What is Email Marketing?

Many of us use email every day to get things done. It’s often the easiest way to communicate – and some would say, the most effective way – especially if you want to keep in touch with someone. The fact that so many people use email doesn’t mean it’s easy to understand. Here, we’ll break down the basics of email marketing so you can stop worrying about whether or not you’re doing it right.

What is Email Marketing?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment. What is your email marketing goal?

Do you want to grow your business? Do you want to grow your email list? Do you want to increase your engagement with your customers?

  • Answered all of these questions above? You’re on the right track!
  • You might also want to consider using email marketing to educate your customers about issues important to them. For example, if you’re selling luxury goods, you might want to use email to tell your customers about responsible consumption and how their purchase benefits the environment.
  • Or, if you’re a real estate company, you might want to use email to keep in touch with your customers and remind them that you’re available to help them with buying or selling a home.
  • No matter what you’re selling, there’s an audience that could benefit from your insight or knowledge.

Regardless of your industry, you have an audience that could benefit from your knowledge. Now that you know what your goal is, how do you intend to accomplish it?

You might have noticed – or perhaps, you’ve been given the task of educating your customers about the value you bring – that there’s a lot of jargon that comes with the word “marketing.”

“Marketing” is often used interchangeably with “promotions” and “advertising.” While those are certainly part of the equation, marketing through email extends far beyond throwing a few ads in your newsletter or blasting out some promotional offers.

“Marketing” refers to a strategy, set of goals, and the necessary actions to achieve them. The acronym MMA ( Marketing, Management, and Sales) sums it up nicely.

“Marketing is the action of designing and communicating a business’ value to potential customers using a variety of communication channels and platforms. This could include email marketing, social media marketing, banner ads, etc.,” says David Greene, CEO and Co-Founder of Ontra, a digital marketing agency.

“The field of marketing is vast and ever-changing. A marketing plan is an outline of how you will approach marketing, including what you will do and when you will do it. It can also include specific strategies such as email marketing or social media marketing.”

While email is an essential part of any marketing plan, it is by no means the be-all-end-all. In fact, beyond the basics of opening and closing an email, most people don’t even know how to read an email correctly.

To get the most out of your email marketing, you need to understand your audience’s interests, motivations, and lifestyles. Only then can you determine what will be most effective for them. That is the key to creating content that will truly engage your audience.

Why should you care about your customers’ interests, motivations, and lifestyles?

As a business owner, you’re always on the lookout for new customers. Your goal is to grow your business as much as possible while staying profitable. To achieve this, you need to understand your customers’ wants and needs. Only then can you craft an offering that will prove beneficial to them.

People buy from businesses that they feel will help them achieve their needs. A business without objectives is at a disadvantage in the marketplace. For this reason, the marketing team within your company should be diligently working to understand your customers’ interests, motivations, and lifestyles.

“Customers are the most important part of your business. Without them, you would not have a customer base, and you would not have a business. Therefore, it is essential to understand and be able to articulate the wants and needs of your customers. This is commonly referred to as Customer Analysis or Market Segmentation,” says Greene.

“From there, you can craft an offer that is specifically designed for them. This is called target marketing. The idea is to identify a group of individuals who have an interest in or need for what you’re offering, and then design a campaign to bring them to your side. This is done through various channels such as email marketing, social media marketing, or text messaging. Be sure to look at all of your marketing channels (not just email) to get the best results from your campaign.”

What should you include in your customer analysis?

When performing customer analysis, you should include the following elements:

  • Demographics – this includes information about your customers’ age, gender, marital status, etc.
  • Past purchases – this includes information about your customers’ previous purchases, which can help you determine what products or services they might be interested in. It also includes a history of their actions, or lack thereof, on your website. For example, if someone visits your site frequently but hasn’t made a purchase, you may want to consider lowering your prices to encourage them to engage with you. Conversely, if someone has purchased a product from you before but hasn’t visited your site in a while, you may want to consider raising your prices to encourage them to come back.
  • Website traffic – this includes how many people are visiting your site, the demographics of your audience, and how long they’re staying on your site.
  • Channels – this refers to the different platforms or methods your customers use to learn about your products or services. For example, do they read articles or view videos about your industry? Use social media or email to send out your next marketing campaign?
  • Locations – the locations your customers (or potential customers) exist in. Are they more likely to be found in big cities or small towns? Consider the demographics in each location to determine your product’s fit. For example, you may want to consider raising prices in smaller towns to make up for the less affluent customer base. Additionally, you may want to adjust your marketing approach to fit the demographics there.
  • Behaviors – this is similar to the past purchases element above. It includes the actions your customers take (or don’t take) on your site. For example, if someone visits your site but doesn’t enter any information, you may want to consider lowering your prices to encourage them to enter their email address and make a purchase. Or, if someone makes a purchase but then never returns to your site, you may want to consider raising your prices to encourage them to come back. Think of any other actions – such as signing up for a newsletter, subscribing to a blog, or engaging with you on social media – that might occur as a result of visiting your site.
  • Interests – this refers to the kinds of content or products your customers find most interesting. If you have a specific audience in mind, you can use tools like Google Analytics to identify the topics they’re most interested in. Then, you can use this information to determine what topics you should cover in your next marketing campaign.
  • Personality – this includes the unique qualities of your customer base and whether or not these individuals are likely to be receptive to your industry’s products or services. If you own a small business, you may be more familiar with the concept of personal branding. Essentially, you are what you say you are. Your customers (and potential customers) will be more likely to perceive your brand as honest and trustworthy if you portray this type of personality in your marketing materials. Even if you don’t personally brand yourself, it’s still important to portray this type of personality in your marketing materials. This will help your customers (and potential customers) connect with you on a personal level. When performing customer analysis, it is important to remember that your customers are individuals and as a result, their interests, motivations, and lifestyles will vary. As you become more familiar with your customers, you will be able to tailor your offers to meet their needs. In turn, this will result in satisfied customers and a healthy bottom line.

    How can email marketing help you build a customer base?

    Email marketing allows you to build a customer base quickly and easily. There are a variety of tools and platforms that can make this task simpler. For example, if you use HubSpot, you can create autoresponders that will send out emails at pre-set times (e.g., once a week) with customized messages to your customers. If you have a small business, this may be all you need to get started.

Scroll to Top