Email Marketing For Dummies 2018

A Complete Guide to Online Sucess + Templates

Kevin - March 2018

email marketing for dummies

Email marketing has been a silent success story for many years, but budget allocations often fail to reflect this. The average percentage of marketing budget focused on email (in comparison to TV, print, social media, and internet advertising) is just over 1%; which is ludicrous when you consider the benefits.

  • You can’t tell who is watching TV.
  • You can’t tell who is reading your print advert.
  • It’s difficult to get to the top of the search engines, and even if you do, there are no guarantees that a seeker is going to click.
  • Social media advertising can be expensive.

Email marketing, on the other hand, provides a clear customer trail, just like social media marketing. Within 24 hours, you can find out exactly which messages have been opened, who opened them and who didn’t, and what happened regarding the click journey that took place afterward.

Of course, there’s the argument that email marketing yields just 5% of total sales.

But perhaps that’s just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If companies are spending just 1% of their total budget on email marketing, that’s actually a pretty good return. Imagine how much less you might spend overall if you focused more of your time on email marketing…

Email leads to sales through other routes - some can be tracked, some can’t. If a potential customer places items in their shopping cart and never fulfills the order, you can send them an email to track it - abandoned shopping cart emails claw back 29% of lost sales, after all.

Email prompts all sorts of spending patterns - so that 5% of total sales, is, perhaps currently undervalued.

The ROI (Return On Investment) on email marketing, according to Direct Marketing Association, is - get ready for this -


And think of all the trees you’ll have saved!

Make it a Value Exchange

We’ve all received marketing bumpf in our inboxes which have gone straight to the trash can. But at the same time, if the message is right - pitched at an appropriate level, providing something you need - it works.

 Good email content develops a relationship, grabs the attention through effective subject heading, and uses a distinctive voice (WITH GOOD GRAMMAR!!!)

Read on for tips, tests, and trials that will get your emails popping and your audience coming back for more.



Establish Goals

Before you set about composing your campaign, it’s essential to have a clear idea of what your objectives are - what is it that you want to achieve?

Perhaps you want to:

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    Drive sign-ups for your product or service
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    Drive visits
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    Create leads for your sales team
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    Encourage attendance at your event
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    Gather donations for your cause


Companies such as BuzzFeed make their money by selling prominent advertising space around their stories, articles, and interactive quizzes. Their regular email newsletter contains multiple links to their website, with the goal of increasing hits, thus maximizing the number of people who see their advertising, in turn raising their advertising revenue. It's a cyclical food-chain of attraction and pay-off that seems to work for them.

email marketing for dummies

Increasing Sales

Rip Curl generates their revenue through the sale of surf-gear. They use email marketing to promote new products by enticing visits to their website via blogs and special offers.

email marketing for dummies

Gather Donations

Although the charitable sector has been getting rather bad press of late, UNICEF has been running successful email marketing campaigns for years. They reach out to their donor base by educating them with regards to their current aid projects, seeking donations for their needy causes.


A momentum is a pressure group associated with the British Labour party who used email marketing to reach beyond the powerful, vocal, British right-wing press. They created a supremely co-ordinated email campaign during the run-up to the 2017 General Election, speaking directly to their potential voters, raising social concerns that the current government and the national press were burying under slander and distraction tactics. Although Labour didn’t win the General Election, they won enough to derail the existing government - and a lot of that was achieved via their email campaigning.

Email Marketing for dummies

Their campaigns included:

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    A clear CTA (Call To Action)
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     Accessible language - in brief
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    CTA Buttons
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    Relevant Images and links to videos that didn't clog up mail servers

Learn How to Build a Website and Start earning passive income:


Gather an email list

You might be tempted to buy an email list.


Now that Data Protection Laws are changing, you'll face a hefty fine if you're in contact with people that haven't given you express, written permission to contact them.

Unless you're granted express permission to correspond with a user, your email will be considered spam and will most-likely end its life in the Trash Can. It could get your domain reported to your ISP; get you on a search engine blacklist; or banned by your mail provider.

No-one likes it when their personal email account gets clogged with mail that they don’t want.

That includes you, I’m sure.

People who haven’t actively opted into your email list aren’t the people who are going to buy from you. You might catch a straggler, but it’s not really worth muddying the name of your business for the sake of a couple of customers.

Use converter pop-ups on your website that aim to capture a visitor’s contact details before they leave your site. Or you can use tools such as OptinMonster that helps you set up opt-in forms.

Import the contact details of your existing client base into your chosen email marketing tool. You can usually import an Excel file or manually add them to your marketing list.

Building your mailing list from scratch

There’s a tried-and-tested 2-part formula that helps you build a list:

Offer a valuable incentive + simple subscribe opportunities = a large response and a big email list.

It’s a classic over-simplification, of course, but there’s a certain logic behind it - offer something, and get something in return. And if you’re offering a decent incentive, it needs to be super-simple for people to subscribe.

But what makes a great incentive?

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    Offer compelling content - if you have a great blog to share, or you create exciting, interactive content, then send them links.
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    Discounts - absolutely everyone loves a bargain, and there’s no better way to hook a new customer than offering a significant “first order” discount. It encourages people to subscribe, but also provides a convincing incentive for them to buy as well.
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    Shipping upgrade - the problem with the internet is that most orders take ages to arrive. Hook new customers by offering free or express shipping. Getting a desirable item into their paws quickly is a massive motivator for those customers to pass on their contact details.

If your aim is to develop your mailing list, they have some clear opportunities for your website visitors to join. Use a Header Bar that sits at the top of every page of your site, offering the chance to join your mailing list. Or use a Slider pop-up that contains a CTA, and an offer to keep them informed.

Have a clear CTA, derived from your objectives

So, once you know what you want your campaign to achieve, have some clear, totally obvious ways of getting your reader to follow through with that action.

If you want them to visit your website, have a button that takes them to the exact page.

If you want them to buy your product, make it easy - add buttons that take them directly to your product page or Shopping Basket.

It sounds obvious, but aesthetics are important - minimal word count (with perfect grammar), great images (with excellent lighting), and a CTA button. That’s all you need. Don’t oversell - it comes across as desperate and pushy. Make it feel like an opportunity and express how much you’d love them to take a bite of the apple.


What Type of Campaign Should you send?

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    Consider Your Goals
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    Then consider the best ways of achieving them
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    A straight sell might not be the best way


An email newsletter is a regular correspondence, focused on a specific interest.

If you want to keep your existing mailing list up to date with industry news specific to your (and hopefully, their) business, then a regular, relevant, quality newsletter is a great way of keeping your brand at the forefront of their minds.

Become the first brand that comes to mind when someone on your mailing list needs to know something business-related. They will seek you out by visiting your website if you become an essential business-essential resource for them.

Some tips for great newsletters

1) Use a “From” name that your subscribers will recognize - if you sign up for a newsletter from Walmart, would you expect it to come from Walmart or James Briggs?

The From name is one of the first things people see when they receive a newsletter. If they don’t recognize the name, it will go straight to the junk pile.

Use an enticing Subject title - don’t just title your newsletter “September newsletter”. That’s just boring, and it doesn’t tell you anything about the contents.

"From Walmart - September newsletter"


"From Walmart - Buy your iPhone X, get a free iPad! September newsletter"

Now we’re talking.

Of course, you don’t have to bankrupt yourself to get attention. Just make the contents of your newsletter sound exciting.

2) Don’t use big paragraphs! - Breaking your newsletter into consumable chunks is a great way to keep your reader’s attention.

Think about what people are doing when you send your mail (we’ll explore the best times to send a mail later!). They might be waiting in the queue at the supermarket, in a meeting, grabbing lunch. In other words, if it looks complicated, they’ll leave it for later.

Later never comes!

Make it glance-able. If your newsletter features more than one story, try presenting them in different boxes (we’ll look at this later).

email marketing for dummies

This newsletter has a card-based design, with a headline and a CTA which sends you to specific places if you want that piece of information. It’s concise; it’s easy to glance at. It has professionally mastered images and CTA buttons.

3) Make your language proper innit

You’re presenting your brand. Take it from me - people are genuinely offended by bad grammar, bad spelling, and slack composition.

They're gonna hate it when they’re name is spelled wrong, innit.


Learn the difference between there, they’re and their. It’s easy.

We’re and were. They’re two different words.

Chips and chips. Do they belong to someone? I don’t think so.

It can’t be stated more clearly - spelling and grammar matter.

Bad spelling, clunky phrasing - they’re major turn-offs.

Those princes from Nairobi might have actually received the details of bank accounts to transfer their millions into had they have used spell-checker and Grammarly!

There really is no excuse for incorrect spelling these days. Spell-check. Grammar check. Use if you’re unsure. Even if you’re confident in your writing, it’s still a tremendous proof-reading tool.

And if you’re really uncertain of your own abilities, then hire someone whose job it is (sorry, I mean “whose job it is”) to make sure that you don’t look a dunce.

OK. I think I’ve made that clear.

Let’s move on! 🙂

4) Get To the Point

Here’s a great copywriting exercise:

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    Write what you want to say in 100 words.
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    Read it back. Underline just the important words and phrases.
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    Rewrite it in 50 words, making sure that you focus on those underlined words and phrases.
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    Read it back. Underline just the important words and phrases.
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    Rewrite it in 25 words. Focus on those underlined words and phrases.

And you’ve got your paragraph.

5) Use words sparingly - like you want them to be read. Make them count.

But, if in doubt - hire a copywriter. You can try or Your words are representing your company.

Marketing Offer

This type of mail-out aims to evoke a direct response in the reader. You could encourage people to purchase new stock or offer them a discount or special promotion.


If you’re looking to drive sales directly, then the marketing offer is a recognized way to bring your special attention. Have a CTA button that encourages an impulse purchase or visits to your site.


Again, make sure that you’re offering your services to people who have expressed an interest in them. It does nothing for your reputation if you send complete strangers special offers - it’s suspicious. And if you’re a big brand, it’s annoying, because the receiver will wonder how the heck you got their email address.

Other Types of Campaign

You might want to make an announcement or send an invite to an event. Either way, the above rules apply -

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    Have great images and a minimal word-count.
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    Have at least one CTA that’s super-simple for the reader to enact.
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    Don’t sound desperate.

 Whatever your objective, the rules are pretty simple.

Be clear and present yourself impeccably.


Creating Your First Campaign

You have:

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    Identified your objectives.
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    Created an audience.
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    Decided upon the type of campaign.

now’s the fun part: building your campaign.

We’ll talk about email service providers that offer great templates (such as MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, etc) in a few seconds, but let's focus on your copy.

Build Your Campaigns for Easy Reading

People scan-read emails unless they’re of particular importance. An average adult has an attention span of eight seconds. Long, wordy campaigns don’t usually work (unless your target demographic is university professors, perhaps).

Your words and images should guide the reader towards your CTA. That’s the whole purpose of your email.

Consider The Inverted Pyramid

email marketing for dummies
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    Succinct headline - identify the key message of the campaign in the subject field
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    Supporting information - what do they need to know? Images and a concise copy will guide them to a
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    Prominent Call To Action - making it crystal clear what the reader can do next.

Segmented Lists

Research suggests that campaigns sent to segmented lists can achieve a 760% revenue increase.

It’s possible to segment your lists so that you’re sending relevant offers only to the people you think are likely to respond.

Back to Rip Curl:

Rip Curl sell surf-wear to both men and women. So when they have a deal for, say, a new male wetsuit, they send it to their male subscribers. Ditto for female wetsuits.

By making sure that they’re only sending relevant information, the reader knows that when they receive an email, it’s going to be something they’re going to be interested in; increasing the chances of a click-through.

We'll be talking about the reporting capabilities of email campaigns - the way in which you can gauge the effectiveness of a mail. There are lots to learn from reporting that will help to hone a clear understanding of your mailing lists. Read on for more info.

 You can segment your mailing list using a wide array of categories - age, gender, geographic location, purchase history, people more responsive on Fridays... If you can gather the demography information, you can use it to pinpoint each campaign to the right people.

Great Images

The average duration an adult spends reading a newsletter after opening it is just 51 seconds. The brain of an average adult processes images 60,000 times faster than text. So, compelling images and a great layout are essential to delivering your message.

If you don’t have great images, you can buy licenses from image libraries, such as, or

Alternatively, save yourself some money and learn how to take some great photos for yourself.

Tips coming up!

Avoid using badly composed photos you’ve taken on your smartphone unless you’ve applied some rules of composition.

Lighting - A badly lit photograph can make a penthouse apartment look like a divey crack-den. Use natural light as much as possible.

Identify your light source - images with strong backlighting will silhouette the subject of your photo.

email marketing for dummies

Place your subject so that the light hits it (or them) - if you can see the light source in the image (be it a light bulb or the sun), move so that the light source is behind the person taking the photograph, and shining directly on the subject.

email marketing for dummies

Make sure there’s no reflection of the photographer - we’ve all seen those odd, naked guys reflected in the mirror on eBay. It really detracts from the iPhone they’re trying to sell. (And why were they naked?!)

Composition - Your subject doesn’t always need to go in the center of your image. It can (and that’s fine), but sometimes there are more interesting ways to present your subject.

The Rule of Thirds separates your image into nine sectors. If you look at your camera settings, you’ll probably find the “grid".

email marketing for dummies

The grid helps you to compose a great photograph. The lines are called Powerlines, and where they cross, they create Powerpoints.

A general rule is to position the most interesting visual elements on powerlines, with the focal point on a powerpoint.

email marketing for dummies

Benefit-focused headings

By now, hopefully, you’ve realized that people scan-read marketing copy. With that in mind, make it easy to scan.

 Create headings so that your reader knows whether each section is relevant to them. Remember, the clock is ticking - 51 seconds isn’t very long. So, get them to the essential info as quickly as you can by signposting.

Call To Action

A button is always good - use minimal text to confirm what will happen if they hit that button.

“Go to our website if you’re interested in buying our new multi-colored socks."


doesn’t scan as well as

“Buy our funky socks!”

 People know what to do with a button - they press it. So make sure that your CTA is clear.
email marketing for dummies

Remember this image? This email is just headlines and a CTA button for each subject. It’s effective because it’s easy to see what’s going to be relevant to your reader immediately.

Consider the size, design, and color of your CTA.

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    Your CTA button should be large enough to see instantly.
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    Make your CTA button stand out with design features, such as shadows, gradients, and other effects such as exciting textures or frames.
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    Give your button a prominent color that contrasts with the rest of your design.

Maintain your brand

Chances are someone subscribed to your mailing list because they visited your website, or found you on social media, so try to keep your mail-out visually consistent with your branding in terms of colors, fonts, logos design, etc. This sends the message that your brand is reliable, focused, professional, and trustworthy.

Conversion is key

Research suggests that 41% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so make sure that your campaign looks great on all devices. Most templates provided by mail clients such as MailChimp offer automatic mobile conversion, but make sure that your campaign looks at its best by sending test messages before you commit to sending your mail out to your mailing list. You only really get one chance to get it right.

email marketing for dummies


Measure Results

Once you’ve sent out your mail, don’t just leave it at that. One of the best things about email marketing is the ability to measure success. You might not get it right the first time, so analyze your hit-rates so that you don’t continuously make the same mistakes.

Each template-based mail client has its own method of reporting (and may call it different things), so you’ll be able to see, first and foremost, who has opened your email and who hasn’t. Give it some time - don’t expect immediate responses. If people haven’t opened your campaign after a couple of days, you could try resending it (but don’t resend it to people who have already opened it).

email marketing for dummies

You’ll also be able to see your “bounce rate” - these are addresses that rejected your mail. This usually means that an email address is not valid.

 However, it doesn’t stop there. You should also assess the success of your campaign on the increased hits of your website (if driving visits was, indeed, an objective), so check your website’s analytics, or use Google Analytics to analyze your traffic.


Reporting mechanisms will allow you to identify Click-Through Rates, which is the number of people who clicked on a link within your email.


Other features of the mail report provide information regarding Unsubscribe requests, Spam Complaints, and Shares (the number of people who have forwarded your mail to a friend).

This analytics provide a clear indication as to the success of your campaign.



Email campaigning isn’t an exact science. Stick to these tips, and you’ll get results, but use the measurement of those results to learn what works for your potential clients and what doesn’t. At the end of your email is a person with wants and needs, and every person is entirely different. Your business may very well appeal to a really specific demographic, so learning about what they want is key to your success.


 Never be satisfied with OK. Strive for improvement by learning what works for you.


So, now you know how to get started with your email marketing campaign, we can cover some of the significant advantages of email as a marketing tool.

The most convincing argument is the one that states that for every $1 spent on developing your email marketing campaign, $38 is your ROI. Despite the fact that there are many other ways of getting the word out there, marketers keep going back to email.

email marketing for dummies

However, the world has changed, and so has the way we use email marketing as a device for engagement.

Do it Yourself

As technology has developed, so has the ease in which we get tasks done. What would have taken an IT department a week to do ten years ago, can now be done from your bedroom in a matter of minutes.

Your email is representing your brand, so making sure that you get that pixel-perfect image across is essential.

If you want your message to get lost between the emails from your gran and the requests for bank details from Nigerian royalty, then go ahead with a blank text email. Otherwise, embrace the huge array of pre-designed and professional templates available, and present your brand as a cutting-edge company with all the know-how.

Mail platforms such as MailChimp and Optimizely have a plethora of templates that will send your message with style.

Be Multi-platform

60% of online adults access the internet and their email from more than one device every day, so make sure that whatever you send looks right on each device. If you use template-based mail clients to compose and send your campaigns, this multi-platform formatting will be done automatically for you. It's important, so don't overlook it.


With great email marketing power comes great responsibility (or is that Spiderman?). Once you’re up and running, you should consider your behaviors!

Make sure that you follow appropriate etiquette to ensure that you keep your audience once you’ve found them, and to improve your chances of successful ROI.

Embrace the DIY attitude

Long gone are the days where you’d create a campaign and wait for days for developers to code your email (WTF?!). Now we’re in control of how our email looks for ourselves.

If your email represents your brand, it’s important that you project an image of professionalism (even if your business idea is fashionably slack). Today’s email service providers offer a plethora of solutions that allow you to keep your messages consistent, stylish, and accessible.


Regardless of the purpose of your mail (newsletter, announcement, promotion, etc.), you should remain consistently on-brand. Your audience should be able to glance at your mail and know it’s from you straight away.

email marketing for dummies

There are plenty of pre-designed templates available through providers such as MailChimp, SquareSpace, and Optimizely who offer easily-customizable templates that look great every time (there are some examples later on in this article).

Free accounts include hundreds of great-looking templates, but they usually include branding from the provider at the bottom of the mail. You’ll need a paid subscription to remove their branding.

Most providers use drag-n-drop technology to help you to build your email template to perfectly suit your campaign, with the ability to use brand colors and fonts.

Remember Mobile

The world has gone mobile-crazy. We love it. And mobile is fast becoming the medium of choice for users accessing their email, social- and web-content.

Between 2010 to 2017, emails opened on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets etc) increased by 30%. There are more who pick up their email on one device and continue reading them on another.

Again, using a reliable email provider, with funky, customizable templates, is the best way to secure your formatting across multi-platforms.
email marketing for dummies

So, we’re firmly living on a multi-device, multi-screen planet that has gone mobile.

The long-and-the-short is - make sure that your email displays beautifully on mobile. Of course, you should never neglect how it looks on other platforms such as Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, and the like. But neglect mobile to your chagrin (ooh, good word!). 

Be Relevant. Or Be Deleted.

Harsh. But true.

If the content of your mail isn’t relevant to your subscribers, it will end up in the Trashcan. Worse still, it could be manually marked as Spam, and your email address will forever bob-about in the greasy confines of the Spam box (or is it tin?).

Don’t get manually black-listed. Deliver the right message to the right person. At the right time.

 Relevancy is the fastest route to revenue, and email with a personalized subject line is 26% more likely to capture an audience. Segmenting a campaign, so that specific groups of subscribers receive specific messages is said to increase mail-derived revenue by a whopping 760%.

What was that? Segmentation?

Segmentation is a great way to group your customers using demographic, purchase history, and their browsing activity. Using this data, you can tailor your messages to specific groups. According to, 74% of consumers of online products are incensed by content that appears in their inbox but has no relation to their interests.

So, segmenting your audience is a way of ensuring that you’re catering to their need - not just yours. Because that never works out well.


It’s impossible to give direct attention to every single customer, but you can email them at the right time to make sure that they’re not likely to be in the middle of something else. There are plenty of studies that have found the most responsive times of the day (read on), and most email suppliers will give you the option of scheduling your mail to suit those windows of opportunity.

 Email automation allows you to create workflows that will send personalized, relevant email in a timely fashion.

  We’re living in the future, guys!

Analyze.. or die!

OK - perhaps a little dramatic, but here’s a heck of a lot of data out there. And you either use it. Or you don’t.

If you don’t use it, you’ll never know how your campaign is received. Back in 2014, there was a spurious claim that “90% of the entire world’s data was generated in the previous 12 months”.

Woah - that sounds like the premise of a movie.

However unlikely it sounds, there’s plenty of data to back that up. And if that was the case in 2014, I’m almost afraid to broach the subject in 2018. It’s gonna be - like - huge.

There are a couple of methods that you could employ to make sure that your mailing priorities are hitting the right buttons.

email marketing for dummies

A/B testing can improve conversion by up to 49%. Every audience has their own wants and needs - and split testing allows you to experiment until you get things right, helping you understand the aspects of your campaign that drove engagement or influenced decisions that led to purchases, or which CTAs actually evoked a response that led to a sale.

A/B testing is a long-term learning curve - you’ll discover for yourself what works, but it takes a little time. But that time will help to produce results.

Transactional Emails

Transactional emails are automated emails that you probably don’t even realize that you send. Traditionally, developers embedded these follow-up emails as a result of a subscribers action or (perhaps, more significantly) their inaction. So, if a subscriber didn’t open the mail, the system automatically resends it a couple of days later (at an optimum time).

Transactional emails are effective. In fact, according to Experian, the open-rate of transactional email is four to eight times higher than with stand-alone mail.

A transactional email could be sent when a subscriber has left items in your website’s shopping basket, or when confirming an order. Often they happen without your knowledge because they’re embedded in the code of your website.

 Find out if these emails are being sent - and customize them so that they remain on-brand.

Don't send Graymail

The definition of spam has evolved. Just because a subscriber willingly surrendered their details, doesn’t mean that your email isn’t spam.

If you send a mail and they don’t open it, you’re failing to engage. If they fail to open one mail, there’s a distinct unlikelihood that they’re going to open the following. If they continuously fail to open your mail and you continue to send correspondence, you’re sending graymail.


That makes you a spammer.

If they’re not opening your mail, they’re telling you something. Can you decode their refusal to engage?

Avoid graymail by being relevant - make your objectives clear, and make sure that it appeals to them. You can suppress the user for a while, or segment them, just don't graymail them.


There are some commonly-used methods that the most successful email marketers use.

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    Make it simple to subscribe - yes, you want lots of information, but be subtle. Perhaps now isn’t the time to ask for their inside-leg measurement. Don’t go crazy with requests for info.
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    Tell subscribers what they can expect - are they going to be bombarded with daily offers, or get messages from every Tom, Dick or Harriet in your organization? Or will they get mail from just Tom, on a weekly basis? And confirm that you’ll never share their details. And don’t share them.
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    Send a welcome mail - remind people why they’re on your list. Reassure them that they’re in line for good things to come.
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    Make your mail scannable - that means, break up your content. Make it as easy as possible to just scan through and pick up relevant details. Don’t go for iambic pentameter - no one receives an email so that they can enjoy linguistic wizardry. Go for the point. With a minimum of words.
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    Keep a calendar of publication - regularity is king. If you say your email is a monthly newsletter, make sure it’s monthly. Plan, design, write and send your correspondences regularly.
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    Edit - once an email is sent, you can’t take it back. So make sure that you use good grammar and clear language. Badly written copy smacks of scam-emailing, so make sure you’re never bunched in with the crims.
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    Test - make sure that your email displays correctly, so send tests to yourself and to colleagues. It’s so easy to go blind to little mistakes, so a second eye (if one’s available) is worth its weight in gold. If you don’t have a second eye, try using - it’s a brilliant service that highlights errors that you might have missed. It doesn’t always get it right for your content, but for a general proof-read, it’s a great service.
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    Have a goal - if you know what you want from your email, so will your audience. Get to the point quick, and jump straight to your CTA.
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    Use a personalized account - avoid emails from a “noreply” account. Personalization works at both ends - boost your engagement by making the “from” address a human.
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    Experiment with days of the week - some days are better than others. Read on for more detail in Section 5.
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    Don’t worry (too much) if people unsubscribe - it’s the way things are. You can’t be all things to all persons. Unsubscribes happen. At least they didn’t flag you as spam. If you start hemorrhaging subscribers, then it’s time to panic. Consider why the hell they’re leaving. And address it.
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    What to do if you’re marked as spam by a user - stop sending them mail. Can you identify the source of their complaint? Instantly stop sending them mail. You could become blacklisted and put your domain reputation at risk. Don’t get offended - just deal with it. And move on.
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    Consider your subject line - if you write a clickbait subject line, and you don’t deliver, people won’t open your mail next time. Make sure that your subject line sells the content of the mail - not a total fallacy because it doesn’t take them long to stop reading.
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    Subject lines should be catchy - capital letters can help lift engagement. “The Top 5 Reasons To Hit Submit” reads better than “The top five reasons to hit submit”. Capitalization feels punchier.
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    Avoid “salesy” language - this is a tricky balance because you want them to buy. Avoid over-promising - nobody falls for it, and if they do and you fail to deliver, you won't get a second chance. If you’re open and honest, then people will trust you. If you think “if I’m open and honest, nobody’s going to buy this”, then perhaps you need to consider whether your business is a long-term prospect.
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    Be creative with your CTAs - posing questions can spike interest, encouraging click-throughs.
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    Color is important - orange and red are the most popular choices for an eye-catching CTA button. Place your CTA close to the beginning (and then repeat it again at the end).
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    Make your email sharable - ask your subscribers to forward your email to friends and family who might be interested, or you can add a button that formats a new email for them.
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    Embed pre-formatted tweets that your subscriber can share with their followers - everyone loves a quick tweet.
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    Embrace exclusivity - make your subscribers feel special. Let them in on your secrets before they go live on your website, tailor content specifically for subscribers only. Tell them they’re getting special treatment (and their friends may well feel compelled to join your list as well). But be honest about it. There’s nothing more deflating than discovering your exclusive inside information is already widely known.
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    Ask for feedback - find out what your subscribers want to get from you. Find out what they think of your current output. It all goes toward improving your service. If someone cancels your service or unsubscribes from your mailing list, politely ask why they’ve decided to leave. Don’t hound them if they refuse, though.
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    Include downloads - if your service includes downloadables (like .pdfs of your brochure or free images or music files) add a CTA button on your email to prompt a download. This will take the user to your website and will be a good opportunity to turn their visit into a purchase.
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    Make the next step totally clear - the failure to convert is often down to customers who are unclear as to what you’re asking them to do. Make it super-clear that if they click here, they’ll be sent to the website to purchase or to register.
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    Use the same subject line - sometimes, if you want to stand out, you need to do nothing but repeat. People respond to repetition. Reusing the same subject line time and time again might sound like the definition of dull, but your subscribers will recognize your mail straight away. And familiarity breeds trust.
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    Include referral codes - everyone’s a winner with a referral code. If you tell a customer they’ll get 10% off if they quote code “10PC OFF” at your online check-out, you’ll get a happy customer, but you’ll also have a traceable transaction that you can route back to your email campaign. If you’re trying to convince your boss that your campaign is effective, get the buyer at the check-out to unwittingly confirm it.
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    Say thank you! - it might sound obvious, but a word or two of thanks goes a mighty long way when you’re building rapport with a customer base. Thank them for signing up to your list, and thank them for their loyalty as they stick with you.
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    Gamify - OK, this is totally a made-up word - a tautology, if you will. But games and their rewards are incredibly attractive to your subscribers. There’s a psychology behind all of this that suggests that play and reward evoke behaviors in users that they feel compelled to repeat - it feels good to achieve something (however incremental). You could, perhaps, use the Starbucks model and offer something free after eleven purchases, for example. TripAdvisor uses gamification to encourage users to continue to submit reviews - a user starts as a Reviewer, and graduate through Senior Reviewer, to Contributor, Senior Contributor, until they finally hit the big time with Top Reviewer (after they've contributed 50+ reviews). This behavior engages people’s natural competitive streak and encourages on-going engagement.
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    Use 1, 2, 3 - sometimes breaking things down into super-simple steps makes for success. You could list what the subscriber could do next to gain extra benefit from your services or list the services that you offer. If your service requires a little explanation, there’s no better way than 1, 2, 3.
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    Use the inverted triangle - The inverted triangle is a way of grabbing attention and drawing your reader towards your CTA. You grab their attention, build their anticipation, and hit them with a Call To Action.
email marketing for dummies


You might think that it doesn’t matter when you send an email because it just sits there in the inbox waiting to be opened. But there are statistics that demonstrate that if you send a mail the wrong time, it’ll get lost in the inbox.

Tuesday through Thursday morning, right?

Common wisdom was that the optimum time to send a marketing email would be from Tuesday to Thursday, between the hours of 8-10am. Avoid Monday because everyone’s asleep from the weekend, and avoid Friday because they’re either taking the day off or they can’t wait to leave, and they’re not going to read non-essential email.

Actually, this has been disproven completely. According to a study conducted by Experian that spanned all industries, they discovered that an email es more likely to be opened at night! Check out below chart:
email marketing for dummies

Experian discovered that 21.7% of the unique open rates were between 8 pm and 11.59pm, with a whopping 17.6% likely to open them between 12 am and 4 am.

And these Rip Van Winkles of the business world are more likely to click-through. And revenue from click-through at these times was highest. 

The change is due to mobile access to email - no longer are people’s lives dictated by the 9 to 5. In fact, in this study, more than 54% of all the emails were opened on mobile devices.

 So, get your emails mobile-friendly, is the moral of that particular story!

Mobile Behaviors

According to Deloitte -

  • 40% of mobile users check their phones within five minutes of waking
  • 30% check their phones five minutes before sleeping
  • 50% check their phones in the middle of the night

That’s some sleep-deprivation.

The best days to send your emails are: Mondays!

Yes, going against all conventional wisdom, Mondays have the highest ROI.



Yes! Fridays have the highest click-through rate.

The weekends, ironically, have the lowest volume rates.

 At last! People get some rest!

However, the findings found that people who did open their emails at the weekend were more likely to engage, click-through or buy.

The Weekend

So, should we send our marketing emails at the weekend?

If you want to cut through the crowd, it’s worth consideration. Fewer promotional emails are sent at the weekend - so there’s a window of opportunity for your email to sneak through.

There are some contradictory stats about weekends - they generally have the lowest click-through rates, but then, that’s because there are fewer emails sent. The best approach is to trial weekend sending and analyze your findings. The evidence suggests that the weekend certainly is not a lost cause. 

Try splitting your list and sending your mail to half at the weekend, and the other half during the week, and analyze your success rates.

Timing Isn't Necessarily King

If there are problems with your content, the timing won’t make any difference. So:

  • Make sure your email renders properly. Test it on multiple devices - especially on mobile.
  • Consider your contacts list. Is it old? Are there lots of bounces?
  • Is your subject line grabbing attention?
  • Are you bombarding? If you send mail too often, people will get bored with hearing from you! (A bit of tough love, there!)


It depends where you get your stats. There’s no scientific certainty about which day is best and which time is best. That’s the problem with stats - you believe what works for you. Some stats still suggest that the middle of the week is most successful in terms of engagement, while others recommend going against the grain. 

But it’s often good to challenge conventional wisdom - if everyone sends their emails between Tuesday and Thursday, you’re more likely to be seen on Mondays, Fridays and the weekend.


Understanding the Numbers

We’ve talked a lot about click-through rates and conversions and bounces. These are all stats that will help you analyze the success  of your campaign. Some mail providers give you rates as percentages, but most give you figures which you’ll need to manually compute to calculate your success rates.

What you’ll probably receive are a bunch of numbers - click-throughs - 785, bounces - 38, etc. What the heck do we do with this data?

Luckily, this is pretty straight-forward - and not far off elementary-school mathematics. The equation is almost always the same - you just need to substitute.

For example, you can calculate your Click-Through Rate like this:

Total clicks achieved (unique clicks) ➗ Number of delivered emails x 100

So for example: if you sent out 10,000 emails and received 500 total clicks, your equation is:

            500 ➗10,000 x 100 = 5% click-through rate

If you’re looking for Bounce Rate or Conversions, you simply substitute the first figure (i.e., total clicks achieved), with your bounce rate figure, etc. Simple.

List Growth

An email list is a fluid. You’ll gain new subscribers and lose old ones. Growing your list is important and likely to be a measure of your overall success.


This is how you calculate List Growth Rate:

(Number of new subscribers - Number of unsubscribes or spam complaints)  ➗ Total number of email addresses in your current list x 100


So, for example, you might have gained 750 new subscribers but lost 42 through unsubscribes (you won’t get spam reports if you stick to our tips!). You might have 5700 email address in total.

Therefore, your calculation is:

                        (750-42) ➗5700 x 100 = 12.42% list growth

Email Sharing / Forwarding

Recognizing sharing and forwarding rates is important because this helps you to generate new contacts.

If you have a “share this” or “forward to a friend” button, your contact is doing you a massive favor, so it’s good to recognize their contribution to building your email list.

The equation is the same as for click-throughs:

Number of clicks on share/forward button ➗number of total emails delivered x 100

Conversion may be your focus, but sharing and forwarding are creating new leads. Encourage your subscribers to share your mail if they found the information useful.

Identify the types of articles or offers that encourage the most shares, and make use of that insight when planning future campaigns.


 So, now we know how to calculate our principal stats, we can move on to the main stats tips for email marketers.


  • Around 53% of all emails are opened on mobile devices - this includes smartphones and tablets.
  • 23% of all readers who open an email on a mobile device first, go back and open it again later.
  • 75% of Gmail users, open their mail using a mobile device. That’s 675 million users accessing their accounts from their mobile!
  • The number of new Internet users is growing at less than 10% per year. However, new smartphone users are growing at 20%+ rate.
  • If your subscriber opened your mail from a mobile device, then re-opened it on a computer, they’re 65% more likely to click-through!

Email Personalization

Email Engagement

  • You’re six times more likely to achieve a click-through from an email campaign than you are from posting a Tweet.
  • Compared with Facebook and Twitter, email is 40 times more effective in acquiring new customers.
  • Email subscribers, when visiting your website or blog, are three times more likely to share it on social media than visitors from other sources.
  • People prefer to receive promotional content through email. According to MarketingSherpa, 72% of people would rather receive promo content through email, in comparison with just 17% who prefer to receive it through social media.
  • Including a CTA button as opposed embedding a text link in your content can increase conversion by up to 28%.
  • Sales analysis from Monetate claims that 4.24% of visitors to a site prompted by email marketing will buy something. Compare that will 2.49% of visitors from search engines, and just 0.59% from social media!
  • Marketers who send four emails a month instead of just one have a significantly higher chance of recipients opening more than one of their emails.

Return On Investment (ROI)

  • On average, email marketing has a recognized ROI of 3800%!
  • On average, the order value as a result of an email is at least three times higher than from social media.
  • 60% of email marketers use the conversion rate as the most effective measure to evaluate a campaign’s effectivity.
  • According to Chief Marketer, email’s ROI is 28.5%; in comparison with just 7% for old-school direct mail.
  • For every $1 spent, Campaign Monitor assessed that email marketing generates $38 in ROI.
  • 77% of all ROI originates from segmented, targeted, or triggered campaigns.

General Stats

Stats, of course, are a good indication of a truth, but can never entirely be relied upon, are dependent upon a single moment in time, and the variety of participants questioned. They demonstrate trends, so are useful when building a case for or against a particular question.


Be Mindful with Personalization

Personalization, of course, is an effective strategy - we’ve got all the stats to demonstrate that. But people are also savvy and a little paranoid about email marketing: personalization can turn them off as much as it can convince them to convert.

If you use an automated mail merge system that inserts the recipient’s name, then make sure that the name is correctly formatted. And even more importantly, make sure that it’s working - send tests to yourself before you broadcast.

An unfortunate incident.

A recent correspondence from BBC WritersRoom caused a bit of a stir on social media.

BBC WritersRoom receives thousands of scripts from hopeful writers each time they have a script window. So, naturally, they reject over 99% of all scripts they receive because they don’t have the resources to support any more than that. Which is fine - writers know that these are the stats, and the chances are high that they’ll get THAT email thanking them for submitting the script, but effectively saying “NO”.

 Well, on one occasion, the mail merge failed - and rather than receive:

Dear John Smith,

            Thank you for your script - blah blah blah

People received

            Dear [INSERT NAME HERE]

            Thank you for your script…


So, not only was the rejection a bitter pill, it was compounded by a lack of personal address - like you REALLY didn’t matter to them!

So, there are times when it can all go wrong.


The formatting of the recipient name might be badly formatted, depending upon how they entered their details when they signed up to your list. People don’t always use capital letters in the right place, so an email that begins with:

            Dear John FjD smith,

            We’d like to offer you something really exciting…

doesn’t look personal at all. In fact, it looks a little dodgy.

Or they may have entered their surname in the first name field, in which case, your email will look like:

            Dear Smith John FjD,

            We know how much you love...


Email marketing is about developing a relationship, and that relationship can be eroded very quickly.

Acknowledging Individuality

While over-familiarity or mail merge personalization can reek of desperation, acknowledging individuality by referring to purchase history or demography is potentially powerful because it suggests that their individual custom has been noted and considered important.

Sending emails more regularly to established customers than new ones ensures that new customers don’t feel hounded, just for adding an item to a Shopping Cart.

If your special offer targets a product type that you know your customer has already bought, you’re more likely to receive a positive response. Whereas suggesting your tampon range for your customer who purchased Odor Eaters isn’t necessarily a natural purchase progression. The more a customer gets irrelevant offers, the less they’ll pay attention to your future correspondences.

If you use personalization as a marketing strategy in your email campaign, make it meaningful. It takes no skill or knowledge to add a name, whereas an email that is specific to an individual’s needs and search history is more likely to yield results.

 If you gather Date of Birth through your data yield process, perhaps use it to send a birthday greeting. Or learn about individual cultural events - Chinese New Year, Eid, St Patrick’s Day, etc. and send out celebration messages to appropriate list segments.

Acknowledging Individuality

While over-familiarity or mail merge personalization can reek of desperation, acknowledging individuality by referring to purchase history or demography is potentially powerful because it suggests that their individual custom has been noted and considered important.

Sending emails more regularly to established customers than new ones ensures that new customers don’t feel hounded, just for adding an item to a Shopping Cart.

If your special offer targets a product type that you know your customer has already bought, you’re more likely to receive a positive response. Whereas suggesting your tampon range for your customer who purchased Odor Eaters isn’t necessarily a natural purchase progression. The more a customer gets irrelevant offers, the less they’ll pay attention to your future correspondences.

If you use personalization as a marketing strategy in your email campaign, make it meaningful. It takes no skill or knowledge to add a name, whereas an email that is specific to an individual’s needs and search history is more likely to yield results.

 If you gather Date of Birth through your data yield process, perhaps use it to send a birthday greeting. Or learn about individual cultural events - Chinese New Year, Eid, St Patrick’s Day, etc. and send out celebration messages to appropriate list segments.


If you want to draw attention to your email, give something away. You’re effectively demanding your reader’s time, so give them something for it. It doesn’t have to have a massive financial value - it could be a subscriber-exclusive discount of 10%. If you can make your subscriber feel like there’s a good reason for them to open your mail, then they’ll probably do it.

Bluewire Media carried out some research regarding the types of content that were most likely to achieve the highest rates for opens and clicks.

The following types of offers got people clicking, according to their research:
  • Useful templates - with a click-through rate of between 26% to 66%. Content such as Excel spreadsheet templates and Social Media Guidelines templates were particularly effective.
  • Feature blog posts and expert interviews. If you offer authority voices sharing tips and blog posts, you’re up to 14% more likely to receive click-throughs.

The golden rule, here, is to be useful. Offer something that is relevant, helpful, and likely to get your existing (and potential) customers excited.

Don't Just Focus on New Customers

One of the biggest turn-offs is where companies focus on developing relationships with new customers and no longer cater to existing customer’s needs. Your existing customers have some proven loyalty - if your special offers are always for new customers, you risk alienated your loyal followers. Existing custom is financially valuable, so make sure that you look after everyone.

Re-Engage with inactive subscribers

Every email list has them - people on your list that no longer engage with your content. It might be that your updates have become predictable and irrelevant to them.

The fact of the matter is that inactivity accounts for 63% of all email lists. That’s a lot. It means that people are signing up for your email (good) but then finding that there’s nothing there for them (bad). Email marketing specialists, Listrak, have identified that the first 90 days are the most significant window in converting a sign-up into a devotee.

 Re-engagement campaigns help to reinvigorate the initial enthusiasm that led to the original sign-up. Re-introduce your services - don’t assume that everyone knows who you are. Introduce a special offer that is worth having - it might be worth taking a small hit for a new customer engagement.

Introduce Some Movement

Long gone are the days where email was a like-for-like substitute for the letter that drops through your door. Moving images in the form of gifs and animations are eye-catching and might just grab your reader’s attention.

Make sure, however, that you test anything that might challenge your subscriber’s email platform. There’s nothing more disappointing (or cheap) than those little-boxed question-marks where an image should reside.

 It might be best to avoid Adobe Flash animations, as they won’t open in many mobile email clients - or test them and make sure that they do!

Use Professional Imagery

This sounds so obvious, but cleaner emails stand out in the inbox. We get used to seeing unprofessionally composed photographs on social media - and to an extent, companies can get away with the immediacy of smartphone snaps on social accounts. But crappy photos in poor lighting conditions make for particularly unattractive layouts for professional emails.


You’re really not on your own, these days when it comes to email marketing tools. Many charge relatively low rates for great results, so it’s certainly worth shopping around.

Before settling on a specific email marketing client, consider what you need from a service. Do you, for example, require 24-hour assistance and support, or is a money-back guarantee an insurance that your company would expect?

 If you need 24-hour support then Campaign Monitor, Hubspot, Get Response, and Zoho Campaigns are your services. However, most don’t offer 24-hour phone support but do provide email support. Is it essential that you speak to a person?

 All of the services listed above offer email templates, and these are the tools that can help transform your campaign from a rather dull looking text-heavy diatribe to a clear, funky message that is as appealing to the eye as it is to cognition. We’ll explore some of the best templates in the next section.

 A feature with MailChimp, for example, is particularly good for the newbie email marketer - it offers you specific templates dependent upon the content of your campaign.
email marketing for dummies

When you click “Create Campaign”, this window appears - it asks what you want to create - either an email, an ad, or a landing page.

The email option takes you through a list of options that help you to define what your email is going to do. This includes templates with fields that prompt specific copy to maximize your campaign.

email marketing for dummies

You can choose to send the mail to a list or to a specific segment of a list. You can define the all-important “From” name (make this a real name - remember, personalization). You can input the all-important subject field (which it will help you with if you’re a little stuck for ideas). And provides the next stage of designing the content of your email.

This is all very straight-forward, and the HTML5 content works perfectly on most major browsers, including on tablets and smart-phones.

email marketing for dummies

Once you’ve clicked on the “Design My Email” option, you’re presented with a list of pre-formed templates that help you Sell Products, Make An Announcement, Tell A Story, Follow Up, or Educate.

Each of these options gives you a guided template.

 For example, if you choose “Sell Products”:
email marketing for dummies

As you can see, the layout is pre-arranged, but everything is movable and editable. Each text section prompts ideal content, and - as you can see in the menu on the right-hand side - there’s a wide selection of content types that you can add or take-away to enhance your marketing campaign.

MailChimp is a well-known supplier and offers a wide range of user-friendly templates and guidance.

 A free account gives you access to all of these features, but your email will be branded with their logo. If you want to remove their branding, you’ll need to pay a subscription.

 Campaign Monitor is another useful tool for professional marketing campaigning. A little like MailChimp, they offer a powerful email marketing suite that is as simple to use as any basic drag-n-drop interface.
email marketing for dummies

The layout is simple and clean, and setting up a campaign is really simple.

email marketing for dummies

Again, you’re guided through the basics, with some simple prompts to encourage you along the way. You can A/B test your campaign by clicking on the A/B tab.

email marketing for dummies

You can choose one of their funky templates. They really are professional looking; it’s got to be said. The templates are categorized along the left-hand-side of the menu. If you already have a model you want to work with, you can upload an HTML template, or choose Plain Text.

 Once you’ve chosen your template, you can go ahead and customize it further. It opens up with your subject line already set, with lots of drag-n-drop options to customize your content. One of the really powerful capabilities of the CampaignMonitor engine is the ability to drag images from your desktop directly into place on your email template.

The inline editing capability allows you to design your email to look exactly how you want it to look. If you’re familiar with drag-n-drop web-building, this isn’t a million miles away from that. All of your conversion buttons are easy to drop in from the left-hand menu.

Your text is fully editable, of course - from your copy to your control over the font, which includes all of the standard HTML fonts you’d expect to see in powerful web-design packages. The font color is editable via an infinite palette of shades.

CampaignMonitor emails are immediately mobile optimized and will show you how you can expect to see it on a tablet and smartphone screen.

email marketing for dummies

You’re then given a powerful list segmentation tool, that pre-populates lists according to previous preferences, or you can import a new list.

email marketing for dummies

You can schedule your email to send at a specific time.

 Once you’ve scheduled and sent your mail, you can check out the reporting section.
email marketing for dummies

You can see who has opened your email and where they’re located in your target areas using the great visual mapping platform, WorldView. You can see how your customers are engaging with your mail.

email marketing for dummies

There’s a useful visual representation of your key performance matrix through the Campaign Snapshot, including opens, click-throughs, and bounces.

email marketing for dummies

You can get accurate data regarding which of your CTA buttons or sections were the most popular, resulting in conversions. This gives you the ability to identify which campaigns are resonating with your customers. 

One of the best things that Campaign Monitor provide for the customer is the ability for your email to replicate the look of your website, with similar functionality. This is a particularly desirable feature that makes an email stand-out.

There’s an additional powerful suite of Automation campaign journeys available. You can automate a campaign based on given variables which allow you to stay in touch with your new customers (who are likely to purchase with you again) or make sure that a customer receives a specific instruction if they leave an item in a Shopping Cart. 

Check out the matrix of functionality at the beginning of this section (IMAGE 8). Explore the capabilities of each of company's tools designed for optimizing your marketing campaign. Most suppliers offer deals based on the numbers of customers you want to interact with and the types of campaigns you want to send. 

Some offer free subscriptions, so if you’re starting from scratch and have little in the way of start-up capital, you’ll find some powerful free services. Obviously, you get what you pay for, and with the pay services, you’ll achieve greater control over your campaigns and richer analytics.


Each of the email clients explored in the previous section offers a rich selection of great templates, but what does a great email campaign actually look like?

Here are some examples of effective campaigns, along with some insight into why they hit the mark.

1) Charity: Water

email marketing for dummies

This is a great example of a transactional email. An automated mail that gets sent out after a subscriber has followed a particular action on your website. If you subscriber leaves your page with an item in the Shopping Cart, for example, you might want to send them an email, prompting them to go ahead with the purchase. 

Often, transactional emails are just plain text, thanking a customer for a purchase, which is pretty easy to overlook and is unlikely to have any impact.

 However, charity: water took a different route with their transactional emailing. Once a subscriber donates to their charity, they receive an email to tell them about the “journey” that their money is going to take, and how their money will make an impact over the long term.

2) The Power of Alt-text

Sometimes you spend all that time making your mail look beautiful with great images that complement your text, and the email client your subscriber uses restricts the download of images.

This is a very real issue and can destroy your beautifully constructed campaign. This is where using Alt-Text is essential.

 Alt-Text is an internet protocol that’s been in use since the early days of the world wide wait and is a device that we should all employ. Whenever you place an image (regardless of the file type) you should embed a written description of that photograph, in case the picture doesn’t load. Most email suppliers offer this option as standard, but most people overlook it.
email marketing for dummies

In this case, the logo and the banner image haven’t loaded. If you hadn’t set your Alt-Text at the point of publishing, you’d likely see the dreaded blue question-mark, and your subscriber would be none-the-wiser as to what should be in its place.

email marketing for dummies

If you see the complete email above, you’ll notice that their main banner image was pretty accurately described in the Alt-Text in the previous email. Although it doesn’t have quite the same impact, your reader will remain in the know.

3) The Power of Color

Color blocking is a striking way of drawing the eye toward your email in a pile of blank, white emails.

email marketing for dummies

The image above uses a “poster” style campaign to alert the subscriber to their spring sale. This is particularly effective because it immediately jumps off the screen, looks attractive and easy to digest, and isn’t crammed with information that’s going to interrupt the reader’s day too much.

Brevity is a skill to develop in your communications - consider minimizing the interruption to your customer’s day. If your marketing copy is always concise and visual, such as the example above, you may find that your customers thank you for it, and return the gesture with conversion.

The blocks of color used in this marketing email are striking, modern, and sophisticated. The layout feels a little like the front page of a magazine, but the copy still manages to draw central focus.

4) Simplicity

This example reads a little like an infographic - it’s text-lite and design-focused.

email marketing for dummies

This type of email is instantly recognizable from the Inbox. If you follow a simple format, your customers will read without even thinking about it.

This daily weather report has everything the reader needs to know, including a little subtle humor. The CTA is clearly indicated with large Social buttons at the bottom of the mail.

 There’s very little not to love in this fun, irreverent communication. The color scheme makes great use of contrast - orange and blue are at the opposite end of the color spectrum to each other, and so work as a complementary, contrasting shade that’s difficult for the eye to miss. The colors are friendly and playful, and the text is brief, cheeky, but informative.

5) GIF's

GIFs are everywhere, and people love sending them to Facebook Messenger and iMessage. They bring immediate impact to the screen - it’s amazing how eye-catching a little-animated movement can be.

email marketing for dummies

This image is particularly clever because the movement attracts the eye, and makes you want nachos. 

GIF's can be particularly useful in an email marketing campaign. Make sure that the file size isn’t going to bust people’s inboxes, though!

6) A little hand-drawn lo-fi

Dropbox’s branding has always incorporated those little hand-drawn infographics - it’s become an instantly recognizable aspect of their company persona. But there’s something really interesting about a tech company that uses hand-drawn doodles to market their high-tech product.

email marketing for dummies

This reminder email uses the cutesy elementary school doodles to deliver their message, and the text copy reinforces the message using brief, simple-to-digest language.

They use bullet points, and the most basic of internet text images to playfully tempt a customer back into the fold. The CTA is an invite to take a tour of the service.

This is particularly effective marketing because it’s a little child-like - and it’s difficult to deny the pleas of a child. So you pay attention.

This is consciously-constructed playfulness: delivering a persona that’s difficult to hate, just because of its apparent innocence.

7) Magazine Layout

The Cook Smarts Weekly Eats email is a great example of magazine layout in a marketing email.

email marketing for dummies

They’ve combined simple infographic layout with some well-composed, tempting images: notice that the food photographs have eating utensils clearly in the shot - don’t you just want to pick them up and dive in? They’re using the power of suggestion and temptation here.

 There are plenty of CTAs, and the text copy is friendly as if advising a friend.


We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this ultimate guide to email marketing. Once you’ve developed your marketing list, be sure to try out the tips I’ve suggested, but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

What’s most apparent from the examples we’ve given here are that if you approach your communications in a visually appealing way - with simple, irreverent copy - you can communicate your idea to your customer, without taking time out of their busy day.

In a world where your marketing email is likely to be skimmed, make the content something worth skimming. Make it an easy read, make it attractive, and make it worthwhile for your subscriber. Offer something worth having, and you’ll find that your readers will soon become your customers.

Over to you! Leave me a message on the comment box below if you have any question.

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Leave a Comment:

Ankita says May 1, 2018

You’ve written in depth article for bloggers. Yes, you are right that email marketing is very helpful for any business.

vinod sai says September 15, 2018

Hey, Great info thanks for sharing valuable info with us it’s very helpful for online learners like me I refer your channel to my friends and I would like to suggest a like here we can get more stuff on this about email marketing and tips.

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