What is Email Marketing?

Email Marketing

We all receive frequent emails from different companies with the purpose of promoting their products or services, but really what are these emails? And why we receive them? How does the company’s selection work? This is called email marketing, and it has various ways, tips, tricks and processes before and after they sent an email to their targeted group. This article will answer all the questions about what is email marketing and how it works? How it differs from social media marketing and more…

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is one of the most important strategies in digital marketing because it is a mean of communication between the company which could be startups or enterprises and the customers, could be existing or potential customers.

However, it is one of the most underrated methods due to the rumors about the emails are dying and the rise of social media. However, the popularity of the social media applications and platforms can change dramatically over time, but email is consistent due to the reason that it is SMTP web protocol and the difference is that all the social media platforms are using web protocols (DNS, HTTP, FTP…etc.) to operate, unlike email since it is a web protocol by itself. It is very important to note that not everyone has an account on the most popular social media platforms, but everyone has an email, thus using email can be more efficient and can reach a higher number of audiences because of its accessibility and portability.


How email marketing works?

Email marketing work through sending informative, simple and attractive messages as a broadcast to achieve commercial purposes. These messages can be either texts, images or videos.

Email marketing is not as simple and easy as it seems. It is very different than simply writing an email and sending it to a specific target group. It has different steps and stages to ensure an effective way to build a relationship with the customers by guiding them through each step of their journey and convert them from potential to loyal customers.

Emails can be categorized into three main types;

  • The transactional email which is the email that is sent whenever a customer took action and has to receive an update such as receipts, forgot the password, unsubscribing…etc.
  • Content emails are the emails that are related to the newsletter, social posts or any type of new content created by the company.
  • The third type is conversion email and it is related to any kind of email that is related to the conversion of money from hand to hand such as sales, discounts or affiliate offers.

These emails can be sent through two distribution methods, they either will be automated or broadcasted. The majority of the emails should be automated to ensure smooth flow, effectiveness, and efficiency since they are emails that generally require an action from the customer and it would be a lot easier, faster and more efficient to distribute these types of emails automatically. On the other hand, the broadcasted emails are the ones that contain generic content that can be distributed to the entire list. For example, seasonal discounts such as Christmas, spring, winter discounts or can be targeted to a specific target group that the email may attract their interests such as special discounts for loyal customers.

Email marketing works through different dependent stages:

  1. The first stage is to search for a service provider who provides a personalized way of sending emails to targeted audiences and they keep the emails organized. Few of the best email service providers are, SendGrid, Mailchimp and Active Campaign. After choosing the best email service provider for the company.
  2. The second stage is that an account has to be made then creating a list. This list is a general list that contains all customers, the existent and the potential ones. Then later this list will need to be segmented based on the customer’s actions and behavior patterns. An easy and informative name should be given to the list or the segments for the receiver to recognize the sender easily.
  3. The third stage is to set automated responses which are the emails that go directly and immediately to the customers based on their actions. As discussed earlier, setting effective auto-responses can lead to effective and efficient workflow.
  4. The fourth stage is to start generating a list, which can be possible through the sign-up form on the website.
  5. The last stage is to start broadcasting emails and this stage is crucial because it is very well known that depending only on autoresponders is very unlikely to lead to successful email marketing.


Some challenges that email marketers face are the delivery rate which occurs when an email does not reach the one or multiple customers which can be called bounced emails.

There are two types of bounced email;

  • The soft bounce is when the email temporarily does not reach a customer due to his inbox being full
  • The hard-bounce occur when trying to send an email to a none existing email address.

A high delivery rate indicates that the majority of the sent emails have been received by the customers. It is also very important to have a high open ratio and low unsubscribe rate. The open ratio indicates the number of emails opened compared to the number of emails sent. This step can be tricky since it is something that the sender does not have control of. However, writing interesting headlines and simple and informative content can be factors of attraction for the customers. Unsubscribe rate is the number of customers unsubscribe due to boring content or receiving an unpleasant amount of emails. A low unsubscribe rate can be achieved through increasing the quality of the content and sending emails when it is crucial too. In other terms, sending emails to the right set of customers at the right time instead of sending generic emails to everyone on the list constantly.


Some factors that affect the success of email marketing:

  • The length of the email is very important because the customers tend to not pay much attention to the lengthy texts, unlike short, summarized, and informative emails that attract more customers to open and read the emails.
  • The content of the email plays a significant role in achieving high open ratio and subscription rates because of high-quality images, videos and text can convince more customers.
  • Some experts do not use any types of images or videos. They only use simple and plain texts, so when the customers receive an email the environment will be as a human is contacting that customer rather than just a simple automated email, they would not feel that the purpose of the email is just to sell or advertise a product.
  • Creating segments and sending emails to these segments based on their interests and activities can increase engagement tremendously. Sending generic emails to the whole audience group may cause a low open ratio and even get reported for scam in some cases. The audiences can be interested in the emails that they feel are specified to them.
  • It is important to contain mobile-friendly emails as well because the customers can open their emails during the lunch break at work or in the transportation while going to work or going back home and in these cases, they will be using their mobile phone. That’s the reason the emails should contain mobile-friendly content such as links, contact numbers, apps…etc.

To conclude, email marketing is an essential tool for every company’s marketing methods. It is an easy, fast and efficient way to build a relationship with the existing and potential customers. One of the most important factors of email marketing is its accessibility since everyone has an email, but not all the people have accounts on all the social media platforms. Moreover, in order for the marketing campaign to work, the marketer needs to have a good service provider and very good segments in order to have the highest conversion rate possible through smart and informative emails.