E-mail Marketing 101

E-mail Marketing 101


If digital marketing were the Olympic games, SEO, PPC, and social media marketing would be your sprints, swimming, and gymnastics events. Everyone tunes in to these and loves the spectacle. In contrast, E-mail marketing is fencing; many people don’t give it enough love, but those who do find great joy and success.


For those of you sitting on the fence (😏See what we did there?😁), this article might help clarify a few things about this once-heralded form of marketing.


Before we get into the technicals, let’s take it back to basics.



What is E-mail Marketing?

One of the oldest forms of digital marketing/communication, e-mail marketing, is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending e-mails to a group of recipients to build and maintain relationships, increase brand awareness, and drive sales or conversions. It’s highly effective and direct communication with your audience, allowing you to reach them in their inboxes.


In today’s digital age, e-mail marketing remains a powerful tool for businesses looking to connect with their audience, promote their products or services, and drive revenue. It’s a cost-effective, targeted, and versatile way to communicate with potential and existing customers. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of e-mail marketing, covering everything from its fundamentals to advanced strategies to help you harness its potential and achieve your marketing goals.


Fun Fact: In 1978, the first marketing e-mail was sent to an e-mail list of 400 addresses, resulting in approximately $13 million in sales.



Building E-mail Lists

Building a high-quality e-mail list is the foundation of successful e-mail marketing. Your e-mail list is a collection of individuals who have opted to receive your e-mails.


Here’s how to build and maintain a robust e-mail list:


  • Opt-in Forms: Place opt-in forms on your website, landing pages, and social media profiles to capture e-mail addresses from interested visitors.
  • Lead Magnets: Offer valuable incentives like eBooks, discounts, or webinars in exchange for e-mail sign-ups.
  • Segmentation: Segment your e-mail list based on demographics, behaviour, and preferences to send targeted and relevant content.
  • Cleanse Your List: Regularly remove inactive or bounced e-mail addresses to maintain list quality and deliverability.



The POPI Act

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) is a law that regulates the collection, processing, and storage of personal information by organisations. The act aims to balance the rights of individuals to protect their personal information with the needs of businesses to collect, use, and store such information for legitimate business purposes.


POPI caused quite a shake-up in the marketing world as it forced many businesses to change their way of marketing to people and how they came into possession of the information of people to market to.


If you need a quick brush-up on the key provisions of the act, here you go:


  1. Consent: Organisations must obtain the informed consent of individuals before collecting, processing, or storing their personal information. You must make it blatantly obvious to the user that they are signing up to a mailing list.

  2. Purpose Limitation: Enterprises must only collect, process, and store personal information for specific, explicitly defined, and lawful purposes.
  3. Data Quality: Companies must take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information they collect, process, and store is accurate, complete, and up-to-date.
  4. Data Security: Businesses must take reasonable steps to protect the security of personal information, including protection against unauthorised access, damage, loss, or theft. Storing information on Excel spreadsheets and sharing them simply won’t cut it anymore.
  5. Data Retention: Organisations must only retain personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the specific purpose for which it was collected.
  6. Data Access and Correction: Individuals have the right to access their personal information held by organisations and to request the correction of any inaccurate information.
  7. Data Transfer: Organisations must obtain the consent of individuals before transferring their personal information to third parties and ensure that such third parties are subject to equivalent protection.



Types Of E-mail Marketing & E-Mail Marketing Campaigns


Promotional E-mails

These e-mails have a singular goal in mind…Conversions!


A promotional e-mail can take many forms. Whether you are offering discounts, special offers, or even promoting new product releases, these are all classified as promotional e-mails.


Promotional e-mails will have a clear call-to-action based on the pre-defined goals and objectives for the e-mail or campaign.


Informational E-mails

Newsletter e-mails are informational e-mails that share general company or industry news, updates, guides, etc. These e-mails are generally non-promotional in nature and often have the intention of adding value to their subscribers.



Announcement e-mails are informational e-mails that announce new products, sales, events, holidays, and anniversaries to subscribers.



Re-engagement E-mails

Re-engagement e-mails are pretty self-explanatory. These e-mails or campaigns aim to entice users who have yet to be active (based on your definitions of what ‘active’ is) to become involved with your brand/business again.




Post-purchase e-mails are intended to maximise the customer’s experience after a purchase with the intention of retaining or up/cross-selling and generating more revenue from that customer.



Seasonal Campaigns

E-mails are sent out during a specific time of year and are themed around that time. Examples would include promotion e-mails for Christmas.



Transactional E-mails

These are automated e-mails triggered by user actions, such as order confirmations, shipping notifications, or password resets.



Drip Campaigns

Automated e-mails are sent over time to nurture leads and guide them through the sales funnel.



Why E-Mail Marketing is Important

E-mail marketing is essential for several reasons:


  • Cost-Effective: Unlike other marketing channels, e-mail marketing is relatively inexpensive, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.
  • Direct and Personal: E-mails land in the recipient’s inbox, allowing for personalised and direct communication.
  • High ROI: Well-executed e-mail campaigns can generate a high return on investment (ROI) due to their ability to reach a targeted audience.
  • Engagement and Conversion: E-mail marketing is an effective tool for engaging with your audience and driving conversions.
  • Measurable: You can track open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to measure the success of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions.



The Good, The Bad and The Spammy

Advantages of E-mail marketing:


  1. Brand Awareness: Email marketing helps reinforce your brand identity by consistently delivering branded content, messages, and visuals to your subscribers’ inboxes. Over time, this familiarity boosts brand recognition and trust.
  2. Relationship Building: Email marketing fosters one-on-one connections with your audience. You can build and nurture meaningful relationships with subscribers through personalised content and regular communication, enhancing customer loyalty.
  3. Traffic: Effective email campaigns can drive traffic to your website, blog, or specific landing pages. By strategically including links and compelling calls to action (CTAs), you can direct subscribers to valuable content and promotions.
  4. Feedback: Email marketing provides a direct channel for gathering feedback from your audience. You can solicit opinions, conduct surveys, or encourage email replies, giving valuable insights to improve your products or services.
  5. Targeted Communications: Email allows you to tailor messages to specific audience segments based on their interests, behaviour, or demographics. This targeted approach increases the relevance of your content, improving engagement and conversion rates.
  6. Audience Segmentation: Segmenting your email list lets you send highly relevant content to different groups within your subscriber base. This segmentation enhances the personalisation of your emails, leading to higher open and click-through rates.


Disadvantages of E-mail marketing:


  1. Spam: Email marketing can be vulnerable to spam complaints if messages are not correctly targeted or subscribers receive excessive or irrelevant emails. This can harm your sender’s reputation and deliverability.
  2. Size: Large email files, especially those with heavy graphics or multimedia, may be challenging for some recipients to download or view. This can lead to slower loading times and potential frustration.
  3. Competition: The inbox is a competitive space, with recipients receiving numerous emails daily. Standing out amidst this competition can be challenging, requiring compelling subject lines and content to capture attention.
  4. Engagement: Maintaining subscriber engagement over time can be challenging. If your emails become repetitive or lack value, subscribers may lose interest, decreasing open and click-through rates.
  5. Consistent, high-quality content creation: Effective email marketing demands the regular creation of engaging and relevant content. This can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, making it challenging for some businesses to sustain.



Tips & Tricks

To make the most of your e-mail marketing efforts, consider these tips and best practices:


  • Craft Compelling Subject Lines: A catchy subject line increases open rates. Keep it concise and engaging.
  • Mobile Optimisation: Ensure e-mails are mobile-friendly for a seamless user experience.
  • Personalisation: Use recipients’ names and tailor content based on their preferences.
  • A/B Testing: Experiment with elements like subject lines, images, and CTAs to find what resonates best with your audience.
  • Consistency: Establish a regular sending schedule to keep your audience engaged.
  • Segmentation: Send targeted e-mails based on user behaviour, demographics, and engagement history.
  • Clear CTAs: Include clear and compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) to guide recipients toward the desired action.



E-mail Marketing Tools


  • MailChimp: MailChimp is a popular email marketing tool known for its user-friendly interface, versatile automation features, and robust analytics. It helps businesses create, manage, and analyse email campaigns, making it a go-to choice for email marketing beginners and professionals alike.
  • HubSpot: HubSpot is a versatile email marketing tool known for its user-friendly interface, powerful automation, detailed analytics, and seamless CRM integration, making it a top choice for businesses aiming to streamline and enhance their email marketing efforts.
  • ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign is a robust email marketing tool known for its advanced automation, personalisation, and CRM integration, helping businesses create highly targeted and effective email campaigns to engage and convert their audience.
  • Sendlane: Sendlane is a focused email marketing tool known for its automation features and user-friendly interface. It is a valuable choice for businesses seeking to automate email campaigns and easily drive results.
  • ConvertKit: ConvertKit is a user-friendly email marketing tool for creators, bloggers, and small businesses. It simplifies email campaign management and provides automation features to help users grow and engage their subscribers effectively.




E-mail marketing remains a potent tool for businesses to connect with their audience, drive sales, and build lasting relationships. By understanding its fundamentals, leveraging the right strategies, and effectively utilising e-mail marketing tools, you can harness the power of e-mail marketing to achieve your goals. Remember, successful e-mail marketing requires consistency, personalisation, and a commitment to delivering value to your subscribers. So, start building your e-mail list, crafting compelling campaigns, and watch your business thrive through the power of e-mail.


…And people say E-mail Marketing is dead…


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