Email marketing 101 graphic
  • James Notaris

    CPA, ESQ. Legal Editor

  • Steve Longo

    Executive Editor

    In Brief:

  • Email marketing remains popular since it offers a strong ROI and drives results. 

  • Email marketing consist of several components, such as subject lines, the email body, preview text, and more. 

  • Learn more about email marketing 101 with our complete guide below!

Ever since “you’ve got mail” became burned into Internet users’ minds in the 1990s, email marketing has been one of the earliest (and most effective!) forms of digital marketing. 

Sure, it may seem passé in an age when digital marketing is focused on shiny new objects like social media and the latest SEO trends, but there’s a simple reason email marketing is still very widely used: it works! 

According to HubSpot, it still generates a staggering 3,800% ROI in 2020, making it one of the most cost-effective and efficient forms of digital marketing today. 

But just how do you do it effectively? We examine the email marketing basics here so you can write attention-grabbing emails that catch users’ attention and convert. Our email marketing for beginners guide breaks down the components of email marketing and takes a look at how to do them effectively. Let’s dive right in!

Email marketing basics

Email Marketing 101: Key Terms to Know

The first step in email marketing 101 is to understand some key terms. We break them down here so you better understand the basics of email marketing!

Sender: The user who sends the email to another. 

Recipient: The user who receives an email from another. 

Subject Line: This serves as the headline for the email and is displayed in the user’s inbox. 

Email Body: The text, images, or videos contained within the email itself. 

Preview Text: A brief snippet of content pulled from the email body that’s typically displayed beneath the sender name and subject line in a recipient’s inbox. 

Email service provider (ESP): A software service that helps marketers create and send out emails. 

Subscribers: People who have subscribed to your email list, giving you the green light to send emails to. 

Spam: Also called junk mail, email spam is unsolicited email sent in bulk to recipients. 

Call-to-Action (CTA): An instruction designed to compel the user to take another step, such as sign-up for email alerts or buy a product. 

Click-Through Rate (CTR): This metric measures the percentage of people who clicked on a link, image, or CTA in an email. 

Personalization: Personalization refers to customizing emails for individual recipients, such as tailoring it to their name, interests, and the like. 

Bounce: A bounce occurs when an email is returned to the sender, with some common reasons being an incorrect domain name or an email address that doesn’t exist. 

So, now that we’ve covered the key email marketing terms to know, let’s continue our email marketing 101 guide by examining how to write great emails in detail!

Email marketing best practices

Craft Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines

It’s no secret that subject lines are one of the most important parts of email marketing – and for good reason too! They’re the first thing a user sees in their inbox after you’ve sent the email. 

A few things to keep in mind when writing great subject lines include:

-Create a sense of urgency with your subject lines. Phrases like “act now” can compel recipients to open and read an email in many cases. 

-Pique the recipient’s curiosity by stating how reading the email can directly benefit them.

-Include special offers that are only available for a limited time. 

-Keep the subject line short, simple, and concise. 

-Personalize your email by including the recipient’s name. 

-Start with action-oriented words to create a further sense of urgency. 

-Drop an interesting stat or ask a compelling question to prompt the recipient to open the email. 

-Never use all caps or too many exclamation points, as this can make an email look spammy and will likely go right into the recipient’s trash folder. 

Email marketing strategies

Write Catchy Preview Text

After writing a catchy email subject line, the next step in mastering email marketing 101 is to create engaging preview text to compel the recipient to open the email. 

To do this, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:

-Expand on the subject line by revealing a bit more of what the email is about, but be sure not to give away too much early on!

-Stay within the character limits so your preview text isn’t cut off. 

-Much like the subject line, use action words to prompt the recipient to open the email. 

-Put any special offers, discounts, giveaways, and the like in the preview text to grab the recipient’s attention further.

Create the Right Email Body

Once you’ve got some great subject lines and preview text down, the next step is to craft an email itself with compelling copy, strong CTAs, and a clean layout. 

A few tips to keep in mind include:

-Write email copy that’s catchy, fun, and to-the-point. Remember that you only have a few seconds to catch and hold their attention!

-Include clear, eye-catching CTAs that are very easy for the recipient to see. Using action-oriented phrases like “click here” or “learn more” helps to create a sense of urgency too. 

-Use an email template that offers a clean, simple, and aesthetically-pleasing design to ensure that your email’s layout is clear and intuitive. 

-Much as with subject lines and preview text, avoid using all caps or too many exclamation points. 

Mobile email marketing

More Email Marketing Tips 

With a better grasp of email marketing 101, it’s time for a few more tips to help your email marketing campaign succeed!

A few more to keep in mind include:

-Always A/B test subject lines to see which one performs better. 

-When crafting your emails, be imaginative, creative, and thought-provoking. No one wants to read a boring email!

-Know your email campaign’s end goal first. Is it to generate sales? Increase leads? Prompt eCommerce shoppers to check out their abandoned cart? Having a clear goal in mind makes it easier to craft a great email from the start. 

-Know your audience and tailor your message towards them. Writing an email targeted towards business professionals is much different than crafting one for high school students or senior citizens! 

Email marketing

Email Marketing 101: Understand Email Marketing Basics for Success! 

Now that you have a better grasp on email marketing basics, it’s time to get out there and start testing some email blasts! Experiment with different subject lines, CTAs, email body copy, and the like until you find what works best for you. Half the fun of email marketing is seeing what works – so start testing those emails today!

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