Email Marketing Fundamentals: Where to Start

Written by Phil Birss: Group CEO.
· 4 minute read

Email marketing can be somewhat of an afterthought for many businesses. Sending a blanket email out to your entire mailing list won’t cut it, and so many opportunities are missed when there is no real email marketing strategy in place.

The problem is that a lot of businesses don’t know where to start. Being presented with a list of thousands of email addresses can be overwhelming, and the temptation to send everyone the same message is understandable, but we’re here to give a few pointers in terms of what you can do to make your email marketing a success from the start.


“personalized emails deliver 6X higher transaction rates, yet 70% of brands fail to use them”

Step one should always be segmenting your list. Presuming your email list is comprised of existing customers, there’s always a way to segment them into smaller groups with similar characteristics.

A basic example would be a fashion ecommerce site splitting their list into male and female, but it can go much further than demographics. Consider the following…

  • SECTORS: For example an accountancy firm segmenting their list into common industry sectors – legal, financial, digital etc.
  • LOCATION: Businesses operating in different locations can split their list geographically in order to inform of future news / offers / openings in that area.
  • PURCHASE HISTORY: You can get a good idea of what a person is interested in based on what they’ve bought in the past. Segment by product type or you want to be really clever, consider whether the product they bought is likely to run out – this can influence repurchase emails.
  • JOB TITLE: B2B business are likely to hold email addresses from a huge range of job titles – the CEO, IT Technician and Office Manager are all likely to respond to different types of content / messaging.

Most email marketing software providers have inbuilt tools to help with list segmentation, so it’s worth investing that extra bit of time to get this set up from the start. You can then enjoy sending out more personal, relevant emails and see engagement rates increase dramatically.

Here’s a great article from MailChimp that emphasises just show successful list segmentation is through real data.


There’s no point investing in email marketing campaign if you can’t measure its success. That’s why it’s so important to make sure the correct tracking is set up from the start.

Make sure your emails are integrated with Google analytics – this tends to be a simple set up within your software, but you might have to generate tracking links with unique parameters depending on your marketing platform of choice.

The likes of MailChimp will give you metrics like open rate and click through rate as a standard. These are important to monitor as they will give you a snapshot of how successful your emails were in terms of subject lines and content.

If you have successfully integrated your email marketing with analytics, you’ll then be able to see if they are making any different to your bottom line. Have they resulted in any conversions? Is the traffic engaging with your website?

Take time properly analyse your data – you can use it to your advantage and make informed decisions for future email campaigns.


Email marketing software is advanced these days, and it makes A/B testing your campaigns extremely easy.

Take Mailchimp as an example; it allows you to test the following:

  • SUBJECT LINES: In many respects the most important decision when creating your email campaign. It’s the first thing the recipient sees and most of the time, will determine whether or not they even open your email. Try out a few different subject lines – long vs. short, statements vs. questions, factual vs. ambiguous etc. You’ll probably find that these vary per segment, and you’ll really start to learn more about your different audiences and how to hook them in.
  • FROM NAME: Another important factor in whether or not the recipient will open your email is who it’s from. Are people more likely to open if it’s come from a person as opposed to a business? Try testing a few different options and you’ll soon see what works best.
  • CONTENT: This refers to the actual content in your email, and allows you to be creative in terms of how you display your message. Does more imagery work? A certain layout? Video? Certain Headlines? The testing possibilities are endless and you can always be learning more about your segments by trying out different email styles.
  • SEND TIMES: The time a recipient receives an email can affect whether they a) open it, b) interact with it. Catch people at the wrong time of the day and you many have lost their custom. Try morning vs. lunch time vs. evening and see when your audiences are most active.

Above are just a few things you can do to get take your email marketing to the next level. Create more personalised content, test different variations, analyse your data and you’ll be on the right track to successful, profitable campaigns.

We can help you create a tailored email marketing strategy to suit your business. If you’d like to chat about what we can do for you, just give us a call.