The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing

Email marketing requires a lot of moving parts to be effective and generate positive results. Here’s a guide to everything you need to know.
Reading Time: 13 minutes

If you’re like most people, you probably get between dozens and hundreds of marketing emails every week. Some of them might be annoying. Some of them are actually quite valuable. But most of them get your attention, if even for a moment.

While email used to be a way to communicate with friends and family, it’s become a much more common platform to pitch business products and services to potential buyers, aiming to convert email recipients into customers. If you can fully harness the power of email marketing, you can greatly enhance the communication, visibility, and engagement possibilities for your business, whether it’s by reaching out to new potential buyers or engaging current customers.

Email marketing is incredibly impactful for business growth, and we’re here to give you insight into everything you need to know about it to approach it effectively for long-term results. Throughout this blog, we’ll cover the following:

  • What Is Email Marketing?
  • Different Types of Marketing Emails
  • Benefits of Email Marketing
  • How to Start Your Email Marketing Strategy
  • How Often Should I Send Marketing Emails
  • Email Marketing Best Practices
  • Ways to Measure Email Performance


What Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the practice of using email as a medium to communicate with prospects, leads, and customers. Depending on the context, you may use email as a way to distribute content to your audience, as a way to promote new products and services, as a way to advertise sales, and even as a way to reach new people.

Email marketers may have several goals with their efforts: driving them to boost brand visibility, promote specific events, earn more sales, cultivate more customer loyalty, and more. One of the greatest things about email marketing is that you can customize your strategy to serve your specific objectives.


Is Email Marketing Inbound or Outbound Lead Generation?

Email marketing can be both inbound and outbound, depending on how you decide to use it.

Inbound marketing strategies are all about naturally attracting people to your brand. To this end, you can use emails to distribute content, raise brand visibility with new people, earn more customer loyalty, and build relationships with your existing customers. This can be done through various inbound email marketing efforts, including company newsletters (which we’ll expend on later).

Outbound marketing strategies are more focused on reaching new people and advertising specific products or services to them. To this end, you can use cold emails to start conversations with new prospects, send appointment-setting emails, and more.

For many brands, the best approach is to use email marketing as both inbound and outbound, capitalizing on multiple channels and strategies simultaneously.


Different Types of Marketing Emails

While there are many types of email campaigns worth considering, it’s important to select campaigns that align best with the goals of your business and audience. Here are some of the main types of marketing emails to consider when it comes to promoting your company’s product or service offerings:

Welcome Emails

Welcome emails are sent to new subscribers, customers, or members of an organization to acknowledge their connection and initiate a positive relationship. These emails are typically automated and serve as the first point of contact with the recipient. The primary objectives of welcome emails are to make a good first impression, provide essential information, and foster engagement between your business and the recipient.

Newsletter Emails

Newsletter emails are sent on a regular basis to subscribers who have opted in to receive updates, information, and content from a particular brand and the products or services they have to offer. These emails aim to deliver relevant and valuable content to the subscribers’ inbox and maintain an ongoing relationship with them, introducing them to new company insights.

Nurture Emails

Nurture emails, also known as drip campaigns or automated email sequences, are a series of targeted and personalized emails sent to subscribers or leads over a specific period. These emails are designed to nurture relationships, build trust, and guide email recipients through the customer journey. Nurture emails are typically automated and aim to provide relevant information regarding your company, product, or service, address pain points, and ultimately drive more conversions.

Promotional Emails

Promotional emails are sent to subscribers or customers with the primary goal of promoting products, services, or special offers. These emails aim to generate sales, increase brand awareness, and drive customer engagement. For example, if you’re looking for repeat sales from previous customers, offering promotions is a great way to go about it.

Re-engagement Emails

Re-engagement emails, also known as win-back emails, are targeted communications sent to inactive subscribers or customers with the purpose of reconnecting with them and encouraging renewed engagement. These emails aim to regain the recipient’s interest, re-establish a relationship, and prompt them to take action.


Benefits of Email Marketing

Email marketing provides many benefits to growing businesses, including the following:

Boosts Brand Awareness

Email marketing has the potential to boost brand awareness. Let’s say you send out an email newsletter every week to 50,000 email subscribers. The vast majority of these email subscribers will at least see your company name and subject line—even if they delete the email. And the people who open and read your email will have an even better chance to become acquainted with your best products and services.

Keeps Your Company Top-of-Mind

Similarly, email marketing is a strategy that helps to keep your company top of mind. If your business relies on people making impulse purchases, or if you’re on the other end of the spectrum with long sales cycles and thoughtful customers, it’s important for your customers to think about your brand consistently. For shorter sales cycle customers, this presents more opportunities to make a purchase. For longer sales cycle customers, this is a form of lead nurturing.

Drives More Traffic to Your Website

As long as you devise your email marketing campaign with this in mind, email marketing can be a highly efficient way to drive traffic to your website, whether it’s to specific blogs, web pages, or landing pages designed to convert. You can lure people in by advertising new products or services worth exploring or offering interesting, insightful pieces of content.

Builds Credibility as an Expert

Email marketing is also a great way to build your credibility as an expert. If you routinely send emails with news related to your industry, tips and tricks for how to use your products, or other general advice for your audience members, your subscribers will gradually come to see you as a thought leader and an authority in this space.

Allows You to Distribute More Content

If you’re already using content marketing, you should know that email marketing is an excellent distribution and promotional tool. You can round up all your latest pieces of quality content, summarize them or tease them in an email, and advertise them to your most loyal customers and leads.

Generates More Leads and Revenue

Currently, 59% of B2B marketers consider email marketing to be their top revenue-generating channel, with 50% of people buying something from marketing emails at least once a month. When optimized for this purpose, emails are an excellent way to boost your marketing ROI and reduce the costs spent on leads.


As mentioned above, email marketing is one of the highest-ROI marketing strategies available. That’s partially because the costs are so low. It’s very inexpensive to start an email marketing campaign, and it’s almost free to keep one going.

Cultivates Customer Loyalty

As long as your emails remain valuable, they can be a way to cultivate more customer loyalty. Customers who regularly subscribe to your messages and benefit from them are going to be much more likely to purchase with your brand in the future.

Helps You Better Understand Your Market

Studying metrics related to your email marketing campaign allows you to use this channel to better understand your audience. You can see which subject lines and calls to action are most effective and evaluate which types of content carry the greatest chances of generating traffic.

Increases Lead Segmentation

With the right email marketing tools, you can segment your audience and send different campaigns to different types of people. If you’re working with leads at various stages of your sales funnel, or if you’re selling different types of products and services, this is ideal.

Has the Capability of Being Automated

Most of your email marketing campaigns can be fully automated. In other words, you won’t need to spend any manual effort coordinating or launching your emails. Instead, your best salespeople and SDRs can focus on more important responsibilities.

Highly Scalable

Some businesspeople love email marketing because of how scalable it is. It’s a reasonable strategy to use for a young startup, especially because of its cost efficiency, but it can grow with your business up to and including a global reach.


How to Get Started With Email Marketing

Email marketing campaigns are easy to start but hard to perfect. Here are some email marketing guidelines that can help you get started with your strategy:

Step 1. Define Your Audience

Your marketing emails aren’t going to be effective unless they’ve been specifically written and designed for a unique target audience. The first step of your strategy is defining, researching, and understanding that audience.

Step 2. Establish Your Goal or Purpose

What are you trying to accomplish with your email marketing strategy? Cold email outreach for lead generation is much different than distributing content to your existing customers. Define your objectives and start working on an approach that can help you achieve them.

Step 3. Build Your Email List

To develop an email marketing list, you need a reliable way to discover and reach out to people who are genuinely interested in what you have to sell. Buying a generic email list is generally a bad idea, since these people will have no idea who you are and potentially no relevant connection to your brand. It’s much better to build your list with quality prospects and leads.

Step 4. Create Your Email(s)

Next, you can start writing and designing your emails. With the right email platform, you can use convenient templates to make this a breeze.

Step 5. Select a Email Marketing Platform

Many small business owners start their email marketing efforts with their company Gmail or Outlook. However, there are many types of email marketing platforms that make it easy to manage your lists, design new campaigns, automate your email blasts, and even track your impact, resulting in more successful and insightful email campaigns.

Examples of email marketing platforms include Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Constant Contact. These email platforms are best for companies that want to include HTML, imagery, and long-form marketing emails that can be custom created or use a template. However, they cannot be used for cold outbound strategies.

Step 6. Create Your Campaign

You can manage several email campaigns simultaneously, with each one suited to a different objective or target audience.

Step 7. Enroll Your List of Recipients

For each campaign under your brand, enroll a list of recipients that your gained fro step 3.

Step 8. Launch Your Campaign

When your campaign is complete, you’ll be able to launch it—and get your emails in the inboxes of your recipients.

Step 9. Monitor Campaign Performance and Analyze Results

Your work doesn’t end there. It’s important to monitor your campaign performance so you can understand how these tactics are working. After reviewing your performance metrics, you can form actionable insights and improve your approach in the future.


How Often Should I Send Marketing Emails?

While there is no single single to this question, ideally, you’ll send enough emails to build brand awareness and promote your best work—but not so many that you annoy your customers.

You’ll need to calculate an email marketing frequency suited to your specific environment to see the best results.

Choosing how often to send email marketing emails can depends on a number of variables:

  • Customer persona. Some types of customers require emails more frequently than others.
  • Customer journey/sales funnel. Long sales cycles generally withstand (and may benefit from) lower email frequency, while short sales cycles benefit from higher email frequency.
  • Industry standards. Certain industries have higher email frequency than others. Try to align with industry standards unless you have a reason to deviate.
  • Offerings. Certain types of offers should motivate higher email frequency, such as if you offer new products every week.
  • Objectives. You also need to base your email frequency on your objectives. It’s important to avoid spamming people with the same sales pitch over and over, but informative content and advice are typically always welcome.


If you’re worried you’re sending too many emails, it’s important to consider the number of spam flags your emails have, email unsubscribe rates, low responses, and other KP impact.


Email Marketing Best Practices

These email marketing tips for beginners can help you ensure your first campaign is a success:

Define Your Objectives

How can you know if your email campaign was a success if you don’t even know what “success” means? Start by defining your objectives, then work to serve them.

Segment Your Audiences

Email marketing is best utilized with specifically engineered messages for unique target audiences. Segmenting your audiences can help you achieve this.

Email marketing segmentation is the process of separating your audience into different groups, based on factors like job title, industry, topic of interest, level of engagement, and so on. This way, you can create dynamically different emails for each group of people relevant to your brand.

To be effective with this strategy, it’s important to develop separate buyer personas. Each buyer persona can help you understand the general mentality of people within the group, so you can better appeal to them and persuade them.

Tailor Campaigns to Buyer Personas

Like we mentioned above, it’s important to tailor your campaigns to buyer personas. You have to know who your target customer is and how they think.

Personalize Your Outreach

Marketing campaigns perform much better with elements of personalization, to reach individuals by name and with specific offers.

Use Short, Catchy Subject Lines

Your subject lines should be short and compelling; longer subject lines are too bloated and are generally incapable of capturing the attention you need.

Write Clear Copy

Similarly, the body content of your email messages should be short and to the point. Be direct with your offers.

Include Compelling CTAs

Calls to action (CTAs) are opportunities for your subscribers to take meaningful action, like making a purchase or visiting your website. Make these CTAs prominent, unique, and persuasive to your target audience.

Send Content With a Purpose

Don’t waste subscribers’ time with irrelevant messaging. Having a relevant conversation and content with a prospect this is a good chance to show the value your product or service has. Additionally, you can use this as an opportunity to further build the relationship with the client.

A/B Test Your Emails

Always test out different versions of your emails to see which elements allow for greater performance. For example, are you stuck between two different variations of a subject line? If so, test them both out and see which subject line gets the most opens, engagements, and responses.

Implement a Sales Engagement Platform

Sales engagement platforms (SAPs) like Outreach and SalesLoft are used for B2B sales and prospecting emails. These platforms are used by SDRs and sales teams to send automated emails to leads in their sales or marketing funnel. These platforms are ideal for sending short-form, plain text emails with few or no links and images.


Ways to Measure Email Performance

These are some of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) to track for your email campaigns:

  • Clickthrough rate (CTR): This represents the number of people who click links in your email to get to your intended destination (usually your website).
  • Open rate: Open rate refers to the percentage of people who opened your email after receiving it.
  • Unsubscribe rate: An unsubscribe rate tells you how many people unsubscribed from your list in a given period.
  • Bounce rate: Bounce rate refers to the number of emails that never reached their destination, often due to being flagged as spam by automated software.
  • Delivered rate: The delivered rate refers to the number of emails that reached their destination.
  • Reply rate: Reply rate measures the number of people who responded to your emails.


Key Takeaways

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies available due to its inexpensiveness, versatility, and scalability. You can use it for both outbound and inbound marketing and segment it to serve multiple audiences simultaneously. But to be effective, it’s important to be strategic and thoughtful; mastering best practices is a good start, but it takes ongoing experimentation and a thorough understanding of your audience to reap the best results.

Email marketing is a huge topic and one that we could only briefly go over in the context of this guide. If you’re looking to learn more about email marketing, develop better email marketing guidelines, or get started with email marketing, Sapper Consulting can help.

When you’re ready to maximize the impact of your outbound email marketing campaigns, contact the sales reps at Sapper!

Share this with a friend:

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

About The Author

About Sapper Consulting

Sapper's sales prospecting team becomes a natural extension of your existing sales efforts, helping you find new leads that are a great fit for your business.

Looking For More?

We publish some of the industry's best guidebooks on lead generation with real, proven strategies to grow business. 

Skip to content