Email Marketing Strategy 101: Everything You Need to Know


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If you are newly creating an email marketing strategy, knowing where to begin can be one tough decision to make. With the ton of information on the internet today on what email marketing is, it’s easy to be clueless about where to place your first foot. This guide covers everything you need to know about creating an email marketing strategy, especially if you are a beginner. You can easily follow the step-by-step approach in this article, so you don’t get confused. 

What is an Email Marketing Strategy?

email marketing strategy
Source: Deskera

An email marketing strategy refers to the set of procedures or steps taken by a marketer to attain specific desired goals for the business. This involves email advertising with a plan of action that connects businesses with their target audience who eventually become prospects and customers. Recent research conducted by HubSpot State of Marketing Report found that 82% of marketers actively use content marketing. Emails are a subset of content marketing and are effective in reaching sales.

Why Do You Need an Email Marketing Strategy?

There are several reasons why you will need an email marketing strategy for your business and a few are explained below. 

1. Keeps you in check

Having a solid marketing strategy will help keep your business in check, as it allows you to lay out your plans ahead of time. To make your strategy effective, you will have to carefully follow these plans and get each department or stakeholder to play their part where necessary. This will also help you plan time-based and time-sensitive campaigns properly. Without a strategy, the entire company would keep running carelessly and with a less motivated team. 

2. Acquire and retain clients

One of the major challenges of running a business is acquiring and retaining clients. Anyone can set up a business but you need paying customers to make it profitable. With an email marketing strategy in place, you can create a sustainable structure by which you acquire leads and convert them to paying customers. This also includes strategies to make new customers come back for more and eventually become loyal customers who would refer others. 

Your customer retention strategy can be strengthened by simply creating a marketing strategy that works and can turn your business around. Attempting to acquire or retain clients without a concrete business plan may end up failing. 

A typical customer lifecycle in a business follows the stages below:

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Purchase
  • Support experience
  • Bonding

Progress in each of these stages can be enforced by email marketing, as you want to get as many customers as possible to the stage where they conveniently refer others. 

3. Measure results

Every email marketing strategy has objectives and goals that it is built on. This gives the business a sense of direction and guides you on the results to measure. By determining what to look for in the insights, you can tell whether or not your marketing strategy is working and what to change. 

Steps to Create an Email Marketing Strategy

Step 1 – Create Goals

The first step to creating an email marketing strategy is to set goals upon which you can build the strategy. Ensure the goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Rather than setting a goal like “I want to get 1000 email subscribers”, you can have a goal like “increase ROI by 30% in three months”, based on what is realistic and achievable by your company.

While setting goals, your focus should be on increasing ROI, improving loyalty among clients, maintaining relationships with clients, and increasing engagement. Examples of these goals could include:

  • Growing your email list
  • Increasing open email rate
  • Increasing click-through rate
  • Increasing response and feedback rate
  • Increasing sales
  • Reducing unsubscribe rate
  • Improving brand awareness
  • Improving customer engagement and relationship
  • Improving traffic to your website

Step 2 – Choose a Tool

The success of your email marketing strategy can be largely dependent on your choice of tool. While there are many email marketing service providers out there, you need one with useful features that can meet your company objectives and goals. MailDrip will be a great option if you are looking to send automated emails and guide your leads through a well-structured sales funnel. With this, you can create welcoming or onboarding emails for new subscribers and guide them through a series of helpful emails. 

Other things to look out for when choosing a tool include detailed insights that help you measure important metrics, personalization, third-party integration, automation, and ease of use. 

Step 3 – Map out an Audience Persona

Audience personas are fictional profiles created for your target audience. This helps you picture your audience as a person and build a profile based on that, to guide you on the kind of content to create for them, the product to build, and how to effectively market to them. The goal is to deliver the right content, products, and offers to the right people at the right time to increase the chances of converting them from leads to customers through lead-nurturing emails

Key things involved include demographics, behavioral patterns, interests, goals, frustrations, motivations, and more. The image below depicts what an audience persona looks like. 

email marketing strategy; audience persona
Source: Inquivix

Building an audience persona ensures you reach the right person. For example, if you sell baby clothes, your target audience can’t be babies but parents and caretakers who would have to buy clothes for their babies. Your content and mode of marketing should target this demographic.

Step 4 – Build an Email List

You need a list before creating a campaign or getting anything started on your email marketing tactics. Avoid falling into the trap of obtaining email addresses illegally or using an existing list from an entirely different brand. Apart from legal privacy issues like strict GDPR laws that you may have to deal with, this is also not helpful for your brand. You might be making the mistake of acquiring a large number of email addresses of people who are not your audience nor do they care about your brand.

To build a successful email marketing strategy, you have to build a credible email list from scratch. A brilliant way to do this is to build a subscription form where prospects can sign up to be a part. Most marketing platforms, like MailDrip, readily have templates to help you build the perfect subscription form. All you have to do is edit it to suit your brand by switching colors and fonts and also adding elements. Elements may include First Name, Last Name, Email Address, and any other data you wish to collect such as Birthdays, Address, Interest in the brand, etc.

You can then embed these forms on your site or share links on your social platforms for more people to access them and subscribe. 

There are also other ways to get more subscribers. This may include creating a third-party integration with your eCommerce site so that everyone who purchases your brand gets automatically added to a segmented list. Or you can offer incentives, curated content, or free valuable information, whereby interested people would have to subscribe to have access to it. Get creative with how to create your list but whatever you do, ensure it captures your target audience and always choose quality over quantity. 

Step 6 – Segment Your List

One of the best ways to make your email list effective and yield quality results is to divide it into segments. This can be based on age, location, interest, history of purchase, and more. This helps you to have a more focused view of your email marketing efforts, as you start sending only relevant emails to subscribers in your list. This is beneficial in many ways as illustrated in the chart below.

Step 7 – Determine the Types of Emails to Send

It is not just about segmenting your list but more about the type of emails you send to each of the categories. This decision is based on different parameters, including the target audience, the segment they belong to, where they are in their customers’ journey, and the kind of campaign you have created. 

email marketing strategy; types of email

For example, you should have a default Welcome email for every new user added to your list. This can be followed by a Drip Email or Transactional Email. While a drip email rolls out a series of emails following a particular pattern to drive a subscriber to take action, a transactional email follows a move made on the website or an online store. 

On the other hand, you could have a Milestone Email that celebrates every milestone your customer has achieved, whether it is their birthday or an anniversary of being your customer, or a purchase they made from you.

In addition, you can have a schedule to work with for sending out emails. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to this. It’s all about finding out what works for your brand and when your audience is most likely to engage.  

Step 8 – Prepare Your First Email Marketing Campaign

After all is said and done, you can go ahead to launch your first email marketing campaign. Did you know that email is the primary source of lead generation for 89% of marketers? However, beyond just writing anything and sending it out to your audience, you have to be deliberate about your marketing campaign. 

This includes:

Step 9 – Improve it for eCommerce

There’s a clear difference between a general newsletter and a newsletter created with the end goal to convert leads into paying customers. To improve your email marketing strategy for eCommerce, you need to apply certain tactics that help you stand out and sell better. 

Some of these tactics include proper list segmentation as discussed earlier, providing an incentive in exchange for their email address, upselling and cross-selling, running re-engagement campaigns, and rewarding loyal customers. 

Most email marketing platforms readily have room for you to connect your emails to your eCommerce site. MailDrip, for example, allows you to integrate third-party apps which could include your eCommerce site. This way, your audience can automatically subscribe to your list while making a purchase or adding things to their cart from your website. If your email list is largely eCommerce dependent, you need to consider the kind of marketing platform you settle for.

Step 10 – Market it!

To top up everything discussed in the steps above, you need a strategy to market your brand as far and wide as possible. While you may have the best strategy, nothing would happen if no one hears or knows about it. Market your brand aggressively to get subscribers to your email list in the first place, so you can proceed to carry out other plans. Take advantage of social media platforms and interact with your audience to get them familiar with your brand. Whatever you do, market it!

You Need an Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing strategy goes a long way in improving your brand and achieving your goals in the short and long run. This article already covers everything you need to get started and build a brand that is known in your industry while selling to your target audience. We have also earlier published an article that talks about why your email marketing strategy isn’t working.

We at MailDrip understand what it means to create an email marketing strategy from scratch and how tiring or confusing it can get. This is why we have created a FREE template for every business owner wondering where to start. All you have to do is to fill out the form below and you will get a marketing strategy template for your brand. 

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