e-Mail marketing- how does it really work?

June 20, 2024

Discover the essentials of e-mail marketing, its benefits, and how different types of campaigns, such as welcome e-mails can boost engagement, sales, and customer loyalty. Tailored content and a professional tone ensure impactful and effective communication, maximising your marketing efforts and business success.

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Amongst the spam and social updates, e-mail marketing shines as a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience. But how does it really work? In this post, we’ll delve into the world of e-mail marketing, shedding light on its benefits, and the most common types, and offering a quick guide to get you started.

Firstly, let's discuss the perks. E-mail marketing remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reach customers. With a high return on investment, it allows businesses to communicate directly with their audience, build lasting relationships, and drive conversions. Whether you’re a small business owner or a marketing guru at a large corporation, e-mail marketing can boost your brand's presence and profitability.

We’ll also explore the different types of e-mail marketing. From newsletters that keep your audience informed and engaged, to promotional e-mails that drive sales and special offers, and transactional e-mails that provide essential information about purchases and accounts. Understanding these types will help you tailor your messages to achieve specific goals.

Finally, for those who might feel a bit overwhelmed by the techy side of things, we’ve got you covered with a straightforward guide. We’ll break down the process into manageable steps: building an e-mail list, crafting compelling content, designing eye-catching templates, and analysing your campaign’s performance.

By the end of this post, you’ll have an understanding of how e-mail marketing works and how you can harness its potential for your business. Let’s dive in and demystify the art and science of e-mail marketing!

What is email marketing?

E-mail marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses e-mail to promote products, services, or brand messages to a targeted audience. Think of it as a digital version of traditional mail, but far more efficient and versatile. Imagine you're running a local bakery. Instead of sending out paper flyers to announce your new range of pastries, you send an e-mail to your customers with all the delicious details. It's quicker, cheaper, and allows for immediate interaction.

In essence, e-mail marketing involves sending e-mails to a list of recipients who have opted in to receive communications from you. These e-mails can range from newsletters and promotional offers to event invitations and updates.

E-mail marketing software

Some of the most popular e-mail marketing software include Mailchimp, Brevo (formely Sendinblue), and Campaign Monitor. These platforms provide user-friendly tools to help you create, send, and track e-mail campaigns, ensuring you reach your audience effectively.

Additionally, for those using Shopify, the platform has a built-in e-mail campaign feature. This integration allows you to seamlessly manage your e-mail marketing efforts alongside your online store operations, making it easier than ever to keep your customers informed and engaged.

By leveraging e-mail marketing, businesses can maintain a direct line of communication with their audience, ensuring their message is always delivered straight to the inbox.

What businesses can benefit from email marketing?

E-mail marketing is a versatile tool that can benefit a wide array of businesses, from e-commerce platforms to service providers. Let’s delve into how different types of businesses can harness the power of e-mail marketing to enhance their operations and grow their customer base.


E-commerce businesses are perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of e-mail marketing. By sending promotional e-mails, abandoned cart reminders, and personalized recommendations, they can significantly boost sales. For instance, a case study by Omnisend from 2022 showed that segmented campaigns resulted in a 62.2% higher order rate, 51.9% higher click-through rate, and a 110% higher open rate compared to non-segmented campaigns​​. This highlights the effectiveness of targeted e-mail strategies in driving e-commerce success.

Service Providers

Service providers, such as hair salons, gyms, and consulting firms, can use e-mail marketing to stay connected with their clients. Regular updates, appointment reminders, and exclusive offers can help maintain client engagement and loyalty. For instance, a fitness centre that utilised e-mail marketing to send personalised workout plans and class reminders experienced a 30% increase in class attendance and member retention. This shows how tailored e-mail communication can significantly enhance customer engagement and loyalty, ensuring clients stay informed and motivated to utilise your services.

Retail Stores

Brick-and-mortar retail stores can benefit from e-mail marketing by promoting in-store events, special discounts, and loyalty programs. For example, a well-known retail chain saw a 20% increase in in-store traffic after launching a targeted e-mail campaign that highlighted exclusive in-store promotions and events. This case demonstrates how e-mail marketing can effectively drive foot traffic and enhance customer engagement by bridging the gap between online and offline interactions. By using targeted and relevant e-mail content, retail stores can attract more customers to their physical locations, boosting sales and fostering brand loyalty.

Non-Profit Organisations

Non-profits can use e-mail marketing to communicate with donors, volunteers, and supporters. Updates on projects, fundraising events, and success stories help keep the community engaged and informed. For example, Roadrunner Food Bank saw significant success by revamping its e-mail marketing efforts. By implementing a two-click donation system and sending regular, engaging updates, they achieved a return on donation revenue per e-mail that was 12.5 times higher than the industry average. This approach not only increased donations but also enhanced donor engagement and satisfaction​.

Hospitality Industry

Hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies can utilise e-mail marketing to promote special packages, seasonal offers, and loyalty programs. For example, Belmont Hotel Manila significantly increased its direct bookings by leveraging personalised e-mail campaigns. By accessing comprehensive guest data and implementing tailored communications, the hotel generated over PHP 18.7 million in direct booking revenue since 2020. This approach not only enhanced customer engagement but also streamlined their marketing efforts, reducing manual work and improving overall efficiency​ (Hospitality Net)​.

B2B Companies

B2B companies can leverage e-mail marketing to nurture leads, build relationships, and ultimately drive sales. For instance, a B2B company specialising in IT security and infrastructure used a cold e-mailing campaign to significantly increase its lead generation. By creating an outreach strategy that included personalised e-mails and automated follow-ups, they managed to schedule over 70 calls with potential clients. This campaign not only improved their engagement rates but also provided valuable insights into their target audience’s needs and pain points​ (source: GrowForce)​.

Benefits of email marketing

E-mail marketing remains a cornerstone of digital marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes. Its benefits are multifaceted, offering not just a high return on investment but also the ability to reach customers directly in their personal spaces. Whether you’re an e-commerce platform, a service provider, or a non-profit organisation, e-mail marketing provides a cost-effective way to engage with your audience, nurture leads, and drive sales. In the following sections, we’ll explore the specific advantages of e-mail marketing, illustrating how this powerful tool can elevate your business to new heights.

Email marketing campaigns offer numerous benefits for businesses of all sizes. Here are some key advantages:

Cost-Effective & High ROI

E-mail marketing is recognised as one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, delivering an impressive return on investment (ROI). Unlike traditional advertising methods such as print or TV ads, which require substantial budgets, e-mail marketing reaches a large audience at minimal cost. Tools like Mailchimp and Brevo offer affordable plans, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.

The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) reports that for every £1 spent on e-mail marketing, businesses can expect an average return of £42, showcasing its high efficiency and effectiveness. This ROI surpasses many other marketing channels, making e-mail marketing a vital component of a successful digital strategy.

Targeted and Personalised

E-mail marketing excels in delivering targeted and personalised content to specific audience segments. Unlike one-size-fits-all advertising, e-mail marketing allows businesses to tailor messages based on customer behaviour, preferences, and demographics. This personalisation increases engagement and conversion rates by making customers feel valued and understood. For instance, automated e-mails can address recipients by name, recommend products based on past purchases, and send birthday discounts. Such targeted efforts significantly enhance customer experience and loyalty. According to Omnisend, segmented campaigns achieve a 34% higher open rate and a 26% increase in click-through rates, demonstrating the power of personalised e-mail marketing​​.

Improved Customer Engagement

E-mail marketing significantly boosts customer engagement by enabling direct and meaningful interactions with your audience. Personalised e-mails that cater to individual preferences and behaviours make customers feel valued, leading to higher open and click-through rates. Regular updates, newsletters, and special offers keep customers informed and engaged with your brand. According to Campaign Monitor, segmented e-mails have a 14.31% higher open rate than non-segmented ones, and Omnisend reports that automated e-mails can result in a 90% higher order rate compared to single e-mails​. This enhanced engagement fosters stronger relationships and increases customer loyalty.

Strengthened Brand Awareness

E-mail marketing enhances brand awareness by consistently placing your brand's message in your audience's inbox. Regularly scheduled e-mails, such as newsletters and promotional updates, keep your brand top-of-mind for customers. According to a report by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), businesses that use e-mail marketing effectively can significantly improve brand recognition and engagement. This consistent exposure helps build familiarity and trust, leading to stronger customer relationships and brand loyalty.

Overall, email marketing remains a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience, foster relationships, and drive revenue.

5 most common e-mail marketing types

E-mail marketing is a versatile tool, and its effectiveness largely depends on your marketing strategy and the type of business you operate. Each campaign type serves a distinct purpose, from boosting sales and engagement to enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. E-mail marketing campaigns need to be well-suited not only in form but also in tone, depending on the business type and target audience

Professionalism in crafting these campaigns ensures that messages resonate with recipients, effectively achieving business goals. Tailoring the context, tone, and content strategically maximises the impact of your e-mail marketing efforts.

Welcome E-mails

Welcome e-mails are the first impression a new subscriber receives from your business, making them crucial for setting the tone of your relationship. These e-mails should be friendly, professional, and aligned with your brand's voice. They typically include a warm greeting, an introduction to your brand, and often a special offer or incentive to encourage engagement. Welcome e-mails boast high open rates—often over 50%—making them an excellent opportunity to establish a positive connection and guide new subscribers through their initial steps with your business. E-commerce stores, service providers, and any business with a subscription model can benefit from these by making a strong, positive first impression.

Seasonal Campaigns

Seasonal campaigns are e-mails sent around specific holidays or seasons, like Christmas, Black Friday, or summer sales. These campaigns leverage the festive spirit or seasonal demand to boost sales and engagement. Think of them as holiday decorations in a shop window, designed to catch the eye and entice customers to come inside. For instance, an online clothing store might send an e-mail with the subject line, “Summer Sale: Up to 50% Off on All Swimwear!” around June. During Christmas, they might promote gift ideas and special discounts with, “Give the Gift of Style – Holiday Deals Inside!” Retailers, e-commerce businesses, and hospitality services can greatly benefit from these campaigns by aligning their offers with the festive spirit, thereby driving more traffic and sales.

Event Invitations

Event invitations are e-mails sent to inform subscribers about upcoming events, such as webinars, product launches, or in-store events. These e-mails aim to increase attendance and engagement by providing all the necessary details about the event. Imagine them as the digital equivalent of a chic, printed invitation to a party. A tech company might send an e-mail saying, “Join Our Webinar on the Future of AI – Reserve Your Spot Now!” Or a local bookstore could invite customers with, “Meet Your Favourite Author This Saturday – Exclusive Book Signing Event!” Businesses in technology, wellness businesses, education, and retail can use these to build community engagement and boost attendance at their events.

Product Update E-mails

Lead nurturing e-mails are part of a series aimed at guiding potential customers through the sales funnel, from initial interest to final purchase. These e-mails build relationships and provide valuable information to help prospects make informed decisions. Think of them as a friendly tour guide showing you the best sights and explaining everything clearly along the way. An e-learning platform might send, “5 Reasons Why Our Course Will Transform Your Career – Learn More!” followed by, “Customer Success Stories: See How Our Course Helped John Land His Dream Job.” Service-based businesses, consultancies, and educational platforms can benefit from these by maintaining a steady engagement with prospects.

Lead Nurturing E-mails

Lead nurturing e-mails are part of a series aimed at guiding potential customers through the sales funnel, from initial interest to final purchase. These e-mails build relationships and provide valuable information to help prospects make informed decisions. Think of them as a friendly tour guide showing you the best sights and explaining everything clearly along the way. An e-learning platform might send, “5 Reasons Why Our Course Will Transform Your Career – Learn More!” followed by, “Customer Success Stories: See How Our Course Helped John Land His Dream Job.” Service-based businesses, consultancies, and educational platforms can benefit from these by maintaining a steady engagement with prospects.

Re-engagement E-mails

Re-engagement e-mails are designed to win back inactive subscribers and remind them of the value your business offers. These e-mails aim to rekindle interest and bring lapsed customers back into the fold. Picture them as a friendly tap on the shoulder, saying, “Hey, we miss you!” A gym might send an e-mail to members who haven’t attended in a while, offering a discount on their next month’s membership with, “We Miss You! Come Back with 20% Off Your Next Month.” Gyms, subscription services, and e-commerce businesses often use these to re-engage customers and reduce churn.

Email marketing 101 - a quick guide on how to create a successful email campaign

A successful e-mail campaign can be incredibly personalised, allowing you to tailor content specifically to your audience’s preferences and behaviours. This guide offers a broad overview of how a campaign can look, covering the essentials from building your e-mail list to designing engaging templates and analysing performance. However, it's important to note that creating a truly effective campaign involves much more detailed planning and strategy. Consider this a starting point—successful e-mail marketing requires ongoing effort, testing, and refinement to achieve the best results. Let's dive in!

Define Your Goals

The first step in creating a successful e-mail campaign is defining your goals. This is the brainstorming stage where you decide what you want to achieve with your campaign, which will guide your decisions and help you measure success later on. For our example of launching a new beauty product, the propolis-infused sheet mask, your goals might include increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, boosting sales, or encouraging customer reviews.

At this stage, gather your team and brainstorm potential objectives. Do you want to sell a certain number of sheet masks within the first month? Or perhaps you aim to get a specific number of social media shares and mentions? Setting clear, measurable goals will help you stay focused and make strategic decisions as your campaign progresses. It will also provide benchmarks to gauge the effectiveness of your efforts and make necessary adjustments for future campaigns.

By clearly defining your goals, you set a solid foundation for your e-mail marketing campaign, ensuring that every subsequent step is aligned with achieving these objectives.

Understand Your Audience

The next step is identifying your audience. This stage involves extensive research on your existing and potential customer base, helping you create a client avatar. Understanding who will use the propolis-infused sheet mask and what they expect from your product is crucial for crafting effective messaging and designing the format and aesthetic of your e-mails.

Start by gathering demographic data: age, gender, location, income level, and lifestyle. For example, your primary audience might be women aged 25-45 who are interested in skincare and beauty products. Next, delve into psychographic details: What are their interests? What problems are they looking to solve with your product? What kind of messaging resonates with them? Are they driven by health benefits, luxury, or eco-friendliness?

Creating a detailed client avatar will help you tailor your e-mails to speak directly to your audience’s needs and desires. If your research shows that your target demographic values natural ingredients, you can highlight the propolis and its benefits in your e-mail content. If they are influenced by social proof, include testimonials and reviews.

Understanding your audience also helps determine the format and visual style of your e-mails. A younger, tech-savvy audience might appreciate interactive elements and sleek, modern design, while a more mature audience might prefer straightforward, easy-to-read layouts.

By identifying and understanding your audience, you ensure that your e-mail campaigns are relevant, engaging, and persuasive, ultimately driving better results for your product launch.

Plan & Design Your Campaign

With the data gathered from defining your goals and identifying your audience, you can now effectively plan and design your e-mail campaign. This information helps you determine the type of campaign and its overall design, ensuring it resonates with your target audience.

Start by planning a teaser e-mail to generate buzz about your new propolis-infused sheet mask. This e-mail can build anticipation by highlighting the unique benefits of propolis and offering a sneak peek of the product. Follow up with a launch e-mail that officially introduces the sheet mask, including detailed information and a compelling call to action.

Consider incorporating a limited-time offer in your launch e-mail to create a sense of urgency and encourage immediate purchases. For instance, you could offer a 20% discount for the first 100 customers or a free gift with the first purchase. This strategy helps persuade customers to make a quick decision to buy as soon as possible.

Design your e-mails to be visually appealing and consistent with your brand’s aesthetics. Use high-quality images, clear and concise text, and a layout that is easy to read on both desktop and mobile devices. Ensure your e-mails are personalised, addressing the recipient by name and tailoring the content to their interests and past behaviours. By thoughtfully planning and designing your campaign, you can maximise its impact and drive engagement with your new product launch.

Analyse Data & Performance

Once your e-mails are sent, the real work begins: analysing data and performance. This step involves gathering actual responses from your campaign, such as open rates, click-through rates, conversions, and sales. These metrics provide valuable insights into how your audience is interacting with your e-mails.

Open rates indicate the percentage of recipients who opened your e-mail, giving you a sense of how compelling your subject lines are. Click-through rates measure how many recipients clicked on links within your e-mail, showing the effectiveness of your content and call to action. Conversion rates tell you how many recipients completed a desired action, such as making a purchase, indicating the overall success of your campaign. Finally, tracking sales directly tied to the e-mail campaign helps you measure its impact on your revenue.

This gathered data is crucial for adjusting your future campaigns. For example, if you notice a high open rate but a low click-through rate, it might be an indication that while your subject line is effective, the e-mail content or CTA needs improvement. Conversely, if conversions are lower than expected, consider revising your offer or making your CTA more compelling.

By continuously analysing performance data and making necessary adjustments, you can optimise your e-mail marketing strategy, ensuring each campaign performs better than the last. This iterative process is key to refining your approach and achieving long-term success in your e-mail marketing efforts.

Adjust and Optimise

After analysing the performance data from your e-mail campaign, the next step is to adjust and optimise your strategy based on these insights. This is where you respond to the collected data to further persuade your audience and enhance your campaign’s effectiveness.

If your analysis indicates that certain elements of your e-mails are underperforming, such as low click-through rates, consider revising your content or CTA to make them more engaging. You can also explore offering cross-sales of other products that complement your main offering, such as suggesting a moisturiser to go along with the propolis-infused sheet mask.

Gathering and sharing reviews is another powerful tactic. Highlight positive customer feedback in your follow-up e-mails to build trust and credibility. For customers who have already purchased the product, send tips on how to use it effectively or suggest other products that pair well with it, like a toner or serum.

Additionally, segment your audience based on their responses and tailor your e-mails accordingly. For instance, those who showed interest but didn’t purchase might receive a special discount, while purchasers could be offered a loyalty reward or information on related products.

By continuously adjusting and optimising your campaigns, you ensure that your e-mail marketing remains dynamic and responsive to your audience’s needs, driving better engagement and higher conversion rates. This iterative process helps you refine your approach and achieve ongoing success in your e-mail marketing efforts.

Getting started

As we conclude this guide on e-mail marketing, it's important to remember that a successful campaign involves more than just sending out e-mails. From defining your goals to adjusting and optimising your strategy based on performance data, each step is crucial in crafting effective, engaging, and profitable campaigns.

By carefully planning and designing your e-mails, understanding your audience, and continuously refining your approach, you can ensure that your e-mail marketing efforts resonate with your customers and drive meaningful results. Taking the example of launching a new propolis-infused sheet mask, we've explored how setting clear objectives, identifying the right audience, building an e-mail list, and creating compelling content can lead to a successful product launch.

Incorporating these strategies into your e-mail marketing can transform your approach, making each campaign more impactful than the last. Remember, the key to success lies in continuous improvement and staying attuned to your audience’s needs and preferences.

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just starting out, these steps provide a solid foundation for creating effective e-mail campaigns. Happy e-mail marketing!

Launching e-mail marketing campaigns can feel daunting, especially if you're unsure where to begin. That's where akW steps in. We can assist you in designing top-notch e-mail marketing campaigns that propel your business to new heights of success! Contact us for an introduction call today!

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Alicia Krawczyk
Published on:
June 20, 2024
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