Email Marketing 101 – The basics

Reading Time: 3 minutes

So you’re new to the world of email marketing and you’re looking to start driving interest in your offerings. Email can be one of the most successful methods of contacting audiences available to a small business or start up and should never be ignored.

There are three main considerations when you begin email marketing and we aim to set out the basics.

1.       Audience

To begin with you’ll need an audience. In the most simple of examples the email addresses of your prospects will suffice. However the more information you have about a prospect, such as; name, postal address and details the more opportunities you will have to personalise the email contents.

These records will need to be collected onto a list (typically a spread sheet) and grouped up according to your own needs. This data will form the basis of your campaigns and you need to segment your data whenever possible.

This can be done via:

  • Geographic – Where are your audience based? A local cafĂ©’s offering will only be relevant to people in a tight geographic area.
  • Behavioural – Does your audience have certain behaviours in common? E.g. do they like music or go to the gym?
  • Demographic – E.g. are your target audience all male and aged 18-24?

Once you’ve segmented your data you can ensure emails you send are as relevant to the recipients’ needs as possible whilst removing anything unnecessary.

2.       Email platform

Next you’ll need a way of distributing emails. As it’s likely to be your first foray into this type of marketing, a free platform will be a good idea. A solid option is MailChimp however there are plenty of alternatives out there, such as GetResponse, AWeber, iContact, Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact.

In short the right platforms will allow you to:

  • Upload your data.
  • Create an email to your requirements.
  • Send the email out to multiple lists.
  • Track the overall performance of emails.
  • Evolve with your requirements.

Creating the right email will be down to you matching your offerings to the requirements of your target audience. A follow up article will explain in more detail how to create a great email. However for now just make sure your emails contain the key information relevant to your audience’s needs in a clear manner with an easy call to action.

3.       Metrics

Lastly you’ll need to track how the emails you send are performing. Knowing what works will then allow you to have a base on which to improve performance. MailChimp as with other platforms will provide you with more information than you’ll need at the beginning. However the key statistics you should look for are:

  • Open rates – This tells you how many times your email was opened and how successful it has been.
  • Unique opens – Relates to how many unique individuals have opened your email
  • Clicks – This is how many times your audience has engaged with the content in your email.
  • Shares – This represents how many times your email has been shared via social media.
  • Bounce rate – This figure shows you how many emails you sent couldn’t be delivered.
  • Unsubscribes – Your unsubscribe figure relates to how many people take themselves off your mailing lists.

In the end…                       

Make sure you segment your audience to the best of your abilities. Send them relevant content and measure your activities. This will ensure your campaigns are effective as possible. Once you’ve found out what works, build on it and repeat it. But don’t be afraid to try new things!

Alex Sorisi is a Marketing Executive at Jelf Small Business and an avid supporter for all topics relating to start-ups and small business.

 Jelf Small Business offers a refreshing approach to arranging small business insurance, comparing leading insurers and giving you all the tools and information you need to find the right product at the right price. Find out more at, or follow that latest news and views on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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