Email marketing is when you send a commercial email message to your ‘email subscribers’ — contacts who have signed up to your email list and given express permission to receive email communications from you.
Email marketing is used to inform, drive sales, and build a community around your brand (e.g. with a newsletter).
Modern email marketing has moved away from one-size-fits-all mass mailings and instead focuses on consent, segmentation, and personalization.
The Importance of Email Marketing
We’ve covered the biggest question, what is email marketing, but haven’t gotten into why email marketing is so very important for your business. Let’s talk about that now.
Despite the rise of social media and unsolicited spam email (which is never a good marketing strategy, by the way), email remains the most effective way to nurture leads and boost customer loyalty.
There are many reasons you should make email marketing one of your top priorities, but here are the top 3:
1. Email is the #1 communication channel. Did you know that at least 99% of consumers check their email on a daily basis? That can’t be said of any other communication channel.
2. You own your list. On any social media platform, your account (along with all your fans and posts) could be suspended or deleted at any time, for any reason, without notice. However, you own your email list. No one can take those leads away from you.
3. Email just converts better. People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than those who do not receive email offers. In fact, email marketing has an ROI (returns on investment) of 4400%. That’s huge! And if you are wondering if social media converts even better, think again: the average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media.
Email is simply the best way to make sales online. Now that you know the importance of email marketing, let’s learn the best ways to go about it.
Tips for building your email marketing list
But how do you build an audience of people to send email to as part of your internet marketing efforts in the first place? There are a few ways, and all of them have to do with treating your customers right, taking into consideration marketing best practices.
Don’t buy email lists. Many email marketing companies (including Mailchimp) have a strict, permission-based policy when it comes to email addresses, which means that sending to purchased lists is prohibited. Instead, concentrate on encouraging folks to opt into receiving messages from you by using lead magnets. You could offer a discount on your customers’ first orders when they sign up for your email list via a custom signup form. Or maybe you can offer new subscribers free shipping on their next order—or give them a chance to win a prize when they join your list. Here are some more tips to help you build an email list.
Be aware of national (and international) email regulations. Make sure you adhere to any legal requirements and applicable laws in your area when sending automated emails, like the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL), or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union for the treatment of personal information. The regulations are based on both your location and the location of your subscribers, and it’s your responsibility to know which laws apply to you. Here’s more advice on avoiding email spam filters.
Use email to have a conversation with your customers. Email is a great marketing tool, but it can help your business in other ways, too. Consider taking the occasional break from your regular marketing content to send out surveys, tell you customers how much you appreciate them after buying from you, following up after an abandoned cart, or just say hello. Not only does it give your audience a chance to provide you with valuable feedback, but it also allows them to get more insight into the person behind the business.
Only send when you really need to. Once someone has trusted you with their email address, don’t abuse that trust. Flooding your audience’s inbox with superfluous emails will cause them to lose interest or unsubscribe entirely. Focus on sending them relevant, engaging messages about the stuff they like, and they’ll be loyal for a long time to come.
See how Mailchimp’s free email marketing tools compare to the competition.
How do I get an email list?
You’ll see the highest ROI when you build and maintain an engaged subscriber list, made up of people who want to receive your messages (and who opted in on purpose). Although building a clean list can take more work at the outset of your email marketing strategy, Mailchimp lists have built-in tools to help you along the way.
There are lots of ways to find people who’ll look forward to getting your emails, but we’ve rounded up a few that work best.
- Create a signup form on your website. When people come to your website for the first time and like what they see, they’ll want a way to stay in-the-know about your brand. Create a form for newsletter signups and install a pop-up to collect customer data from your visitors.
- Use a good old-fashioned signup sheet. Whether it’s at your brick and mortar store, or an event that you’re hosting or attending, when you’re surrounded by people who are into what you do, provide a place for them to sign up and learn more.
- Drive signups through social media. If you don’t have a substantial email list (or you’d just like to see it grow), but you’ve got an engaged social media following, tap into that resource. Share your signup form on your social channels.
To add more subscribers to an existing list:
- Host a contest or offer a discount. We’re big fans of giving people an incentive to sign up for your email list—and we know that contests work. Try offering a prize for some lucky new subscriber or a discount code for a first purchase.
- Make your emails easy to share.When you create beautiful, compelling emails, with a lot of valuable information people will want to share them. Mailchimp gives you features (like share buttons and social media post builders) that let the word about your emails spread quickly.
- Build a landing page through Mailchimp. Landing pages offer one more way to grow your email list. Using your best imagery and content, landing pages give people a clear call to action and drive email signups way, way up.
Can I buy an email list?
No. You should not buy an email list (and if you’re using Mailchimp, you can’t use an email list you purchased).
Purchased lists are ineffective, and they impact everyone else who uses Mailchimp, too. If you send emails to a list of people whose contact info you bought, many of the emails will get identified as spam and you’ll also get high unsubscribe rates. Some email spam filters will flag a email campaign if anyone with the same IP has sent spam in the past. When you use Mailchimp, your email is delivered through our servers, so if one person sends spam, it could prevent other users’ emails from reaching inboxes. But by forbidding Mailchimp users from using purchased lists, we increase deliverability for everyone.
- Don’t use third-party lists. This includes purchased or rented mailing lists, and lists scraped from third-party sources, including public websites.
- Get permission. Everyone on your list should have opted in to receive emails from you, and their permission should be express and verifiable. If you use one of our signup form options, we track this permission for you.
- Include an unsubscribe link. Federal anti-spam laws require you to give people a way to unsubscribe from your list in every campaign you send. We require you to use our unsubscribe link.
I’m ready for email marketing, but which platform should I use?
Whether you’re starting your first email marketing campaign or you’re a seasoned email pro, Mailchimp has the tools and support you need. With a wide array of features that do everything from marketing automation to tracking tools to optimizing your emails through split testing, we’ve got you covered from start to finish.
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers, and really get the word out about your business. It’s easy to do yourself from the above writeups. Email marketing is the most reliable channel for attracting new leads, earning trust, and creating reoccurring revenue.