“Email marketing is dead.”
If you’re in B2B SaaS marketing, you’ve probably already been stunned by this unsubstantiated claim.
Ask any digital marketing guru what is the best channel for digital marketing today, and some will tell you, “social media.” Some would go, “SEO,” and others would argue “paid ads.”
Well, they are all right.
Truth is, we all want to reach the light in the tunnel in the least amount of time possible. And to that end, every digital marketer has their own idea about which digital marketing channel converts best.
But let’s face it: with 4.03 billion users worldwide, emails have a greater reach than any other channel available to marketers today.
What’s more, data show that 99% of people check their email daily.
Have I mentioned email marketing delivers a 44% return on investment on every dollar spent?
Well, with these stats in mind, email marketing is unarguably the best digital marketing strategy. Regardless of whether it’s confirmed by a guru or not.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about email marketing. And by the end, will be able to create and launch SaaS email marketing campaigns and ensure success.
Without further ado, let’s jump in it.
This is a long and extensive blog post, so may want to jump to the sections that appeal to you the most.
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that consists of sending emails as a direct marketing medium to convert prospects into customers and turn one-time buyers into loyal and engaged customers. Think of it as a way to provide value to customers/users in the form of content through the various stages of the customer journey using dedicated funnels.
Why Email Marketing?
Email remains one of the best channels to develop your SaaS business in 2021.
A 99Firms study has revealed that SaaS businesses with a 20 percent annual growth rate have only an 8 percent chance of surviving. When you get SaaS email marketing right, it allows you to nurture and retain your customer base and prospects cost-effectively while growing steadily.
But, again, for the sake of clarity, here are a few stats that illustrate how well email marketing works and why it matters.
According to Statista, 4.03 billion people worldwide use email and this number is expected to hit 4.48 billion in 2024.
21.49% of outbound emails are opened within an hour of delivery according to GetResponse.
For every dollar spent on email marketing, marketers receive a return of $35 to $50, a whopping 3500 to 5000% ROI.
59% of business-to-business marketers claim email is the most powerful channel for lead generation.
Compared to Facebook and Twitter, email performs 40x better in terms of conversion.
85% of US retailers consider email marketing as one of the most effective customer acquisition tactics.
No platform comes close to the potential performance of email when it comes to customer loyalty and retention. A staggering 37% of respondents name email, compared to 13% for websites and a meager 11% for social media.
According to SaleCycle, 50.7% of customers are influenced by marketing and advertising emails in their purchase decision.
A report from the Content Marketing Institute shows that email marketing is used for lead generation (85%), sales (84%), lead nurturing (78%), and customer retention (74%).
Email marketing is so effective because it makes it easy to send emails on a large scale while tailoring messages to your recipient so that each communication meets their interests. (And, trust me, emails work best when personalized.)
Part of the benefits of email marketing is that you can address various topics, including those related to changes within your company, accomplishments, and requests for feedback from your customers. In short, this is where you build a relationship with your customers and prospects.
One last reason is that emails are truly action-oriented. Whether it’s a reply, a forward, a click, a sign-up, or even a direct purchase, emails are always accompanied by an expected action from respondents.
That makes email marketing the most effective lead generation and customer acquisition channel for SaaS businesses by nature.
Now that you know what email marketing is and why you should care, let’s break down the different steps you need to take to launch your campaign.
To get the most out of SaaS email marketing, you need to be forward-thinking and use proven strategies in the right combination.
8 Steps to Ace Your Email Marketing
Using the following strategies will help you get your emails to the right people, get them opened and read, and ultimately turn that attention into real revenue for your business. So let’s get started, starting with building an email list.
Step 1: Build an Email List
Email marketing is like a puzzle game with many pieces. But as soon as you create your email list, all the other pieces will fall into place, and you can kick off your campaign.
Your email list is the starting point for your campaigns for the simple reason that you can’t run any campaigns if you don’t have anyone to send the emails to. So, your first step should consist of building an email contact list.
Use the Basic Website Opt-in Form
Of the countless ways brands can capture email addresses, the simplest is to have a standard and straightforward opt-in form on their site.
Why do you need an opt-in form?
An opt-in form allows you to collect essential information from a website visitor and add them to your mailing list. Here is an example from OptinMonster.
As you may have guessed, it is the easiest way for website visitors who consent and express interest in your brand and its services to give you their email address so you can contact them with additional information.
Opt-in forms also allow you to control your audience and the content you are nurturing them. Virtually, all online businesses have their opt-in form at the bottom or middle of the screen, depending on preference.
Add an Opt-in Pop-up Form On Each Page Of Your Website
According to MailChimp data, email list growth rates increased by an average of 50.8% after adding a pop-up form to their site – making it a powerful lead capture resource.
Pop-up forms are typically small windows or specific types of layering that suddenly appear in the forefront of a website’s visual interface when a user/visitor clicks on a call-to-action or other page component.
In a nutshell, it offers visitors a swift and seamless way to share their contact information and sign up for your list while they’re browsing your site.
On the other hand, every time a visitor leaves your site without signing up, chances are you will lose them for good. But exit intent pop-ups give you more chances to capture them.
These are the types of pop-ups that appear when a visitor bids to depart your site and offer you one last chance to capture their email address.
The technology behind these pop-up forms tracks the movement of the mouse and triggers the pop-up form as the visitor seeks to close the site.
Just like in the image below…
Sumo claims that its users leverage exit intent pop-ups to increase conversions by over 60%. So while they can be annoying, they give you as much of a chance as any other technique.
Create a Dedicated Opt-in or Sign-up Landing Page
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Not all content on your website have the same purpose. Likewise, not all pages have the same purpose. Some pages have the sole purpose of accomplishing a single expected action, such as a purchase or a share.
In our case, the sole purpose of your landing page should be to get visitors to sign up and subscribe.
This example from Campaign Monitor describes it best.
So, instead of directing them to your home page, which contains almost all the information about the various services you offer, you can focus on specific funnels – building landing pages with far fewer elements than any other page on your website – that only seeks to get them to sign up.
Offer Valuable Incentives
Sometimes, to entice your visitors to subscribe to your email list, all you have to do is bring something relevant to their table in return.
This works because it tells potential subscribers what they are into and what they will get for signing up. It may strike you like some fashion of bribery, but offering valuable incentives to your visitors not only gets them to sign up for your list but can also get them to buy from you.
While this depends on your industry and the services you offer, there are many amazing incentives you can use to entice someone to sign up for your lists, such as a discount, promotion, or free shipping for a limited period.
Here is an example of a valuable incentive from Skinny DIP.
Use Lead Generation Service Providers
To build your email list, you need to capture leads from your target audience. A good way to do this is to use programs like OptinMonster and Thrive Leads to capture leads from people who visit your website.
OptinMonster is the leading software for lead generation. It is compatible with over 30 of the most popular email marketing service providers. Plus, it provides you with a no-code package of editing tools to help you create amazing opt-in campaigns with minimal time and effort.
You can create targeted and personalized opt-in forms that can be embedded on your site anywhere you want. Then, with their highly sophisticated targeting strategies, you can send these campaigns to the right people at the right time in their customer journey to grow your list of quality leads.
Thrive Leads helps you build your email list faster than ever before. It is a WordPress list-building plugin from the Thrive Themes. The software integrates the best and most powerful conversion optimization and list-building strategies into one plugin.
You can use it to create pop-up lightboxes, slides as a swipe from the edge of the screen, or use it to insert forms anywhere inside your content or at the bottom of your article.
It also uses no-code tools to help you easily edit anything and everything you want.
Convert Pro integrates with all major SaaS email marketing service providers, making it an amazing choice. It is a WordPress popup plugin that helps marketers create eye-catching pop-ups as well as opt-in forms that convert visitors into leads, subscribers, and customers with zero coding skills.
The software is designed to offer the best performance and consists of a very effective and simple drag and drop editor and endless possibilities to design high-converting opt-in forms in minutes.
One quick thing to keep in mind though is that it’s crucial to have a clear idea of the types of people you want on your list.
Here’s how Ramsey Leimenstoll puts it…
A small list that wants exactly what you’re offering is better than a larger list that isn’t committed.
On top of that, make sure you only ask for needed contact information, like name and email address. Also, make sure you have an attractive headline that piques visitors’ interest and entices them to sign up for your email list.
Step 2: Grow Your Email List
Building an email list and fishing are basically two sides of the same coin.
Think of it; fishermen don’t throw their net in the water and leave it there to see if the fish are hooked or not. Instead, they keep adding lures for the fish on the hook.
The same goes for lead capture.
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Opt-in forms do work. But while they do, you need to keep attracting more and more people with new lead generation strategies basically like adding lures on the hook. Here are some of the tactics you can use to grow your email list.
Essentially, marketers use lead magnets to generate sales leads. But in our case, a lead magnet is a sign-up ‘bribe’, usually a free service or item, that you give away to collect contact information from your visitors.
There are many types of lead magnets you can give away to capture email addresses, and you won’t have to jump through hoops to create one.
It can be a free trial, samples, digital materials like PDFs, media files, and white papers.
Here is an example from Giosg.
Based on the content the visitor engages with on the website, Giosg offers a relevant item to pique their interest and collects their email address as they request it.
Case in point, in the example below, Giosg offers a comprehensive guide to website lead capture best practices to collect emails from visitors who view their article on high-conversion tactics for websites.
And as the visitors click on the download button, this is what happens:
For your lead magnet to be effective, you need to have a clear idea of who you are targeting. You need a buyer persona and based on that, you can identify and create something valuable for them. Free ebooks, webinars, coupons, and tip or resource sheets are examples of magnets that work best.
In the realm of lead generation, a referral program is simply a concept of encouraging and rewarding your subscribers to spread the word about your product or service.
Here is an example from Ryan Deiss’ Scalable newsletter.
The goal is to get your current subscribers to tell their friends, family, and industry colleagues about your amazing company or the great services you offer to get them to subscribe as well.
How effective are referral programs?
B2B marketing experts observed that referrals have an average conversion rate of 11%. Additionally, customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate than customers acquired through other marketing channels, and the consumers are more prone to commit to brands.
The thing is that people are more likely to trust and act on the information they hear from a friend or family member.
The bottom line is to leverage referral strategies and encourage or entice subscribers to recommend your brand to others.
There is a lot of talk about the inefficiency of social media platforms. Yet, the truth remains. The places where the people you are trying to target frequent are perfect places to collect their email addresses.
Social media is a powerful tool for lead generation. For example, according to Backlinko data, Instagram alone has 500 million daily active users.
What’s more, 90% of those users already follow businesses.
The catch is that once on social media, most businesses focus on growing their followers while ignoring their email list.
Here are a few strategies to grow your email list from social media.
Creating a dedicated lead generation landing page for your social media profiles.
Here is a Facebook example.
And as users click, they’re redirected to a dedicated landing page.
Using social media to bring together like-minded people or potential customers looking for answers or support to ask questions and discuss specific topics (Twitter).
Creating lead generation ads (Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn).
Here is a Facebook example from Marvel.
Using groups to market and talk directly to users who value your knowledge and skills and to create additional connections (Facebook, LinkedIn).
Using social media to promote valuable gated content.
Here is a good LinkedIn example from John Bonini promoting gated podcast content.
Creating contests or sweepstakes programs.
Hosting webinars (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook).
Creating tutorials with call-to-action cards (Youtube, LinkedIn).
Creating and promoting gated visual content (Pinterest).
Step 3: Choose an Email Marketing Service Provider
Now that you’ve built and grown your email list, the next step in the mix is to send your email campaigns. And to ensure accuracy and effectiveness while running your campaigns, you will need a good email service provider (ESP).
ESP’s bring it to anyone’s ken to easily manage their campaigns and send their emails as a breeze.
Here are some of the ways an email marketing service provider can help your business.
Sending permission-based emails by aligning with ISP rules and permission policies.
Ensuring deliverability and making sure your email campaigns don’t end up in the spam folder.
Respecting your subscribers’ privacy and giving them the ability to unsubscribe with a single click.
Automatically performing the essential list management tasks, such as signing up new subscribers, allowing subscribers to edit their own profiles, and giving them the ability to unsubscribe.
Guaranteeing that your emails are delivered in the right format by allowing you to send both a text and HTML version of each message you send.
Providing you with detailed reports to track key metrics and see how your campaigns compare to industry standards, such as open rate, click-through rate, click-to-open rate, unsubscribe rate, etc.
Ensuring that your emails are compliant with important legislation such as CAN-SPAM and CASL.
And many more.
Top 5 Commendable Email Service Providers
There are hundreds of software that offer email marketing services out there. So choosing the right service can be tricky or challenging.
Fortunately enough, our good friends at ContentMavericks analyzed the top 50 email marketing service providers and came up with the top five email marketing platforms you can choose from to scale your email marketing success in 2021.
When it comes to email marketing services, ActiveCampaign offers la crème de la crème.
ActiveCampaign helps businesses across the planet make meaningful connections via email networking and optimize their customers’ experiences thanks to powerful email service features and enhanced functionalities.
It offers companies the best mix of email marketing tools and services such as pre-built automation, a comprehensive collection of email templates, and effective contact management.
ActiveCampaign has the highest email deliverability rates in the industry over time.
And overall, their software beats all other tools by striking the perfect combination of automation and human touch and by combining customer insights with your business at a price everyone from novice marketers to professionals can afford.
SendFox is an email marketing tool that allows you to create, schedule, automate, and send an unlimited number of personalized emails. It is great when it comes to sending weekly broadcast emails or sending your campaign emails in a loop with little to no cost.
In a sense, it’s a less advanced version of ActiveCampaign. As such, there are no advanced features such as contact scoring to allow you to assess your subscribers’ behavior – opens, clicks or bounces – so you can automate the sending of your emails based on those metrics to boost the effectiveness of your campaigns.
ConvertKit is the ideal email marketing software for beginners and businesses with a small budget. It is the best free alternative to the two above-mentioned solutions and one of the most successful and rapidly growing email marketing solutions.
ConvertKit makes it easy for any business to create, automate and send customized email marketing campaigns. And as long as your email list is less than 1,000 subscribers and you don’t need to access any of the premium features, you can use it for free.
Furthermore, ConvertKit claims a higher deliverability rate than most free tools. It offers customizable signup forms and landing pages to help you attract more subscribers as well as two free courses.
One on how to get your first 100 subscribers and the second on how to make your first dollar online. And guess what? They’re all included in the free plan.
Constant Contact brings email marketing to the feet of any business down to beginners with no website.
It provides users with a plethora of easy-to-use marketing tools to create and run their email marketing campaigns, build AI-powered websites, create online stores and launch Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns to capture new contacts and build email lists.
It also offers businesses an abundance of advanced features such as a free Email Template Builder, customizable pop-up forms, a full library of mobile-friendly templates for every purpose to jumpstart your campaigns, email automation tools, drag-and-drop editing tools, integrations, and reporting tools to monitor your success with actionable, real-time reports and strong, in-depth analytics.
Rejoiner is an email marketing tool designed specifically to help online retailers and e-commerce businesses. It features all the software, tools you need to run your email marketing campaigns and reach your revenue goals.
More interestingly, top of their exclusive offerings, if you choose, they will provide you with a team of email marketing experts to design the campaigns, come up with the artwork regarding the emails and implement the campaigns for you.
This makes it perfect for amateurs and eCommerce businesses that are struggling with email marketing. Plus, the company guarantees a typical revenue of 30%.
This is huge considering the price and the team of email marketing specialists with whom you will work closely to share and improve your SaaS email marketing.
Step 4: Segment Your Email List
Email list segmentation is a strategy used by email marketers to structure their email list into groups or segments based on their knowledge of each subscriber (behavior, interests, familiarity with your company, demographics, etc.) to serve up highly targeted and relevant emails with information that users are actually interested in.
That is, just by breaking down your email list into the right segments, you’ll increase your SaaS email marketing performance and ultimately get more conversions, more purchases, and more satisfied customers.
Here is how you can effectively segment your email list.
Create your different subscriber personas
To the extent possible, every company should know as much as possible about its customers or potential customers.
Where do they live? What are the different places they go? What problems do they face? What do they want to accomplish? What are their careers and incomes? What are their interests and behaviors? How can your company help them achieve their goals? What is a day in their life like?
Well, depending on your strategy and field, the list goes on and on…
It all starts with the personas. Customer personas are the foundation of your list segmentation, as they help you define which segments need which message and greatly improve your email marketing results. If you miss out on this, nothing else matters.
Create Your Content Accordingly
Now that you know and understand your customers or subscribers and have decided how to segment them, you need to create the content they want. Doing so will allow you to strike a better chord with them.
Call for your email marketing service provider
You have successfully gathered the data you need and created the content that will engage them and drive the results your business needs.
Now you need to use the segmentation feature of an email marketing tool to send your emails to your many subscribers in the various segments.
Your email marketing service provider will be happy to help you directly manage the segmentation of your list and make multiple mailings a cinch.
For that, we recommend the email marketing services listed above. Each of them offers unique list segmentation features. It’s up to you to choose the right one based on your goals and specificities.
Step 5: Select the type of email campaign
There are different types of email. The one thing you need to keep in mind when sending out your campaigns is that you should not send exclusively promotional emails.
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There are many different types of emails that you need to send to keep your readers excited about you and your business in their inboxes.
Here are the main types of emails you can send to your recipients to keep them interested and engaged with your business.
Both SaaS and eCommerce businesses widely use email newsletters to send educational emails to maintain relationships with their prospects and customers simply because it is the most effective email marketing type.
The main purpose of a newsletter is to inform and educate contacts about a topic of their interest or updates pertaining to your business, products, updates, special offers, and services.
A newsletter can be sent regularly: quarterly, monthly, weekly, or even daily. However, be careful not to overwhelm your busy recipients and encourage them to either fly over the message or not read it at all.
An announcement email is a publicizing email message that a company sends to its contacts to inform them of changes in its business, a new product, a recent update, the launch of a limited edition, or an upcoming event.
The ultimate goal of an announcement email is to get the audience eager and hungry about forthcoming products or events.
So, an effective announcement email clearly states the email’s subject and tells the audience why the message is important or how they will benefit from your product or service (for example, how your product will help solve their problem).
It also briefly describes the upcoming product, service, or event to showcase the new value offered to pique the audience’s interest and prompt them to take the desired action.
An event invitation email is an email sent to your subscribers announcing an upcoming event to entice them to attend. The event could be a webinar, conference, or any kind of presentation that your company is hosting.
To entice your subscribers to come or attend your event, you need to tell them exactly what’s in it for them. Are they going to learn?
The success of your event depends on the effectiveness and ability of your invitation email to inform and sell your event to your target audience.
In your event invitation emails, always provide enough information about your event and details such as time, date, location, and duration.
Every business needs to keep its customers and sales prospects posted about its marketing offerings.
Marketing emails can include several things, including the launch of a new product, a limited-edition release, a special promotion, an upcoming event, or the option to pre-order a product.
You don’t need to fill your marketing emails with salesy words for them to be effective. Instead, you only need to explain to your customers how your solutions will help solve their problems or make their life easier.
So simply explain the features of the offer so your readers know what you’re talking about and spice it up with the benefits of the new product. That way, they will understand how it meets their needs and why they should be interested. And for that, you need a beautiful sales email.
Here, the researcher generally presents the survey invitation email as a data collection procedure that seeks to gather both qualitative and quantitative data from the customers/users for improvements on the overall business and customer experience.
This goes down to creating survey instruments, typically a questionnaire that is sent to a cherry-picked handful of customers via email. Recipients will then simply answer the questions or elaborate responses to the thought-provoking questions in the embedded links or respond via email.
Here is another example from Slack…
Step 6: Create a Campaign and Draft an Email
Creating an email campaign is as straightforward as putting together a two-piece cake. Using email marketing service providers, users generally navigate through a series of steps that go from creating a campaign to choosing a template to kick-start the drafting of the actual campaign email.
Now to make sure your email is good to go, there are a few things you need to check depending on the type of email you want to send.
But in general, every email has three main parts. We’ve broken down each part into its different components to help you write your email perfectly.
The header is made up of the different elements that your recipients see when your email hits their inbox.
The elements you put in the header are the basis for your recipients to decide if your message is worth reading, and as such, has a direct impact on the performance of your campaign—especially your deliverability and open rate.
A good header usually contains three elements.
The From Line
Also known as the “sender’s name,” the “from” line tells your customers or prospects who the email is from. It can be the company’s email address or a personalized email account of a senior company official, usually the CEO.
This means that you will need to run some tests to determine which one your recipients like better.
But it has been observed that emails from personalized accounts generate a higher response rate. So, rather than using your company name, use a personalized account that refers to the actual sender, which will boost your open rates.
The Subject Line
It’s no news to email marketers: your subject line can make or break your email campaign. You design and tweak it to give your recipients a taste of what your actual message is about.
For this reason, your subject line should engage your recipients from the start. If they hate it, your campaign goes downhill from there.
Here is a simple yet great example from Nerdy Joe’s own Ernest.
Your subject line should be short and to the point, usually, 7-10 words for a higher open rate, personal, addressed to only one person, action-oriented in order to entice them to click and read the actual message.
Take a look at how short subject lines perform:
The preheader is a few words from the email introduction that appears in the inbox preview as a tail of your subject line.
Again, recipients can read the few words that make up your preheader and decide whether or not to open your email.
Here is an example from Andrei Zinkevich from ROI Plan.
However, its relevance hinges upon the devices and your email marketing service provider. Anyway, a rule of thumb is to make it mobile-friendly as 70% of people receive their emails on their mobile phones.
Whatever the purpose of your email campaign, nothing happens until your customers or prospects read the content of the email and take the desired action.
To achieve this, your recipients must first open your message and then click on the links in your call-to-action.
Here are a few tips to help you write your email body to perfection.
Keep it direct and simple
While people spend very little time reading emails, they receive dozens of emails every day that try to sell them something. Your email content needs to stick out. In your email body, your goal is to educate, drive action with an eventual purchase, but you don’t need many words to achieve this.
The most successful emails are distinctive for their brevity, conciseness, and, ultimately, their straightforwardness.
As such, it would be best to find the right language to address your recipients’ pain points, no need to make it wordy. Instead, keep it short, clear, simple, and direct.
A picture is worth a thousand words, everybody says. So, put what you want to say into a few words and spice it up with pictures. It is advisable to put a cover image at the top of the display and smaller images scattered throughout your content.
However, be mindful and don’t just put images for the sake of it. Your pictures should resonate with your content and overall campaign objectives.
Focus on readability
Format your content to entice your recipients to read it. Your content needs to be scannable. Regardless of your readership, no one wants to read emails with overly long paragraphs.
So chop up the paragraphs into shorter lines of text, and if the email seems too long, reduce the text. You can also use layout to break up space and help create chunks of content.
Keep your design consistent
First, you need to establish a style guide and build or choose a template that fits your campaigns and readership.
The design of your emails should allow your recipients to identify and read what appeals to them most first and then move on to where they want. They should be able to quickly skim the email in a well-organized layout, with large headings and images to grab attention.
Also, when it comes to email design, most marketers tend to advocate HTML emails. Granted, HTML ensures user experience, eye-catching display, and brand consistency and, as such, thrives for it.
But the truth is that HTML email can be a security risk. This is mainly because HTML emails are not always readable, can contain junk and viruses, and ultimately will not appeal to your readership.
And when it comes to deliverability rate, the hedge goes to plain text emails. So, you may want to go slow on the use of HTML in your emails.
Include multiple calls to actions (CTA)
Including multiple CTAs does not necessarily mean including tons of calls to action in your email content. Don’t just place a single CTA at the bottom of your content and wait to see who clicks or not.
Instead, you can, for example, increase your click-through rates by including 3 calls to action in your email but at different places so that they don’t seem repetitive.
By now, you have what you need to succeed in getting your recipients to read and take the hoped-for action. Now it’s time to design the email footer.
Your footer won’t get them to read your email, in fact, this stretches beyond the scope of email marketing, but it will ensure they stay engaged with you.
Here are the two elements you need to include in your footer.
Contact information can be anything from your company’s physical address to a link to your company’s accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and any other social network you use.
Adding contact information will help your business comply with federal anti-spam laws and ultimately provide you with more ways to engage with your customers or prospects.
Offer your recipients the option to opt-out of your mailing list. This will increase your unsubscribe rate, but you will only be able to keep people who relate to your business. In addition, offering them the option to unsubscribe is also mandatory to comply with anti-spam laws.
Step 7: Automate Your Email Marketing
You successfully created and segmented your email list, you chose the email marketing service that works best for you, you selected the type of email you want to send, you created your campaign, and wrote your email.
Now it’s time to automate that process to send mass emails to your segments of subscribers while focusing on adding value and driving more sales prospects. And automating your email marketing campaigns boils down to enabling autoresponders.
What is an autoresponder email?
Autoresponders are email marketing programs that are used to automate the process of sending campaign emails. Once set up, an autoresponder is prompted by specific actions such as subscribing to your email list, a certain browsing behavior, cart abandonment, a customer service request, downloading an ebook or purchasing a product, or scheduled to launch over time.
Every online business needs a series of autoresponders as part of their email marketing strategy to nurture prospects and deliver useful information about products, services, or promotions.
What’s more, it’s a cost-effective way to send relevant content to your various segments, and you don’t have to spend time and energy writing each message. They are created and configured beforehand with the assistance of your email marketing software.
Here is an example of an email sent from an autoresponder.
Awesome, huh? Now you may be wondering how to create an effective autoresponder series for your business. We got you covered.
Set a goal for your Autoresponder
Your autoresponder can help you send any email you want. And if you choose, you can schedule the process – once a week, once a day, or on specific days of the week – and send your emails like a breeze.
Here are some common purposes for which you can set up your autoresponder series.
Welcome email sequence
A welcome email is an email you send to welcome a new subscriber or customer after signing up for your email list. Your welcome email series should contain a simple thank you note for signing up and potentially a call to action to check out the most popular articles on your blog.
But it doesn’t have to be lengthy to be effective. It just has to be brief and straightforward.
A lead magnet
You can use your autoresponder to send a series of emails containing lessons or other valuable information to drive new subscribers to your mailing list. This is usually done in the form of a free “mini-course” that you promise to deliver over several days or weeks.
Sales on autopilot
This strategy is widely used by SaaS startups, eCommerce businesses, and many other online service providers. Using an autoresponder to make sales on autopilot involves creating a sales funnel based on an email autoresponder.
In other words, it is creating a sequence of emails that are automatically sent to your customers or prospects along the various stages of the customer journey that ultimately leads them to make a purchase.
Up-sells and Cross-sells
These are emails suggesting products that are either complementary or associated with the ones the customer has just purchased.
Depending on the products you sell, you can offer an upsell by recommending related products or asking users to upgrade to a higher plan. For example, if a customer buys shoes, you can offer to add socks before shipping.
Or if you are a SaaS company selling a service, you can ask your customers to upgrade based on the different plans you have.
In the case of cross-selling, for example, if you sell products that people frequently buy, such as food or renewable service, you can automatically send them offers for new items based on when their product will end up or the time of their last purchase.
Map out your autoresponder sequence
Now there are a few questions you need to address.
How long do you want your sequence to be? How many days? How far apart should each email be sent? How many emails? How much time, money and effort are you willing to invest in your email marketing campaign?
This is an essential part of your automation process, as you need to strike a healthy balance between your audience, your marketing strategy, and the goal you chose in the first place.
So you will need to map out your email sequence based on data such as your segments, your subscribers’ preferences, and the goal you want to achieve to ensure you get it right.
Write your Autoresponder Series
Most people like to hire copywriters to write their autoresponder email series, and they do so for a good reason. The thing is that an email that does not hit right is the worst enemy to your business success. You will only have your campaign performance go from bad to worse.
So, we highly advise you to outsource the writing of the email sequence to an email marketing specialist.
However, if you think you have what it takes and still want to write the emails by yourself, you need to:
Write an attention-grabbing subject line
If your recipients don’t get past the subject line, your campaign is doomed to fail. And the success of your subject line is all about grabbing your recipients’ attention.
If it doesn’t grab their attention, it means it’s not interesting to them and they won’t read it. Your subject line is therefore as important as the goal you want to achieve with your campaign.
Take your time and create a subject line that will leave your subscribers wanting to know more. Make it personal, pique their interest, and create curiosity about the content of the email.
Ensure that the content is focused on the reader
Remember! No one signed up for your mailing list to read content about your company.
Instead, they did so because they find your content valuable to them and want some more. So you have to give them what they expect.
Of course, your ultimate goal is to make as many dollars as possible, but you won’t make a dime if your prospects aren’t interested in your email content. You need to focus on them, how to help them with their problems and suggest ways to solve them and make their lives easier.
Personalize your content
Let’s look at some examples of subject lines:
3 Brand Awareness Tips for your SaaS company
5 Steps to Build Brand Awareness
Assuming you are a SaaS business owner, which of these two subject lines are you most likely to read?
Well, no doubt you went down the SaaS road.
The point is that personalizing your emails will make them more appealing to your subscribers.
Generic emails as the second one no longer work and personalizing simply by saying “Hi, Joe” at the top of the email is even less effective.
Now that you have automated the sending of your emails, the one thing you need to do is monitor the campaign, track how your business compares to your industry standards, and eventually find room for improvements. And this brings us to the next and last step.
Step 8: Track Industry Benchmarks, Define your KPIs and Measure your Performance
Tracking email marketing industry benchmarks provides companies with valuable data to understand their success or lack thereof.
Besides, it will give you an overview of how your campaign is performing compared to other companies in your industry and the email marketing industry.
This will help you identify the different areas your emails need tweaking to improve the performance of your campaigns.
Before we dive in, here are the email marketing industry benchmarks.
[Table block] Email Marketing Industry BenchmarksTop Industry BenchmarksAverage ratesOpen rate18.00%Click-through rate2.60%Click-to-open rate14.10%Unsubscribe rate0.10%Bounce rate0.70%Email marketing industry benchmarks (According to Campaign Monitor)
Now here are the industry performance indicators you need to be tracking.
The open rate is the proportion of emails that were opened by your recipients after a campaign was sent.
To know your open rate, simply divide the number of emails opened by the number of emails delivered. The result should then be multiplied by 100 to obtain your percentage rate.
For example, if you sent a campaign to 24 of your customers and 22 of them opened it, the opening rate will be 91.66%.
This is the percentage of recipients who both opened the email and clicked on a link. It is the number of clicks made in your email divided by the number of emails opened. You then multiply by 100 to get the percentage of your click-to-open rate.
The click-to-open rate helps you assess the performance of your campaign by telling you how effective your content is in terms of the people that opened it.
The click-through rate is the number of clicks made within your email divided by the number of emails sent. You then multiply by 100 to get your click-through rate.
When it comes to your click-through rate, the higher the better, as it determines whether you are targeting the right audience or not and helps you know if your content is convincing enough to get them to click on the link. In addition, it tells you what is working and what needs to be improved.
The unsubscribe rate refers to the percentage of your subscribers who decided to remove themselves from your mailing list after receiving an email.
You can easily calculate your unsubscribe rate by dividing the total number of unsubscribes by the number of emails delivered. You then multiply the result by 100 to get your unsubscribe rate.
This metric has a direct impact on your email content. It’s essentially a red flag that your audience isn’t relating to the content you’re providing or that you are not addressing their pain point.
Bounces are emails that are not delivered to the recipient. In this regard, the bounce rate represents the percentage of emails that did not reach the recipients due to an error with the ISP, the email address, or your email services provider like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.
To calculate your bounce rate, you take the total number of bounced emails and divide it by the total number of emails sent. You then multiply by 100 to get your bounce rate.
Email Marketing Tips for Successful Campaigns
You are all set to launch your email campaigns. But sending campaign emails to your subscribers or simply using email marketing service providers does not necessarily guarantee success. You will need to put in time and effort as well as tactics and strategies to achieve success.
Here are some email marketing tips to get you started.
Email Marketing Tip 1: Set your goals
Taking the time to set your goals is a key part of your email campaign. Setting up goals can help you determine what type of campaigns you send, how and who you target, what content you include, and your performance indicators.
So what do you want to achieve with your campaign? Is it to drive new sign-ups for mailing list development? New sales prospects? Higher attendance at your event?
If you want your campaign to be successful, it’s worth spending some time thinking about what you want to achieve with it before you launch.
Also, be sure to set measurable goals, such as specific amounts, dates, etc. of your objectives, so you can measure your success. You should also be aware of vanity metrics.
These are the kinds of metrics that make you appear strong in the eyes of your competitors but don’t serve you well in understanding your performance. So slow down the process, sit down, and get your goals perfectly defined so you can better achieve them.
Email Marketing Tip 2: Design an email marketing strategy
Your strategy is the starting point for your email campaign. An effective strategy helps you achieve your marketing goals with maximum consistency and structure. Yet you don’t have to go through thick and thin to create an effective one.
Here is how to design your email marketing strategy.
Define your audience
A study conducted by MailChimp shows that 43% of consumers unsubscribe from a company’s email marketing if the messages are not relevant.
You need to identify and get to know your target audience. The target audience is the person or group of people identified as the ideal recipients of your campaign emails.
These are the people you want to appeal to your product or service through your marketing initiatives. Understanding who they are will help you unfurl your tactics accordingly.
2. Signup sources
Signup sources are where and how your subscribers sign up for your list. A successful campaign requires a variety of subscription sources. Knowing where your customers have signed up for your list can give you a better idea of how to engage with them and where you might focus your marketing energies in the future.
So, if you notice that the majority of your sign-ups are driven by Quora, you may want to focus on connecting with your target audience through social media.
3. Establish your sending frequency
There are many ways to define your mailing frequency. Your main goal now should be to find a healthy balance between your mailing frequency and your subscribers’ preferences.
You may decide to send daily updates to keep your subscribers constantly informed or you may decide to send only twice a month to keep subscribers excited about your emails.
The general rule is to send your emails at least once a month to keep your subscribers engaged. However, you don’t have to stick to this, it depends on your strategy and the preferences of your target audience.
Some tools, such as Klaviyo, allow you to find out the best average time to click and respond to emails. So you can check this and commit to it.
4. Make a schedule
The idea of scheduling your campaign amounts to creating a content calendar to schedule the flow of your campaigns. This is especially meaningful if you need to work with a team to manage the email marketing campaign or if you have a busy job.
How you schedule your email marketing will be determined by your industry, the types of content you send, and how often you choose to send it.
Email Marketing Tip 3: Personalize your messages
Sending personalized email campaigns is vital to make your emails appealing to your subscribers and make you stand out. As we mentioned before, personalization goes beyond just adding your recipient’s name to the email. It’s about writing content they can relate to, painting a picture they will recognize themselves in.
And to do that, you need to know your target audience, right down to their daily lives.
When you can do this, the recipient feels that you have sent a message just for them and they will engage more with the content of your email. And as a result, you will see your open and click rates improve.
Email Marketing Tip 4: Design mobile-friendly emails
Data from Campaign Monitor present the following figures:
47% of all people across demographics use a mobile application for checking their email while a meager 26.9% still prefer desktop.
81% of recipients prefer to open emails on their smartphones. On top of that, 21% of recipients open their emails on their tablets.
This simply translates to the fact that mobile-friendly design has the highest open rate and performs the best thereof. And as such, mobile-friendly email design is no longer an option. You need to ensure that all your campaign emails render well and good on mobile devices. This will directly see your campaign performance skyrocket.
Email Marketing Tip 5: A/B Test your emails
As you designed your campaign and got the emails all spruced up, don’t just send it yet. Test it first.
Testing allows you to see if the design is relevant if the campaign will proceed as planned if it is going to be a big hit or a flop.
You can also test the different elements of your campaigns to see how they will impact your subscribers’ reactions. Here are a few ways to test your emails.
Test in different email marketing services.
Test with and without images.
Get a second pair of eyes on your campaign before you send it.
Evaluate how the different changes affect recipients’ behavior or engagement.
Find the best version and send it.
Email Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid
A great email marketing strategy will help your business build relationships with customers and create good sales opportunities. It is quite shocking to read that email is dead. Well, it’s not.
With a 40% return on investment for every dollar spent, email is more alive than ever. So that means that the people or companies who didn’t find it effective may have gone about its implementation the wrong way.
Here are the top mistakes you need to avoid to make your email campaigns the most successful they can be.
Email Marketing Mistake 1: Sending the wrong type of message to the wrong subscriber
No same email content will be relevant to two different customers or prospects at different stages of their customer journey.
Segmentation is a must, you can’t just blast everyone with the same messaging. This is because not all your subscribers or target audience have the same needs and expectations, so it is important to understand their differences so you can offer them more valuable content.
It also enables you to be more efficient and proactive with your prospects and customers. You will adapt your message, commercial, and communication actions to a given segment. Doing so will ensure your success as they will always better relate to your campaigns.
Email Marketing Mistake 2: Not personalizing the messages
It’s no secret that personalization is mandatory for any type of marketing strategy. But when it comes to email marketing, we can’t stress enough the importance of personalization.
People need to perceive your messages as highly relevant and tailored material. Otherwise, your emails are less likely to be opened and clicked on.
Personalizing your communications is vital to the success of your email campaigns as well as the overall success of your business.
Consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that know their name and purchase history and then send them relevant communications based on that information.
Email Marketing Mistake 3: Sending exclusively sales content
Your email campaign is not only about your company, but also about your customer. You won’t achieve any sales goals if you send only salesy emails or few relevant messages that your customers will simply delete without reading them first.
Your ultimate goal is to get your target audience to buy your product or services, but you will get the worst results if you focus only on selling in your communications.
You must sell without being salesy. You need to make your product or service attractive without being too salesy. It is essential to focus on your customers, their goals, and their needs to do this.
Don’t sell them a product or service; they can do without it. Instead, sell them a solution that will make their life easier, so they want to buy.
Email Marketing Mistake 4: Failure to direct the reader to a specific action
Email, in terms of customer acquisition, is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.
You might have the best message, but nothing will happen if you fail to direct your readers to a specific action. If the customer doesn’t know what to do after reading your message, you’ve simply failed.
The best place to troubleshoot this problem is in your call to action. Design better calls to action to get the user to take the desired action and get to where you want them to go. You can also design snidy CTAs to improve your clicks and include several CTAs in your email body.
Email Marketing Mistake 5: Sending ALL-CAPS subject lines
Sending subject lines in all caps is one of the most common mistakes that should be avoided.
Most people view the use of capital letters as a way to increase their chances of standing out in their recipients’ inboxes.
While their goal is simply to showcase their incredible content to increase their open rate, their message is perceived as snooty and invasive. And in some sense, your emails are identified as spammy content for yelling at the recipients.
How To Game Spam Filters
Designing your campaign emails to beat spam filters doesn’t mean you are not a bona fide email marketer. The problem is that it is difficult to understand the different algorithms used by spam filters.
As a result, the spam filter may go hard on your well-crafted content, and still, you won’t know why. So here are some tactics that will help you beat the spam filter and make sure your content lands in your recipients’ inbox.
Clean up your email list
When you start campaigning, it’s a good idea to go through your email list and do some occasional cleanup. A list with thousands, or even tens of thousands of email addresses, is bound to contain invalid addresses.
And as an email marketer, you should strive to keep your bounce rate as low as possible. Therefore, these invalid addresses must be removed to preserve the quality of your email list and optimize your deliverability rate.
You should also check your list for inactive subscribers. These are subscribers who actually receive your campaign emails but are not showing any interest for one reason or another. These subscribers can be detrimental to the performance of your campaign, so make sure you unsubscribe them and keep only active customers and subscribers.
Keep your subject line healthy
Part of writing a good subject line is also avoiding spam triggers. It only takes a few words to convince your recipient of the value of your message’s content. And for good reason, capital letters, multiple exclamation points, or special characters don’t need to be among them.
This is especially important to note because these are the spam trigger words that alert spam filters to mark your content as spam. You can view Hubspot’s ultimate list of spam trigger words here.
Ensure the Message Body is Simple and Relatable
Double-check your email content. Unusual fonts and colors, incorrect spelling, and grammar errors can also trigger spam filters. Structure your content for easy reading and make sure it follows an architectural hierarchy with consistent headings.
This is important to help your busy readers quickly scan your content and get back to their business.
Of course, you want your audience to see the files you’ve created and you’re eager to show them. But a good place to place them is your call to action. It is far better to mention the explainer video or image and then add a link that redirects to your website.
Comply with Email Regulations
Many different laws are governing the use of email marketing. And complying with them is all about ensuring that your customer addresses are carefully managed and that you follow good email deliverability practices as well as the best possible security practices.
Make sure you have permission to email the people on your list before you send an email. Never use misleading header information, make sure you provide the content promised in the subject line.
And be sure to include your address and a clear and direct unsubscribe option. As long as you make sure of these elements, you’re fine. For more information, check out email laws and regulations here.
Invite your Subscribers to add you to their Address Book
Asking your subscribers to add you to their address book is the simplest and easiest way to get your emails in their inbox. When your subscribers add you to their address book, your emails will be identified as coming from a friend and will land directly in their inbox.
Top 4 Email Marketing Trends For 2021 and Beyond
Now that you are all set for your email marketing campaigns, we would like to leave you with what is happening in the email marketing arena.
Here are the top 4 email marketing industry trends.
Email Remains the Most Effective Digital Marketing Tool
Email remains the most used digital marketing tool in the world. In 2020, the sending volume of emails has increased by 45% compared to the previous year.
Businesses are choosing email campaigns to communicate with their customers and prospects, and it has proven to be a low-cost digital marketing tool that converts better than any other tool used for digital marketing.
On top of that, people favor email to get information. And since February 2020, the number of monthly email subscribers has increased by 40 percent, and that number continues to grow.
Personalized automation is at scale
It is often said that automation is a threat to email personalization and therefore a potential hindrance to successful email marketing. Yet, MailerLite, since February 2020, has seen a 60% increase in email automation.
The fact is, email marketing services have made it easy for email marketers to create and send tailored emails at scale.
Marketers can send personalized content to thousands of subscribers at the flip of a switch, leaving them enough room and time to focus on other aspects of their business.
Leveraging AI to optimize email marketing strategy
Integrating artificial intelligence into their strategy helps companies streamline their email marketing activities.
AI is used to analyze customer engagement, allowing companies to get AI-powered analytics to predict results, optimize their surveys, make informed decisions, and holistically process large amounts of customer data in a snap.
AI is also being used to write email subject lines, clean up mailing lists, and help with the most time-consuming tasks.
Newsletter-based Business Models are Here to Stay
To circumvent and navigate through the many changes brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic and the “new normal”, several high-profile journalists from across the world have left their news organizations to start their own paid newsletters.
And in light of the new measures taken in response to the pandemic, email offered them a great way to continue to do their job and have a steady income.
The Bottom Line
There you have it! Everything you need to launch your email marketing campaign. Odds are, you’ve found this guide useful and have been able to learn how to create an effective email campaign. Now, let’s wrap things up for you. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Email is the best digital marketing channel available for marketers today
Never buy a subscriber’s list, always build one by yourself
Use social media posts and/or ads to back up your email marketing plan
Use an email marketing service provider to boost your results and overall performance
Use automation and AI to speed up the process and focus on other sides of your business
Define your KPIs and always track your engagement rates to improve your strategy
Have a goal and design your strategy accordingly
Email personalization and list segmentation should be your major focus
Write healthy subject lines
Always test your emails before you send them
Always optimize your campaign email for spam filters
Always keep your email contact list healthy.
Also, we understand email marketing is sometimes complex. So, if you’re lost, don’t know where to start, and still want to make cash out of your email list, feel free to reach out to us. We’re glad to offer you a free consultation call.