The basics of email marketing • Yoast

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Written by Cindy Paul –

Why is email marketing an important element of your marketing strategy? Because it’s a great tool to create and nurture a dedicated audience. Plus, it’s relatively easy to set up. In this post, we’ll discuss the basics of email marketing, and give you a few practical tips on how to get started.

The 4 benefits of email marketing

Before we start with the basics, let’s go over all the benefits of email marketing. Because there are plenty!

1. Committed audience

First, it’s good to remember that people who sign up for a newsletter want to receive information from you. They’re very committed, which is why email marketing pays off. Because the people you’re sending your newsletters to actually want to read your stuff!

2. Low costs

Second, the costs of email marketing are very low. This means email marketing has a relatively high return-on-investment. Plus, it helps that a newsletter is relatively easy to set up through a service like MailChimp or TinyLetter.

3. Increase retention

Third, email is a great way to increase your customers’ retention. This means it can increase the amount of customers that purchase repeatedly, instead of just once. In other words: email will help you turn your clients into return customers. How? By emailing your customers on a regular basis, your brand will stay top of mind and they’ll return more quickly to buy something again. Of course, your emails would have to be interesting, enticing and engaging for this to really work.

4. Specific messaging

Finally, it’s also easy to target specific subgroups within your entire audience. You can easily create these in your mail service, then send dedicated emails to your audience. Just don’t forget to regularly ask your audience what topics they’re interested in, and make it easy for them to opt-in or opt-out of receiving certain emails.

3 pitfalls of email marketing

1. A lot of work

Of course, creating content for a newsletter can be a lot of work. Especially if you’re also maintaining a blog. Plus, if you want to send out a newsletter on a regular basis, you’ll have to make sure your emails are filled with useful content. Don’t send your audience something they’re not interested in or have seen a million times before.

2. Don’t be clickbait-y

What’s more, don’t try to tease or bait your audience too much. Just like with clickbait articles—which no one likes—people want to receive useful and helpful emails. If you constantly ask them to read on without providing much information, your emails can become frustrating. Plus, they’ll take up too much time to fully engage with.

3. People are busy

Nowadays, people receive hundreds of emails every day. Which means most people don’t have the time to read all their emails. At best, they’ll scan through your email before clicking away. At worst, they’ll only read the subject line and then decide to read or delete. So you only have a few seconds to get your message across. Try to remember to be helpful and to the point, so people won’t get frustrated!

How to set up a newsletter?

Let’s dive into the basics of email marketing. If you follow these tips, you’ll be writing great newsletters in no time.

1 Start with the most important message

As we just discussed, most people won’t read your entire newsletter. That’s why it’s crucial to start with the thing you really want people to know more about. You could also choose something that people would like to read.

Bonus tip: one focus

While you can put in tons of messages and calls-to-action, it’s probably better to keep your newsletter focused and to the point. Ideally, you only want one call-to-action. Ask people to read, subscribe, or purchase. Don’t ask them to do everything at once. People are far too busy for that.

2 Choose a good subject line

Whether people actually open your newsletter depends on the subject of your newsletter. MailChimp, for example, makes it easy to test open rates of newsletters with different subject lines. So it really pays off to think about and test which subject lines work for your audience. Just don’t be too clickbait-y!

3 Clarity and focus

Make sure the layout of your newsletter is clear and looks appealing. And don’t forget to make your design responsive too, so people can read it on their phones and tablets. Finally, make sure your calls-to-action are clear by using buttons or boldened text for example.

4 Tone of voice

The people who signed up to receive your newsletter like your products, your blog, or your company. So your tone of voice should be friendly and enthusiastic, not aggressive or salesy. Your newsletter should make your audience even more fond of you and your products. So try to make them feel special!

5 Make it visual

No one likes receiving a wall of text. It makes your email look cluttered and stressful, and people will generally not want to read it. So use illustrations and pictures to break up the text and make your newsletter look more attractive.

Tips on making your newsletter more awesome

1. Choose the right tool

There are a number of helpful tools that make sending out emails that much easier. MailChimp is a popular one, and with good reason. It’s has an intuitive interface and a good free plan that allows you to easily get started with sending newsletters.

2. Test!

To get the most out of your email marketing, it’s smart to test what works and what doesn’t. For example, you can look into the time and day of the week you’re sending your newsletter. For personal blogs, the weekend could be a time to draw people to your site, while for others it might work better to send their newsletter during office hours.

Read more: A/B testing your newsletters »

3. Getting people to subscribe

In order to send people your newsletter, you have to convince them to subscribe first. Make sure you offer a subscribe field beneath your posts and on other visible places on your website. You can also use a pop-up to invite people to subscribe.

4. Make sure your newsletter is mobile friendly

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again! You need to have a responsive email design, because many people check their email on their phone. Luckily, a lot of mailing services offer default templates that are mobile friendly and will scale down nicely. This is a good option if you don’t want to spend too much time or money on your newsletter.

Conclusion about email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to reach your audience. You can communicate with clients that really want to be informed about your products or your company. Plus, email marketing is relatively cheap and contributes to keep your audience coming back to your site. So get those subscriptions and make sure you create a newsletter with interesting content and an appealing design that works on mobile as well!

Keep reading: Social Media Strategy: where to begin »

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