Email Marketing 101

In today’s world where social media is the go-to platform for any promotion, the word email marketing seems to be out of date. However, email marketing has been a strong contender for digital marketing strategies. It can be directly communicated to the audience with a personal touch. 

In this blog article, we will explore the bedrock of email marketing, including its brief history, types of emails, importance, and how to kick-start your email marketing campaign.

Table of Content

History of Email Marketing

The first person to send out an electronic telegram, which is now called email, was Ray Tomlinson, a computer engineer who developed the communication between computers back in 1971. 

In 1978, Gary Thuerk was the first person to use the technology to send out 400 batch emails. This campaign led to 13 million in sales, making it one of the top marketing tools used by most businesses. Since then, email marketing has shaped into something different. 

The advancement of the internet to the general public in the ‘90s ignited the era of digital communication, which evolved email technology to the median tool for communication. In marketing, this advancement led to the development of platforms offering services for tailor-made solutions like batch emails, automation, and personalisation to the target audience. 

Email marketing is still considered a top priority for marketing strategy, showing growth every year, as businesses send over 300 billion emails daily and spend an estimated $350 million annually just on email marketing campaigns.

What Is Email Marketing? Definition and Key Concepts

Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools. It sends emails to the targeted audience aimed to provide brand messages, product promotions, and reminders. The key is to build and maintain relationships with the audience, converting them into potential customers. 

Here are the top components of email marketing:

  • Email Campaigns: This is a structured series of emails that is followed by a set of strategies.
  • Email Design: Visual representation of the email that combines with textual content; this is a powerful tool to personalise your email.
  • Subscriber List: A list of targeted audiences that have opted in to receive emails.
  • Automation: Use of email platform software to send emails based on certain triggers and schedules. This is a powerful tool to remove bottlenecks and customer drop-offs.

The format of email marketing is diverse, from promotional emails, monthly newsletters and confirmation emails for purchases to recommendations for a personal touch. 

Importance and Benefits of Email Marketing

Email is still one of the most popular methods of communication done online. The ability to reach a mass number of audiences with high output and low cost is one of the selling points for businesses, with an average ROI of $42 for every $1 spent, making it the top cost-effective strategy to take for marketing. 

From the consumer perspective, email is a reminder tool for them and unknowingly a persuasive tool for them to interact with businesses for future purchases. For businesses that are looking to build that thick trust between product selling and customers, this is where email marketing comes into play, giving the powerful tool of direct communications with individual customers.

It not only builds relationships but also facilitates the growth of trust with customers and segments those who convert. From the perspective of budget, email marketing is cost-effective as it gives good value for click-throughs. With the right call to action in place, the boost you will get in sales by direct route to your landing pages will increase your click-through rate (CTR) higher than the normal average. 

In comparison with social media marketing, email marketing is not affected by regular changes in algorithms that social media platforms undergo, which means that consistency is in place for more stable strategies to apply. Further, email marketing shows an average open rate of 21% and a click-through rate of 2%, which is higher than the average CTR for social media ads. Yet, the biggest problem with email marketing is that not everyone knows how to get it right in the bull’s eye. 

If you have seen through your spam mail or potential emails that you have just clicked spam, it shows how difficult it is to get it correctly. The tip to start getting things done correctly is to check on the data using the software to run the A/B tests of call-to-action (CTA) and subject lines for best-performing messages. 

Types of Email Campaigns for Marketing


Promotional emails come in various formats and information. It can campaign to promote special offers and discounts, new product line releases, information about seminars & webinars, brand promotion, and sometimes not necessarily products but services as product offerings. 

Most promotional emails are sent in a series strategically planned over a certain period of time, depending on how the campaign is shaped. 

Promotional emails need to have a clear strategy, and to do so, the call-to-action (CTA) is something that needs to be perfected for promotional emails. This ensures potential customers can read and take specific actions. For example, to claim the coupon for a discounted purchase offering, the CTA should be “Claim your discount”.

When it comes to upcoming holidays, promotional email campaigns are not just optional but mandatory, as they can drive your business’s sales upward. Therefore, creating a calendar to track the important dates and plan pre-game and post-game strategies for your promotional email campaign is crucial. 


Newsletters are popular methods of communication to the audience for information transfer. Often, the content of the newsletter includes the latest updates of the company like different milestones achieved, outstanding awards received, and potential development of new products. 

There can be different variations of newsletters, such as case studies, research papers, and whitepapers. The duration of the newsletter output can be determined by the data collected. Some show that monthly is the best fit; in some cases, weekly or bi-weekly does the trick. In the end, it is based on how your audience behaves. 


This is one of the most important types of emails that businesses must implement. Retention emails are the key to keeping your customers happy and getting them ready for more of your future products. Just like how account management is done, this is the way for marketers to make sure the clients are satisfied. 

Some of the examples of the retention emails are:

  • Introduction emails that welcome the reader
  • “How to” emails on the products and services
  • “What we have achieved” emails to show confidence to the customers
  • What are the next steps for the company
  • Surveys to show that the company is interested in the voice of customer
  • Targeted emails to the customers who might have lost interest – reactivation


Transactional emails are automatically triggered when there is customer action in your online shops. These can be products or services that the company offers. As soon as the customer purchase is done, emails will be sent to your customer’s registered email. These emails can be:

  • Order confirmation
  • Thank you emails
  • Reminder emails about items in the cart
  • Reviews of services and products

These automated emails are key to getting a positive customer satisfaction rate. They instil customers’ confidence in your products and services and cement their trust that they are getting what they have paid for. 

How to Start Email Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Email marketing platform is the best practice for email marketing campaigns, as it is a Software as a Service (SaaS) that offers software services such as data analytics, customer relationship management tools, automation, and campaign design. 

These platforms do give free plans that are limited in services; thus, budgeting is involved to get the services needed. It is possible to use email service providers like Gmail and Outlook for batch emails. However, it is not recommended, as it can potentially cause a number of problems, such as your email being flagged as spam, which can then end in your account being suspended. 

The intention of the email service providers was always to be used as personal. This is where the email service provider platforms come into play to avoid spam filters and ensure deliverability. 

Other forms of benefits using email marketing platform is the increase in your open rates by average 20% and your CTR by average 15%. Further growth in your metrics for email marketing can be done through personalisation and strategic segmentation.

Key Steps to Master Email Marketing Campaign Planning

Create a Goal: Before you can kick start any project, planning is always the key. Build your campaign with a clear goal and objective. 

Build Your Customer Email List: Before sending out any email for the campaign, building a right list is important. Without a defined target audience, your campaign will not deliver any accurate data for your future directions. Compile a list of the right audience by assigning sign-ups to your email list on your website or landing page. 

Select Email Marketing Platform: There are numerous excellent platforms out there that can cater to specific needs on email marketing. Some platforms have AI integration to help out with tasks, increasing overall efficiency. 

Create Tailored Content: Stop using boring emails and generic content. Instead, personalise them to offer more resonating content for your audience. Design your email template to fit those needs, and drive your open rate/click rate with a stronger CTA.

Segment Audience: Statistics show that a strategic approach to segmentation can increase revenue by 760% on average. Check on the target audience details by their age, race, gender, location, and purchase history. The demographics and purchasing power will help you personalise your emails better and lead to better outcomes.

Automation: Around 80% of the marketers make use of the automation for their campaigns. Set trigger points for the emails to automatically generate, which will help with the customer relationship by instilling trust and confidence in the products and services sold. This is one of the most important points in email marketing where a lack of automated follow-ups could result in a bad outcome for the campaign.

A/B test, Analyse, Optimise: Testing is important to any type of marketing campaign. In the context of email marketing, A/B testing serves as a way to gather accurate data to determine which subject line works the best and if a certain CTA is a better choice to garner a higher click rate. According to statistics, A/B testing can increase the ROI of the campaign by 37%, making this the key to better email marketing.