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How To Do Email Marketing

Use email marketing effectively to reach your customers directly and find new prospects.



  • Why Use Email Marketing?

  • Does It Work?

  • Building an Email List

  • Finding new subscribers

  • Reporting

  • Look Professional with Templates

  • Writing Better Emails

  • Finally...

  • Resources


Why Use Email Marketing?

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways of reaching your customers directly. It helps you connect with your audience to promote your brand, share information and increase sales.

Despite the rise in social media marketing and recent return to direct mail, email marketing still remains a valuable and manageable tool for business owners, and the good news is you don’t need a marketing team or big budget to run effective email marketing campaigns. Here’s a handy guide on making email marketing work for you.

Does It Work?

Yes! 2019 statistics* show that 59% of consumers prefer email marketing to any other channel of communication. Email marketing is also relatively inexpensive, and the pricing is transparent. If you use an email marketing platform, you can select the right pricing bundle for your needs. It’s easy – and instant – to track the effectiveness of your campaigns, so working out the Return on Investment (ROI) is simple.

And the good news is the ROI from email marketing is going up. In 2018 it stood at £32 for every pound spent, while in 2019 it was an encouraging £42 for every pound spent.

However, while email marketing is a highly cost-effective way of reaching your customers directly, competition for your customers’ attention is high. People receive more and more email all the time, so it can be difficult to stand out in busy inboxes.

That said, there are many touch points when it comes to email marketing, and every email you send puts your business name in front of your customer, even if they don’t open that particular message. Be consistent and give your email campaigns time. It takes an average of seven ‘impressions’ or opportunities to see your brand to build an association – so email is most effective when you combine it with other marketing channels such as website, social media, print, direct selling and advertising.

Building an Email List

Your email list or database will depend on your strategy. Are you looking to communicate with existing customers – perhaps to share offers, news and company updates? Or are you looking to get your brand in front of prospect customers not currently buying from you? Email strategies often encompass both – staying in touch with existing customers while trying to reach new, and there are some rules surrounding how you tackle each objective in order to be compliant with GDPR.

GDPR is a European law that came into force in May 2018 to protect our individual rights over who can access our personal data, what they do with it, and how they protect and manage it. Personal data includes any information that can identify an individual, so for email marketing purposes, we focus on contact details – and namely email addresses.

If you have an existing database of customers that are actively trading with you, can you still contact them with email marketing. This is called ‘legitimate interest’ as the information you send should be relevant, expected and of interest.

You can break this list down into segments of customers with common interests, job roles or buying power. That way, your emails can be tailored to reach the right customers, rather than sending everything to everyone. This helps keep your emails relevant to the recipient, which should mean more emails are opened and greater ROI.

It’s still good practise to give your customers the option to stop receiving marketing emails if they so wish by adding an ‘opt-out’ or ‘unsubscribe’ button at the footer of each email. Using an email marketing platform will help you automate this process and make sure you only email those that are still ‘opted-in’.

Finding New Subscribers

Building a list of prospect customers requires more effort. It’s no longer legal to collect email addresses and send unsolicited emails. People have to opt-in to receive your email marketing, and that means giving them lots of opportunities to subscribe.

1. Create a sign-up form on your website, giving prospects a clear place to subscribe to your newsletter, regular offers or latest news and service.

2. Use social media to tap into your network and share your signup form across all your social channels.

3. Use events to encourage new contacts or visitors to sign up. You can encourage them with offers and competitions but the best new additions to your list will be those who are interested in your business offering.

4. If you are buying data, ensure it’s from a reputable and GDPR-compliant specialist. Insight Data and Barbour ABI, for example, continually validate and update their marketing lists and encourage customers to use within a short timeframe to comply with GDPR.

The main action linking all three strategies is gaining permission. New subscribers should have opted-in to receive your email marketing, and you should have a way of proving this action.


Reporting gives you chance to learn about your customers. Which emails do they open? Offers, technical updates, company news? What are they clicking on? Website links, download buttons, ‘contact us’ emails?

Email reporting will help you understand which emails and which email types are more successful than others. And it will also help you begin building profiles of your customers and customer types, allowing you to segment them into shared interest groups so you can better tailor your content to them.

Reporting allows you to track everything, from open rates and bounce rates (which email addresses aren’t working), to click rates (which buttons have been clicked on) and share rates.

You can start to monitor patterns, such as on which days and times did more customers open your emails, to help you plan more successful campaigns. With all this feedback at your fingertips, you can continually tweak your content and timings to improve your results.

Look Professional with Templates

Be consistent and look professional. Two key pieces of advice when starting out with email marketing. Using an email marketing platform will give you access to template builders to make your emails engaging and easy to read. Based on your company identity or brand, it should be easy to recognise your company from the look and layout of your emails. If you have brand guidelines then apply to them to every email you send. If you don’t have clear brand guidelines, aim to keep your company logo in the same position, use the same fonts and colours, and be consistent in the way you speak to customers.

If you have a product that needs to be seen, include good quality images in your emails. Photos taken on a smartphone or digital camera are generally good enough to share. Perhaps you have attractive project photographs of your products in-situ? These can make great header images to add interest to your emails.

If you don’t have the right image for your content, make use of the many free image library websites, such as Pixabay. Adding images is often done in the same way you would upload an image to a social media post, so save your images on your computer or device and name them something easy to find.

Writing Better Emails

Clever copywriting can turn the dullest subject into a riveting read but generally your customers will want to know about new products and services that will help them; offers that could save them money, and technical or business updates that will affect them. None of these topics require the efforts of Shakespeare, but there are rules for keeping your copy easy to read and engaging.

Be clear and to the point. It’s tempting to pad-out email copy to fill space, but it’s much better to get to the point quickly and then provide all the facts and information a customer could want in a way that makes sense.

While you don’t have to be a great writer, you do you have to have top-notch spelling and use punctuation. If you’re better on the overall message than the detail (and the grammar), why not enlist someone in your company who likes to write and have them turn your bullet points into copy? It’s often easier to proof-read and edit copy that’s already written than starting with a blank sheet of paper, so spread the load of writing and get the benefit of an extra pair of eyes to proof-read your email content.


We hope this guide has helped demystify the art of email marketing and shown you that it’s an activity that support any business’ marketing efforts. Here are some handy resources to help you on your way:

Useful Resources:


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