- Digital Marketing
- Email / SMS Marketing
Email marketing can be used for branding, engagement, acquisition, retention, direct sales, reactivation, generating traffic, and getting referrals, making it one of the most versatile tools any business can use to grow their business.
But it’s important to understand why we use email marketing. Interestingly, it’s not for profit or growth.
The outcome of strategic email marketing is indeed profit and growth, but the purpose of email marketing is to move your customers from one stage of the "value journey" to the next.
The goal of email is to assist and expedite a customer’s movement from one stage of the value journey to the next.
Email marketing is more than broadcasting an email every time you publish a new blog post. And it’s more than sending email alerts when you have a promotion or sale.
To master email marketing, you need to understand the types of emails you’ll use, their timing, and the different campaigns you’ll use to connect with your subscribers.
The Types of Emails You’ll Use in Email Marketing
There are three types of emails that you’ll rely on as an email marketer.
1. Transactional – to provide customer service.
2. Relational – to engage subscribers and nurture relationship with them.
3. Promotional – for generating sales.
Email Type #1: Transactional Emails
These are the emails that get sent out by your automated systems, confirming actions taken by your prospects and customers.
While most transactional emails are templates provided by the marketing systems we use, the average revenue per transactional email is 2x to 5x higher than standard bulk email.
Here are the 8 types of transactional emails you can use, along with some tips for raising their transactional value:
1. Order Confirmations
Order confirmation emails have a higher open rate than any other type of email. That makes sense if you think about it: the recipient has just given you money and wants to verify the details of their purchase.
Most brands don’t do anything to optimize this email for growth. But look at what Amazon does.
This email confirms the purchase, sets expectations, and finishes the transaction. The customer is excited about their purchase—which means it’s a great time to add an additional offer or ask for a referral.
2. Purchase Receipts
Receipt emails, like confirmation emails, have a high open rate, but they’re rarely leveraged for growth.
3. Shipping Notices
Another email that excites your customers is your shipping alert email, telling them their purchase has been shipped and when it will arrive.
4. Account Creation
This email goes out when you create an account for new purchases, providing customers their login information.
5. Return Confirmation
If you sell physical products and someone requests a return merchandise authorization (RMA), this is a fantastic time to make them an offer or give them a coupon. While they aren’t happy about the product they’re returning, they can get excited about your excellent customer service.
Your goal here is to re-engage customers, perhaps by offering a different product that would fit their needs better or by providing a coupon code.
For example, you might double the refund amount on another purchase. Or for a SaaS product, you could offer to provide whatever help is needed while lowering the price if they stay.
6. Support Tickets
As with Return Confirmation emails, support ticket follow-up emails give you an opportunity to add tons of value. If someone received great support, you can easily ask them to share their experience or extend their happiness by giving them a coupon.
7. Password Reminders
Most password reminder emails contain little more than a link
8. Unsubscribe Confirmations
This email is a standard automated email. But what if you could figure out an offer that would be appropriate for these emails? How much growth would that add to your business? How much more movement would you get through that customer journey?
This is the thinking you need to develop to win at email marketing.
You see, with email, you don’t have to make big changes to see big movement. Small tweaks can have very big effects.
Think about the emails you already send. As you’ve seen, a lot of them are system-generated, which means they contain nothing more than generic messages.
What could you do with these emails to move people through your customer journey?
What could you do to transform subscribers into referral partners, ambassadors, or promoters of your brand?
Email Type #2: Relational Emails
Companies that use email to nurture leads generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.
Here are 8 types of relational emails you can use to get these results for your own business—whether it’s digital or brick-and-mortar.
1. New Subscriber Welcome
This email should be sent immediately to every new contact. It introduces them to your brand and tells them what to expect, including the benefits of being on your list and the value you intend to provide.
Here’s an example that not only sets expectations but also adds value.
2. Gated Content Delivery
Gated content is valuable information that isn’t freely available online. To access the information, you must “pay” with either your email address or a social share. Typically, lead magnets and optin offers are free in exchange for the visitor’s email address.
This automated email delivers the content that was requested, successfully concluding that transaction. But as with transactional emails, there’s lots of room to creatively increase their value.
3. Newsletters/Blog Articles
Whenever you create content, you should use email to distribute it to your subscribers. These emails can be short and simple, introducing your topic and providing a link to access it.
4. Webinar/Event Confirmation
This type of email is both relational and transactional. You’ve asked someone to block off some time to put you into their schedule. They’ve made a commitment to you. You need to confirm that commitment.
That’s the transactional side of things. You need to send them a confirmation email that spells out the date and time of your webinar, plus any other pertinent information.
But you also want these emails to be relational—because people prioritize time they’ve set aside for their friends.
Here’s a good example from one of our webinars. Notice that we review the information that will be shared in the event, so attendees’ interest will stay high.
As with gated content, webinar or event confirmations give you the chance to prove that you can be trusted to deliver what you promise. If you develop a reputation for following through on free transactions, it’s easy to believe you’ll be trustworthy in paid transactions as well.
The next 4 types of relational email are used less often, but they can still help you engage with subscribers and move them through the customer journey. They are:
Surveys can help you learn more about your customers’ interests. It can also help you segment them so your offers will be precisely targeted to their needs.
6. Social Update
Update your followers on changes in your company or your product. This can help you build excitement as well as preparing them for what’s coming up.
7. Contest Announcement
Contests build excitement and attract new subscribers. Your current email subscribers should be the first to hear the news, though. After all, they’re probably your most avid fans.
8. Referral Request
After any positive interaction with your subscribers, it makes sense to ask for a referral. Think new purchase, resolution of a problem, or just a friendly email with a kind word.
Relational emails, regardless of why they’re being sent, should be "human" rather than scripted. And they should always provide value. Remember to spell out the next steps and encourage people to take those steps right away.
Email Type #3: Promotional Emails
According to the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a direct result of an email marketing message. Obviously, promotional emails are a powerful growth tool.
So let’s talk about the 8 types of promotional emails you should be sending, including examples from the DigitalMarketer archives.
1. Promotional Content
Promotional content is content that’s perceived as valuable to your audience while it generates sales for you. This type of content shouldn’t be overused, but balanced with relational content, it’s a good way to engage your subscribers.
You can see this dual purpose in action in the example below.
2. New Gated Content
Gated content aims to attract new subscribers, but existing subscribers are likely to want it as well. Why not send it to your email list to get them re-engaged and move them along the customer journey?
This example has the subject line, “[CHECKLIST] Get up to 20% better email deliverability,” which is sure to get noticed. Make sure your subject line is just as compelling.
3. A Sale Announcement
Sale announcements get more engagement than any other type of email. Clearly, if you want to make a bunch of sales, have a sale.
But you need to use a subject line that’s guaranteed to get noticed.
Like this one: [Flash Sale] 7 PROVEN Blog Post Templates (85% off)
4. New Product Release
Your goal as an email marketer is to take new subscribers all the way through the value journey, transforming them into promoters.
Because promoters are hyper-responsive and typically want everything you produce. That being the case, you should always be producing new products to support these "hyper-buyers."
Then, make sure they know about it by creating a series of announcement/promotion emails like this one, announcing DigitalMarketer’s all-new Content & Commerce event in 2016.
In the same way, use these last 4 types of promotional emails to let your subscribers and hyper-buyers know what you’re doing to solve their problems.
5. Webinar Announcements
6. Event Announcements
7. Trial Offers
8. Upgrade Offers