Introduction to email marketing

In 2020, roughly 306.4 billion emails were sent and received each day (Source: Statista). That’s roughly around 149,513 emails sent each minute. Open your inbox and you probably have many unread emails in your primary and promotions tab right now.

It is not surprising that emails have become an integral part of our life. It's easy to use, free to send, and convenient to include additional information through attachments.  For businesses, email is the most effective and inexpensive way to capture the attention of your target audience. 

Email marketing doesn't mean shooting out random emails in hopes that a prospect takes note. When done right, it can not just win you customers, but also guarantees a good return on investment. A report by DMA states that email marketing produces £42.24 (approx. $55) for every £1 spent.

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What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the use of emails by businesses to interact and connect with their target audience. It is a personalized channel that helps businesses build relationships with their customers, raise brand awareness, nurture leads and turn them into customers.

New to email marketing and unsure where to begin? We’ve got you covered. Here we will discuss: 

Importance of Email Marketing

Emails are an easy and inexpensive way for businesses to reach a potential customer's inbox. They start an interaction with a prospect and help you promote your products and services to someone who likely does not know your business. Despite the steady growth of social media, the value-add it offers is mostly limited to interacting with larger audiences.

So why should you use email marketing?

Email marketing doubles up as a medium to begin conversations with prospects and turn customers into repeat buyers. Align the intent with the message and bingo, your email marketing strategy will pay off. 

But there's more to how email marketing benefits your business:

  • Connect and interact with prospects from across the world.
  • Send emails to a large number of prospects at one go.
  • Segment your prospects and tailor personalized content based on their age, industry, interests, and other characteristics.
  • Target people through a channel that has active usage. People nearly spend around 2.5 hours checking their emails at work.
  • Measure the success of your marketing email campaigns. Get real-time insights like click-through and open rates to assess conversions.
  • Reach out to people in a less intrusive manner than phone sales. This way, your team gets more time to nurture leads who are interested in buying from you.
  • Influence your prospect’s decision to buy from you. Over 59% of consumers agree that marketing emails influence their purchase decisions (SaleCycle).

With email marketing campaigns, you humanize your business and let users know that you are willing to be a part of their celebrations too. Dunkin Donuts' mother's day email does the same thing. The coffee and donut company starts by celebrating moms. It then gives kids a nice way to create an e-card. But to truly celebrate mothers, the email encourages the recipient to take their mom out for some coffee and donuts. Well, that's a very tempting offer indeed. 

Dunkin's mother's day email campaign Dunkin's mother's day email campaign

So with one email, Dunkin Donuts celebrates mothers, gives kids a last-minute gifting idea and encourages them to visit the store. 

How to start with email marketing

Your email marketing campaign isn't about sending out a type of bulk email to all your prospects and leads. Your email campaign must start an interaction between the recipient and your business. It should not spam your recipient's inbox with irrelevant content. A successful email marketing campaign relies on four important factors:

1. An organically sourced list of prospects
2. Grouping prospects into meaningful segments
3. Choosing the right type of email 
4. Measuring the success of your campaign

But if you're getting started, we can help you put the right foot forward and create an effective email marketing strategy.

How to Create Your Email List

In this day and age of stringent privacy laws such as GDPR, it is advisable not to buy bulk email lists. These lists can be outdated and may result in recipients marking your emails as spam. Instead, build your email list over time.

Broadly speaking, there are three ways to build your email list:


Events are the traditional way of collecting email addresses. You can set up booths at venues and attract visitors to your booth and capture their contact information. Collect business cards or have a paper/digital sign-up form.

Social Media

If your brand has a high follower count on social media, leverage this audience to build your email list. Engage your followers with compelling content and offer access to exclusive content like templates and e-books in exchange for their email addresses. Conduct seasonal contests for which email verification is necessary. Use relevant hashtags to promote these contests and expand the reach of your content beyond your followers.

Web forms

If you don’t have a website for your business, start by creating one. Place opt-in forms on your website where website visitors can enter their information to access resources or to register for a product demo. To get visitors to sign up on a web form, offer incentives like eBooks, case studies, free webinars, discount coupons, etc. 
Having an “enter your email address” field on the form is not enough. Your recipient must agree to receive communications from you. A best practice is to give them the option to choose the frequency of email communications from your business. You can also request the type of content that would interest them, say promotional emails, product updates, blog articles, etc.

Ways to Segment Your Email List

Segment your email list so you can send relevant content to the right contact. The intention is to not let them unsubscribe from your communications. Segment your subscriber to personalize your emails and improve conversions. 
Here’s proof—personalized email marketing campaigns increase click-through rates by an average of 14 percent and improve conversion rates by 10 percent (Source: Aberdeen).  


If you run a retail company, some products are gender-based. Your men’s wardrobe products appeal mainly to your male customers. This logical segmentation of your email list effectively caters to your audience. Customize your promotional emails based on the gender of your recipients to ensure they have visibility to products that they are more likely to purchase and use.


If your business has multiple stores in various locations, knowing where your recipients live helps you target your email campaigns by time zone and region. Geo-location segmentation helps you send emails that reach recipients during their business hours. This also lets you run localized email campaigns that are specific to one region easily.

Age Group

Your target audience may belong to a particular age group but your subscribers may be from various age groups. Segment your email list based on age to remove subscribers that don’t fit your target audience. For instance, if you’re in the banking industry, you can segment customers based on age to send them relevant service information. Your email to an 18-year old can be about applying for a student debit card, and your email to a 40-year old can be about home loans or mutual fund schemes.


Subscribers prefer content that is relevant and important to them. So, they may not want to receive all your email communications. Bombarding their inboxes with too many unrelated emails can do more harm than good. if you run a SaaS business, your emails contain information like product updates, feature releases, newsletters, webinars, etc. While product updates may interest some, others may want to know more about upcoming webinars or receive newsletters. Create your email lists by asking for their preference to send the right emails to the right groups.

5 types of emails to send to your email list

Now that you have a list of prospects and have grouped them into segments, the next step is to choose the type of email you want to send. 

Welcome emails

This is the first email you send your subscriber soon after they submit their email address. You can express your appreciation in this email and also use this as a chance to introduce yourself and your business. If your business offers a product or service marketer, the welcome email can onboard new users with case studies, and links to the resources page.

Promotional emails

Promotional emails are in everyone’s inboxes. These emails drive purchases through exclusive deals, discounts, product announcements and more. They increase the revenue by persuading new users to purchase and turn one-time buyers into repeat customers. Promotional emails have a clear call-to-action that will move the recipient further down the buyer's journey. You can launch promotional offers time-to-time and on a seasonal basis. Promotional emails capture the attention of the recipient and increase brand awareness. You can use these emails to give exclusive offers to users based on their product interests.

Transactional emails

Transactional emails are triggered based on an activity the user completes. These are different from other bulk marketing emails. Transactional emails include specific to a user's action or journey.   These emails include your password reset link, or invoice of your recent purchase. Transactional emails are straightforward since they contain sensitive or account-level information.

Nurture emails

Nurture emails work in two scenarios—nurturing a buyer to become a customer and nurturing a customer post-purchase. In the former, the buyer is still on the fence about buying from your business. Based on their activity, you can send nurture emails at every stage of the buyer journey to move them down the sales funnel. Offer them a free demo of your product, share helpful resources to understand the benefits of your services, or send customer stories. After they become customers, send follow-up emails to engage with them regularly.  This ensures that your brand stays on top of their minds and increases loyalty. Nurture campaigns can include early beta access, upsell or cross-sell promotions to turn them into repeat buyers.


Newsletters are recurring emails that include articles and tips to improve product adoption or elevate product experience. They help maintain and nurture customer relationships through continuous communication. Your newsletter can be a mix of popular blog posts, feature enhancements, discount codes, and event invitations. Design your newsletter to look visually appealing by adding images and illustrations. Follow a simple format like a headline accompanied by a blurb of the post from the week. Place a Call-to-Action(CTA) for readers to visit the blog and read the complete article there. To improve newsletter performance, A/B test the content and format. You can run tests by removing images, trying different fonts and color schemes or changing the style of copy.

Measure the effectiveness of your emails

Email marketing metrics help you evaluate how your email campaigns perform. By analyzing the Key performance indicators, you get an overview of elements that were a hit and areas that need improvement. Email marketing metrics can be categorized into two—on-mail KPIs and off-mail KPIs.

On-mail KPIs Off-mail KPIs
On-mail KPIs are the measurement of activities the recipient performs inside the email. These include open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and bounce rates. These metrics are easy to track through your email marketing automation tool.     Off-mail KPIs refer to the metrics for activities that take place as a result of the email sent. Off-mail activities include traffic to a blog post, sign-ups for a webinar, or registration for a product demo. You can track the off-mail activities through a web analytics tool that monitors your website traffic.


4 on-mail and off-mail KPIs to track for your email marketing campaigns

When you send your emails, it is essential to track key on-mail metrics and off-mail metrics. Determining this will help you find if your emails perform well or not. Here are the important on-mail and off-mail metrics you will need to track after sending an email:

Open rate

The open rate indicates the number of recipients who opened your email. It’s the first metric you should track as the following metrics will be a subset of this one. A captivating subject line and preheader text are key to boosting your email open rate.

Let’s say you send out 1500 emails to your email list and 700 of them were opened. Your open rate would be 46.67%


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Click-through rate

The click-through rate is the number of clicks recorded for links in the email. Your email may have more than one link in the message. You can track unique clicks by assigning Urchin Tracking Modules (UTMs) for each link.
If you emailed an event invitation link to 1000 recipients and received 200 clicks, your click-through rate is 20%.


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Conversion rate

The conversion rate is an off-mail KPI metric. It is the number of people who completed an action through the Call-to-Action (CTA) in your email. If there was a webinar registration link in your email, the conversion rate is the number of people who registered for the webinar through the link. Tools like Google Analytics can help you determine the traffic from your email campaigns.
If you’ve sent the email to 500 recipients and received 20 registrations through the CTA. Your conversion rate is 4%.


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Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the number of emails that could not be delivered. Bounces are of two types—soft and hard.

Soft bounces occur due to server issues or when the recipient's inbox was full. Hard bounces occur when the email addresses are invalid or non-existent. It is crucial to reduce the hard bounce rate since ISPs consider bounce rate a factor to determine the sender's reputation.

If you receive 4 bounces from the 100 emails you sent, your bounce rate would be 4%. This is an undesirable rate and you should ensure that the email addresses are removed from your email list.


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Combine the power of email marketing and CRM software

For most businesses these days, email marketing is non-negotiable. Even if social media is the primary marketing channel, you can personalize emails and send confidential information. Email marketing campaigns and their follow-up actions are a long process. Create an email list, set up the campaign, and run it at the desired time. Once it's active, recipients receive the email and engage with its content.

To nurture interested prospects, you need to have personalized interactions with them. And for this, you will need to know more about the prospect and their journey so far. To perform these actions seamlessly, it’s crucial to have data within a single system, that’s easy to use and access—like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

CRMs with email marketing features give you more visibility into your prospect’s behavior. With email tracking and analytics, your marketing team can understand how a prospect engages with emails. You can also maintain a unified list of contacts in the CRM and nurture them better. You don’t have to switch between a CRM and an email marketing tool to run your email campaigns.

Set up email marketing with Freshsales Suite

With Freshsales Suite, create email lists, run email marketing campaigns, and track email metrics within the CRM. You can send and receive emails in the CRM and sync with your email provider so you don’t have to switch applications. 

Schedule and track emails

  • Schedule emails to be sent at optimal times.
  • Track and analyze email metrics
  • Personalize emails with placeholders
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Send bulk emails

  • Filter leads based on criteria and send bulk emails
  • Enable/disable email tracking with one-click
  • Customize email templates for every instance
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Create sales campaigns


  • Create email campaigns that are triggered based on time or activities.
  • Set call reminders and create follow up tasks.
  • Define exit criteria for leads.
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