The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing in 2023

email marketing guide

Not very long ago, several marketers in the online space had been contemplating how the email is dead. Businesses had started to experiment with newer forms of communication while promoting themselves through social media channels, notifications and chats.

However, despite the growth and prominence of mobile messengers and chat apps, e-mail is an integral part of daily online life. In 2020, the number of global e-mail users amounted to four billion and is set to grow to 4.6 billion users in 2025. Evidently, email as a marketing tool is far from dead.

Businesses must hence dedicate a sizable chunk of their efforts to reaching these users through email marketing. It holds great potential and can play a significant role in business growth when utilised effectively. This article deep dives into the various aspects of email marketing and talks about the process and techniques that make it an influential solution.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a form of digital marketing where a business promotes itself through emails. It is a powerful medium to communicate about a brand in detail and build a sustained relationship. The technique is equally impactful in creating awareness and ensuring engagement.

In the current customer-centric market, an impressive email marketing strategy needs to work towards continuous personalisation and segmentation to be able to appeal to its audience. 

The most effective strategies for email marketing campaigns are subscriber segmentation (78%), message personalization (72%), and email automation campaigns (71%). 

Modern marketing is no more about standard templates and text. It is a process to initially connect with the reader, evaluate their intent and eventually convert them into a consumer.

Why use email marketing
To promote products/services and share relevant information on them 
To ensure customer retention
To talk about seasonal/exclusive offers and discounts
To launch and introduce new products
To share your content and useful articles that educate about the brand
To upsell and cross-sell
To nurture leads and anticipate the needs of the user

Why does Email Marketing Work?

When you reach out to your audience through an email, there is a better scope of representing the product/service and convincing them about its value. 

Here’s a look at how email marketing adds value to e-commerce businesses.

1. Personalizes communication

Email marketing personalisation involves creating a campaign for a specific subscriber list by leveraging the information you have about them. The audience can be segmented based on criteria such as their name, location, choices, etc to make the communication unique to their interest.

Emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.

Email marketing certainly offers better possibilities for customising communication when compared to other content channels such as social media or blogs.

2. Creates impactful conversations

Online businesses do not get many opportunities to directly engage with consumers. With email marketing, this can be addressed to a notable extent through its content and tonality. 

Emails that are built around conversations take a customer-centric approach and focus on understanding the consumer. These emails emphasise on personal interaction to make it look less like a marketing pitch and more like an association.

This helps the business market the product without it looking like yet another sale tactic in the user’s inbox.

3. Optimises budget

New businesses often find it difficult to sufficiently invest in marketing initiatives owing to restricted budgets. Most of the channels require substantial and continuous investment to compete with other businesses and display adequate results.

Email marketing, however, is one of the most cost-effective solutions that can be started with limited cash and basic plans and gradually scaled as the organisation grows.

Additionally, with well-intended campaigns, users can be directed through the marketing funnel and converted into customers without spending the acquiring cost that an advertisement or paid campaign would demand.

Interesting read: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Successful Digital Marketing Plan in 2023

4. Ensures brand recall

When a business communicates with its audience consistently and at regular intervals, they naturally register the brand and its offerings. 

The chances of your business being on the top of their mind are high and so is the possibility of them choosing it over others. 

Email marketing may not show immediate results but creates and strengthens the brand image for long-term outcomes.

Email Marketing Campaign Statistics based on Industries

Email marketing guide


How to Get Started with Email Marketing 

Let’s look at the fundamental steps to begin sending marketing emails to your consumer base.

1. Define your goals

The main objectives of email marketing constitute informing, attracting, guiding, nurturing and eventually converting. At every stage of the consumer journey and interaction with your brand, you might have varying goals.

Defining them helps communicate the right propositions at the right time. For instance, a campaign in the last quarter of a calendar year can revolve around the holiday season, festivities and all that your business has to offer for this period.

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2. Collate email addresses

The best approach to organically collect emails is by adding a newsletter sign-up bar to every landing page on your website. Visitors who fill out this form are most interested in your business and should be segmented and nurtured further.

Some of the other ways to grow your email list include:

  1. Offer gated content and downloadable resources
  2. Share free videos tutorials
  3. Use exit intent pop-ups
  4. Host quizzes/content that require sign-ups
  5. Use chatbots/live chats

In 2020, the global e-mail marketing market was valued at 7.5 billion U.S. dollars and the figure is expected to increase to 17.9 billion by 2027. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for that period is expected to amount to 13.3 per cent.

Email marketing revenue


3. Segment the audience

Email segmentation involves dividing the subscribers into groups based on specific criteria that match their interests. It is extremely important to stay relevant as well as introduce personalisation. You can then decide what content to direct to each category of audience.

Segmentation can be based on:

  • Existing customers
  • New subscribers
  • Repeat customers
  • Demographics (geography, location, age group)
  • Job titles
  • Industry-specific
  • Lead magnets (webinars, gated content)
  • Users who have abandoned carts

Interesting read: The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing

4. Design an email

Much of marketing depends on how well an email is written and designed – a customer might readily move it to trash or unsubscribe if it fails to stand out.

A few basics to keep in mind when working on the email are:

  • A striking subject line
  • Concise and clear messaging
  • Compelling banner image/ visual content
  • Consistent fonts and format
  • Attention grabbing CTA buttons
  • Alt text for image context

5. Schedule

Tuesday and Thursday are the best days to send emails. 

Scheduling emails can set expectations and ensure a consistent connection with the audience. On the other hand, irregular communication may lead to users unsubscribing or marking them as spam.

Additionally, It is also necessary to decide the frequency at which you want to connect with your audience.

6. Test

The average open rate for the retail industry is around 23%. However, when you begin your marketing campaigns through email, the numbers can be hard to achieve in the initial stages.

Once you have a substantial number of subscribers, A/B testing can help you understand what works the best for every category of audience.

Testing can be done on designs, subject lines, CTA’s, time of sending and so on, but one specific aspect should be tested at a time to analyse its effectiveness, before testing the next one.

7. Review results

Data is central to any marketing activity. In the case of email marketing the primary components are the open rate, click rate, deliverability and the number of unsubscribes. 

Metrics to measure and analyse

  • Open rate
  • Clickthrough rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Email forwarding rate
  • Open rate
  • Unsubscribe rate

Based on these numbers and by gathering the data from the A/B tests the emails need to be further optimised for their performance. Testing and reviewing is a continuous process for achieving the best results.

Compiling an email – Checklist
Content – Should be crisp, pertinent to a particular subject and ideally conversational
Images – Should easily draw attention and represent the topic. Images should be optimised for mobile devices
CTA – Should be short, eye-catching and have an action-oriented text
Subject line – Should be clear and focussed with the necessary keywords that highlight the offering
Design – Should be designed for easy accessibility with clear headings, subtexts, brand logos/colours and formats
Email hygiene – Should be checked for unengaged recipients, addresses such as @support/@info/@sales and bounced or invalid email addresses.
Unsubscribe button – Should direct recipients to preferences and options that users might select before choosing to unsubscribe
Test – Should be sent to a few inboxes to check the final layout on different browsers and devices

Choosing the Right Email Marketing Tool

Email marketing tools are used by marketers to build, design, send, test, optimise, and report the email campaigns.

In case you choose to not invest in design resources, taking the help of an email marketing tool can be a simpler solution to creating and sending mails. Let’s look at the things to consider when picking the ideal solution.

  • Maximum features to easily create and personalise content without the help of external resources.
  • Design elements that are professional and align with your brand preferences
  • Efficient dashboard to closely track the data to frequently review the performance
  • Personalisation and testing capabilities
Popular Email Marketing Tools
Benchmark Email

Email Marketing Templates

A well-designed email campaign can boost user engagement remarkably. However, creating one requires time and dedicated resources which can be difficult for an upcoming e-commerce business.  

Email marketing templates are a simpler way to integrate your content directly into the template and build it according to your brand aesthetics, colours and logo.

Picking the right template and using it consistently can help with maintaining uniformity and as a result improving brand recall.

They reduce dependency and save organisations a lot of time.

Sample Mailchimp Template

Email marketing guide

Email Marketing Automation

Automation helps in sending discrete emails to the segmented groups especially when you have a high volume of subscribers. They are usually offered by the email marketing services/platforms.

A drip campaign or autoresponders constitute pre-written emails that are automatically sent to the user once they take a certain action. 

For example, an existing customer who hasn’t placed an order for a while may automatically receive a coupon code after a pre-specified time.

Similarly, you can plan a series of mails for specific triggers by the users.

Workflows are a smarter extension of autoresponders where a series of emails are sent to the user based on their actions and to fulfil a certain purpose.

For example, a lead that has downloaded gated content on your website can be moved to a workflow that observes the pages it has viewed or time spent on the website to understand what they are looking for and send the pre-written emails accordingly.

Example of a workflow 

Email marketing guide


Best practices for personalising emails

Nearly 60% of email marketers think personalization is one of the best ways to increase engagement.

Here is a look at the ways in which your communication can feel exclusive:

  • Add personalised subject lines (based on the user data collected pertaining to location, interests, preferences, etc)
  • Create multiple segments and divide the email list accordingly
  • Use the first name while greeting the recipient
  • Add an email signature from the appropriate marketing representative 
  • Use Call to Actions based on user behaviour and preferences
  • Include region-specific topics such as festivals and holidays

Example of personalised email on cart abandonment

Email marketing guide


Frequently asked questions

What should be my email frequency?

An ideal frequency is to send email fortnightly and then move to weekly based on the content as well as user response.

What are the 5 Ts of email marketing?

  1. Tease with a promising subject line 
  2. Target with personalised communication
  3. Teach to build the brand perception
  4. Test to optimise performance
  5. Track to improve engagement

What are some common mistakes in email marketing?

  1. Ambiguous subject lines
  2. Too many CTA’s
  3. Long copies
  4. Sending through a “no reply” address
  5. Not optimising for mobile
  6. Picking the wrong time and day to send mails

How to ensure that my emails are accessible?

  • Use templates that are responsive and compatible with all screen sizes and devices.
  • Use HTML tags and ALT text for images and buttons. 
  • Maintain a font size of more than 14 pixels for clear text
  • Keep the links appealing and easy to click


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