To answer the question ‘How does email marketing work?’, we need to take a good look at all the basic concepts and building blocks of an email marketing business. Various bits and pieces of email marketing work together as a well oiled machine generating sales, raising revenues and earning profits.
How does email marketing work?
Running an email marketing business requires very little knowledge and no programming experience. You can start an email marketing business if you have time to invest, know how to use emails and willing to learn how to use email marketing tools.
In a nutshell, how email marketing works is like this.
- you would come up with an email marketing strategy
- install your choice of email marketing tool
- integrate the email marketing tool with rest of your business components
- then build an email list of your target audience
- plan and prepare your email marketing campaigns
- prepare and send emails
- track how your email marketing campaigns are performing
- do whatever it takes to improve the performance of your email campaigns
Now let us take a closer look at the building blocks of an email marketing business and how email marketing works step by step.
Email marketing platform
There are many vendors in the market that offer email marketing services for your business if you wish to hire them. Email marketing service is one form of SaaS (software as a service). Most email marketing services offer a full range of services for email marketing. Basically this means that you can do everything you need to run your email marketing business using their software.
An email marketing platform is generally a website or an app that can help with various activities of an email marketing business. For example, email marketing platform helps store all emails you collect in an organised manner. Examples include Campaigner and Mail Chimp. Most email marketing platforms allow you to store your emails in lists, where each list contains emails of customers with similar profiles and behaviour. A good email marketing system also allows you to easily move emails from one list to another and provides an option for customers to subscribe or unsubscribe.
Just to name a few features of email marketing services
- create opt-in forms to collect email addresses
- build your email lists
- segment your subscribers into email lists
- templates to design your emails
- create your email campaigns
- schedule your email campaigns to be sent at specific times to chosen email lists
- analytics and tools to track the performance of each of your email campaigns
- insights on how to improve the performance of your email marketing business
Some features you need to look for in selecting email marketing platform include the below.
- easy to use email templates
- ability to integrate with your current software etc.
- easy to segment subscribers into different email lists
- accurate tracking and measuring performance of email campaigns
- helpful analytics on email campaigns
- reasonable automation
Email marketing tool provides options to collect emails of customers and store them as lists. Each list represents customers of similar behaviour and background. This means that customers in the same email list are generally in a similar position to each other in terms of a customer life cycle or sales life cycle. For example, you can have one email list for all leads and as each lead makes a purchase and becomes your customer, you move the email into another email list and call it customer.
An auto responder involves emails that automatically go out to various customers or leads based on certain events. What triggers a specific email to be sent to a particular person depends on your email marketing strategy. For example, you may want to send a welcome email to everyone who subscribes to your email list or newsletter.
It would be practically impossible for you to send such emails manually. So you need an autoresponder that automatically sends out specific pre-designed emails to customers as soon as they subscribe. There can be as many occasions as you wish where you may want to send auto emails to your leads and customers.
You would ideally have different email messages with different content already designed and saved on the autoresponder. Then you make settings on the autoresponder that knows when to send such auto emails. The idea of autoresponder is to make it appear that your business sends personalised emails to the right people at the right time. Autoresponder also saves you lot of time.
Autoresponder allows you to send emails based on user activity and behaviour. This user activity triggered emails work better than sending a blast of emails to everyone in the email list.
You need emails address of people so that you can send emails to them. One way to collect people’s email address is using opt-in forms.
Your email marketing platform normally has provision for creating opt-in forms. Opt-in forms are where your leads and customers can sign up for your email newsletter etc. Typically you can have one or more opt-in forms for each email list. For better results you need to place your opt-in forms at few places. When you place an opt-in form in the side bar of your website, it gives good results as it is visible on every page of your website. Social media pages are another great place for opt-in forms. You can try out various opt-in forms in different places and run experiments. Then you can use more of better performing opt-in forms across your website and social media.
Automation tools allow you to automate how your website engages with visitors. With the help of engagement automation and various adverts such as entry adverts, promotions, exit adverts etc. you can build your email lists or re-target your audience. You can try various types of opt-ins like below.
- welcome gates, that appear as soon as someone arrives on your website
- light box popups that appear on any page temporarily blocking rest of the content
- exit intent popups, that appear when someone tries to leave your website
As a business, if you want to sell your goods or services, you need get that message across to your potential buyers. In email marketing business, you get your sales message across to the potential buyers via email campaigns. With appropriately drafted email messages, you use your email marketing tool to send off the email campaigns to people whose emails you have in your email lists.
By sending consistent and relevant messages via email campaigns you can increase your sales and business turnover. Depending on your mail marketing strategy and your niche, you can use different email types in your email campaigns.
Summary | How does email marketing work?
In email marketing terms, the audience is the target for your email campaigns. You contact your target audience via email. So you need to build or buy email lists of your target audience. You can build your own email list using opt-in forms on your website, social media etc. Opt-in forms allow people to subscribe to your email lists. Alternatively you can buy email marketing services from someone that already has email lists available for sale. Either way, you need you need access to email lists of target audience.
The contents of the emails you send are the way you tell your audience about your products and services. So you need to plan, design and prepare your email campaigns. You need to craft appealing messages for your email campaigns. Now that you know how email marketing works, you can start your email marketing business. If you keep a sound email marketing strategy in place, you will start reaping benefits of email marketing soon.