The Complete Email Marketing Campaign Guide for Beginners

Step 1: Establish your goals

It can be tempting to simply sign up for an email marketing tool like Campaign Monitor and start sending your first campaign.

But before jumping in head first, it’s worth taking a minute to think about your goals and what you really want to achieve with email, as that will dictate the type of campaigns you send, who you target, the content you include, and how you measure success.

Email should be an important component of every digital marketing plan because of its effectiveness in driving conversions and building brand loyalty.

Marketing Plan Example—Sample Marketing Plan Template 

The key to establishing the correct goals for your email marketing initiative is to align them with your company’s wider marketing goals & KPIs. Is the goal to drive new signups for your product? New leads for your sales team? More attendees for your event? More donations for your cause?

Email marketing is the single most powerful channel to reach your audience, and it can be used to achieve a number of different objectives, so it’s worth spending some time thinking about what you want to achieve with it before jumping in.

To help you identify what your goals should be, here are some examples of how Campaign Monitor customers use email marketing:

BuzzFeed – The popular news and entertainment website earns revenue by selling advertisements on their site, so the key objective of their marketing team is to drive more traffic. With that in mind, BuzzFeed sends regular email newsletters containing links to stories on their website with the goal of increasing the number of visits they get each month and increasing the amount of revenue they generate.

Rip Curl – The global surfing brand generates revenue through the sale of wetsuits, t-shirts, boardshorts and other surfing goods. The goal of their marketing team is to increase sales, so they use email to promote new products they’re launching to try to drive people to their online or physical stores to purchase those products.

UNICEF – The global charity organization provides humanitarian aid and assistance to mothers and children in developing nations around the world. Success to their digital marketing team is donations, so they use email marketing to reach out to their donor base, educate them on aid projects UNICEF is undertaking, and ask for donations.

SXSW, Inc. – This lean organization organizes some of the most well-known events in the world, including the SXSW film, music and interactive festivals held every year in Austin, Texas. The goal of their marketing team is to increase ticket sales and attendees at these events, so they use email marketing to keep subscribers up to date as new artists and speakers join the lineup.

Soho House – This prestigious members-only club is a regular hangout for celebrities and media moguls around the world. The goal of their marketing team is to keep their member base engaged in the club and regularly using the facilities, so they use email marketing to keep their members up-to-date on events and functions they can attend.

As you can see from these examples, planning what you want to achieve with email before you start sending makes it much easier to identify what to send and who to send it to, and helps you create focused, high-performing email campaigns that will achieve your marketing goals.

Step 2: Build your email list

Now that you have established your goals and what you want to achieve from email marketing, it’s time to build your email list so you can start sending campaigns that those goals.

There are a couple of different ways you can build your email list, but the right method for each campaign really depends on the goals you establish in Step 1.

Import a list of known contacts

If you plan to use email to keep in touch with existing customers, then your email list can be built largely by importing your existing customers details into your chosen email marketing tool.

For Campaign Monitor customers, you can either manually upload an existing list (from an Excel file for instance) or you can connect your Campaign Monitor account to the tool where your customer data lives (such as your CRM, accounting, eCommerce tool, and hundreds of others) and automatically sync your customer information into your Campaign Monitor account.

Before you import any contacts though, ensure you have adequate permission to email these subscribers. If you’re not sure, check out our Permissions guide or contact our support team as they’ll be happy to chat with you about permissions and uploading your list.

Build a new list from scratch

If you plan to use email to communicate with an audience whose email address you might not have yet, then you’ll need to start capturing email addresses and building your list from scratch.

Fortunately for you, there is a 2-part formula for building your email list that is followed by many of the most successful email marketers around. The formula is:

A valuable incentive + simple subscribe opportunities = large email list

While it is a little bit of a simplification, it’s also just logic. Regardless of how many subscribe opportunities you present to a visitor, it’s unlikely they’ll act without a valuable incentive. And no matter how good your incentive is, you still need to make it simple for people to subscribe if you want to get them to join your list.

The real question is, what makes for an amazing incentive? And how can you make subscribing to your list really simple and easy?

While this is covered off in much more detail in our email list building guide, here are some incentives you could use to entice people to join your email list:

Compelling content – If you have a blog or produce content on your website, then offering to send your best content to subscribers via email is a powerful incentive for them to join your list.

First order discounts – If you sell goods through an online store, then offering people a discount off their first order if they subscribe to your email list is an amazing incentive. Not only does it encourage people to subscribe, but gives them an incentive to purchase as well.

Free or express shipping upgrade – Offering free or upgraded shipping on your customers’ purchase is a great incentive to join your list. Not only is this offer highly relevant – particularly when offered during the checkout process – but being able to get a desirable item into their hands quicker is a powerful motivator for people to subscribe.

Furthermore, the other part of the equation is offering numerous, simple subscribe opportunities as this makes it easy for people to opt-in. While the type of subscribe form you use will depend on the incentive you are offering, here are a few ideas

Step 3: Select the type of campaigns you want to send

There are a number of different types of email campaigns marketers like you can send to subscribers, and the type you choose really depends on the goals you established in Step 1.

Let’s take a look at the different types of campaigns and how they can help you achieve your email marketing goals.

Step 4: Create your first campaign

Now that you’ve decided on your goals, built a bit of an audience and selected the type of campaign you’re going to send, it’s time to start building your email.

Email tools like Campaign Monitor make it incredibly easy to create beautiful email marketing campaigns, but there are some fundamentals that you should know to make sure you get the best results from each campaign.

Check out our drag-and-drop email builder and easy photo editing guide.

Structure your campaign for easy reading

Research shows that an adult’s attention span is, on average, eight seconds. With such a short attention span, you can assume people aren’t closely reading your campaigns word for word and are instead scanning through them looking for something of interest.

Therefore, writing long, text-heavy email campaigns isn’t the best approach. You need to structure your emails to help draw people into reading your content while guiding them toward the email’s call to action.

Step 5: Measure your results

With your first email out the door and starting to get opened and clicked by your subscribers, you’ll be able to start tracking the success of your campaign.

There are two places through which you can track the success of your email marketing campaigns: Your email marketing tool (such as Campaign Monitor) and your website analytics tool (such as Google Analytics).

The reports section of your email marketing tool is the place to go to understand how people interacted with your email campaigns.

For Campaign Monitor customers, there are a number of reports that can help you do this, but the most commonly used is the Snapshot report.

The report presents to you the key metrics of your email marketing campaign, including:

Number of unique opens – The number of unique subscribers who opened your campaign.

Number of bounces – The number of email addresses to which your campaign could not be delivered (for a variety of different reasons).

Number of emails not opened – The number of unique subscribers who did not open your campaign.

Open rate – The percentage of all subscribers who opened your campaign.

Click-Through Rate – The percentage of people who opened your campaign who then clicked on a link.

Unsubscribe rate – The percentage of people who unsubscribed from your email list through this campaign.

Spam complaints – The number (and percentage) of people who marked your campaign as Spam by clicking the ‘Mark as Spam’ buttons in their chosen email client (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, etc.).

Shares – The number of people who forwarded your campaign to a friend (using the forward icon in your email template) or shared it via social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

These metrics give you a high-level overview of how your subscribers are interacting with your campaigns and allow you to compare the success of one campaign to another. If you want to go deeper and see the exact people who opened and clicked your campaign, what links they clicked, etc. you can do so by choosing some of the other reports from the right hand side menu.

Once you’ve spent some time analysing how people interacted with your email campaign, you can take it a step further and look at what happened after they clicked through to your website.

To do this, you need to have a web analytics tool (like Google Analytics) installed on your site. If you do, and you’ve enabled our Google Analytics integration, then you’ll be able to see details of any visits to your website from your email campaigns, including how long they spent on your site, what pages they visited, what campaigns they’re coming from and more.

You can even download our Google Analytics dashboard which will show you some key statistics about your email visitors in one handy location.

With all the data at the ready you can start making and testing changes to your email campaigns to improve open and click through rates.

Post-Campaign Bonus Tips (Updated)

Your metrics can tell you a lot about campaign performance and how to improve your email campaigns, but there are three things you should always do after every campaign, regardless of how they performed.

  1. Resend the Campaign

No matter how effective the subject line, you’ll always have subscribers who don’t open it for a variety of reasons. Send your email again specifically targeting a list segment of those who didn’t open the first time around.

Not only is this a second chance in case they just missed the first email, it’s another opportunity to further split test subject lines as well as send times.

  1. Clean your List

If rounds of split testing, segmentation, and resends still result in low engagement scores for some of your subscribers then don’t be afraid to clean your list. Review subscriber data regularly to monitor activity and engagement ratings. Remove or further segment those who aren’t engaging in order to improve the overall open rates of your primary subscriber segments.

  1. Build awareness for your brand

Once you’ve finished your campaign and the final steps, build awareness for your brand across all available marketing channels. This includes more common methods (such as social media marketing and events), as well as more unusual brand awareness campaigns (like giveaways and contests).

As you build brand awareness, you can earn more followers and subscribers. This will play into your upcoming campaigns by giving you a wider, more engaged audience.

By having a wider and more diverse group of subscribers, you are more likely to attract more leads and gain more conversions. Ultimately, this means more interest and revenue for your business.

Comments

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