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    A Guide to Email Marketing for Beginners

    By Ellaine Parsons

    The concept of sending emails has been around for long enough. While different instant messaging platforms have reduced the average individual’s dependence on emails, they still play an important role in business communication. Besides, when done in the right manner, email marketing holds the potential to increase brand awareness, nurture leads, and improve your company’s bottom line. Given the advantages of email marketing, it comes as no surprise that you may find this tool in the arsenal of most digital marketers.


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    What is Email Marketing?

    Email marketing refers to a type of digital marketing that relies on sending bulk emails to a list of subscribers. You may use this medium to send newsletters or promotional messages to keep your audience posted about what’s happening with your business, the industry it belongs to, and issues that matter. Now, it’s possible to automate an email marketing campaign by using a suitable tool.


    Numerous sources highlight the effectiveness of the first known email marketing campaign. This was when Gary Thuerk, an employee at Digital Equipment Corp., sent an email blast to 400 recipients, promoting his company’s computers. The result – it generated $13 million in sales. Incidentally, the same email also holds the distinction of being the first spam message.


    9 Types of Email Marketing

    Depending on your requirements and goals, you get different types of email marketing campaigns from which to choose. The most common ones include:

    • Welcome emails
    • Follow-up emails
    • Promotional emails
    • Announcement emails
    • Lead nurturing emails
    • Anniversary emails
    • Seasonal emails
    • Survey emails
    • Newsletter emails

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    1. Welcome Emails

    As the name implies, a welcome email campaign welcomes new customers/clients and thanks them for being a part of the brand in question. These emails also encourage consumers to learn more about a brand’s offerings. While you may send welcome emails to people who have purchased /used your products or services, you may also send them to ones who sign up for your newsletter or get in touch with your business.


    2. Follow-Up Emails

    The purpose of a follow-up email campaign is to remind a prospect/customer you have contacted previously about a preceding email or an important event. You may also send follow-up emails to request a response or some form of information. While a follow-up email does not initiate a conversation, it seeks to generate a professional reply from the recipient. In many instances, marketers send follow-up emails after a specific stage in the sales funnel to close deals. These emails should ideally be concise and to the point.


    3. Promotional Emails

    Promotional emails serve the purpose of informing your email list about new or existing offerings with the aim of encouraging your audience to take desired action. You may use them to promote exclusive content, discounts, or special offers. Promotional emails can help create new and repeat customers. While these emails are great for increasing sales, they also work well in driving other forms of conversions, be it scheduling a call, downloading some type of content, or signing up for an event.


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    4. Announcement Emails

    The difference between promotional and announcement emails is that you use the latter to announce something new or inform your audience about a noteworthy change or update in your business. This can be a product launch, an opportunity to place a pre-order, a limited-edition product, or a special event. Announcement emails also come with calls to action (CTAs) that encourage readers to take action.


    5. Lead Nurturing Emails

    An important arrow in the digital marketing quiver, a lead nurturing email campaign raises brand awareness and educates potential customers about its products/services. The goal is to establish trust so customers choose the brand in question. Marketers typically send lead nurturing emails to decision-makers who have shown interest in a product or service but have not made purchases yet.


    Lead nurturing emails can help build relationships and engage with potential customers until they are ready to make purchasing decisions. These emails find a place in email marketing and lead nurturing campaigns alike.


    6. Anniversary Emails

    Anniversary emails are ones you send to individuals or mailing lists to celebrate a special occasion or date. These could be birthdays, wedding anniversaries, brand anniversaries, first-purchase anniversaries, or major life events. Anniversary emails help brands connect with their audience on a personal level, which, in turn, leads to a sense of appreciation and an increase in brand loyalty.


    7. Seasonal Emails

    Seasonal email campaigns come into effect during specific periods, be it the holidays or a change in season. Typically, a seasonal email gives you the opportunity to connect with consumers when they are in the mood to celebrate. This requires that you align your email marketing efforts with seasons, holidays, and, in some cases, even cultural events.

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    While Thanksgiving to Christmas is the most popular period for promotions, it’s also possible to fall back on other holidays to drive traction. The National Retail Federation indicates that the top consumer spending events in the U.S. include:

    • Back-to-College
    • Back-to-School
    • Winter Holidays
    • Mother’s Day
    • Father’s Day
    • Valentine’s Day
    • Easter
    • Graduation
    • Halloween
    • Independence Day
    • Super Bowl
    • Patrick’s Day


    8. Survey Emails

    Survey emails can be very effective in getting feedback and collecting data by requesting information from your audience through the use of surveys or questionnaires. You may choose from different survey delivery methods, wherein respondents may submit their responses via embedded questions or as a reply to your email.


    While you may use survey emails to ask your audience about its experience with your brand and its offerings, you may also use them to collect information about its demographics, interests, needs, and expectations. The data you collect from survey emails can help you make more informed decisions and tweak your strategies, and you may also use it to improve your offerings and the overall user experience.


    9. Newsletter Emails

    Newsletter emails tend to include textual and graphic content in different forms. Digital marketers typically send them to email lists to provide information about new updates and developments as well as tips and guides. These emails work best in educating your audience as opposed to driving conversions. However, you may still use newsletter emails to encourage your audience to take some type of action like checking a new blog post, signing up for an event, or availing an ongoing offer.


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    Advantages of Email Marketing

    The importance of email marketing becomes apparent once you look at the benefits on offer. Consider this – the average consumer is subject to scores of advertisements during the course of a day, from billboards to ads on the TV to social media ads. Email marketing gives you or a digital marketing agency the means to cut through the clutter in an effective way. The advantages of email marketing include:

    • Direct access to your audience. Emails give you the means to communicate with people on your email list directly. For example, when you create an email campaign, you know your emails will reach the intended recipients, as opposed to social media posts where there is no telling who might get to see them.
    • Increased control. Email marketing offers more stability than most other marketing channels. For instance, it gives you significant control over your audience and how you choose to reach out and deliver your message. While other methods like social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) can deliver great results too, they are not in your complete control, because even a small algorithm change can have a negative impact on your strategy.
    • Permission-based. The email list you have comprises email addresses of people who have opted to receive emails from you. When you reach out to people who are already interested in your brand and the products/services it offers, there is an increased likelihood of their engaging with your business.
    • Enhanced personalization. Email marketing gives you the ability to deliver highly targeted and personalized content. Once you customize your emails to meet the interests and needs of individual recipients or segmented groups, you make your message more relevant. Data collated by Campaign Monitor indicates that there’s 26% more possibility of recipients opening emails with personalized subject lines. It also adds that segmented campaigns hold the potential to increase revenue by up to 760%.
    • Time-saving. You may turn to email automation for sending emails to people on your email list when they carry out specific actions. For example, you may send a welcome email after a user registers on your website. Similarly, you may set up an automated email campaign that sends a discount code to people who abandon their shopping carts.
    • Easy to measure success. Measuring the success of an email marketing campaign is easy, all the more so because you get several online tools from which to choose. The four most important metrics to look at include open rate, click-through rate (CTR), unsubscribe rate, and conversion rate. Marketers use the insights they get to tweak their strategies and optimize future campaigns.
    • The cost factor. If you compare the cost involved in email marketing with other types of digital marketing, you’ll notice it requires a small fraction in the form of investment. This is because you may reach out to scores of recipients by spending very little per email. Small and mid-sized businesses stand to benefit greatly from email marketing owing to the affordability factor. In addition, data collated by HubSpot indicates that the return on investment (ROI) for email marketing stands at a commendable $36 per $1 spent.

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    How Do I Start Email Marketing?

    While the internet is awash with guides and tips on email marketing for beginners as well as email marketing templates and email marketing examples, know that you need to understand the nitty-gritty of the process for optimum results. If you decide to go at it on your own, you need to pay attention to different aspects.

    • Define your goals. Start by determining the goal/s you wish to accomplish, which could be building brand awareness, nurturing leads, increasing user engagement, reducing cart abandonment, or driving sales.
    • Select an email service provider. With your goals in place, you need to select a suitable email service provider (ESP) that provides tools to create and manage your email campaigns. Using the right ESP is crucial if you wish to align your spending with your specific requirements. If you’re a small or mid-sized business owner, some of the best email service providers that deserve your attention include HubSpot, Constant Contact, Brevo, Omnisend, and Drip.
    • Build an email list. One way to build an email list is to offer something of value in exchange for email addresses from your target audience. This could be an eBook, access to a webinar, a free sample, or practically anything you feel your audience might find of interest. You may consider using pop-up forms on your website, turning to social media ads that lead to landing pages with opt-in forms, and relying on lead magnets. You also need to keep improving your email list.
    • Identify the type of campaign you wish to use. Since there are different types of email marketing campaigns, you need to select one or more based on your goals and other relevant factors. For example, if you wish to spread word about a product launch, sending a promotional email is the ideal way to go.
    • Create your campaign. Consider using an email marketing tool that offers an intuitive and easy-to-use campaign builder. This takes away the hassle of dealing with HTML code.
    • Mix it up. Don’t use email marketing solely to promote your business. Instead, use it to build connections with your audience by providing insights and tips they find valuable and sharing your expertise.
    • Adhere to the law. It is crucial that you understand and adhere to the CAN-SPAM Act. This law regulates commercial emails and has set various requirements for commercial messaging. Violations can result in stringent penalties.



    As any guide to email marketing will tell you, make sure you treat your subscribers with respect and provide value in one form or the other. Following a schedule is ideal because your audience expects to hear from you at regular intervals. Making sure you optimize your emails for mobile is crucial because a large chunk of the population now uses smartphones to get online. If you find yourself overwhelmed with all that the process entails, consider partnering with a digital marketing agency that specializes in this realm. Then, you may continue to focus on your core expertise.

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