What is Email Marketing, and How does it work?

What is Email Marketing, and How does it work?

Through technological advancement and globalization elements, the modern business ecosystem has seen businesses spend more on digital forms of marketing. Digital marketing, as this is called, is now a force for driving lead generation, sales promotions, and customer engagement. A prominent digital marketing strategy is email marketing. But what is email marketing?

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Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that integrates strategies and tactics to create and distribute email communications to implement relationships between brands and consumers or send information and updates of a promotional nature. Email marketing can also be used subtly to educate your customer base about the value of your brand. It can also keep customers engaged in the period between purchases.

Email marketing, as a digital marketing strategy, is efficient for brands to relate with and engage their customers by introducing products and services, sustaining relationships, and resolving conflicts arising from sales transactions. When planned right and executed to plan, a good email marketing campaign is as effective as any other form of promotional exercise. Consequently, it is now common to see business-to-business (B2B) enterprises that specialize in offering email marketing services.


Advantages of Email Marketing

Email marketing has continued to ensure a proper return on investment for businesses, despite the internet naysaying that email marketing is dead. It has continued to remain advantageous to businesses for a number of reasons that will be discussed below.

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: a 2015 study by the UK based Direct Marketing Association discovered that a dollar spent on email marketing generates an average return on investment of $38. This statistic indicates that email marketing is a cost-effective tool when it comes to marketing campaigns. Email marketing campaigns are generally regarded as one of the most cost-effective marketing campaigns in digital marketing.
  2. Relationship Management: Email marketing is arguably the most effective marketing tool for building, maintaining, and sustaining lasting relationships with business customers. While giving you a platform with your audience and introducing your products and service to them, email marketing campaigns also help keep your business within your audience’s consciousness. Call to action within marketing emails can also help your business give direction to the traffic that comes to your website or e-shop.
  3. Segmentation for Efficiency: This is a true characteristic of almost all forms of digital marketing. Email marketing can target a specific audience to enable the message to get to only those who want to see it. The targeting is achieved by studying the demography of the users in your email list(s). This advantage enables businesses to achieve a higher conversion rate for email marketing campaigns as the likelihood of conversion improves with the relevance of the message guaranteed by this segmentation.

How To Create an Email List?

When creating an email marketing list, a do-it-yourself approach will not suffice for a company or business unless the business is small and owns a specifically small recipients list with no propensity to increase. Business email marketing lists are complex and can evolve, and as such need a dynamic management approach using professional help. Creating an email marketing list will involve having or securing a professional email service provider, website, contact base, database building tool and a strategic approach. The tips for creating email marketing lists are as follows.

  1. Choose an email service provider: this is important for email marketing campaign activity. A professional email service provider ensures high delivery rates, guaranteed protection from spam & phishing interference, and protection from fraudulent email use. The platforms do this through constant monitoring and certification of consignments. The sending platforms also have different functions, like automation, database building, and tracking functions, that allow you to deploy an efficient email marketing campaign. The editors of sending platforms, usually drag & drop, allow for creative and professional email and newsletter designs optimized for all platforms without the users writing any HTML code.
  2. Upload a Mailing List: You have to upload your mailing list to the sending platforms, no matter how large. Uploading can be done manually by copying and pasting individual emails or uploading a text file, excel file, XML file, or CSV file. Sending platforms to offer the opportunity to classify and group emails with individual recipient emails having the ability to belong to one or multiple groups. Some common groupings include Potential Customers, Promotions, Best Customers, Inactive Users, Foreign Customers, Facebook Contacts, newsletters, and B2B market groups.
  3. Develop a Strategy for Building Database: Building a database involves creating different strategies for updating and managing recipient lists and groups. A database must constantly evolve with change and expansion to ensure business growth. Some common tools and strategies for building and sustaining a database are subscription forms, multi-channel pop-ups, Facebook Lead Ads, and the Jade application for iPad. These tools are important for signing up new users to the email marketing lists.
  4. Double Opt-In Set Up: Double opt-in is a function that allows users to provide further confirmation that they are subscribing to your mailing lists. Once the subscription form has been filled and submitted, the sending platform automated service sends a confirmation link to the users’ email with a call to action for the user to confirm their subscription. The double opt-in function ensures that the email address submitted is original—submitted by the owner—and valid—truly existing. Other advantages of double opt-in are that users who confirm subscription are likely to engage and buy from your business, bounce rates are reduced to the barest minimum, and there are lesser spam reports of your mails by the users.
  5. Assign a Mailing List Manager: regardless of the level of automation offered, it is essential to have someone managing the chain of activities with attention and punctuality. The person will also be responsible for reading reports and insights from the sending platform, creating emails, and tracking results. The person is not necessarily solely in charge of creating content but coordinates every stakeholder involved in the content creation chain.
  6. Keep The Mailing List Clean and Add Fresh Data: Do not forget recipients as soon as they are added to your mailing list. From time to time, run analysis to determine recipients that are either inactive or have low engagement and develop strategies for getting them involved again. Deploying targeted email strategies will help ensure that your content stays relevant to the right individuals. Making your recipients your business ambassador by asking them to refer people for rewards or simply servicing them well so that they naturally refer to the business enables you to generate new leads and data.

Tips for Building Your Email Marketing List

At the heart of every marketing campaign is a need for businesses to treat their customers right, keep them updated about products and services, and offer additional services to them in terms of tips and guides that allow the customers to enjoy their purchases to the fullest. The business needs to have an email list of its actual consumers, potential leads, and ambassadors to achieve this. What are the best practices for generating an email list while considering the best marketing practices?

  1. Avoid Buying Email Lists: For businesses that will use standard email marketing companies for their email marketing campaign, this is not an option. These companies have strict policies that value consumers’ permission and prohibit sending to purchased email lists. To generate the needed email database, businesses can concentrate more on encouraging visitors to their business websites to sign up to their email list by using lead magnets. Using lead magnets involves giving consumers free offers to sign up to the business email lists or supply their contact information. Some examples could be offering discounts or free shipping on a customer’s first or allowing them to win a prize for signing up to your email list.
  2. Be Updated about Email Regulations: Different countries have different policies and regulatory guidelines for email marketing. Since most businesses can have customers cutting across different geographical locations globally, it is essential to be aware of your customer base’s different international and national email regulations to avoid existing on the wrong side of the law, which may come with heavy penalties.
  3. Ensure Dynamic Engagement: Most marketing campaigns are targeted at selling products to consumers and generating sales. However, this can be too self-centered and monotonous, given that email marketing can be used to show that you hold your customers in high regard. How does a business communicate this? Simple. By seeking out consumers’ opinions and feedback through surveys, sending out periodic/occasional greetings, and checking on owners of abandoned, filled carts, the customers can feel valued. This is another way by which businesses can utilize email marketing.
  4. Avoid Spamming Your Customers: This is a simple rule; only send messages when you really need to, and avoid any constant unnecessary messages. Doing otherwise is abusing the trust placed in the business by the consumers, which may cause them to lose interest or unsubscribe entirely from your email list. When the focus is on sending relevant and engaging content, there is a high chance that the customers will be loyal to your business.


Email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective and highly rewarding digital marketing forms. When deployed right and strategically, email marketing helps to keep your consumers and potential customers informed, engaged, and interested in your brand.


General eMail Marketing FAQ

What are the 4 types of marketing emails?

The 4 types of marketing emails are;

  • Email Newsletter
  • Acquisition email
  • Customer retention email
  • Promotional emails

How does eMail marketing make money?

There are several ways to make money with email marketing, and these include;

  • Driving more traffic to your website
  • Selling your product or service through emails
  • Selling other people’s products or services

What are the challenges of email marketing?

  • Email Deliverability
  • Managing Subscribers
  • Monitoring email campaign
  • It can be time consuming

Is email marketing still effective?

The answer is a resounding yes! Email marketing is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to reach a large audience at a relatively low cost. email marketing also allows you to track your results and measure your success