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What are the Basics of Email Marketing? [6 Main Concepts]

What are the Basics of Email Marketing?

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basics of email marketing

Did you know that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42? Yes, you read that right – $42 dollars in exchange for $1. In this post, we’re going to discuss why email marketing is so important, the 6 main concepts, and how you can design your email.

After reading this article, I suggest you head over to an additional post about email marketing tips & tricks. This post will help you make your emails more enticing and will teach you the proper ‘mechanics’ of writing them.

Also, I’m running under the assumption that you’ve already picked out the email marketing software you’ll be using.

Why is it important?

If you’re reading this post you likely already know the benefits of email marketing for your business. If not, here are a few great reasons why you should use email in your marketing strategy.

Build loyalty

As we know, improving brand loyalty is important for your overall business strategy. By building brand loyalty you create lifelong customers who are much more willing to engage, converse, and provide feedback when you ask for it. Building loyalty is important for increasing sales, increasing company growth, and building a positive reputation.

Promote sales and offers

“Consumers spend 138% more as a result of email marketing, when compared to consumers who don’t receive email offers.”

Campaign Monitor

If you’ve subscribed to any newsletters – you probably have a good idea of how they use them to promote their sales and offers.

You’ll typically find that in each email they’re purposely presenting you with only one main CTA, or call to action. Usually, it’s for you to purchase a product, helping you to understand their product, or offering coupons for a sale they have going on.

When done correctly, a well-written email won’t come off as spammy and will not feel like a marketing email. In fact, you may not even notice they’re trying to sell you something, it seems as if they’re just providing information.

Gather feedback and reviews

A great way to gather feedback and reviews for your products and services is to simply ask. Instead of uploading a poll to Twitter, you can send personalized emails with the intent of gathering feedback. This way you can reach the customers who matter and improve your business while doing so.

Promote your latest content

More than likely your customers care about your business – especially if they’ve purchased something from you. They would appreciate getting sent valuable content that will make their life easier, better, or overall more exciting.

A great thing about promoting your content is that they get to know the brand and are more likely to make a future purchase.

Email Marketing for Small Businesses

Whether you’re just starting your eCommerce site or you’re a seasoned veteran of small businesses, your email marketing strategy will play a key role in the success of your business.

Before you begin creating your strategy, it’s important to keep in mind your target & market audience.

For example, my current opt-in form is catered more toward men, but my audience is comprised of more women. What does this tell us? I should update my opt-in to look more ‘female friendly’. Essentially, use lighter colors and more attractive fonts. Appeal to what the majority of women like (a balanced life) instead of what the majority of men want (more money & more recognition).

Ultimately the specifics of your marketing will be heavily based on your audience.

The 6 Main Concepts

When you first start email marketing there are 6 main concepts to kickstart your marketing into gear.

How’s your traffic looking

When first starting your business, it’s important to remember that first having an audience and some traffic is more important than your email. If no one is coming to your website, how will anyone be able to subscribe to your newsletter?

I’m not saying you should completely neglect your email marketing, but you don’t need to create any complex automations or spend a lot of time making your lead magnet look perfect.

Some people are surprised to find that it takes them a few months to even a year to start having consistent traffic.

Lead magnets

Have you ever been on a blog page and noticed they were offering something that seemed valuable and worthwhile to you? Maybe a free financial spreadsheet or a free trial to try their app.

The product that they give you is called a ‘lead magnet’. This is a piece of content that’s considered worthwhile and valuable to your customer. Before you can begin collecting emails, you should create one using Canva, or a similar graphic design tool.

Opt-in forms

Opt-in forms are the actual forms that show up on your website to try and entice your customers to give you their email for the lead magnet you’ve created.

This is an example:

Segment your subscribers

When first starting an email list it’s important to decide if you need to segment your subscribers. Segmenting your subscribers is useful if you have more than one type of audience. Like a blog that offers services.

You may find that your blog audience is interested in your programming tutorials but your other audience is interested in actually buying a website from you.

If you aren’t offering any services or having multiple types of audiences on your blog you can skip this step altogether.

Email automation

Email automation is useful so you don’t have to send emails to your subscribers as soon as they subscribe – especially if you’ve promised them a lead magnet. It’s the 21st century – no one likes to wait!

Email automation is used to send out your first lead magnet and a particular number of consecutive emails – usually spread throughout the week. The series of consecutive emails to encourage your customer to buy is known as an email campaign. This helps you to stay on track and never forget to send an email to someone who has subscribed to your service.

More than likely your email subscription service will allow you to create an automation for free, but some softwares do require that you pay before they’ll allow you to use their automation services.

Don’t be a perfectionist

One of the most important tips I could give you is to not be a perfectionist. You’ll likely find that you’ll end up changing your email strategy as time goes on and you’ve built a bigger audience. It’s still important that your opt-ins and lead magnets are good – but don’t worry too much about the rest when starting out.

How to design an email

Believe it or not, there is an art to designing your emails. It’s actually mostly a series of rules to follow rather than actual designing (thank goodness for that).

But to make the most out of your email I suggest you check out my post about email marketing tips & tricks. This post will help you make your emails more enticing and will teach you the proper ‘mechanics’ of writing them.

Essentially, you want to personalize your emails, use 50 to 150 words, make it easy to unsubscribe, use emotions for higher engagement, and use cliffhangers.

If you made it to the end of the post – congrats! You’ve learned the basics of email marketing. Now it’s time to apply the information you’ve learned.

11 Email Marketing Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses

Email Marketing Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses

If you’re looking for someone to help build your site and complete your busywork, then do feel free to get in touch. I’m a virtual administrative assistant that would love to help grow your business with you. 💜 Get in touch here.

Email Marketing Tips

As a small business, you already know that your email list is one of the most important tools for your business. Despite email being one of the oldest forms of marketing, it is still a key ingredient used for sales and disseminating your content.

In this post, I go over 11 ‘pro’ tips you can use to increase sales, improve retention, and build a community of like-minded individuals in your inbox.

Personalize your emails

One of the easiest and simplest ways to increase retention and the CTR of your emails is by using personalization.

Now, before you slump your shoulders and assume that I mean writing hundreds of emails – which let’s be honest, no one has time for… you can use a variety of things to automate the process.

To personalize your email list you can segment your email lists, use their name in the email, send automated emails based on behavior, provide value and information based on the services/items they’ve purchased, and link to relevant information personalized for them.

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to personalize emails, you just need to know where to start.

If you’re new to email marketing I suggest you first start with gathering names through opt-ins to use in your first email sequence.

If you’re not so new to email marketing, you could start to segment your subscribers – although a word of caution – this may mean double the emails that need to be written.

Use power words

Power words are one of the unspoken rules that almost every marketer uses, even if they’re completely unaware of it.

Power words are simply words you use in your titles/CTAs to trigger a psychological or emotional response – which then compels the customer to act, buy, or just click in general.

The types of words used will differ based on what emotion you’re trying to evoke from them. Whether that be trust, understanding, happiness, excitement, or anger – all of these strong emotions will build your brand awareness and help your customers to click.

There are hundreds of power words that you could use so no need to worry about running out! As time goes on you’ll find using power words in your titles/CTAs will feel natural and will be automatic. So it’s definitely worth spending a few minutes to figure out.

No power words title:

10 Ways to be More Frugal in 2023

Title with power words:

10 Ridiculously Easy Ways You Can Save Money in 2023

It’s also important to note that I made the second title more personalized to the person clicking through by using ‘You Can’ instead of to.

Keep it brief

When I first started diving into the differences between good email marketing and great email marketing, one thing became very clear – email length.

According to Hubspot Blog, the ideal length of a sales email should only be <200 words long. If you want to make sales, increase retention, and encourage more responses, make sure that your emails aren’t too long or too short.

Some other helpful tips regarding email length and content:

  • 50 to 125 words are best for responses
  • Try not to make your emails too short
  • Make your email easily understandable (avoid words like presumptuous, precursor, or tantalizing) you get the gist
  • Don’t have an obnoxiously long subject line
  • Make the CTA or what you want them to do very clear in the email

There are instances where you may find that all of these things may not be realistic for you. The best thing you can do is to follow the guidelines and continually test out new things. You may find that longer emails and more advanced language resonate with your specific audience.

Just keep in mind that most people don’t want to be reading a 5000-word email.

Be mobile-friendly

We may consider this to be one of the basics, but it’s still important.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in an instance where you need to be scrolling both vertically and horizontally – it’s really annoying.

Even if your company is solely a B2B, you should still strive to make your emails mobile-friendly. As a virtual assistant, I still check emails on the phone and cringe internally whenever I see a poorly formatted email.

Depending on your email marketing software, you’ll have different options for making your email mobile-friendly, but here are a few guidelines you should follow.

  • Stated above, keep your subject lines short & sweet
  • Use preheader text if possible
  • Make sure CTAs and other email elements will shrink as needed (Tip: if you’re a programmer/dev, you may find that using %’s instead of px is better for a lot of elements – and it makes programming that much faster)
  • Send test emails to yourself to look at on your phone & tablet

Send your emails at optimized times

While looking through many other blog posts and statistics it was a bit unsettling to find a lot of blog posts contradicting themselves or statistics not aligning with one another.

Although I can say there was a slight pattern,

  • 6am-11am
  • 2pm-4pm
  • 8pm-12pm

It’s best to use your own discernment and test these times yourself. It can be hard to place an exact time on when you should send out emails because your audience may prefer a different time.

But do make sure to track the best time to send out emails. A poorly timed email can be the difference between no engagement and full engagement.

Make it easy to unsubscribe & clean your email list regularly

A lot of people think that if they make the unsubscribe button hard to find (they may even attempt to hide it) – that their subscribers will just keep their content and think twice before unsubscribing.

Even if you believe that you can reel them in with catchy content and a lot of value, more than likely if they’re wanting to unsubscribe, they aren’t interested in anything you have to offer.

The problem with hiding and making unsubscribing difficult is that people will just choose to mark you as spam or outright block you – which ends up telling Google that you’re an untrustworthy source. Do you know what happens when google marks you as spam? Not only does google start to automatically send every email to all of your subscribers straight to spam, but you also lose rankings on Google, especially if you’re using your emails linked to your domain.

It’s important that you also regularly clean out your subscriber list to avoid people blocking or marking your emails as spam instead of unsubscribing. This will also help you to save money as you’re not paying to store and send things to thousands of unresponsive emails.

How and why you will delete these subscribers will be up to you and your email software.

Use A/B testing

A/B Testing 
First picture: 15% lower click-through but 2% more sales.
Second picture: 15% higher click-through but 2% less purchases

A/B testing, also known as split testing, refers to a randomized experimentation process wherein two or more versions of a variable (web page, page element, etc.) are shown to different segments of website visitors at the same time to determine which version leaves the maximum impact and drive business metrics.”


If you’re new to email marketing, this section may be a little too advanced for you. But if you’re eager to improve conversion rates, keep reading!

If you’re finding that your newsletters and emails tend to be either hit or miss, you should try using A/B testing. A/B testing is exactly how it sounds. Essentially, you send one version to 50% of your subscribers, and the other version to the other 50% of your subscribers. Between these two versions, you should only change one single element.

You also don’t need to change anything too complicated, it can simply be the color scheme you’re using.

If you change too many elements, you may find that you’re unsure which element contributed to the higher engagement / reduced bounce rates or etc.

Using A/B testing can help you to:

  • Understand your audience better
  • Improve ROI
  • Increase engagement
  • Decrease bounce rate
  • Increase sales
  • Improve brand awareness
  • and etc

A/B testing is so popular because it can help save and make you money, and is both easy and effective. Keep in mind that you should have a good sized audience before using it otherwise you may receive skewed or inconclusive results.

Use emotion & storytelling for higher engagement

Good email marketers provide value but great email marketers provide value and provide it well.

At this point, it’s not much of a debate whether or not using storytelling and emotions help your business. In fact, when I was doing a deep dive into the interwebs for additional information on storytelling, I found that you could increase your brand awareness and product value by 20x! If that doesn’t tell you how much you should be using storytelling, I don’t know what will.

Using emotions in your emails is very similar to why you should use power words (talked about above). By eliciting emotional and psychological responses in your customers, you help them to make a decision to purchase, click, or continue down your marketing funnel.

How much more likely are you to click on an offensive news story that caught your attention than a vanilla article about office plants?

Use cliffhangers to get them excited for their next email

When thinking about the best ways to keep our customers on the email we just sent, we sometimes forget to encourage them to read our next emails.

The way you can do this is by giving them cliffhangers or by offering something of value in the next email. It doesn’t have to be anything time-consuming or complicated – you could simply tell them that you’ll be discussing the “#1 thing that helped you succeed in your business’” or along those lines.

Just make sure that you don’t overhype the content too much otherwise you’ll leave a sour taste in their mouth when you under-provide.

Make them excited to receive your next email!

Keep the design simple and professional

By keeping your email designs simple and professional, you are eliciting an air of trustworthiness and responsibility. Unless your specific niche is in something unique, colorful, and a bit eccentric, you should be careful with how complex you make your emails.

Most individuals enjoy an easy-to-read and to-the-point email. If your customers feel confused with what you’re trying to offer and they don’t know what value you’re providing them with – they’ll click off and unsubscribe.

Don’t be confused – I’m not saying you should never use colors, pictures, or unique elements! I am saying you need to make sure that your email flows and is able to keep their attention without causing any confusion.

If you’re a web designer you probably understand the importance of UI and UX in your designs. Always keep the experience engaging and the interface straightforward. This is exactly what you need to be doing with your email designs!


Thankfully all of these things are easily implemented into your email strategy. If you aren’t sure where to start, bookmark this page and slowly work your way down the list.

Books to Skyrocket Your Productivity

13 Highly-Rated Books to Skyrocket Your Productivity

13 Highly-Rated Books to Skyrocket Your Productivity

If you’re looking for someone to help build your site and complete your busywork, then do feel free to get in touch. I’m a virtual administrative assistant that would love to help grow your business with you. 💜 Get in touch here.

Books to Skyrocket Your Productivity

If you’re looking to skyrocket your productivity and time management skills, I suggest you take the time to look through each of these books.

Whether you’re a businesswoman, a mommy procrastinator, or a college screw-up – I guarantee there’s a book for you on this list.

At the bottom of the page, I give a short summary of the three most highly rated books from Amazon if you’re short on time!

From time to time, my blog posts and pages may contain affiliate links, which means I may get compensated/earn a commission at no extra cost to you if the affiliate links are utilized to make a purchase. To learn more, click the link below to view my affiliate disclosure.

Affiliate Disclosure

1. The Power of Habit

4.5 Stars
17,998 Ratings

For the person who struggles with bad habits…

The Power of Habit discusses how you can change your habits – for good. Not only does it teach you to fix your habit, but it also discusses how you can continue the new habit and avoid reverting back to old ways.

Another strong thing that is touched on in this book is our individual willpower. He believes that it can be taught and even strengthened.

This book is a great read if you’re looking for something educational yet entertaining, and still able to apply it to your life – to achieve your goals!

Book Quote:
“If you believe you can change – if you make it a habit – the change becomes real.”

2. The Procrastination Cure

4.5 Stars
928 Ratings

For the procrastinator…

The Procrastination Cure is a great book if you’re someone who tends to put things off until ‘later‘.

In it, he goes into detail about the underlying causes of procrastination before teaching you how you can break the cycle.

This book is perfect for you if you always seem to be putting things off, and are needing an explanation as to ‘why‘ so you can fix it. It’s also great for you if you don’t know how you can solve your procrastination.

Book Quote:
“The biggest challenge in working on a task you consider to be boring, difficult, or unappealing, is starting on it. But a strange thing happens once you start: the anxiety and dread associated with it rapidly declines.”

3. Stories that Stick

4.5 Stars
1,419 Ratings

For the business owner who needs a change…

Stores that Stick goes into detail about how you can take your business to the next level using her 4 unique storytelling strategies.

  • The Value Story
  • The Founder Story
  • The Purpose Story
  • The Customer Story

In it, she also teaches how you can tell these stories in your business and captivate your audience to buy like never before.

Book Quote:
People don’t buy the thing. They buy what the thing will do for them.

4. The Lazy Genius Way

5 Stars
2,595 Ratings

For the perfectionist mommy…

Are you actually being productive – or are you just wasting your life and others’ time with your incessant need to control everything?

This book provides practical content to encourage you to stay on your toes and to live your life the way you want to. These genius strategies can be the start to something great in your life!

Book Quote:
“Our culture is obsessed with being real, but we’ve been using the wrong measuring stick.”

5. Built to Sell

4.5 Stars
1,110 Ratings

For the business owner with big life plans…

Did you ever consider that you may, in fact, sell your company one day?

Built to sell talks about how you can build up your brand and company – without it relying too heavily on you. He also talks about the specific steps you can take to build a valuable and sellable company.

Book Quote:
“Don’t be afraid to say no to projects. Prove that you’re serious about specialization by turning down work that falls outside your area of expertise. The more people you say no to, the more referrals you’ll get to people who need your product or service.”

6. Eat That Frog!

4.5 Stars
3,716 Ratings

Those of you who procrastinate the hard stuff…

Eat your Frog really emphasizes the fact that you need to spend your time getting your most important tasks of the day finished – first.

If you’re someone who struggles with procrastination and time management, I suggest you read this book.

Book Quote:
The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status, and happiness in life.

7. Atomic Habits

5 Stars
56,010 Ratings

Good for the person wanting to make life-changing habits daily…

This is by far the most popular book on this list – and for a good reason too.

Atomic Habits teaches you how to change the system that’s causing your bad habits. This book relies on scientific studies and proven ideas to improve your habits through daily and consistent habits.

Book Quote:
The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity. It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.

8. The Psychology of Procrastination

4.5 Stars
78 Ratings

Good for the person wanting to make life-changing habits daily…

The psychology of procrastination explains the reasons why we procrastinate and gives a realistic view of how you can achieve real productivity.

This book also takes a deep dive into examining your core issues such as low-self esteem, depression, and etc. It also goes step-by-step to work through your procrastination and your time management problems.

9. Manage Your Day-to-Day

4.5 Stars
2,980 Ratings

A must-read for creative entrepreneurs…

If you’re someone who works at a constant and fast pace all day, this book is for you.

Manage Your Day-to-Day navigates tough topics such as information overload and offers practical insights and advice for tackling the busy workplace.

Book Quote:
“The strategy is to have a practice, and what it means to have a practice is to regularly and reliably do the work in a habitual way.”

10. Winning the War in Your Mind

5 Stars
5,811 Ratings

For the person who needs a mental reset…

If you’re someone who found themself stuck in their negative thought pattern and dealing with an out-of-control life, I suggest you pick up this book.

Winning the War in Your Mind teaches you how you can take control of your life and break free from destructive thinking. It talks about rewiring your brain and how you can use prayer and praise to transform your mind.

Book Quote:
“Our lives are always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts. Who you are today is a result of your thoughts in the past. Who you become in the future will reflect what you think about today. It’s time to change your thinking so God can change your life.”

11. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management

4.5 Stars
1,095 Ratings

For the person who needs a refresher on time management skills…

This book is a perfect overall refresher and ultimate time-management tool that everyone should look into.

This book goes through ideas such as why millionaires don’t use to-do lists, how you can identify your real priorities, and how you can leave work on time without feeling guilty.

Book Quote:
“Actually, highly successful people don’t think about time much at all. Instead, they think about values, priorities, and consistent habits.”

12. The Productivity Project

4.5 Stars
613 Ratings

For the beginner…

When I personally started my productivity journey, this is one of the first books I read. This is why I believe it’s a great read for anyone at the start of their productivity journey.

In it, he discusses the most basic productivity rules like eliminating unimportant tasks, the rule of three, and working more deliberately.

The great thing about this book is that he also provides practice exercises so you can ensure that you’re applying what you’re learning.

Book Quote:
“Procrastination gets in the way of accomplishing more since it is, in its simplest form, a gap between your intention and action.”

13. The 12 Week Year

4.5 Stars
3,532 Ratings

For the person looking to improve their productivity mindset…

The 12 Week Year is a great resource for setting up your own productivity system. It encourages you to spend your time more wisely and to improve your execution effectiveness.

Book Quote:
“The secret to living your life to its potential is to value the important stuff above your own comfort. Therefore, the critical first step to executing well is creating and maintaining a compelling vision of the future that you want even more than you desire your won short-term comfort, and then aligning your shorter term goals and plans, whit that long-term vision.”

Highest Rated and Most Popular

56,010 Ratings

5 Stars

Book Quote:
The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity. It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.

5,811 Ratings

5 Stars

Book Quote:
“If you think you can’t do something, you probably won’t. If, on the other hand, you think you can, odds are you will. The same is true with your problems. If you dwell on them, they will overwhelm you. But if you look for solutions, you will find some.”

2,595 Ratings

5 Stars

Book Quote:
“Our culture is obsessed with being real, but we’ve been using the wrong measuring stick.”