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Email Marketing: 5 Steps from Beginner to Expert

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Email marketing is one of the most successful channels to reach customers directly and get them to buy from you. 

The data speaks for itself. Email brings an ROI of $44 for every single dollar that you spend, and every email you send generates real money. A consistent, good email marketing strategy can bring you a fortune.

However, there is something you need to know before starting. These are the five steps that will help you to understand email marketing and start implementing your own ideas.

Step 1. Explore email marketing opportunities for your business

Ecommerce data shows that 97% of visitors abandon online stores without buying anything. This is because newcomers do not trust the online store from the very first sight. As in every relationship, they need time to get to know each other better. 

To approach to your visitors, start collecting their email addresses. By having this data you will be able to:

  1. Identify them on the internet: use this for showing ads on Instagram, Facebook, Google ads, etc.
  2. Send them direct messages via email marketing: Black Friday discounts, Christmas sales, new collections, etc.
  3. Trigger automated emails about abandoned carts, and more highly effective automated messages. 

By doing all of this continuously, you will be able to get on top of your customers’ minds and stay there for a long time.

Step 2.  Choose list-building techniques that fit your business best

Email marketing is impossible without email subscribers. In most of countries, buying an email list is illegal, so you have to build your own list of email recipients. 

They should be your store visitors, social media fans, etc. – people that have an interest in your products. 

By building the list on your own, you will get high quality, active contacts that will generate good sales. 

So let’s look at how you can start building your list of email addresses.

#1 Collect new contacts with popups

Our practice shows that the most effective popups are those that offer something valuable for the visitor in return for his/her email address. It can be a small discount for the first purchase, free shipping, an ebook/latest style guide, etc.

You should also decide on the circumstances when the signup form appears. It can appear immediately after the visitor lands on the store, on the particular page, or only before the visitor abandons your store.

At Omnisend, we’ve seen that the exit-intent popup performs best, both in terms of signups (35% conversions) and user experience.

Below you can see the example of a popup that has a great image, good copy, and an appealing offer.

#2 Use interactive signup forms

People love games. Taking advantage of this, you can successfully collect email subscribers by using an interactive, gamified signup form. 

Check out the Spin a Sale, Wheelio or Wheel of Fortune offered by Omnisend.

The pros of this form are:

  • It’s fun
  • The visitor gets the discount or other prize immediately, so he/she is encouraged to spend it right a way
  • It brings up to three times more signups

Start collecting your website visitors’ email addresses immediately. 

The sooner you start, the earlier you send the first high converting email and generate sales.

Step 3. Launch automated emails in the beginning

Some people might not agree with me about this. But let me explain you why I recommend launching these emails just after your signup forms are ready.

Automation workflows are important for your business marketing. They ensure that your customers get the right message at the right time. 

What is even better, these emails don’t require the usual care and constant upkeep. You set up them once and forget about them until you have new ideas for how to improve them after a while. Once they are set up, they do their work – interact with your subscribers and boost your sales. That’s why I recommend launching them just after you set up your signup forms. 

Now let’s see what particular automatic emails are on our must-have list.

#1 Welcome emails

Once your website visitor signs up for a newsletter, he/she triggers the welcome workflow and starts getting welcome emails. I say “emails” because after research at Omnisend, we see that three emails are the most effective for welcoming your new subscriber and introducing your brand. By sending three emails instead of one, you can get 3x higher open and click rates—as well as 5x higher revenue.

See the example of three welcome emails below: 

In these emails you may also invite your new subscribers to follow you on social media, or even offer a small discount for the first purchase.

#2 Abandoned cart emails

The abandoned cart email is king among all automated workflows. It generates a whopping 1.8% conversion rate and it’s 20 times better than a single newsletter.

Abandoned cart emails (again, it’s better to send a series of three emails) are automatically sent to your known shoppers who’ve added items to their carts but leave your site without buying anything from you.

With this kind of emails, it’s best to be straightforward. These emails should include:

  • images of the actual abandoned product(s)
  • a catchy title, such as “Still shopping?” or “You left some items in your cart”
  • a clear call-to-action button that the reader can easily click to get back to their abandoned cart

See below how your cart recovery emails can look:

In addition to welcome and abandoned cart emails, you may set up a birthday email (make sure you collect the right data for it), a customer winback email, order confirmation and some other automated workflows. Remember, they help you to be relevant and appear in your customer’s inbox right on time.

Step 4. Draft the perfect email campaign

OK, now that we’ve covered the benefits of email marketing, getting subscribers, and setting up automated emails, let’s look at how you can design high-converting emails and when you should start sending them. 

If you already send automated welcome emails, no more introductions to your subscribers are needed. Design your email with your best deals and send it right away. 

However, if you haven’t done so, consider a short introduction in your first newsletter. Explain why recipients are getting it, how often they can expect it, etc. 

Be short and clear.

One more important thing before starting – decide on how often you’ll be sending your newsletter. Some big companies send their emails every day. 

But I suggest you don’t rush and start from 1-2 emails per month, just to see how they work, and what can be improved.

last but not least is email design. Believe it or not, it’s crucial for your email campaign success. 

So these are our tips for email design:

  • Keep it simple and minimalistic. Don’t overwhelm your subscribers with hundreds of products, copywriting and other kinds of information. Pick up to 5-7 products for your email, not more. 
  • Don’t use asymmetric designs. In most cases, they are not mobile-friendly, so only desktop users will be able to enjoy your emails.
  • If you include different types of content, clearly define the sections by using spacing and lines in your newsletter.
  • Use only high-quality images of products, as well as your company logo.
  • Your email shouldn’t contain too many call-to-action buttons. Make sure they are bright, short and clear. 

Check out this example of Kali Laine. The company improved their email click rate by 118% by redesigning its newsletter. They went from the one email with too many products listed to a more simplified, clear design.

And this is only half the email. In total, there were 18 different CTAs. 

This is how the new email looked after we redesigned it.

As you can see, there are now only 2 CTAs: the first under the discount code, and the second under the products. 

These design changes were ground-breaking for Kali Laine’s email marketing campaigns.

Step 5. Try multichannel campaigns

Multichannel campaigns are powerful but you might need some advanced knowledge of marketing and customer data.

However, if you really want to stand out, why not try combining a few channels? Try to add a quick SMS/text message first, followed up by a nice email to surprise your subscribers for their birthday. 

Believe me, this combination will bring you great results!

Of course, in order to be able to send birthday messages to your subscribers via different channels, you’ll need to get their birthday info as well as phone number. You can easily do that with your popups. 

Now when you have customer data, it’s time to set up the automated workflow. It may look something like the example below.

Admit it – you would definitely check your email after getting that text message. Consider this sweet combination when you are looking for new marketing opportunities. 

I hope that you already have a picture of how you can benefit from email marketing. 

Step-by-step, start using these marketing tools to grow your business and soon you’ll yield the positive results.

About the author


Karolina Petraškienė

Karolina Petraškienė is a blogger and email enthusiast at Omnisend, the ecommerce marketing automation platform dedicated to helping ecommerce stores build strong, lasting relationships with their customers.