Email Marketing 101

Email has been a marketing staple for a long time, and with good reason. It’s an effective way for brands to connect and build relationships with consumers. Plus, it’s an inexpensive way to gets results. According to Business 2 Community, email marketing ROI averages around 4,400%. That is, for every $1 spent, the average return is $44. And email’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Per The Radicati Group, Inc., in 2023 there will be over 4 billion email users globally.

But if you’re new to email marketing, it could seem complex and overwhelming. Take a look at this starter guide to get familiar with the basics.

Getting Started

The first thing to think about when starting your campaign is which email marketing service (EMS) you want to use for your campaigns. With dozens of options to choose from – like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc – it can feel like a tough decision to make. But don’t worry, we’ve curated this How to Choose an Email Marketing Service guide to help. Some factors to consider while selecting your EMS are your monthly email marketing budget, email design via plug-and-play templates or customized coding, and depth of reporting data you will need.

List management

List management is critical to the success of your email marketing campaign because your subscribers are your greatest asset. Mismanaging them could result in lower key performance indicators (KPIs) a higher volume of unsubscribes and could even result in becoming blacklisted by major email clients. Along with maintaining the contacts you already have, it’s also important to ethically obtain all new contacts. Not only is this best practice, but it will keep you compliant with email marketing laws, such as the CAN-SPAM Act. This means never sending to a list of contacts unless each subscriber has opted in to receive your emails (and you can prove it). For more info, check out Are Your Emails Legal? 7 Dos and Don’ts.

Campaign Types

Depending on your goals there are three types of campaigns you can run:

  1. Standard campaigns are one-time e-blasts sent out to your subscriber list.
  2. Marketing automation is useful when you want an ordered sequence of events to be followed. For example, sending a series of educational emails to someone who completed a webform requesting more info. 
  3. A/B tests are performed when you want to see what content or layout performs the best out of multiple variations. For example, if you’d like to test two emails to see which had the higher open rate, you could run an A/B test that had two different subject lines.  


When launching an email campaign, day of the week, time of day and even time of year can have a huge impact on your campaign’s success. For the best results, keep the following days of the week and times in mind as you schedule the distribution of campaigns.

  • Best days to send an email: Tuesday, Thursday and Wednesday, in that order.
  • Best times to send an email: 6 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Additionally, EMS platforms often have optimized send functionality. That means based on performance metrics, your EMS can recommend the best send times for each list.


Do you know what your campaign objectives are? Sending an email campaign with no measurable goal is like driving a car with no destination. The top KPIs that all email marketers need to track are:

  • Open rate – How many subscribers opened the email you sent them
  • Click rate – Shows how many subscribers clicked on the links in your email campaign
  • Unsubscribes – While this might feel like a bad thing, it can actually be great for your campaign. This usually means that your list is becoming more refined and therefore engaged.
  • Bounce rate – Bounce rate, or the percentage of emails that weren’t delivered for temporary (e.g., out of office) or permanent reasons (e.g., email no longer exists), can also indicate the health of your subscriber list. To help decrease your bounce rate, try implementing a re-engagement campaign or ask all new subscribers to go through double opt-in.

While there are a lot of things to keep in mind while running an email campaign,  adhering to these fundamental principles can ensure you get the right message to your audiences at the right time.

Need help capturing email addresses, developing the content your audience wants to see or creating a custom look that matches your brand? We can help.

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