Email Marketing: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

When it comes to digital marketing, why do people still trust emails? Do you think email marketing is valuable, or do you believe that this decade-old strategy is still an effective marketing technique? The answer to these questions is YES!

According to a SmartInsight 2018 report, email marketing is considered as one of the most important marketing channels, amongst SEM, SEO, affiliate marketing, and other marketing initiatives. And if you are a digital marketer, you will certainly not take any chance to ignore a tool as valuable as email marketing. 

What is Email Marketing?

It is a way of delivering effective messages to convert leads into sales by sending personalized emails to targeted customers. It also helps us to educate our target customers on the value of our product. 

Importance of Email Marketing

  • Costs lesser as compared to other marketing channels
  • Shows a higher ROI (return on investment)
  • Helps in attracting new customers 
  • Easier Integration with other communication channels
  • Assists in creating targeted and personalized messages
  • Helps higher-intent client to engage with your business
  • Helps reaching larger audiences and even smaller targeted lists

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How to Practice Email Marketing?

Define Your Audience

Identify the target audience and create segments based on their geography, demographics, firmographics, past purchases, email engagement, etc.

Choose Suitable Email Marketing Platform

Next, choose a suitable email marketing service for your company. Then create campaigns and set an appropriate call to action.

Test Your Emails Before Sending

A/B test you emails with the following steps:

  • Optimize Basic Elements of Email


Emails elements - Email marketing

    • Attract the audience with a compelling subject line
    • Ensure to choose the preview text wisely
    • Offer relevant content to your audience
    • Place CTA in a visible place for your visitors
    • Add relevant images and ensure of creating visually appealing emails
    • Design mobile-friendly emails
  • Gain Your Audience’s Trust 



    • Build and segment an email list based on user behavior
    • Send campaigns immediately or schedule a time
    • Ensure to follow a consistent schedule to build trust with your audience
  • Measure theResults


Measure Results

  • Optimize your subject lines, preheader text, email content, CTA, and landing pages through A/B tests
  • Measure performance (open rate, CTR rate, response, and rate)
    • A soft bounce means the email has reached the recipient's mail server but is bounced back undelivered
    • A hard bounce email occurs when the email has been permanently rejected
    • Open Rate: It is the percentage of the total number of recipients who opened an email campaign
    • Click-through Rate: It is the percentage of recipients that have clicked the CTA in your email message
    • Response Rate: It is the percentage of the number of people who completed the survey of your email by selecting the link of your email campaign and completed an action
    • Forward Rate: The forward rate refers to the rate at which your subscribers share your email campaigns with others
    • Bounce Rate - There are two types of bounces -- hard and soft. 

Below is an example of an optimized email that can help you bring a high open rate:


Optimized email

Types of Email Campaigns

There are a variety of email campaigns that can be used to interact with your target audience. And here’s how you can optimize each type of email campaign:

  • Welcome emails
  • Newsletter
  • Promotional emails
  • Abandonment cart emails
  • Re-engagement campaign
  • Sponsorship Emails 

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1. Welcome Emails

  • According to CampaignMonitor, a lot of recent studies have shown that welcome emails have an average read rate of 34%
  • Welcome mails encourage new subscribers to engage with your products and services

How to Optimize?

  • Send your welcome email immediately after the sign-up process of the user
  • It should be informative, clear and actionable
  • Optimize subject lines and email content
  • Keep messages short and clear
  • Use relevant CTA

An example  of an optimized welcome email is  shown below:


Welcome email - Email Marketing

2. Newsletters

  • With email newsletters, the audience are connected and informed about the product updates
  • This is a very significant way of educating your audience and prospects about your business

How to Optimize?

  • Try to reduce text and provide visually interesting campaigns 
  • Stack your email content and optimize CTA
  • Create an interesting header
  • Share a variety of content (like videos, articles, eBooks, podcasts, webinars) with your readers
  • Follow a consistent schedule for sending emails

Below is an example of a newsletter:


Newsletter - email marketing

3. Promotional Emails 

According to convince and convert, 68% of Millennials have confirmed that Promotional Emails have influenced their purchase decisions.

  • These emails drive revenue by sending special offers 
  • Its objective is to make a conversion

How to Optimize?

  • Ensure to personalize your campaigns
  • Engage your customers by including limited time offers
  • Send offer emails on holidays for high engagement rate

Below is an example of a promotional email:


Promotional email

4. Abandonment Cart Emails

  • Abandonment emails are shared with clients who have kept products on their cart but did not complete the checkout process
  • It is an effective way to improve sales

How to Optimize?

  • Use a simple abandoned cart email template
  • Personalize your abandoned-cart recovery emails
  • Adding a product image in your email remainder can result in high click-through rate
  • Send a series of email reminders to your clients.

Below is an example of abandonment cart email:


abandonment cart email - email marketing

5. Re-Engagement Campaign

  • It is a practice of sending series of emails to inactive email subscribers
  • It leads to high user engagement rate and maintains a high IPR (Inbox Placement Ratio)

How to Optimize?

  • Opt for gamification to win back inactive subscribers
  • Prefer subject lines like "We have been waiting for your response" or "We have got a special offer for you."
  • Conduct a poll or quiz to re-engage with your subscribers

Below is an example of a re-engagement campaign:


Re-engagement campaign 

6. Sponsorship Emails

  • These emails let you advertise your copy in another vendor's newsletter
  • In simple terms, it is a way to reach a different audience and gain new leads through display ads via emails

How to Optimize?

  • Choose the right promotional partner
  • Use only one primary CTA whereas offering multiple deals to the audience can be confusing
  • Always clearly define your objectives
  • Leverage social media platforms in order to maximize the reach of your campaign


Sponsorship email

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing or split testing is a way to analyze which of the two email campaign strategies can result in high open rates and click rates.

1. Subject Line

  • It is the message that the recipient sees when the emails reach his/her inbox 
  • An interesting subject line can convince a reader to open your email and read further

How to Optimize?

  • Your chosen subject line should be relevant to your audience
  • Include a number in your subject line
  • Make sure the subject line isn’t too lengthy (17-24 characters)
  • Prefer using actionable language, like "Final Hour," "download," "get your free," etc.
  • Opt for title case in subject lines

Below is an example of an optimized subject line:


subject line

Based on research, Convince and Convert have confirmed that 82% of marketers opt for subject lines shorter than 60 characters.

Source: Convinceandconvert

2. Sender Name

  • It is a key element of your email message displayed in your recipient's' inboxes
  • An optimized sender name will boost your open rates and build trust with your target audience

How to Optimize?

  • Always have a clear sender name as it results in a high open-rate
  • It's always better to use an organization or brand name over an individual person's name
  • Consistency and familiarity of your sender name helps in building trust with your audience
  • Avoid no-reply address and always prefer using a valid email address
  • Below is an example of a Gmail account full of emails, where the first column contains the sender name, or "from" name


Source: SendinBlue

sender name

3. Personalization

It is a strategy of creating more engagement by targeting an email campaign to a specific audience

How to Optimize?

  • Address the email to the person's first name
  • Leverage the demographic and behavioral data you have about your readers 
  • Set up automated behavioral trigger emails for converting your readers to subscribers

Based on research, the campaign monitor says, studies show that personalized emails have 2.5 times higher click-through rates, and are six times more likely to drive a conversion.

4. CTA

It is an action incorporated in emails to encourage the audience for engagement

How to Optimize?

  • Keep your CTAs not more than three words (such as, "sign up now" or "Download now"
  • Personalize Your CTAs 
  • Always use responsive designs 
  • Opt for button format, as its more clickable

According to Crazy Egg, CTA with button designs have high converting rate:


Below are the top five A/B testing tools that can help in optimizing your email for high open rate:

  • HubSpot’s A/B testing kit
  • Crazy egg
  • Omniconvert
  • Optimizely
  • VWO

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How to Grow an Email Subscriber List?

If you're noticing an increase in unsubscribes or if you want to grow your subscriber number, opt for the following techniques:

  • Create remarkable email content for high engagement
  • Encourage your subscribers to forward the email as it can be a great way to find a target audience
  • Do not opt for longer-form content as it results in low conversion rate
  • Send content that meets your customer expectation
  • Prefer using bullet points to make the content readable and follow a logical structure in your email
  • Use compelling images for high open rates
  • Prefer to draft emails with responsive designs 
  • Quick Response code is an easier way to encourage readers to sign up for an email list even when they're offline
  • Reach out to the audience through the social network to increase your email sign up list at a quicker pace
  • Use recipient names and personalize emails for your readers
  • Add a clear CTA at the end
  • Test your subject lines, preheader, CTA, and email content
  • Segment your emails and provide an option for social sharing

How To Segment Email List For High Open and Click-Through-Rate?

Email list segmentation can be a very simple process if done in the right way. In case you're willing to put some effort, here's what you need to know:

  • Geographic segmentation - With this segmentation, you can target your audience based on geographical areas, such as by city, state, country, or continent
  • Demographic - Segment your audience by age, education, income, gender, occupation, nationality, and more
  • Behavioral segmentation - It segments target audience by their behaviors and decision-making patterns such as purchase, online activity, search history, and more

How To Automate Email Marketing With An AutoResponder?

There are basically two types of emails you can send to your readers:

  • Broadcasts
  • Autoresponders

Broadcast emails are one-time email campaigns which are delivered to a group of audience in your contact list and AutoResponder is a programming script where emails are sent at frequent intervals based on the behavior of subscribers.

A suitable example of AutoResponder is below:



To create an AutoResponder:

  1. In the mail section, go to Menu>> AutoResponders
  2. Click Create AutoResponder and write a message in the internal name.
  3. Choose the list linked to the autoresponder
  4. Assign the AutoResponder to a particular day
  5. Select delay time, days of the week, you'd like for the message to go out on
  6. Choose the from and reply-to addresses.
  7. Write a compelling subject line
  8. Choose Google Analytics as the source before sending the email
  9. Finally, save and publish if you want the message to go live right away

Email Marketing Tools

Selecting the right tool for your email campaign is essential, as it will help grow your businesses.

With the tool, it's easier to identify the right templates for your emails. Selecting the right tool can help to share engaging emails such as welcoming a new subscriber, notifying clients of a sale, etc. These are some of the most widely used tools to ensure you hit the mark every time:

  • Mailchimp
  • Marketo
  • ConvertKit
  • Sendinblue


  • It is a reliable and feature-packed tool that helps grow businesses
  • Offers basic analytics that are helpful for inbound campaigns
  • It helps in boosting lead tracking and conversions
  • It is a cost-efficient tool for businesses having less than 2,000 subscribers


  • It has various pricing options that can fit into different companies' budgets
  • It is suitable for medium-sized organizations and provides services which can be focused on lead management, email marketing, and mobile marketing
  • It's easy to learn and set up. And you pay only for the options that you use


  • Easy understanding of autoresponder sequence and enables us to create segments of the target audience
  • Helps to grow businesses through attractive forms, dynamic emails, trackable data, and simple automation feature
  • New features are regularly updated for better usage 


  • Automation workflow speeds ups the task and enhances the user experience
  • Optimizes open and click-through rates by scheduling time and date for delivering emails 
  • Easy to create a professional newsletter with its advanced features

Win Your Email Marketing Game!

Email platforms and strategies are evolving day by day, and so should your business’s email marketing strategy and knowledge about platforms. You can also enroll in our Professional Certificate Program in Digital Marketing course that will help you master marketing techniques and strategies like email marketing. 

Do you have any questions? Please feel free to put it in the comments section of this tutorial; our experts will get back to you at the earliest.

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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