Email Marketing 101: The Foundational Basics

If you’re feeling the pressure to up-the-ante on your social media efforts and scale back on your email marketing campaigns, here’s a word of caution: that would be a huge mistake.

Statistics don’t lie. 72% percent of the population still prefers to receive brand updates and other types of information via email. So whether you like it or not, email marketing is here to stay.

The reason why sending email works is because it fits in with any size budget, and the ROI is sky high. In fact, in 2018, every $1 spent on email marketing returned an average of $44. As such, email marketing remains one of the most cost effective ways of reaching your target audience and maximizing your marketing budget.

If you’re brand new to the wild and wonderful world of email marketing, here’s everything you need to know to launch successful campaigns that will improve brand awareness, generate leads, and increase revenue.

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Once someone has shared their email address with you – either by creating an account or signing up for a newsletter – you need to make a great first impression with a stellar welcome email.

This provides you with an opportunity to make a meaningful – and lasting – impression, so make it count. Take some time to craft a message that represents you as a person and/or brand if you’re the face of your business. After all, no one can put into unique words what goods and services you can provide for your target audience… except you.

Don’t forget to include any awards or accolades. Small business operator of the year, 100% recycled, organic, free-trade, etc. If what you have to offer is special, this needs to be the focus of what you send. Dare to be different… it’s what will make you memorable!

Reminder Emails, Repurchase Programs, Follow-up Campaigns

Once you have someone’s email address, it’s important to actually stay in touch, and to customize the wording in all of your emails to stay true to your brand.

Here’s an example of a follow-up email that was sent out by a property and investment company. They wanted to be seen by the readers as approachable, accessible, and receptive.

Hello (name)

We hope you don’t mind, but we wanted to check-in with you, and we hope this mail finds you happy and well.

As it’s been a while since you contacted us, the Estero team were wondering if we could assist you with any property management and investment inquiries you may have?

You were interested in one of the key property services we provide to clients from all over the world, and we are still here to help if you have any unanswered questions or need any assistance.

Or, maybe you would like to share some feedback and let us know how your property needs were met? The team at Estero are a tight-knit, friendly bunch of folks, and we are more than pleased to hear about how we can improve or provide you with any support queries.

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This email had a significant response when it was sent out to a list of people who had contacted the business in the past, but then went quiet.


Because recipients truly felt as though they were being spoken to directly.

Here are a few of the responses this company received:

  • My husband passed away unexpectedly and I have no use for renting out our second property. I would like to sell it now and was wondering if you could help me with that?
  • Sorry I never followed up with my enquiry, but I was having problems with my builders. The project is finished now and all I need are reliable tenants.
  • I decided to change the blueprints from condo to student accommodation. Do you know the best architect for that?

By sending out an email that made old contacts feel acknowledged and cared for, this business was able to reconnect with a high percentage of lost leads. This is what personalized email marketing can do for a small business.

You Know the Basics, Now You Just Need the Email Addresses

While email marketing is a powerful tool, it’s of no real value unless you have subscribers to actually mail to.

A great way to prompt a website visitor for their email details is to add a lightbox. A lightbox is a website overlay that asks someone to type in their name and email address, and then click on a button. What’s included in the lightbox is completely up to you, but eBooks, discount codes/promotional offers, and newsletter subscriptions are extremely popular – and effective – options.

Because lightboxes are specifically designed to target people who are already engaged in your online content, there is a sizeable positive response with them. In fact, in some test cases, there was an increase of 32% in new subscribers, simply by using a lightbox.

Remember to keep your info-grab request short and sweet. And be sure to include a statement telling people that they can opt-out or unsubscribe at any time. A box where they can tick the frequency they wish to receive emails is a nice touch too.

Make Your Message Count

An equally important part of email marketing are the words you use to convey your message. Make sure they are compelling and true to your business’s best practices. Get that balance right, and your email marketing ROI will increase significantly.

  • Write as though you’re talking to a friend. No one wants to read an email full of tech-speak and formality. Leave that kind of letter to the banks.
  • There are 13 “you” words in the email, and only 11 “we” words. This keeps the focus of the letter on the recipient: What can you do for them? What goods or services do they need? You will notice that when the “we” word is used in the text, it’s immediately followed by a “you.”
  • Mention how your products and/or services can help. Most intended recipients want to know what’s in it for them. “We provide key property services to people all over the world” – that’s a benefit feature.
  • Give your target audience some credit for being able to smell a hard-sell email from a mile away. Keep the tone light and upbeat.
  • Use bold text sparingly. The email needs to retain its personal touch. Too much bold text, images, and links will take away from the one-to-one feel of the communication.
  • Once you have started a conversation with your prospective customers, remember to answer their replies in person. There is no automation that can replicate a personal response.

The best way to start writing your own marketing emails is to crack on with committing some ideas to paper, and then tweak the text until you are happy with the results. Only send your messages after they have been proofread, but don’t let a strict edit completely kill your email’s originality and spark.

You never know, email marketing might even turn into one of your favorite ways to interact with your target audience!