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What is Email Marketing?


In today’s digital world, email has become the most prevalent form of communication. Not only is it a primary method of personal correspondence, but it is also an essential tool for businesses looking to connect with their customers. 

Email marketing, in particular, has become a popular marketing tactic used by companies of all sizes to promote their products and services, build brand awareness, and drive sales.

But what exactly is email marketing, and how does it work? 

Email marketing involves sending commercial messages, typically in the form of newsletters, promotions, or announcements, to a group of people who have subscribed to receive them. 

These messages can be highly targeted and personalized, allowing businesses to tailor their content to specific audiences and increase the likelihood of engagement and conversions.

In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into the world of email marketing, exploring its benefits, best practices, and how you can get started with your campaigns. 

A brief history of email marketing

Email marketing as we know it today has evolved over several decades. The first email was sent in 1971, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that businesses began using it for marketing purposes. In the early days, email marketing was a simple process – businesses would compile a list of email addresses and send out a single message to everyone on the list.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as email became more prevalent and accessible, email marketing began to take on a more sophisticated form. Companies started to use email marketing software to create and send targeted campaigns to specific groups of subscribers with personalized messages and offers.

In the mid-2000s, email marketing faced new challenges with the rise of social media and mobile devices. However, it quickly adapted to the changing landscape, with businesses beginning to optimize their email campaigns for mobile devices and integrating them with social media channels.

Today, email marketing continues to be a highly effective way for businesses to connect with their customers. Advances in technology, such as automation and AI, have made it even easier for companies to send personalized and relevant messages to their subscribers. With various email marketing platforms available, businesses of all sizes can implement sophisticated email marketing campaigns to engage with their audiences and achieve their marketing goals.

Check out the latest email marketing trends.

The basics of email marketing

Email marketing is a popular way to promote products or services, build customer relationships, and generate leads. Here are the basics of email marketing:

Building an email list

The first step in email marketing is to build a list of subscribers who have opted in to receive your emails. You can do this by offering incentives like discounts, free content, or exclusive offers to entice people to sign up.

Segmenting your list

segmenting your list

It’s essential to segment your email list based on factors like demographics, behavior, subscription status, customer activity, and more. This allows you to send targeted and relevant messages to specific groups of people, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversions.

Creating compelling content

The copy of your emails should be compelling, relevant, and personalized to your audience. Use a clear and concise subject line and include a call-to-action that encourages subscribers to take the desired action.

Designing your emails

designing your emails

The design of your emails should be visually appealing and optimized for mobile devices. Use images, graphics, and a layout that is easy to read and navigate.

Testing and optimization

Testing and optimization are critical to the success of your email marketing campaigns. Use A/B testing to test different subject lines, content, and calls to action to determine what resonates with your audience and drives the highest engagement.

Analyzing results

analyzing results

Analyzing your email marketing metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, is essential to understanding the effectiveness of your campaigns. Use this information to refine and improve your email marketing strategy over time.

Types of emails in email marketing

By using a variety of email types, businesses can engage their audience and achieve their marketing goals, whether it’s to drive sales, build brand awareness, or nurture customer relationships.

Here are some common types of emails in email marketing:


Newsletters are one of the most common types of emails in email marketing. They are sent regularly, usually monthly or weekly, to subscribers who have opted in to receive updates from the company. Newsletters can contain various content, such as company news, industry insights, product updates, and promotions.

Product launch email for furnitures

Promotional emails

Promotional emails promote a product or service and encourage subscribers to purchase. These emails can feature special offers, discounts, or exclusive content to entice subscribers to take action. 

Promotional emails should be visually appealing, concise, and have a clear call-to-action to make it easy for subscribers to take the next step. These emails can be sent regularly to keep subscribers engaged and drive sales.

Small Business Saturday email templates for booking

Transactional emails

Transactional emails are automatically generated and sent to customers in response to a specific action taken by them. These emails typically contain information related to the customer’s activity on the website, such as account creation, password resets, subscription confirmations, etc. 

Transactional emails are an essential part of any email marketing strategy, as they help to establish trust with the customer and create a sense of reliability.

Trigger emails

Trigger emails are sent automatically when the recipient takes a certain action. For example, when a user signs up for a service or makes a purchase, a trigger email is sent to confirm the action and provide relevant information. 

Trigger emails can also remind users about abandoned carts or follow-up emails after a specific event, such as a webinar or conference. These highly targeted emails can lead to high open and click-through rates.


Welcome emails

Welcome emails are sent to new subscribers to introduce them to the brand, welcome them to the community, and provide information on what they can expect from the brand. 

These emails can also offer incentives, such as a discount or free trial, to encourage subscribers to engage with the brand. Welcome emails are a great way to make a positive first impression and build trust with subscribers.


Order confirmation emails

Order confirmation emails are sent to customers immediately after they have made a purchase. These emails provide essential details about the order, including the order number, items purchased, and shipping information. 

Order confirmation emails are crucial for eCommerce businesses as they help ensure that the customer has received accurate information about their purchase, which can reduce confusion or misunderstandings.


Seasonal marketing emails

Seasonal marketing emails are sent to customers during specific times of the year, such as holidays, special occasions, or events. These emails typically contain special offers and discounts related to the season. 

Seasonal marketing emails are an effective way to increase customer engagement and drive sales during peak times of the year. They can also showcase new products or services and highlight the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction.

Christmas email template for greetings

How to set up email marketing campaigns

Setting up an email marketing campaign involves several steps:

1. Define your target audience.

Before you start any email marketing campaign, you must define your target audience. This will help you tailor your message to their needs and interests, making your emails more effective in driving engagement and conversions.

2. Create your email content.

create your email content

Once you know who your target audience is, you can create content that is relevant and compelling to them. This may include offers, news, updates, or educational content. Your content should also be visually appealing and optimized for mobile devices.

3. Build your email list.

To get started with email marketing, you need a list of subscribers to send your emails to. You can build your list by offering incentives like discounts or free content, using opt-in forms on your website or social media channels, or importing contacts from other sources.

4. Choose an email marketing platform.

choose an email marketing platform

Many email marketing platforms are available, each with different features and pricing plans. Choose a platform that fits your needs and budget and offers the necessary features to create and manage your campaigns.

5. Set up your first email campaign.

Once you have your content, email list, and platform in place, it’s time to set up your first email campaign. This involves creating your email template, selecting your target audience, and scheduling your email for delivery. You may also want to use A/B testing to optimize your subject line, content, and calls to action.

6. Measure and analyze the success of your campaign.

After you send your email, it’s essential to measure and analyze the success of your campaign. This involves tracking metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions and using this information to improve future campaigns. Many email marketing platforms offer built-in analytics and reporting tools to help you measure your results.

Best practices for email marketing

1. Personalization

Personalizing your emails by addressing subscribers by name, segmenting your list based on interests and behaviors, and using dynamic content can help increase engagement and conversions. Personalization shows that you care about your subscribers as individuals and can help build a stronger relationship with them.

2. Mobile optimization

mobile optimization

With more and more people checking their email on mobile devices, optimizing your emails for mobile is essential. This means using responsive design, keeping subject lines and preheaders short, and avoiding small font sizes and too much text. Mobile optimization can improve the user experience and increase open and click-through rates.

3. Email list management

Managing your email list by regularly cleaning out inactive or bounced email addresses, segmenting your list based on interests and behaviors, and honoring unsubscribe requests can help keep your list healthy and engaged. A healthy list can lead to better email deliverability and higher engagement rates.

4. Testing


Testing different aspects of your emails, such as subject lines, content, and calls-to-action can help you identify what resonates best with your audience and improve your email performance. A/B testing, where you send two versions of an email to a small segment of your list, can help you determine which version performs better before sending it to the full list.

5. Compliance with laws (e.g., GDPR, CAN-SPAM)

To avoid legal issues and protect your subscribers’ privacy, it’s crucial to comply with laws and regulations related to email marketing. This may include obtaining consent from subscribers, providing an easy way to unsubscribe, including your business’s physical address in your emails, and honoring opt-out requests promptly.

The benefits of email marketing

1. Cost-effectiveness

Email marketing can be a cost-effective way to reach your target audience. Compared to other marketing channels, email marketing can be relatively low-cost, especially when using an email marketing platform. Businesses can save on printing, postage, and other expenses associated with traditional marketing methods.

2. Measurable results

measurable results

With email marketing, businesses can track and measure various metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, allowing them to make data-driven decisions. This will enable businesses to see what’s working and what’s not and to adjust their email marketing strategy accordingly.

3. Increased engagement with your audience

Email marketing allows businesses to communicate directly with their audience, providing relevant and personalized content that engages them. This can increase brand loyalty and a stronger connection between businesses and their audience.

4. Building relationships with your customers

Through email marketing, businesses can build and strengthen relationships with their customers. Regularly communicating with your customers, providing helpful and valuable content, and showing that you care about their needs can help build trust and loyalty.

5. Driving sales and revenue

driving sales

Email marketing can be an effective tool for driving sales and revenue. By promoting products or services through email, businesses can reach interested and engaged customers who are more likely to convert. Businesses can upsell or cross-sell products to existing customers using targeted emails, increasing their overall revenue.

Common pitfalls in email marketing and how to avoid them

1. Spam Filters

One of the biggest challenges in email marketing is getting your emails past spam filters and into subscribers’ inboxes. To avoid this pitfall, follow email marketing best practices, such as using a recognizable sender name and email address, avoiding trigger words and phrases, and encouraging subscribers to add your email address to their contact list.

2. Inconsistent branding

Inconsistent email branding can confuse your subscribers and make your business appear unprofessional. To avoid this pitfall, use consistent branding throughout your emails, including your logo, color scheme, and font choices. This can help reinforce your brand and make your emails more recognizable to subscribers.

3. Unengaging content

If your emails don’t provide value to your subscribers or are unengaging, they may be ignored or marked as spam. To avoid this pitfall, provide relevant, personalized content that resonates with your audience. Use attention-grabbing subject lines, clear and concise messaging, and include a clear call-to-action in each email.

4. Irrelevant emails

Sending irrelevant emails to subscribers can lead to high unsubscribe rates and lower engagement. To avoid this pitfall, segment your email list based on interests and behaviors, and send targeted emails to each segment. This can help ensure subscribers receive content relevant to their needs and interests.

Integrating email marketing into your overall marketing strategy

It is vital in creating a cohesive and effective marketing plan. Here are some ways to incorporate email marketing into your overall marketing strategy:

Aligning email marketing with your business goals

email marketing with your business goals

Your email marketing efforts should be aligned with your overall business goals. This means understanding what you want to achieve through your email marketing campaigns and how they fit into your broader marketing and business strategies. You can create more targeted and effective email campaigns by aligning your email marketing efforts with your business goals.

Seamless integration with other marketing channels

Email marketing should be integrated with other marketing channels, such as social media, paid advertising, and content marketing. Combining your email marketing efforts with your other channels can create a more consistent customer experience and reach your audience through multiple touchpoints.

Using email marketing data to inform future strategies

email marketing data to inform future strategies

Email marketing data can provide valuable insights that can be used to inform future marketing strategies. You can gain insights into what types of content and messaging resonate with your audience by analyzing email engagement metrics, such as open and click-through rates. This data can then be used to improve future email campaigns and inform other marketing strategies.


Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audience and promote their products or services. It offers a cost-effective way to stay in touch with customers, build brand awareness, and drive sales. 

However, it is essential to remember that successful email marketing campaigns require a clear strategy, quality content, and targeted lists. By following best practices and continuously analyzing and improving campaigns, small businesses can leverage email marketing to drive growth and achieve their marketing goals.



Janani H is a Content Marketer at TargetBay, an Ecommerce Marketing Cloud used by thousands of online stores across the globe. She enjoys writing about the power of emails in marketing, and when she isn't writing, she can be found riding the Metro and trying out new local foods.

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