Email Marketing 101

Digital Marketing for your business

What is email marketing? This module discusses the key elements of what can be one of your businesses most effective marketing channels.

Key information includes:

  • Understanding why you should be building a database
  • Identify opportunities to engage with your clients on a regular basis
  • Learn about the various platforms and which one will be the best fit for your business

Video Presentation: Email Marketing 101

Email Marketing 101

Hello, I'm Tracy Sheen, the Digital Guide. Hope you're having a great day coming to from Business Moreton Bay Region talking with you today about email marketing.

In this presentation we will be looking at Email Marketing 101, often called EDM or electronic direct marketing.

Nine steps to make your email marketing work

Now, if you're looking at email marketing, a lot of people think that it’s kind of passe. We're all sick of getting an email in flux in our inbox every day. The fact of the matter is 99% of your clients are reading emails every day. Our job is to help you figure out how to get your emails, not just into their inboxes, but opened.

If we're looking at B2B companies, around 83% of us within Australia are using EDM as part of a marketing campaign. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that they're working well, but it's telling us that we understand the power of email marketing. Let's take a little bit of a look at email marketing. In my opinion, there's nine key steps that you need to be looking at in order to maximize your efficiency and the chance of an open rate on your emails.

1. Segment your email lists

The first one we want to talk about is segmenting your lists. If you can segment your list, you'll improve your open rate by up to 50%.

What do I mean by segmenting your list? Usually when we get people to sign up for a newsletter or they've purchased something from us, we'll traditionally just put them straight into our database. Now we may have no kind of thought about what that looks like other than they're a client.

The first thing I want you to do is start thinking about what are the different types of clients that you have. Are they a client based on location? Are they based on agenda? Are they based on a particular demographic? Are they repeat clients? Are they new clients? Are they buying something for the second or third time? Are they introducing people to you?

You'll always find a segment or a list that you can put a client into. Think about the last time you went into a major retailer. If you're a female, for example, one of the first things I'll do is ask your birth date. Why do you think that is? Because when it comes time, on your birthday you'll get an email or a text message saying, "Hey, we've got a gift for you. Come by instore". Think about your local golf club or recreational club. They'll always ask your membership date, or your birth date, so they can incentivise and reward you for being a client.

That's a segmentation. Think about how you can begin to segment or pop your clients into the different lists. Not so important immediately, it's going to become handy when you talk about the next step, which is what are the different types of emails that are available to you?

2. Understand the different types of email campaigns

Now, there's probably four main types that we need to touch on here.


Newsletters are just quite simply a bit of an update on what you're doing as a business owner. Now they don't have to be ‘War and Peace’. They can be really quite simple. "Hey guys, I'm at aONE Media today recording an instructional video". That could be as simple or as long as you like.

Nurture email

We can also talk about a lead nurture email. This is when a potential customer has been in touch and wants to buy something. I'm now going to send this potential customer a series of emails because they've read a blog or left contact details on my website. In order to help them with the buying process, I might have a series of content blogs, videos etc. that I want to send them to help them make a decision and to nurture them along his pathway to spending money with me.


The third type that we can use is an information email. Examples of an information email could be letting them know you have a webinar coming up next week, or that you're business has just won an award. These are generally to the point and often used as a bit of a buffer to keep in contact with our clients.


The fourth type of email that we can use is a transactional one. This is where we follow up with a lead and communicate addition product information. For example, "here's some additional information based on what we talked about", or "We just wanted to touch base and let you know that X is happening:". This is a purely transactional email, and they tend to happen more of on a one to one basis than a one to many.

3. What is email automation and when to use it

The next thing we want to talk about is what can we automate? Because often when it comes to thinking about emails, we're talking about automation. We're trying to make our life easier. But the simple fact of the matter is, the reason why so many emails are getting passed over in our inboxes is because we're automating too much.

We're trying to make the system de-personalise our content. Instead of thinking about, how can you automate everything? Think about the basic things.

Thank you notes

For example, a thank you email. If somebody has signed up to a newsletter it's perfectly fine to have an email to go straight out to thank them for signing up to our newsletter.

Welcome emails

The next type of automation that you could think about is a welcome email. If somebody becomes a client, for example, you could send them an emailing thanking them and welcoming them to the family - "Here's the next steps in the journey" or "here's what you can expect".

Abandoned cart

The next one to think about as an abandoned cart. This one is probably the most popular and it's certainly the first one that I usually see set up for a commerce businesses.

Think about the last time that you were purchasing something and you got halfway through and shut down your computer or closed the webpage. How often do you get an email reminding your that you have items in your cart and encouraging you to finish your purchase. Email sequences such as this are fairly simple to setup and probably the nest ones to think about employing.

Follow up

The last one you can think about in the automation sequence initially would be a follow up. This is following up with an existing client who has been with you for a period of time and you're checking in to see how they are going. You may finish with a call to action, for example click here to book an appointment or to speak with somebody. It's an unobtrusive way to keep in contact with your clients, but also to let them know that you're there and available for conversation, if required.

4. Take time on your headline or subject line

Now, the next thing we want to look at is your headline or your subject line. When it comes to sending an email, we don't often think about that tiny little subject line that is the first thing to pop up in people's inboxes. Here's an interesting stat. 47% of emails are opened based on your subject line.

Think about that for a second. If you put a little bit of time and effort into what you are going to call your email, then you can significantly increase your engagement with your client. Subject lines such as "monthly newsletter" can be underwhelming. Think about how you could put a little bit of personality or your brand into that subject line to let people know why they should even take you out of the inbox and give you some attention and read your email.

On average, you've got around 60 characters you can use within that subject line. We want to connect with the person at the other end of the email. We want to know that it's not some automated robot send us a message. Make sure they can tell straight away that it's you.

Something else to remember is that about 46% of emails are now opened on mobile devices. This is something important to consider as the space available for the subject line will differ between a mobile phone and a laptop.

Interestingly, shorter subject lines tend to have a higher open rate. My suggestion here would be start following emails that you naturally open and stop questioning yourself. Why that is? What is it about this email or this company that makes me read their emails? What makes me click on it to open?

Conversely, what are the emails that you leave in your inbox or you automatically trash? Why? Maybe they've got good content, obviously had you interested at some point, but what are they doing in their emails now that's making you kind of turn off.

5. Think about the length of your email

Now, remember, you've got to give your clients a return on their attention. Everybody is so time poor right now.

Does your email need to be a 3000 word essay that you're sending to them? Is it something that you could get across in a paragraph?

I usually like to think think that the length of the email should be relative to the subject that you're talking about. If, for example, it's something really quick, like I'm running a webinar this week. That's all it needs to say. "Hey guys, I'm running your webinar this week. Here's the link. If you'd like to join me, please click on it. Love to see you there." It doesn't need to be any more. You don't need to then go on with I've run over 1500 webinars over the last 10 years. They don't care. They don't have the time. If they're already following you, they want to know what they can do right now to be a part of your network.

Remember that around 400 words takes around three minutes to read. Once you've written the email, sit back, read it out loud and time yourself. Think about how long you're asking your clients, or your potential clients to give you in return for the information that you're giving them. Watch your length.

6. Inject your personality into your email

Next we're going to talk about the personality. Now, as I said earlier, people buy from people. We want the personality. We need to build our credibility and authority with our clients, but we also need to know that we're connecting with the type of people that we know like, and trust that we want to do business with.

Don't be frightened about alienating your clients. I'm not saying swear, or get political, or share your religious views, but you need to put that personality across that's what's going to find your audience to find your tribe and to connect them to what you're doing.

7. The email is about your clients, not you

Remember, the email's not about you. You’ve got to remember with everything that you're sending out to people. What's their return on attention. Why would they give you the time? The three minutes for 400 words, the two minutes, the five minutes, the watching the video, what are they getting out of this? Remember your, the guide.

You're not the hero of this story. They're the hero of this story. You're there to help them. Whatever it is that they're looking to do to, make the email and the content about them and keep them at the center of the conversation.

8. Consider using emojis in your email campaign

This is a really interesting one, because less than 10% of emails contain emojis. This is a little divisive and I'm probably one of the only people that's going to tell you to give emojis a crack in an email. They work really well in a headline. In saying that, you know your people, you know your audience, you know your clients better than I do.

If you're working in accounting and you're in a small software business, for example, are they really going to be used to seeing a winky emoji in a headline. Think about your clients. But if you're a quirky small business accountant, perhaps that's exactly what your clients might enjoy about your brand.

You’re only going to know whether emojis are going to work for you and for your clients by trying them. But I can tell you personally, if I put an emoji in a headline of my email, I see my open rate go up by about 10 or 15%. Use them sparingly. Emojis are like glitter. They have a habit of getting everywhere if you let them loose.

It's also important to know your operating systems. Emojis in an Apple product may not display the same in an Android product.

9. Know and understand your data

Now there's a few stats that you need to get your head around here. So hang in there.


First one is click-through. Now, click-through is often looked at as CTR. If you have an email system that you using, basically, what that means is who is clicking through to your email. Click through rate (CTR). It's going to tell you is that how many people are opening your email. Now the average in Australia right now is around 20 to 25%. If you're sitting in that 20 to 25% open rate, you can do better. If you're sitting over that - keep doing what you're doing. If you're less than 20%, go back through the nine points in this presentation and figure out where you need to be putting some attention. I would almost guarantee it's back in step one at segmenting your list.


The second thing we need to look at is conversion. One of the big things I see in emails quite often is there's no Call-to-action. There's no, “Hey, I want you to do this thing for me”. You've probably heard of something called the law of reciprocity. The law of reciprocity simply means that I do something for you and you feel as though you need to do something for me.

If I give you good value on an email, whether it's a blog or a video, or simply great content, you feel like you to do something for me.

Make sure you put something to convert at the end of your email. It could be as simple as “like my Facebook page”, "click on this link" etc. Make sure you give your clients something to do for you in return. That way you can measure the conversion rate of that email.

Bounce rate

The next stat that we want to get to know is our bounce rate. Now there's two bounces. There's a hard bounce and there’s a soft bounce. Depending on your age, you might think of bouncing like cheques, but it's in an email form.

A hard bounce is when the email can not get through to the end user because that email no longer exists. Or there's something kind of permanent stopping the email going through. In this case you want to delete that email or contact the client another way and get a different email.

A soft bounce is not permanent. It could be that the email inbox is full, or it could be that there's an issue with this server.

List growth

The last one I want you to monitor is your list growth. We should all be in the end game of looking to grow our databases. That's why we're doing email marketing. The value of that business comes down to a lot of things, but value is affected by the size of our database and how engaged they are.

You want to be looking at increasing your list over time. Keep an eye on how many people there are in your database and how engaged they are, and set yourself some targets that you want - 5% growth, 10% growth, whatever that looks like. Choose a measure that's relatable to your industry.

What we covered in Email Marketing 101

Just to recap, let's go back through all nine key steps.

We talked about segmenting our lists. This is thinking about how we can put our clients into more targeted communications. So if you work with B2B and B2C clients, for example, there's no point sending a B2C email to a B2B client. It's immediately going to put them off, and chances are they won't want to open your email. Think about how you could segment your data to create more targeted lists. And don't worry if you're lists only have two people in them or five people in them at any stage when you starting off that will grow.

The second thing is your type of email. Here we're talking about transactional emails, information emails, lead nurture emails and transactional emails.

We talked about what to automate, including thank you notes, welcome notes, and abandoned cart sequences.

We talked about checking your subjects. Remember that a shorter headline - but something with a little personality - is far more likely to be opened than some long-winded or worse still, our monthly newsletter.

Number five. What's your length? So how long is that email? Does it need to be that long? Can you make it shorter? Can you make it punchier again?

Number six, inject a little personality. People buy from people. It's true. We need to know who we're connecting with. So make it sound like you.

Number seven. It's not all about you. It's about your clients. Make it about your clients, keep you in the background, and make them look like the hero.

Number eight just think about emojis. We all love a good winky face. Just make it appropriate.

And number nine, check your data. Find out if your list is growing. What's your bounce rate? Is it a soft bounce that the email inbox was full? Is it a hard bounce that you need to check the email address that you had? What's your click through rate? Are people actually opening your email? You want to get above that 25% and then you’re kind of in the really nice category.

I've got a challenge for you. Over the coming week I want you to pick one of those keys and start to work on it in your business. You need to master email marketing and we've just done the 101. So pick one key and work on it over the next week or the next month, and then move onto the next one.



Email Marketing 101 (presentation slides)

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