Campaign

  • Step 1: Build Your Email List
  • Step 2: Lead with Value
  • Step 3: Segmentation and Analytics
    • Segmentation creates a more effective email campaign
  • Step 4: Scale, thoughtfully

Email Sequences

Sending educational marketing content to email subscribers may be challenging for brands initially building their list. The creation and distribution of such value necessitates strong existing content (e.g., blogs, videos); as such, many businesses invest in developing a range of blog content (e.g., educational articles, how to articles, and list style articles) before fully implementing email marketing effectively.

When effectively using email marketing to grow your business, you must determine the frequency and type of content that you will send your audience. Such parameters make email marketing automation and segmentation a necessity.

An email sequence is a series of emails sent to a prospect or customer automatically, based on predetermined criteria (e.g., time delay, action).

Fundamentally there are five email sequences that can benefit businesses:

  1. Welcome sequence
  2. Engagement sequence
  3. Sales sequence
  4. Post-purchase sequence
  5. Winback sequence

Welcome Sequence

A welcome email is often the first email new email subscribers receive; it’s the first stem in nurturing subscribers. A nurture sequence is a series of welcoming emails helping subscribers engage with your content and products; a nurture sequence is also called a welcome sequence.

Businesses customize welcome emails to meet different objectives (e.g., familiarizing the subscriber with your purpose, setting expectations) and encouraging new subscribers to take small supportive actions (e.g., safelisting the brands emails, asking them to follow your company on social media).

Welcome sequences should also consider more significant actions you want new subscribers to take (e.g., buying your products or services). In the welcome sequence it’s often advantageous for you to address objections or reservations (e.g., lack of trust) of your new email subscribers.

Engagement Sequence

An engagement email sequence builds rapport with subscribers and keeps your company top of mind.

Such sequences persuade visitors to consume your content (e.g., blog post or podcast episode). Engagement sequences are mutually beneficial for brands and subscribers; you provide subscribers value, and they increase the volume of people consuming your brand's content (e.g., traffic, downloads).

An engagement sequence helps you identify highly engaged subscribers who interact with your content often (e.g., open, click, and purchase). This allows you to enroll them in other sequences appropriate for their specific customer journey.

Sales Sequence

A sales sequence focuses on promoting your products or services to your email subscribers, and persuading them to act. The emails within sales sequences are characterized by a strong call to action that steers the recipient to purchasing.

Sales sequences may take different forms, depending on if the company implementing them is an e-commerce or service based business. The sales sequence of an e-commerce company would steer email subscribers toward purchasing a product online; tactics such as scarcity and discounts are often used. The sales sequence of a service based business may steer email subscribers towards booking a call (e.g., free sales conulation).

Abandoned Cart Sequences are one form of sales sequence that all e-commerce stores need. 81% of online shopping carts are abandoned, so it’s critical for merchants to try persuading potential costumes to complete the transaction.

Post Purchase Sequence

A post purchase email sequence is delivered to subscribers after a transaction occurs. The implementation of such sequences differs based on the type of business in question; e-commerce and service based businesses adapt these emails to their unique needs.

At a minimum, your post purchase sequence should address these five things:

  1. Confirmation that their order went through
  2. When it will ship and how to track their shipment
  3. How they can access their receipt
  4. Who to contact if there’s a problem
  5. What they should expect next

Post purchase sequence can and should go beyond the minimum. Here are three additional things your post purchase sequence can do:

  1. Tactfully present up-sell, down-sell and cross-sell opportunities for items related to the item the customer purchased
  2. Incentivise customers to participate in a referral program by offering a reward for positive behavior
  3. Solicit social proof (e.g., reviews, testimonials)

The Eight Essential Components of a Marketing Email

  1. Subject Line: This is the first thing the recipient sees; it determines if they open your message or not.
  2. Preheader: Some email services include a preview text after the subject line. Using this preview text effectively encourages recipients to open your email.
  3. From Name: The name of the person sending the email. Generally, emails are more likely to be opened if they come from a person, not a company name.
  4. Message body: The main text of the email. This should be between 50 and 200 words. Consider using various copywriting techniques (e.g., AIDA) to determine which writing styles and triggers resonate with your audience.
  5. Call to action(CTA): You CTA should appear at least once in your message body. Use UTM tracking in links contained in all emails, especially those in CTA buttons.
  6. Personal Details: This includes your name, and sometimes your signature, tagline, position or other details.
  7. Postscript: You may use postscripts to remind recipients of supporting benefits or offer other opportunities for engagement.
  8. Footer. This section contains an unsubscribe link, and often includes your mailing address and company name.

Email Marketing For Products

Email marketing for product based businesses is particularly important. Building a large, healthy, profitable email list can lower your customer acquisition cost (CAC), increase customer lifetime value (CLV), and increase profitability. Email marketing can play a particularly important role in industries where products are difficult to distinguish, and many substitutes and competitors exist. Such markets include the coffee market and tea market.

Evaluating Email Marketing Performance

Deliverability Rate

Deliverability rate takes the number of emails delivered and divides it by the number sent. Deliverability rate is a table stakes metric; it won’t make your email marketing successful, but success can’t occur without it. Your deliverability rate should be incredibly high (e.g. 99%).

Open Rate

Open rate is the percentage of email recipients who open a given email. Your open rate can be used as a comparative metric; marketers infer the audience interest in a subject based on the open rate. It’s important to note that images can distort this metric; an email is only counted as "opened" if the recipient also receives the images embedded in that message. Actual open rates are often higher than reported open rates.

Well maintained lists have open rates between 15 to 35%. A low open rate is indicative of unengaged subscribers. In such a situation you have three options: provide more value, manage expectations, or clean your list.

Click Through Rate

Click through rate (CTR) is the percentage of email recipients who clicked links contained in an email. It’s a very important metric. Marketers use click through rates to infer which topics, offers, and copy resonates with their audience.

Monitoring the CTR allows you to track how your email marketing is resonating with your audience. It’s also the metric used to determine the higher performing variant in an A/B test.

What is A/B testing in email marketing?

A/B testing in email marketing consists of sending one variation of your email campaign to a subset of your subscribers, and a different variation to another subset. The goal is to determine which version performs better, and then to send that version to your email list within a particular campaign. A/B testing can be beneficial in determining which headlines result in the highest open rate.

A good clickthrough rate ranges between 5 and 10%.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action. In many cases the desired action is purchasing a product or service, but it may also include booking a call. The definition of a conversion is defined in your emails call-to-action, which the email content (i.e., copy, images) supports.

How to calculate conversion rate in email marketing?

In email marketing, your conversion rate is the percentage of email subscribers who completed the desired action. Your email conversion rate is the number of recipients who took the action you were looking for, divided by the number of emails delivered to recipients, multiplied by 100.

Measuring your email marketing conversion rate necessitates inte your email platform (e.g., Mailchimp) with your web analytics (e.g., Google analytics). This is accomplished using unique tracking URLs in your emails.

Capture Data in Google Analytics

You can evaluate email marketing performance within your chosen email marketing service provider (ESP); most have analytics built into their tools. However, the effectiveness of your email marketing should be judged within the content of your overarching digital marketing efforts. As such, it’s important to ensure your email marketing efforts are reflected in your Google Analytics account.

To capture email marketing data in Google Analytics, you must use UTM tracking codes. Adding a UTM tracking code to each link in every email allows Google Analytics to segment visitors and create campaign reports.

You can use this free URL builder to add a UTM tracking code to your link. Adding this tracking code allows traffic from specific sources to be separately reported. URL builders require a minimum of three parameters - campaign source, campaign medium, and campaign name.

Click to Open Rate

An important metric to monitor in email marketing performance is the click-to-open rate (CTOR). The click to open rate ratio divides the total number of unique clicks by the total number of unique opens. It indicates how likely people are to engage with your emails after opening them. A click-to-open rate ratio of 25% is excellent.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of your total emails sent that are not successfully delivered to the recipient's inbox. There are two kinds of bounces to track: “hard” bounces and “soft” bounces.

What is a soft bounce in email marketing?

A bounce is when an email cannot be delivered to an email server. Soft bounces indicate a temporary delivery issue, such as your email message does not meet the recipient server’s policies. There are many causes for soft bounces. By contrast, a hard bounce refers to a permanent reason an email can’t be delivered, such as the email address doesn't exist.

Revenue Per Recipient

Revenue per recipient (RPR) takes the revenue your email generated and divides it by the number of emails successfully delivered. Successful delivers excluded bounces. Revenue per recipient (RPR) reveals the revenue created from each email on your list. The higher your RPR, the more each member of your list is worth.

Some email providers calculate this metric for you automatically (e.g., Klaviyo)

Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate reflects the percentage of users who unsubscribe from your list. This rate impacts your email deliverability, and large numbers of unsubscribes have consequences. Higher than usual unsubscribe rates suggest a message didn't resonate with your list.

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About Mackenzie Bailey

She is the founder of Steeped Content. She's the go-to marketing expert in the tea and coffee sector. Industry veterans call Mackenzie "a fresh source of new ideas," and clients say she goes "above and beyond." 

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Do you want to sell more coffee and tea?

Hi, I'm Mackenzie Bailey. I help tea and coffee businesses grow. My only question is will it be yours?

View Services

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