Email Marketing: A complete guide

Emails have been around for almost 50 years. In 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent the first email. Not soon after, in 1978, Gary Theurk sent the first-ever email campaign, which resulted in a sale of $13 million. Thus, changing the face of marketing. 

There are 3.9 billion email users globally, which is half of the world population today. Half of the world is on email, so what are you waiting for? 

Learn all about email marketing in this comprehensive guide.  We will cover:

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is one of the most important types of direct marketing. Basically, it’s the use of email campaigns to connect and communicate with your audience (prospects and existing customers). 

As a marketing channel, email marketing is cost-effective. It has the highest ROI. You can expect an average return of $42 for every $1 you spend. That’s a 4200% return

Email marketing has evolved a lot over the decades. Today, you can segment your audience, personalize your communication, automate your messages based on audience-behavior, and never miss a good opportunity. Be there with the right message at the right time!

Why is email marketing important for your business?

You might have 100 prospects or 10,00,000; email is the perfect way to reach them. You obviously can’t singly communicate with all your contacts. In a fast-paced environment, you wouldn’t have the workforce, capital, or time to build personal relationships with your contacts individually.


Email marketing is considered as one of the most effective ways to communicate and engage your audience. In fact, it is the only consistent marketing medium that you can use throughout the lifecycle of your customer’s journey. You can create campaigns to introduce yourself to the leads, make them more aware of your business, nurture them, convert them into customers, delight them, update them, and do more.

Benefits of email marketing

Immense ROI

Emails yield incredible return-on-investment, as compared to other marketing channels.

Global reach

Email is called the currency of the web. You can reach out to anybody who has an email address.

Strenthen relationships

Emails are great for building relationships with your audience. You can send hyper-targeted emails.

Drive conversion

The ultimate goal for marketers is to turn prospects to paying customers, and email makes it very easy.

Automate communication

You can automate all your emails and reach the right person, with the right message, at the right time.

Track revenue

Everything is trackable when you use an email marketing software, unlike other mediums. 

How to do email marketing?

Establish email marketing goals

For starters, you ought to know what you are trying to accomplish with emails. Every email campaign you send will have one sole purpose (one Call-to-action). You cannot try to achieve many things with a single email. So, establish your email marketing goal.

Choose the right email marketing tool

Now that you have figured out what your aim is, you need to pick out the right email marketing automation tool. You have to make sure that this tool has all the features you need to send emails effortlessly, personalize your communication, and automate the campaigns.

Focus on the metrics that matter

With too much data, people tend to get overwhelmed with a lot of metrics. You need to look at the right email metrics (open rates, click rates, and the likes) and make sure that they align with your email marketing strategy.

Work on your email list

An email list is basically the list to which you’re sending a set of emails. The emails you send should be according to the preferences your subscribers have set up. You can further segment your audience on the basis of demographics, their behavior, and more to personize the communication.

Create an email marketing campaign

Any activity is best tackled with a plan. Your email marketing strategy is essentially breaking it down into different email campaigns. Product adoption will have a different approach from your plan of action for newsletters. This needs to be in line with your email marketing goals.

Choose the right type of email

There are various types of emails - transactional, product updates, welcome emails, etc. Furthermore, you can even decide whether your audience prefers HTML emails or plain-text emails. You need to pick up the right fit.

Set up your email campaign

Your email marketing tool needs to have an easy drag-and-drop editor. Put a non-click-bait subject line, insert stunning elements, set up a Call-to-action button, add your details in the footer.  

Automate your email campaigns

You cannot send individual emails to everyone. As your subscriber list grows, the only way to seize every opportunity is to automate your emails. One example is sending welcome emails to every new subscriber.

Track your metrics

It’s not all about creating and sending emails. As a marketer, you need to keep track of your metrics in order to experiment more and optimize your email marketing strategy.

Experiment with emails and repeat. 

Who can use email marketing?

There is no one use-case for email marketing. Email is the common marketing medium for all kinds of industries like: 

Finance & Insurance
Marketing & Advertising
Healthcare & Hospitality
Travel & Tourism
Real Estate

Picking the right email marketing tool

Email marketing is not just about sending emails and updates. It’s about communicating with people, using hyper-targeted content, and making sure that it reaches your subscribers’ inbox. A lot of factors come to play here.

Email deliverability

It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into your emails if they don’t even reach the subscriber. Ask your email marketing automation tool about their email delivery rate.

Email builder

I know this is rather obvious, but the email marketing tool you choose should have a drag-and-drop email builder. It will make creating emails a matter of minutes.

Advanced segmentation

To be able to increase the average ROI of your emails, you need to send hyper-targeted content to your subscribers. That is only possible if the tool you pick helps you segment your subscriber lists.

CRM integration

Updating lists and sending excel sheets of new leads to salespeople is a task of the past. Choose an email marketing software that integrates with your CRM in real-time.

Exceptional automation

A good email marketing service will have an automation builder as an integral part of the product, which allows you to define triggers and variables, and create personalized email campaigns.

Proper support

A lot of email marketing tools only provide support for expensive and premium plans only. You have to ensure that the tool you choose has unencumbered support.

Pricing plan

Once you have looked at all the factors mentioned above, you need to make sure that the tool is a good fit for your budget. Pricing depends on the number of contacts you have and send emails to. 

How to set up email campaigns? 

Identify the objective for the email

For every email campaign, you ought to know what you are trying to achieve. As mentioned before, you cannot try to accomplish multiple things with one email. Decide whether you want recipients to sign up, or subscribe, or download an ebook.

Pick the correct segment/list

Before you start writing, you need to know which segment/list you are sending the email to. This will help you set the right tonality when you start creating the email campaign.

Decide who is sending the email 

In today’s world, nobody likes to receive communication which feels like talking to a machine. You want the recipients’ to feel like they are talking to a human being. It’s always better to have a person sending an email instead of a company. Decide who the email will be from: the marketing head, the CEO, or someone else.

Draft a subject line

It’s a very influential part of an email. Your subject line is a deal-breaker. In terms of whether one would open your email or not. A recipient can mark you as spam or delete the email before even opening it, on the basis of the subject line itself. So, choose your words wisely.

Design the email campaign

Design a beautiful email from scratch, or choose from a plethora of templates, and keep it short and crisp. Ensure that the email copy is in line with the subject line. Provide value with every email, personalize where required, add visuals, and add a CTA.

Preview the email

Now it's time to see how your email will look for different devices. Most email service providers let you preview your email. This is the time you ensure that the email is responsive and mobile-optimized.

Test your email

Send yourself or your colleague a test email to confirm what the email looks like. Gmail has spam policies in place, which would either strip most of the styles from the email, or hide the images, or just straight up send it to spam. It’s imperative you test your emails.

Find the best time to send

It’s critical that you optimize your email open rate by experimenting with timings. For instance, Tuesdays are the best day to send the email in a week, and morning is the best time. Of course, this differs for region-to-region.

Schedule your email

Your email is ready, and you are good to go. Now just schedule your email as per the time you decided for your recipients’ time zone, and you’re done.

Revise tactics with data

Of course, you wouldn’t crack the perfect email campaign for your audience (and industry) in one go. Keep tracking email metrics, and experimenting with your email designs.

Freshmarketer - The Powerful Email Marketing Software


Freshmarketer is a robust email marketing automation software, perfect for all your email needs. Built for marketers, it can help you create, design, and deliver beautiful email campaigns that are high-targeted and personalized. 


FM dashboard

What can Freshmarketer do for you?

Design beautiful emails

Create stunning emails with our simple drag-and-drop email builder. You can also choose from our extensive template repository or design one from scratch with HTML import. 



Create personalized and targeted email campaigns

Create personalized and targeted email campaigns. Send targeted emails to your customer segments and boost your conversions multifold. Segment your audience based on demography, behavior, or custom-events.

Automate your email marketing

You can build automation for better customer engagement with Freshmarketer’s Journey builder. From setting up a simple autoresponder to complex customer journeys, automation is now a breeze.


Unify sales and marketing teams

Keep your sales and marketing teams informed of each others’ activities with Freshsales CRM integration. Update lead score, view contacts’ and leads’ actions, or automate CRM tasks effortlessly. 



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