Email marketing 101: Beginner's guide to building successful campaigns
With new email marketing trends and innovations constantly evolving and improving the user experience, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse. Email marketing is currently the channel with the best ROI by far, earning marketers roughly $40 for each $1 spent.
Because of that, email marketing is a channel that has firmly established itself as the go-to place for consumers and retailers alike.
For instance, email marketing automation (essentially, emails triggered when a customer or subscriber performs a certain action or meets a requirement) can bring more than 50% conversions.
Yes, you heard that right—with a simple Welcome email, more than half of your recipients will perform a desired action, including buying something from your store.
Of course, campaigns and other automation you see in the image above (post-purchase, cart abandonment, product abandonment, etc.) are very strong performers as well. And it’s OK if you’re not 100% sure what those are—we’ll be covering all these topics in this ultimate guide to email marketing.
That way, you can have the knowledge and resources you need to make sure that email marketing works for you.
How Does Email Marketing Work?
Simply put, email marketing is the act of sending emails to your subscribers to promote your business.
In the old days, this was usually done haphazardly. Marketers would create a single email and manually blast it out to all of their subscribers at once, hoping that it would be relevant for someone. To make it even worse, these emails were often sent out to random addresses that had been purchased or gathered without permission, filling up people’s inboxes with unwanted junk.
Needless to say, things are different now.
Nowadays, email marketing is taken care of by intuitive software that helps to collect subscribers with their full and legal consent. Marketers now segment these subscribers into highly targeted categories for unique and personalized messaging. They now run, test, and analyze campaigns, using practical data to improve not just performance but also messaging. Marketers now send automated emails triggered by various events such as cart abandonment and post-purchase.
Automation in particular has been a real game-changer in recent times, allowing marketers to easily set up their emails and triggers to earn revenue. Automation workflows are easy to set up and are vital to growing ecommerce sales—they generated an astonishing 29.4% of all email orders in 2020 while accounting for only 1.8% of email sends.
How Can I Start Using Email Marketing?
Getting started with email marketing and creating a strategy might seem intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be.
To make the process easier, we’re going to run through it step by step, providing you with a complete overview of email marketing from start to finish.
All you need to begin with is an online business, a computer, an internet connection, and the motivation to succeed. Then, it’s time to start thinking about the unique needs of your business, and what you ultimately want to achieve with your email marketing efforts.
1. Establish Your Email Marketing Goals
The beauty of email marketing is its versatility. Your ultimate aim will likely be increasing revenue since that’s crucial for helping you scale and grow. Email can certainly help you to achieve this in many ways:
- Creating a brand identity and building relationships: 89% of consumers stay loyal to brands that share their values, so it’s essential that you are able to tell your story. Email marketing allows you to share regular, helpful content like articles, blog posts, videos, and podcasts, so you can connect with your audience on a deeper level and build lasting relationships.
- Upselling and cross-selling: You’ll collect all kinds of useful data from your subscribers, which you can use to recommend products that you know they’re interested in. Showing customers products that are directly relevant to their interests builds customer loyalty and keeps them coming back for more.
- Collecting reviews: Customer reviews give your brand legitimacy and trust, with 94% of consumers saying that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business. You can use email marketing to reach out to customers after they made a purchase, asking them to review their experience.
- Re-engaging customers: Gone are the days when a missed sale was a missed sale forever. With ecommerce email marketing, you can re-engage customers when they haven’t purchased for a while, when they abandon a cart, or even when they checked out a product but didn’t take it any further. Email helps you plug sales funnel leaks that would otherwise result in lost revenue.
2. Find Your Email Marketing Automation Tool
So you’ve thought about your goals and have realistic expectations of what email marketing can do for you—the next step is choosing the right email marketing platform for your business. However, with a huge range of different tools to choose from, this is easier said than done.
While acknowledging that every business will have its unique needs and priorities, we’ve put together a short list of the essentials.
When you’re choosing which email marketing platform to go with, you should have the following features as an absolute minimum:
- Audience segmentation: Seamless, personalized experiences are now a customer expectation. The ability to sort and categorize your audience based on things like demographics, engagement levels, location in the sales funnel, browsing behavior, and much more has become paramount. Look for a provider that offers deep, detailed audience segmentation that’s tailor-made for ecommerce.
- Sign-up forms and list management: Email marketing doesn’t work without subscribers, so your platform should provide the means to build and maintain a healthy subscriber list. This includes things like dynamic sign-up forms, landing pages, list cleaning services, and easy unsubscribes.
- An intuitive email editor: You’ll want to quickly build beautiful, attractive emails, so an easy-to-use email editor is a must. Look for drag-and-drop functionality, high-definition photo editing, and a large variety of time-saving, pre-built templates that you can quickly modify with your own content and branding. Make sure that you can preview your emails before sending, and that your most popular designs are automatically saved for future use.
- Automated workflows: If email marketing is a car, email automation is a Ferrari. Automated emails drive your revenue on autopilot and can welcome customers, re-engage them with relevant offers, and confirm their orders. You can even use them to wish your subscribers a happy birthday! Needless to say, automation is absolutely essential for online businesses that wish to stay relevant, so make sure your provider offers a wide range of pre-built and custom automated workflows.
- A/B testing: With A/B testing, you can send different samples of emails to a small percentage of your subscribers to see which one performed best. This way, you can optimize your email campaigns so only the most eye-catching and popular subject lines, sender’s name, copy, images, and more are sent to the bulk of your audience.
- Reporting and analytics: You need to know exactly what’s working and what needs to be optimized in your email marketing, so detailed, real-time reports are essential. You should be able to zoom out to see the bigger picture in terms of ROI, and zoom back in to check the performance of individual campaigns and automations. You’ll want to build detailed customer profiles so you can better understand each individual that visits your store.
3. Build an Email List
The beauty of email marketing is that it’s an opt-in channel. Because subscribers must actively decide to accept your marketing, this channel should not only respect their privacy but also comply with data laws such as the GDPR. This ensures that your well-crafted emails are only sent to people who are happy to receive them.
Of course, this creates the added challenge of building a well-stocked, healthy email list full of interested and engaged subscribers. Let’s look at a few excellent ways of doing just that, starting with a golden rule.
Never Buy an Email List
We get it, you want to build an audience fast and have plenty of potential customers to share your news and amazing products with. However, you should never, ever, succumb to temptation and buy an email list.
There are plenty of questionable sites online offering ‘quality’ ready-made email lists that promise to be ideal for your business, but they are almost always bound to fail.
Firstly, you are violating privacy laws and risk the expensive consequences of that. Secondly, you’re sending unsolicited emails to people who haven’t shown an interest in your brand, which is likely to annoy them and send you to the spam folder. This can damage your sender’s reputation, which determines whether more of your future emails end up in spam or not.
Save your money and focus instead on building your email list ethically and organically. It’s not a quick fix, but you’ll reap the rewards with loyal and engaged subscribers who actually want to hear from you.
Keep Your List Clean
A healthy list is one that’s free of inactive, invalid, and duplicate email addresses. Sending emails to bad addresses risks increasing your bounce rate and ultimately damaging your sender reputation. Take care to practice good list management and give your list a regular clean. Your email marketing platform should offer a tool for taking care of this and keeping you out of the spam folder.
You can also help your subscribers to take care of their own preferences by letting them manage their subscriptions. With ‘receiving too many emails’ being a major reason for unsubscribing from an email list, having the easy option to limit emails to, say, once a week, allows subscribers to find a level of communication that’s comfortable for them.
It’s also important to make unsubscribing an easy task, as counterintuitive as it may seem at first. Nobody wants to lose a potential customer!
However, rather than trying to hang on to uninterested subscribers and risking a trip to the spam, you’re better off by simply respecting their wishes and letting them go with the minimum of fuss. Concentrate on your happy and engaged subscribers instead.
Collect Contacts With Dynamic Sign-up Forms
There are a variety of different sign-up forms that you can use on your website, social media, or other channels to make it easy and attractive for people to join your list.
The classic, static sign-up form is offered as standard by most email service providers, and usually features a field for an email address, perhaps a phone number for SMS marketing, and a call-to-action (CTA) to “Sign Up Now.” These can be effective and are always recommended, but with a conversion rate of just 1.28%, they should be supplemented with other, more active and dynamic sign-up forms such as:
Despite a reputation for being irritating and intrusive, pop-ups have come a long way in recent years. Today, they are much more sophisticated and can be timed to appear discreetly after a certain number of clicks, seconds spent on a specific page, or any other predetermined trigger event.
One of the most popular and effective pop-ups is the exit-intent pop-up, which only appears when a user is about to exit the page or site. This is better for the user, who has had time to browse at their leisure without interruption, delivering positive results for you too. In fact, pop-ups deliver a significant increase in conversions compared to static forms, coming in at a solid 4.22% conversion rate.
Interactive sign-up forms
Engaging, memorable, and with the potential to win incentives like discounts and freebies, interactive sign-up forms are increasingly popular with consumers and retailers alike.
A perfect example is the Wheel of Fortune, which users can spin to win one of a variety of rewards in return for a subscription. The element of gamification brings a real sense of fun to the sign-up process, and this is reflected in a significantly increased conversion rate of 12.74%.
The most direct way to guide users to sign up is through a dedicated landing page. These are especially useful when you are running a social media or Google ad sign-up campaign. Rather than directing users to your website where they can easily get lost or distracted, direct them to a focused landing page with a clear CTA and easy, no fuss fields for signing up.
Landing pages based on a clear campaign goal and offering an incentive (free shipping with the first order, for example) have the best conversion rate of all, boasting an impressive 24.82%.
You can use either one or a combination of these signup forms as part of your list-building strategy. But just be mindful not to bombard your visitors with too many forms at once.
4. Build Your First Email Campaign
So you’ve put together a thriving email list in an organic way, and you have an engaged audience for your email marketing. Congratulations!
Now it’s time to put your first campaign together. In this section, we’re going to discuss how to create compelling and attractive emails, segment your audience for targeted, personalized messaging, schedule the right timing and frequency of your emails, test them for popularity and effectiveness, and analyze the performance of your campaign.
Ready? Great! Let’s start from the beginning.
Design Your Email
We receive an abundance of emails in our inboxes every single day, to the point that it can become quite tiring to look through them all.
Your email campaigns, as special as they may be, are only adding to this chatter. It’s vitally important to make them stand out from the crowd and demand attention. Of course, that’s easier said than done, so let’s look at a few critical design components.
An eye-catching subject line
You have to make sure that your emails are being opened in the first place and your subject line is one of (if not the most) important aspects of your entire campaign.
Aim to make your subject lines concise, urgent, and attention-grabbing, without spammy mannerisms like ALL CAPS and excessive exclamation marks. Put your most important info at the front of the subject line, pique the reader’s interest with a question, and don’t be afraid to use emojis if they suit your brand personality.
An easy-to-read layout
Your email provider should offer a variety of templates to choose from, which you can drag and drop your content and branding into. It’s always best to keep your layout simple, scannable, and limited to no more than 3 columns.
Be consistent with your various sections, keep them well-defined and of similar lengths to keep everything nicely aligned. Use your layout to draw attention to your most important information with spacing and headers.
Remember that many of your subscribers will read your email on a mobile device, so make sure that your email is fully optimized for mobile and has an easy, scrollable format.
High-quality images and branding
Beautiful, high-definition photos and a great logo give your emails a polished, professional look that is nourishment for a subscriber’s eyes after the monotony of everyday messages.
We find that emails with a “hero” image at the top always look the most attractive, with your key message and CTA included above the fold. If you’re displaying products, keep all your images of a consistent size and style, and make sure that they are well aligned.
Your email provider should have a built-in Image Editor to help you adjust your images while designing your email.
Brief, but compelling copy
Keep your copy brief and to the point, with the most important info at the top of the email and clear, well-defined CTA buttons strategically placed throughout.
Use active, conversational language that avoids too much detail or jargon. If more in-depth information is useful, include links to other resources which readers can click on at their own discretion. Don’t forget to use an email-safe font type, which is important for not only text readability and reader perception, but your brand identity and aesthetics too.
A professional header and footer
Often overlooked in the design process, clear and well-thought-out headers and footers are vital to the overall look and navigability of your email. Keep these sections consistent throughout all of your email messages, as they should become a familiar, signature feature of your brand.
In your header, place your logo prominently and experiment with a menu bar, your brand story, or perhaps a link to a campaign-focused landing page. The less clutter the better here—you want your logo to be the main focus.
Your footer is more functional and should contain things like terms and conditions, social media links, an unsubscribe button, privacy and returns policy, FAQs, contact info, and so on. You can still make your footer aesthetically pleasing though, just keep your sections of a consistent length and experiment with various visuals and icons to catch the eye.
Segment Your Audience
Your subscribers are all different people, with different interests and motivations, and are at different levels of interaction with your business.
For example, would you send the same email to a 55-year-old man, who has only just signed up to your list, as you would to a 25-year-old woman who has been a loyal customer for the past 3 years?
You probably wouldn’t.
This is where segmentation, which involves splitting your audience into smaller lists based on a variety of criteria, becomes so important.
Segmentation has a range of benefits, from increased engagement and customer loyalty to fewer unsubscribes and trips to the spam folder. This makes sense, as you are sending messages that are tailor-made to your subscribers’ needs and interests, so they are much more likely to respond to them. The more detailed and specific your segments are, the more targeted and effective your messages will be.
Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, with the right email marketing platform it’s actually very easy to do—you simply set your rules and the rest is taken care of for you. Let’s have a look at a few basic ways to segment your audience, to get the ball rolling.
- Behavior: This is all about what a customer does while on your site, whether it be their browsing habits, responses to various links, pop-ups or other promotions, or simply the kind of items they choose to purchase. Keeping track of a customer’s behavior (your email marketing platform can do this with the help of tags) allows you to segment users based on things like interests, loyalty, engagement, and occasion (for example, they visit specifically around sales periods or Father’s Day).
- Location: Breaking down your audience by country, region, city, or even ZIP code can help you focus your marketing on areas where your customers tend to be concentrated, as well as adjust your promotions based on the seasons. For example, if you sell clothing, your Christmas offers and recommendations for customers in New York are going to be very different than for those in Sydney!
- Personality/lifestyle: You can group subscribers based on psychographic traits such as values, attitudes, motivations, and hobbies. For example, if a customer is browsing health supplements and yoga accessories on your site, you can place them in a health-conscious segment that receives educational content on things like nutrition, as well as special deals on fitness-related products. Also, if your business has a particular set of ethics or values (a commitment to Fair Trade practices, for example), this is also an opportunity to engage in cause marketing. Here, you can segment the subscribers who have shown an interest in your story and invite them to engage with your cause through things like volunteer programs, fundraisers, educational programs, and so on.
- Demographics: Group your subscribers into universal traits such as age group, gender, profession, income, family, marital status, etc. For example, if you sell stationery supplies, you could create a segment of subscribers that have children and offer special deals at the start of the school year. We recommend segmenting your audience by demographics first and then narrow down into location, personality, and behavior from there.
Personalization is the natural outcome of segmentation—you’ve narrowed your audience down to send the right messages to the right customers. However, personalization doesn’t stop there. You can use the data that you’ve collected from your subscribers to send them even more engaging emails, with the help of things like:
- Personalized recommendations: With customers 2.6x more likely to buy items that are recommended based on their purchase history, this is a no-brainer. Advanced email marketing platforms like Omnisend can automatically add personalized recommendations into your emails, using historical purchase data to predict the products that are most likely to be bought by each individual customer. This shows your subscribers that you are aware of and attentive to their needs and interests, making them not only more likely to make a purchase but to remain loyal customers too.
- Splits: Omnisend also offers a splits feature, which allows you to easily send your audience down different messaging paths based on different criteria, all within the same automation workflow. This is made possible by leveraging customer data such as browsing and purchase behavior to customize your emails and send hyper-personalized messages that are more relevant, engaging, and likely to lead to conversion.
Schedule Your Email Timing and Frequency
When it comes to promotional email campaigns for small businesses, timing is everything. Think about your own shopping preferences—are you more likely to be open to offers early in the month, or soon after payday? Do you check emails on the weekend, or is it more of an ‘at work only’ kind of thing? How is your general mood on a Thursday or Friday compared to, say, a Monday?
All of these things contribute to the chances of your emails being opened, read, and acted upon, so it’s important to create a sending schedule that optimizes your chances of conversion. According to studies by Omnisend, the following frequency and times are key for your email schedule:
- Sending email campaigns once or twice a week is the best frequency for better sales, but it’s wise to monitor your engagement and performance and adjust accordingly.
- Thursday is the best day to send promotional emails, the second-best is Tuesday. On the other hand, the worst day for your campaigns is Monday, with the second-worst going to Saturday.
- Sending promotional campaigns around workday schedules provides the best results. The hour with the highest open rate is 8 am, but the best order rates come from campaigns sent around 4 pm. Overall, the optimum time to send your emails is 1 pm, when people are on their lunch breaks, with this hour showing good results in both opens and conversions.
Of course, your specific type of audience will have its own optimum times, so use these as a guide only. If your ideal customer is a woman in her early 20s, sending your emails at 10 pm might not be such a bad idea! If you understand your target audience best, make an email schedule that caters to their specific habits and routines.
For example, many best practices say that sending campaigns on a Sunday will result in poor engagement. But INGLOT Canada found the opposite was true—customers were more relaxed, browsed for longer periods of time, and purchased more on Sundays.
It’s about finding what’s right for your customers and your brand.
A/B Test Your Marketing Emails
A thorough testing routine is key to finding out what resonates best with your audience, and the easiest and most effective way to do this is via A/B testing.
The premise is simple—you simply send two different versions (version A and version B) of a subject line, your content, the timing of your emails, etc., to a small percentage of your subscribers. The version that gets the highest levels of engagement (clicks, opens, conversions, etc.) is then automatically sent to the rest of your audience, giving you the best chance of success.
The more often you A/B test, the better you will get to know your audience and the more relevant and personal emails you’ll be able to deliver to them.
Let’s take a look at some great places to start with your email marketing A/B testing:
- Subject lines: Your subject lines are central to the success of your email campaigns—if they are not capturing your audience’s imagination, then all your hard work in creating beautiful emails will be for nothing. Test different kinds of subject lines to find which attracts the highest open rates, including variations with emojis, dollar and percentage discounts, with limited time offers, and even a different sender’s name (personal vs. business name).
- CTAs: Your calls to action direct your subscribers to the central premise of your campaign, whether it be a special product on sale, an event you are promoting, a loyalty program, or something else. Your CTA button should be prominent and engaging with short, persuasive copy that makes clicking on them a natural consequence. Take the time to test different CTA buttons with various sizes, color combinations, fonts, and copy to find which one grabs the most attention.
- Your abandoned cart messages: Moving into automated emails (more on these in the next section), it’s also possible to A/B test a variety of metrics in workflows like Welcome Series and Abandoned Carts. For example, if you’ve set up an abandoned cart email to send when a customer leaves your shop without completing their purchase, you can find out what works best to bring them back. Test the delay (anywhere between 30 mins and 2 hours after the user has abandoned their cart), the kind of incentives offered, or even whether an SMS as the second or third message is an effective option.
Note: you should treat A/B testing using the scientific method. Only test one variable that influences a certain metric at a time. For example, if you test both a variant subject line and sender’s name at the same time, you can’t be sure which was really responsible for a higher or lower open rate.
These are just a small selection of the many metrics that you can A/B test throughout your email campaigns. Check your email marketing platform for its A/B testing capabilities and make full use of this essential tool.
Analyze and Measure Your Email Campaign Performance
You can’t improve what you don’t measure, so a powerful analytics tool, custom-made for ecommerce, is a must.
You should be able to collect, store, analyze, and easily visualize your email campaign data in real-time, so you can see exactly which tactics are working, and which areas of your strategy could still use a little work.
Let’s look at a few key metrics that you should be looking for when measuring the success of your email marketing campaign:
The simplest but most revealing of all is your open rates. The name says it all—this is simply the percentage of your emails that your subscribers took the time to open and check out.
You should lean into this rate now, because with the release of iOS 15, opens rate will become irrelevant.
However, while you still have access to reliable open rates, you should be working to get your open rates as high as possible. This involves creating a killer subject line, choosing the best possible time and day to send, and keeping your email list clean and focused on engaged contacts only.
A properly segmented list will also do wonders for your open rates, as you are tailoring your campaigns according to the needs and behavior of certain subscribers.
This shows you how many subscribers clicked on at least one link in your email, and helps you to gauge how interesting your content was for your audience. Omnisend provides you with a click map in your campaign report, so you can see exactly which areas of your email are receiving the most attention.
Are users reading your copy? Clicking on your CTAs? Navigating to your website via links? All of these questions can be answered, helping you to better design and optimize your emails with time.
In email marketing, your conversion rates usually refer to the number of sales made from the particular campaign, divided by emails sent and multiplied by 100.
For example, if you sent a campaign to 10,000 subscribers and it generated 21 orders, you simply calculate 21÷10,000 x 100 = 0.21%. This is your conversion rate. With the average conversion rate of promotional emails coming in at around 0.2%, you should be looking to significantly better this using the techniques described in this article.
Note that another popular conversion rate in email marketing refers to email sign-up rates, which average at around 2%. That means only 2% of all website visitors enter their email addresses to get on your mailing list, another number that you should be looking to easily surpass.
This measures the total gains from an investment in email marketing versus how much time and resources were spent on it.
One of the big benefits of email marketing is its incredibly high average ROI, especially if you have a small team and a powerful email marketing tool. For example, if you earned $20,500 over the last month, and you paid a $228 monthly fee for Omnisend, simply subtract 228 from 20,500 and times it by 228.
This means that for every dollar spent on Omnisend, you earned $88.90, or an ROI of 8,891%.
Bounce and spam rates
In email marketing, your bounce rate refers to the number of emails that failed to reach their destination. This could be for any one of a number of reasons, including email addresses that no longer exist, inboxes full, mistyped addresses, and more.
The average bounce rate for ecommerce is 0.5%, so don’t worry if you’re getting a few bounces here and there, it’s normal. However, a bounce rate over 4% shows real problems with your contact list, and can even damage your sender’s reputation. Another reason why it’s so important to keep your list clean and healthy! (See above for more info on this).
Your spam rates are even more worrisome, they show an active conflict with your subscribers who think that your emails are so irrelevant that they belong in the trash. If your spam rates start to rise, change your strategy to send fewer emails.
Also, you can let people know what to expect from your future emails, and keep your list clean of unengaged contacts. It’s better to have fewer, but more engaged subscribers than many more uninterested ones.
5. Use Email Automation Workflows
Email automation workflows are essential in today’s competitive ecommerce environment, allowing you to capture revenue that would otherwise slip through the cracks.
Your stand-alone email campaigns are great for one-off promotions and keeping your subscribers engaged and up-to-date, but they should always be supplemented by workflows like abandoned carts, welcome series, transactional emails, and more.
Merchants have recognized the value of email automation workflows and are turning to them in increasing numbers. However, according to HubSpot, only 20% of marketers are currently using automated email marketing campaigns, giving you a great chance to get ahead of the competition and establish yourself as a front-runner in your niche.
Email automation workflows are trigger-based emails that are automatically sent in response to a predetermined event. They are easy to create, and once set they can drive your revenue on autopilot, never missing an opportunity to re-engage your customers with personalized messaging.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and effective email automation workflows:
The welcome series is triggered when a new subscriber signs up to your list. This is your chance to make a great first impression while taking advantage of the time when your subscriber’s interest in your brand is at its highest.
Welcome workflows are usually sent in a series of 3-5 emails and include things like your brand story, personalized recommendations, your best-sellers, and perhaps a generous discount on a first purchase as a thank you for signing up.
Omnisend statistics show welcome series workflows as the most essential and effective email automation workflow, with impressive conversion rates of 51.94% in 2020, and consistently high open and click rates.
Puzzle retailer Jiggy is a great example of this, earning an impressive 64% of their entire email revenue from a compelling 3-part welcome series.
Another high-performing email automation workflow is abandoned cart workflows, which are sent when a visitor leaves your site with an item still in their carts.
These are typically sent in a series of 3 emails, with the first within 1 hour of the event, the second within 12 hours, and the third within 24 hours. You can include personalized recommendations in your cart abandonment emails, as well as an incentive on the second or third email to sweeten the deal and close the sale.
With conversion rates of 33.89% in 2020, this automation workflow is an incredibly effective way to win back lost sales.
Birthday emails are a great way to show personal attention and care to your subscribers, and can easily be set up to send automatically on their special days.
Consider adding a ‘Date of Birth’ box in your dynamic sign-up forms, so you can use this effective and endearing automation, which boasts an impressive 31.24% open rate, 23.90% click rate, and 10.58% conversion rate.
Your birthday email should be colorful, positive, and contain a generous gift such as a discount or free shipping—this is a great chance to make a memorable impression!
Other email automation workflows include browse and product abandonment (triggered when a customer has checked out a certain page or product but didn’t make a purchase), transactional emails (order confirmation and shipping information), and re-engagement emails that send when a customer hasn’t visited your store for a specified period of time.
Check your email marketing platform for its automation capabilities, and start setting up your email automation workflows today!
6. Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t worry, making mistakes in email marketing is a fact of life and a valuable part of the learning process. That said, there’s no need to make these easily avoidable mistakes that we’ve identified through our years of experience working on email marketing with digital marketers from around the world.
Getting things wrong can lead to unsubscribes, poor deliverability, and a loss of trust in your brand, so let’s take a look at some of the most common things to avoid on your email marketing campaigns:
- Neglecting your subject line: We’ve already mentioned why the subject line is so important—its effectiveness is the key to your entire campaign. Make sure you keep it short and sweet (around 7 short, proactive words is a good guide), go easy on the CAPS and exclamation points, and avoid clickbait text. Always A/B test your subject lines to find out which resonate best with your audience.
- Not segmenting your audience: The days of one-size-fits-all emails are over, and you need to carefully segment your audience into smaller categories for more targeted and relevant messaging. The consequences of not doing this include things like low open rates, unsubscribes, and even a trip to the dreaded spam folder.
- Sending too many emails: “Receiving too many emails” is a common reason for people to decide to unsubscribe from an email list. Only send your emails that carry true value, and keep your sending schedule consistent. Also, remember to allow your subscribers to manage their subscriptions, so they can choose their preferred frequency themselves.
- Sending too much info at once: If you can’t get your point across quickly and clearly, reevaluate the content of your email. Keep your layout simple and easy to navigate, avoiding clutter and hard-to-find CTAs, and set a clear theme and goal for your email. What do you want your subscribers to do next? Make this next step the focus of your email with bright, well-placed CTAs that naturally become the center of the reader’s attention.
- Forgetting mobile users: With more and more consumers doing their shopping from a mobile device, it is extremely important to make sure your store is optimized for mobile viewing. Luckily, the best email marketing platforms will provide responsive email design which will automatically optimize your text and various blocks for mobile devices. However, you still need to check that your images and text are an appropriate size for mobile viewing, and ensure that your text is accessible in a comfortable scroll. Always test your emails on your own mobile device before sending your campaign, to ensure the best possible mobile experience.
- Failing to analyze your campaigns: It’s vital to keep track of your key email deliverability metrics to find out what you’re doing right and capture any problems before they begin to do real damage. Always keep a close eye on your open, click, conversion, bounce, and unsubscribe rates, and be prepared to take action when they begin to fall below your targets.
We recommend going through this checklist before each campaign to make sure that all your bases are covered, and you’re not making any of these common email marketing mistakes.
7. Email Marketing Benefits
You’re probably well aware by now that email marketing delivers vast and tangible benefits. Not only is it the channel with the highest ROI, but its permission-based nature makes it an ethical and attractive channel for customers who have already proven their interest by voluntarily signing up.
Recent improvements in automation and audience segmentation have taken email marketing far away from the random, hit-and-hope blasts of yesteryear. Consumers can now expect relevant, personalized messaging that can cater to their specific needs and interests, leading to increased customer loyalty and more repeat sales for the retailer.
Automated emails are cheap (wherever in the world your customers are), easy to set up, and deliver immediate results (even while you sleep!) leading to increased engagement and a seamless, omnichannel experience that would be impossible to deliver manually.
Now, you can welcome newcomers, facilitate purchases, and re-engage lapsed customers on autopilot, driving increased revenue and saving huge amounts of time and resources on marketing activities.
8. Email Marketing Benchmarks
So your email marketing results are pretty good so far, you’ve implemented all of the practices outlined in this article and you are enjoying a good return on investment. But how do you know how your results are stacking up against industry norms?
In this final section, we’re going to take a brief look at the benchmarks in email marketing, which Omnisend has established by analyzing over 10 billion email messages. If you’re ahead of the average, you’ve got a solid foundation and a good base from which to grow even more. If you’re behind, then it’s clear which areas of your strategy you need to focus on.
According to Omnisend studies, email marketing campaigns had average conversion rates of 6.49% over 2020. However, for vital ecommerce days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, these rates rise to 11.98% and 12.29% respectively, reinforcing the need to get your holiday sales right.
In terms of open rates, email marketing campaigns attracted an average 10.16% opens, with click rates finishing 2020 with a respectable 13.15%.
These figures suggest that the pandemic and the increased trends toward home shopping has reinforced email marketing as a trusted opt-in channel, with the results largely improving year-over-year.
Finally, we turn to email automation workflows. Email automation is the star of email marketing, currently generating a staggering 29.4% of all email orders from just 1.8% of email sends.
Omnisend’s latest Ecommerce Statistics Report shows the following benchmarks for email automation open, click, and conversion rates:
These figures are truly impressive and do set high goals to achieve. However, with the right strategy and tools at your disposal, these benchmarks should be within your reach as you develop and grow your email marketing capabilities.
We hope that you’ve found this guide informative and useful as you embark on a fruitful and engaging email marketing journey. Feel free to refer back to this guide at any point, and use the links that we’ve provided to immerse yourself deeper into the details where necessary.
To get started on the right foot, you can start using Omnisend for free. Featuring all the tools outlined in this article and more, Omnisend can deliver the impressive ROI that you should expect from your email marketing, without the added workload. With no credit card required and 14 days absolutely free, why not give it a try and start creating profitable campaigns and automations today!