In this post you will learn everything you need to know about email marketing in 2019.
A successful email marketing campaign can generate you crazy amounts of revenue.
Just like it did for VideoFruit—over $220,000 in sales.
Let’s dive on in.
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is the large-scale use of email messaging to reach out and market individuals.
Email is such a powerful marketing tool, because it is direct to an individual’s inbox—the virtual equivalent of a letterbox.
Businesses will send out targeted emails to a subscriber list of its audience/clients/customers.
Cold email marketing also exists—sending random (or targeted) individuals marketing related emails.
Does Email Marketing Still Work? (2019)
Does email marketing even still work in 2019?
Email marketing is still wildly popular.
Over 293 billion emails will be sent in 2019 according to this research.
Over half of the world population uses email.
Email is also very effective for businesses—an average ROI of 3800%.
There are many reasons why email is so successful as a marketing tool.
We could be here all day talking about them.
Here are 3 quick reasons.
1. Superior engagement
Email has a much higher level of engagement compared to other platforms (like social media.)
Facebook’s organic engagement is now 1% according to this report.
Engagement (open rate) for email is 20x greater than Facebook’s 1% post engagement mark—per Mailchimp.
2. High conversion rate
Email has a much greater conversion rate compared to other marketing platforms.
In fact, McKinsey research shows email has a 3x higher conversion rate compared to social media.
Email converts 40x more customers than Facebook and Twitter (combined.)
And each email converted customer’s order value is 17% higher
3. Best platform to receive marketing materials
Think about it… What are the platforms that have supposed to have diminished email’s influence?
Social media? Most people don’t want to see marketing-related material there.
45% of people find social media ads intrusive and annoying, according to this new report.
Consumers prefer to receive their marketing material from emails.
You can read the whole HubSpot report for yourself here.
The first step you need to take is to find an email service provider
An email service provider is a company/business that provides email marketing at a bulk/extrapolated level.
Basically they provide you will tools (and storage) to effectively upsize your email marketing efforts.
You can send emails without a service provider, but it makes things so much easier.
Why you should use an email service provider
Here are 8 quick reasons.
1. Email volume — ESPs are built to handle massive volumes of email, something businesses will have.
2. Audience segmentation — The ability to segment and target specific sects of your audience/subscriber list.
3. Analytics — Analytical data that allows you to tweak and optimize your emails in a data-driven manner.
4. Subscriber management — Feature that allows you to customize your subscriber list.
5. Automation — ESPs have email automation functions, able to plan out your marketing campaigns on a scheduled basis.
6. HTML designs — Advanced, website-like HTML designs for high quality, techologically state of the art emails.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email service providers. The platform comes with absolutely all the tools and features you need to convert.
MailChimp is suitable all and every type of business—from bloggers to massive companies.
You can create landing pages, there are pre-built templates, just about everything you need for your email marketing campaign.
There are 3 paid plans and 1 free option.
1. Free — $0 USD a month.
2. Essentials — $9.99 USD a month.
3. Standard — $14.99 USD a month.
4. Premium — $299 USD a month.
ConvertKit is a email service that is especially popular with bloggers and publishers. The platform was designed for these people—YouTubers, bloggers and podcasters.
ConvertKit allows you to create high quality forms and emails to convert.
There is also an easy-to-use email automation function.
There are 4 pricing plans to choose from based on subscriber list size.
1. $29 USD a month — 0-1,000 subscribers.
2. $49 USD a month — 1,001-3,000 subscribers.
3. $79 USD a month — 3,001-5,000 subscribers.
4. Quote — 5,001+ subscribers.
Aweber is very popular for its lead generation services for small busineses. It has all the features you need to increase your email list
It features a “drag and drop” interface to create newsletters.
There is also an email automation function.
There are 5 pricing plans based on subscriber list size.
1. $19 USD a month — 0-500 subscribers.
2. $29 USD a month — 501-2,500 subscribers.
3. $49 USD a month — 2,501-5,000 subscribers.
4. $69 USD a month — 5,001-10,000 subscribers.
5. $149 USD a month — 10,001-25,000 subscribers.
Constant Contact is the most popular service provider for small businesses.
It has a wide variety of fully-customizable templates for all your email needs.
It also has an industry recommendation feature for newbies who need help with their email marketing campaigns.
There are 2 pricing plans.
1. Email ($20 USD a month)
2. Email Plus ($45 USD a month)
GetResponse is an email marketing software that allows you to maximize email campaign coversions with great custom emails.
It is not just an email marketing provider, but digital marketing.
The software allows you to do such things as create webinars and landing pages.
There are 4 pricing plans.
1. Basic ($15 USD a month)
2. Plus ($49 USD a month)
3. Professional ($99 USD a month)
4. Enterprise ($1199 USD a month)
Before we can start making emails, we need to build our email list.
There are a handful of strategies you can use.
These strategies will be largely tied to your content marketing—part of a greater inbound effort.
Here are 4 strategies to build your email list.
Optimize your opt-in forms
Regardless of what email list building strategy you use, you’re going to use some sort of opt-in form.
This is an opt-in form.
You can find them all over the place on websites, in many different styles.
I think it’s important to know how to do them right
Here are some pointers to follow.
1. Add a lead magnet
A lead magnet is basically some sort of incentive, or value—typically a PDF or download of information.
Lead magnets are attached to opt-in forms to entice individuals to click through.
This can dramatically increase conversion.
You don’t want your opt-in forms looking like this.
You want them looking like this.
Common types of lead magnets include…
- Free Reports
- White Papers
- Exclusive Videos
- Promo Codes/Discounts
2. Limit the number of form fields
Form fields are the things you ask for on your opt-in form.
Like their email address, first and last name, etc…
You shouldn’t ask for too many things—you need to limit the number of form fields.
It’s been proven that shorter forms outperform longer ones.
If you’re goal is simply to build your email list, that’s all you need to ask from them.
3. Use the right call to action button color
You need to make sure you use the right color for your opt-in form’s button.
It’s sometimes called the “call to action.”
Different colors create different emotional responses, and hence different consumer habits.
What color should you use then?
Orange is a good choice.
Digital Agency WiderFunnel increased lead generation by 32.5% by orange CTA buttons.
Red is also another good option.
A test was doing comparing green and red CTA buttons.
Red buttons won—they had a 34% higher conversion rate.
You can’t go wrong with either red or orange.
The truth is people have success with all sorts of colors.
You have to taken into account overall color schemes.
Red and orange aren’t as effective if the rest of the website is the same color.
4. Use their name for personalization
This is a simple but effective trick.
Personalizing your opt-in forms can boost conversion.
I don’t think I need to go any further in-depth here, it’s common sense.
Run a free giveaway competition
Running a free giveaway competition is a great way to massively increase your email list.
Here’s a good example.
Fragrance company JewelScent ran a giveaway competition.
This opt-in form is what they sent out on their social media page.
10,470 new email list subscribers.
(3431 were directly from the giveway entry, the rest came organically.)
They also got a huge boost in social media counts and overall revenue.
You can use a software like ViralSweep to help you run a giveaway.
This email list building strategy might not be viable for everyone.
Optimize your ‘about’ page
Your ‘about’ page is going to be one of the most visited places on your website.
This is why it’s a great idea to optimize your about page to build your email list.
You want to treat your about page like a squeeze page.
Backlinko’s about page is a good example of what we want to do here.
Brian has 2 email opt-in forms on the page.
Here’s the other.
He’s had substantial success with this strategy—a 9.31% conversion rate.
(This is quite high FYI…)
Add an “exit-intent” popup
An exit-intent popup is one of the best ways to use a popup.
They are basically when you are on a website then move your mouse to leave and a popup comes up.
There are many ways you can use an exit-intent popup to build your email list.
You can add a “content upgrade” to a blog post.
A content upgrade is a PDF/download lead magnet. It is usually a more extensive, in-depth version of the blog post.
It can be very effective when done right.
RazorSocial increased conversions by 520% adding this exit-intent content upgrade.
You can offer a discount on an eCommerce page.
This is a good way to simultaneously build your subscriber list, while increasing sales.
The save to cart is another similar eCommerce email list builder.
Or the free shipping.
Whatever exit-intent popup strategy you choose to implement, try to follow these basic guidelines.
(same as general opt-in form best practice)
- Use their name (personalization)
- Minimal form fields (email, name, etc..)
- Orange/red button color
- Add some form of lead magnet value (content upgrade, discount, etc..)
Now that we’ve built an email list, it’s time to start sending out emails.
The first question you need to ask yourself is…
“What do I want to accomplish with my email marketing?”
There’s only 2 email marketing intents.
1. To promote/advertise something (promotional/advertising)
2. To educate/inform/entertain (extension of content marketing)
Email marketing is either doing one of these two things.
Compare shoe company Toms email newsletter is 100% promotional.
Compare this to digital media company Vox.
It’s not a black and white situation either—businesses put out both types, and even mixes.
Regardless of what type of emails you are going to create, a good template can make things much easier.
Here are some good templates you can use.
The blog post preview
This template is about letting your email list know about a new blog post you have published.
Here’s an example I received in my own inbox.
Brian Dean’s (Backlinko) new SEO guide.
Here’s how we’re going to do it.
You have 2 options here.
1. Use the exact header of the blog post
2. A shorter version that’s similar to it
If I were to do a blog post preview email of this post, here’s how the header would look.
The key is to tell them what the blog post is about, while adhering to good headline practice.
Don’t spend too much time on this.
I’ve seen this done a couple ways.
Either a short preview opening snippet from the actual blog post
Or a unique blurb of sorts like in that Brian Dean example above, or this one from Jorden Makelle.
Kind of like a long-form sales letter.
Key is to entice them to want to read on.
Call to action________________________________________________________________________________________
Again, 2 ways to go about this.
Depends on whether your email is HTML or text-based.
All the examples above are text-based emails and hence have a hyperlink call to action.
HTML emails have website-like design.
The CTA button will look like this.
Text or HTML, standard CTA button practice applies.
Refer to the part that covers this in the email list building section.
A newsletter is a report that details the activity of a business.
Newsletters are used to inform email lists about current events.
They are an essential tool of community engagement
First up, you shouldn’t mention “newsletter” in your subject line.
When you do so, it decreases open rate by 18.7% (Business2Community)
So how do we do it if we don’t mention newsletter?
Here’s one way.
“This week at [business name]”
Here’s another way.
“This week: [item #1], [item #2], [item #3]…”
You want to list everything that’s going on with your business during a period of time (usually a week.)
Events, content, upcoming sales… Information that you think your community would like to know.
InVision’s newsletter lists new blog posts (like the blog post preview.)
It also shows a recent podcast.
Using HTML is preferrable but newsletters are also done text-based.
Call to action________________________________________________________________________________________
Newsletters are going to have a lot of call to actions.
You are informing, and inviting.
Letting them know about a new blog post?
Hit them with the big button.
How about an upcoming event?
Another click-through enticing button.
Your newsletter is a community engagement tool—funnelling important information to your email list.
This information, is not the point… The conversion is.
Your newsletter previews… It’s a blurb of your weekly activity.
The sales offer
This is a common staple for large e-commerce brands.
Here’s a black friday email I got from ebay.
People also sell with a bit more body copy, too.
Look at this sales letter from Derek Johanson—he runs CopyHour (copywriting course.)
There are multiple ways to write an email sales letter, so its hard to go into specifics.
Be straight up, tell them exactly what you’re offering.
If you’re selling something more specific, like a course or membership… You might need a bigger sell.
Check out this subject line for a writing course.
Basic good headline practice—numbers, emotional language, benefit-focused…
This is the sales copywriting domain.
If you want to figure out how to write sales letters you should read my guide here.
Big e-commerce brands will have am embedded HTML layout for their emails.
Products/services that require a stronger sell, will have long sales copy.
The length of the body copy sell can vary dramatically. It depends on many things.
Check out the sales pages guide for more information on that.
Call to action________________________________________________________________________________________
I think it’s more improtant that you use a button as opposed to just a hyperlink.
This means you’ll need to make sure the email is HTML.
When it comes to sales, I think HTML is the way to go.
Looks cleaner/professional, can do more things.
The re-engagement email is sent to “inactive” email list subscribers.
Engagement is very important. What good is a large list if they don’t read your emails?
ESPs have analytics built it to track engagement levels.
There is obviously many ways you can do a re-engagement email—I will just cover some styles.
Becaue each business and specific industry is unique, subject lines for re-engagement will vary.
I can’t give you a one-size-fits-all subject line.
What I can do is give you some good examples based on solid data.
Here’s what they found (higher the number the better.)
If B2B is your business, these are your best options.
- Are we on the same page?
- Do you still want to hear from us?
- Busy bee? Let us help.
This is a good choice for an e-commerce business.
“Do you still want updates from us” is a solid choice that can fit most business types.
Another good option highlighted.
Between all the highlighted, there should be some solid options you can use.
If there’s one constant with all the different re-engagement emails… It is this…
Keep it short and sweet.
The body copy has to get to the point and make it snappy.
Be polite, provide them some value if you can.
E-commerce brands will offer/advertise a discount/current sale.
Even give something for free.
If you’re offering something of value (a discount or something free) a HTML button is prefferable for maximum conversion.
After all, re-engagement is about conversion. You want to get all those inactive subscribers back in the game.
I haven’t seen many re-engagement emails that don’t use HTML and a CTA button.
Now that we’ve got our email done, it’s time to optimize.
What are we optimizing it for?
We will be focusing on 2 things.
1. Open rate
Open rate is basically how many of your email list subscribers opened a particular email.
Deliverability is a measure of how successful an email is at reaching an individual’s inbox.
Here are 6 strategies to improve open rate and deliverability for your email.
1. Use a double opt-in
This is a nice way to increase deliverability of your emails.
A double opt-in is when someone subscribing to your email list needs to “verify” or confirm.
Now, because you’ve added another step to opt-in, you might get less email signups.
Does that matter though?
You’re screening out low quality list individuals.
You want highly engaged people on your list.
Here’s an example of a double opt-in.
Some double opt-ins screen even harder, using reCAPTCHA to minimize the spam bots.
2. Send a “welcome” email
A good “welcome” email is a great addition to a double opt-in—this will improve your open rates.
Most people do send a welcome email, but they are generic and not very good.
They typically look like this…
We can do so much better than this.
- Personalize the email (use their name)
- Treat it as a mini newsletter (tell them what to expect)
- Finish with a CTA (to a new blog post for example)
Here’s how it should look.
3. Get rid of inactive email list subscribers
Inactive email list subscribers can absolutely tank your email deliverability.
This is because it can damage your sender score.
When list individuals don’t open your emails and list them as spam, it lowers your sender score.
At this point all of your emails are going to the spam box—you’re no longer reaching anybody.
You don’t need these individuals dragging you down—get rid of them, clean the list.
Your ESP can help you identify the culprits.
Brian Dean cleaned his list and his open rates went from 15.5% to 36.3%.
He deleted over 28,018 inactive subscribers.
4. Send your emails on the right day and time
The day and time at which you send your emails can have a large impact on open rate.
The truth is the optimal day and time to send out an email varies.
Research from GetResponse shows open rate drops on the weekend.
While Yes Marketing’s Q1 report shows specifically, friday as the best day for open rates.
Whatever source you find, the results are going to vary. There are too many variables to account for.
I would say that you should send your emails during the work week, and not the weekend.
Purely due to the fact that it’s the weekend and people are not working.
But what about the hour?
Data from HubSpot says 11am.
60% of people check their email first thing in the morning according to Optinmonster.
I think sending your emails late at night, so that they may be opened early in the morning is good.
5. Limit the promotional/sales content
You should try to limit how much sales content you funnel to your email list.
Send more emails like this.
And less of these.
Too much selling can absolutely turn off people—watch those open rates tank as your emails start getting listed as spam.
Remember what that does to sender score?
Your email marketing should by and large, be an extension of your content marketing—free value.
Follow an 80/20 balance.
6. Optimize for the Gmail snippet
The Gmail snippet is the preview of an email in the inbox.
It’s important that you address how your emails are represented on the snippet—lots of people use Gmail.
There are 3 main parts to the snippet.
- The sender name
- The subject line
- The preview
It’s like the inbox is the SERP, the sender name and subject line are the page title and the preview is the meta description.
Remember… Meta descriptions can increase click-through rates…
So a good preview can increase open rate.
The preview is going to be the first few lines of your email.
So make it enticing, throw in words similar to keywords. Like how you front-load a keyword on your page title.
Before you send your emails out, send it to yourself first, to see how it looks in the inbox.
Now, a good ESP (like MailChimp) makes email automation easy, but I’ll cover some basics here.
What is email automation?
Email automation is a function that allows you to send out specific emails to specific people at specific times.
It allows you to pre-plan your email marketing—you don’t have to physically send each individual email.
What is an autoresponder sequence?
Email automation allows you to create something called an “autoresponder sequence.”
An autoresponder sequence is a uniquely designed sequence of emails sent out to (usually new subscribers) individuals.
Here’s a diagram that kind of gives you an idea.
These autoreponder sequences are initiated by “triggers.”
Triggers are actions that start off an autoresponder sequence—such as someone signing up to the email list.
As you can imagine, these sequences can get quite complicated.
You’re going to have unique autoresponder sequences for all different sects of your email list.
Autoresponder sequences are used by all types of individuals/businesses—blogs, e-commerce stores, SaaS companies… You name it.
Types of autoresponder sequences
There are many different types of autoresponder sequences, each with unique triggers.
Some of these types include…
- Subscriber activity sequences
- Purchase activity sequences
- Date-based sequences
Why you should automate your emails
Because sending out emails takes time… Time that you don’t need to waste when automation exists.
Aside from that, here are some other reasons.
- Ability to personalize your customer’s experience
- Increased customer retention rate
- Makes your email marketing scalable
How to automate your emails
Your ESP will have an automation interface with easy controls.
I’ll cover how you setup an autoresponder sequence on MailChimp.
Go over to your account dashboard and click Automate > Email.
You’ll have a selection of categories to choose from. Pick the one that best fits your plan.
You can either send a single email, or an autoresponder sequence (email series.)
Give your campaign a name, then select an audience.
When you’re ready, click begin.
Now you’ve created the autoresponder sequence, setting the trigger and the subscriber/list targets… It’s time to design the email/emails.
Hit that “Design Email” button and this form should come up.
When you’re done, make sure you review everything.
Then when you’re ready, hit “Start Sending.”
In this post we covered everything you need to know about email marketing in 2019.
How did you find this guide? Have you implemented an email campaign after reading this?
Did I leave anything out?
Have your say in the comments section below.
Lars Erik Larson is a digital marketer based out of Perth, Western Australia. He specializes in writing long-form B2B Marketing Blog posts that build brand and rank highly on Google. Lars runs Wordsmith Method, a content marketing business targeting small businesses and startups.