Home / Email Marketing / The 2016 Guide to Email Marketing

The 2016 Guide to Email Marketing

Email marketing is a hot term that has been circulating around the web for some time now. While hearing about it, you have likely asked yourself what email marketing is and whether it will serve a purpose in your own marketing campaigns.

Fortunately, email marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy that is worth implementing in your next campaign. According to Sales Force, 64% of respondents said they open an email because of the subject line.


More significantly, Sales Force also explains 56% of businesses say they plan to increase their use of email marketing in the coming years.

Taking these statistics into consideration, it is evident that email marketing is making an impact and a significant one at that. Rather than falter behind your competition, it’s time to develop your own email marketing campaign. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of email marketing and the best strategies for incorporating it.

What is Email Marketing?

Before delving into what you can do to jump start your email marketing campaign, it is important to cover what email marketing is and how it can be of use to your brand.

As SearchCRM helpfully explains, “Direct email marketing is a format for email-based campaigns in which standalone advertisements are sent to a targeted list of recipients. The messages, which may be text, HTML, or rich media, look like web-based ads rather than typical email messages.”

While the above definition is certain thorough, let’s break it down. The better of an understanding you have of the individual components of a definition, the more successful you will be in understanding the concept as a whole. Essentially, what SearchCRM and other web sources are referring to is the process of developing an email based marketing campaign. The marketing campaign includes sending different types of media to the email recipients, media which includes text, advertisements, or rich media. For those who are unaware, rich media is a digital advertisement that can come in the form of video or audio.

For a more successful email marketing campaign, you will find that adding various types of media to your campaign and altering the form of the media is the best route to go.

Now that we have a conceptual overview of what email marketing is, let’s analyze what it is in the form of a marketing strategy. Many marketing professionals have a tendency to send out random email communications that are not only ill-organized and not well thought out, but they also lack the effective keynotes that turn an email into an effective marketing tool.

Email Monday points out that an email marketing strategy is more than sending out emails. A strategy allows you to ask:

  • What are your marketing goals?
  • How are you going to achieve your marketing goals through email marketing?
  • What are your tactics?
  • How are you going to deliver on those tactics?

By thinking about and answering the above questions, you will be able to better assess the purpose of your email marketing campaign and how you will fulfill your goals.

Finally, a third prong of the email marketing issue is to cover the purpose of the strategy. According to Pure360, there are numerous advantages of adopting an email marketing strategy and the sooner you get started, the more your brand will get to reap the reward.

Here are some of the main reasons to adopt an email marketing strategy for 2016:

  • Email Marketing is Low Cost. The cost of your advertising and marketing campaign is going to vary depending upon the medium that you are using. According to Chron, the cost of a campaign will usually amount to about 5%-7% of your sales. After looking at your own sales figures, you will find the final cost to be quite high. If you are looking to cut costs but to increase effectiveness, then email marketing is an apt option. The most substantial cost that you may incur with this strategy is the development of advertisements by a professional, if you choose to go that route.


  • A Targeted Approach. Email marketing, unlike many other forms of marketing, is truly a direct and targeted way to reach out to your customers. In terms of targeting your prospects and leads, you are also able to send more personalized and targeted advertisements for better results.


  • Cultivate Impulse Buying. Email marketing allows you to truly use your creative aptitude. One way that many marketing professionals have taken advantage of email marketing is by using it as a method to cultivate impulse buying. With the click of a button, your email recipient can view a new product or service, read about how great it is, and click on that “buy now” button. These impulse buys not only draw your new customer in, but they also may lead to larger and more substantial future buys.


  • Email Marketing is Easy. Once you have decided upon a group of strategies that you want to implement in your campaign, the process of email marketing and creating a campaign is quite easy. The challenges arise when you try to create an overtly complicated campaign or one that is very visually appealing. While these complications are not always warranted, they do lead to some great results and may even be worth the investment.


  • Emails Can Be Shared. Another great point about email marketing campaigns is that the email content can be shared. This means that when you send out email marketing campaigns, your recipients can send the email to their friends and family, thereby increasing the visibility of your campaign. In addition to increasing visibility, since the emails are shared with individuals that trust the recipient, they will be taken more seriously by the new recipient.


  • A Higher Rate of Return. Every marketing professional cares about the rate of return of a marketing campaign. The good news is that when it comes to email marketing, the Direct Marketing Association estimated that email marketing has a return of about $80 for every $2 invested. Compared to other platforms, email marketing campaigns have an extremely high rate of return. Coupled with the ease and other benefits, there is no reason you should not be using email marketing in your own marketing efforts.


Now that we have covered the most important preliminary information, let’s take a look at what your email marketing campaign should actually entail.

Every Great Email Marketing Campaign Starts with a List

The fact of the matter is, without an extensive and through email marketing list, your email marketing campaign is useless. For an email marketing campaign to be effective, you need a quality list on your side. If you are at odds on how to build your email marketing list, then luckily there are some easy strategies that you can use to achieve your goals.

As Kissmetrics points out, the first way to attain interested recipients to your email list is to use your web content. Many marketing professionals generate content, but forget to add the device that can make a world of difference: the-opt in form. The opt-in form is a powerful tool that allows you to offer your reader the opportunity to receive future content from you. Users who subscribe to your email list will receive updates on your content, thereby improving your brand’s visibility throughout the web. A simple opt-in form looks like this:


As you can tell, the above opt-in form is simple, clean, and it proposes that the viewer provide the necessary information to attain content in the future. To improve the user’s comfort level, you can also add that your brand protects its user’s privacy.

Experian suggests a different approach, but in all honestly, you can use the following approach with all of your other strategies. If your brand sells stuff to consumers, you can use your point of sale to your advantage. At your point of sale, simply prompt the user to enter their email address. When offering the user to enter their email address, explain the advantages of the email program, how frequently they can expect content, and also suggest reviewing the email address entered to ensure they are providing correct information. With this approach, you are not simply gathered prospects, but current customers.

Lastly, another strategy worth implementing is to use social media. Once you present content on social media and show your followers what you have to offer, you can leverage those followers by asking them to opt-in to your email marketing list. As HubSpot mentions, some of the most effective social media platforms include Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In particular, if you are using Pinterest, you can promote offers by requiring users to sign up for your emails. This way, your user will get what is being offered and in return, you will gain by attaining a new addition to your mailing list.

Aside from the above three options, there are many other list building strategies. However, focusing on a select few is the best way to go. With a few tactics on the table, you will be able to give the most attention to the task at hand.

Segment Your Email List

Once you have developed an email list comprised of users who are interested in your brand, the next step is to start segmenting your list. Segmentation is a crucial step that more and more companies are starting to take advantage of. MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report estimates that an increasing percentage of marketers are segmenting their email databases in the coming years. For most marketing professionals, segmentation is a budding focus.


The segmentation process starts with recognizing that not all of the users on your email list are the same. Users have different expectations, needs, and desires, qualities of which create a buyer persona. As HubSpot mentions, another point to consider is that those on your email list are in different parts of the buying process. As a result of this factor and the buyer persona factors, you should be dividing up on your users into groups that correspond to their position in the buying process and by their buying persona. By doing this, you will be able to create better email marketing campaigns that specifically target users.

For the most effective results, you can segment your email list through the following categories too:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Industry
  • Job function
  • Past purchases
  • Buying frequency

Now that you have segmented your email list into the most relevant categories, you can move onto the next stage of the email marketing campaign.

Personalize Messages

According to Marketing Land, “personalized emails deliver 6 times higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them.” Email personalization is a tricky field for most marketing professionals, especially because many are unsure of how to personalize well.

Personalization doesn’t need to be suck a tricky area. Kissmetrics explains that there are a few email personalization techniques that make the process easier. Here are a few of the best personalization strategies for your email marketing campaign:

  • The Right Questions. One of the easiest ways to personalize your next set of emails to your customers for your email marketing campaign is to first as your subscribers the right questions. For example, you may want to ask why they are visiting your website, what they are looking for, or what they get out of your brand. By verifying this information, you will be able to create an email that incorporates their preferences and interests, thereby leading to a more effective email.


  • Send at the Right Time. Another way to personalize your emails is to send them at the right time and to be location specific. To find the optimal time and location based emails to send to your users, you should conduct an A/B test. After finding the right formula for this prong, you will be able to improve your click-through rate.


  • Special Events. Hopefully when you asked users to sign up for your email list you also got a bit more information about your user, such as their birth date. It’s extremely easy to personalize your emails when there is a special event taking place. For example, you should send your user a happy birthday email and suggest to them a few items that they may want to look at. This could also be a chance to offer a small promotional item to draw them into your website or store.


Mobile Optimization

You have likely had an experience where you opened up an email on your mobile device, but were unable to read the email properly or see the video or images displayed. This type of experience is not only frustrating, it is also inconvenient and a drain on marketing resources.

There is a big difference between emails that are mobile optimized, and those that are not – just take a look below.



As you can tell, emails that are optimized for mobile are not only easier to read, but they look better and they allow the users to click on links and view material much more easily. When your emails are optimized, your users are more likely to stay on the email and to utilize the content that you are sending to them.

Add Incentives to Your Emails

Buyers love promotions, gifts, and other items that incentivize them to click or download a piece of content from your brand. As Forbes points out, not enough small businesses utilize the incentive approach and there really is no good reason not to.

If you have decided to use the incentive approach in your email marketing campaign, then there are a number of tactics that you can employ to make it more effective.

The first option is to present to the buyer a number of goods and services that they may want to purchase. Around the suggested items to purchase, your email should contain a coupon or some sort of discount for the buyer. Upon seeing the items and the discount together, the recipient of the email will feel more inclined to make a purchase.

The second option that you may want to take advantage of is to use the promotional code approach. For most marketing professionals, the promotional code approach may be better because in addition to giving the recipient an incentive to buy, it also increases your brand’s visibility. The promotional code approach requires your user to share a link about your product or service on their social media page. Once they share a certain link that you designate, they receive a promotional code that they can use when making a purchase on your site.

An Effective Subject Line

According to the ClickZ, 33% of email recipients choose to open an email because of the email subject line. As you can tell, what you include in your email subject line has a strong influence on whether the recipient opens the email.

While there really is no easy way to figure out which subject lines work best, most marketing professional will simply try sending two groups of recipients the same emails with different subject lines. As HubSpot mentions, the best email subject lines are those that are short, concise, and warm. Users are much less likely to click on an email when the subject line is boring, dry, and robotic.

In addition to the above qualities, you can also personalize your subject line with the recipient’s name and give the recipient a preview of what the email contains. In many instances, creating a sense of urgency also has effective results. Urgency can be created by giving the recipient a sense that your email contains a temporary offer or that there is a worthwhile promotion that they must take advantage of. By creating highly effective subject lines, you will find your click-through rate increase substantially.

Optimize Your Call to Action

The call to action is a reoccurring feature in the world of marketing. Sometimes, it’s best to keep the amount of text to a minimum, all the while enhancing your call to action. According to MarketingLand, your call to action should provide the recipient with information about the value and direction of your brand. For example, by presenting information the type of value your user can gain from choosing your brand, the user will feel more inclined to click. Another technique that you should use in regard to your call to action is to repeat your call to action at various points of your email.

Like MarketingLand, Vero has a few other suggestions that may come of use. As Vero mentions, when developing your call to action, there are a number of key words that you should use, in opposition to other words. Instead of pushing your email recipient to commit to your brand, your call to action should include phrase such as “check out offer details,” or “see what we have to offer.” By using non-committal phrases that are simple and easy, your user will feel like pressed to take advantage of the brand.


Use Visuals in Your Emails

Finally, while you should certain make your emails as simple and as to the point as possible, images can be an attractive way to enhance the appeal of your email marketing campaign. As Visually Blog mentions, more email marketing professionals are starting to use visuals in their emails to improve results.

When using visuals in your emails, you may want to remember the statistic that says that 90% of information received by users is visual information. With that, you should be using visuals that are not only attractive, but that also work to get your point across about your particular service or brand. If you are uncertain about your own visuals, then you may want to reach out to a professional graphic artist. While it may be costly, the return is usually great.


Overall, creating an email marketing campaign is a must for every serious marketing professional. With an email marketing campaign, you can improve your brand’s reach and you can bring your brand closer to its existing and potential customers. Those who receive your emails may even feel inclined to share the content that your campaign issues, thereby improving your brand’s visibility and reach. With the tips and strategies above, you will be able to attain great results.

Related Content You May Like...

About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top