What is Email Marketing

What is Email Marketing & How to Get Started in 2024?

Email marketing has stood the test of time, prevailing as one of the most potent channels for communication and conversion in the digital world. It has numerous advantages over other marketing channels and has earned the reputation of being the channel with the highest return on investment. Let’s deep dive into the topic of email marketing, what it is, how to get started and what the best practices in this field are.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing involves sending targeted emails such as newsletters, promotional emails, re-engagement emails, even welcome and transactional emails to prospects and customers. It’s a direct line to the inboxes of your audience, giving you the opportunity to inform, engage, and convert.

In 2024, despite the growing number of digital touchpoints, email remains a key factor in digital communication. Its direct nature and the ability to offer a personalized experience make it more relevant than ever. Businesses continue to leverage email to cut through the online noise and build genuine connections with their audiences.

Why Email Marketing Matters?

If you are thinking about incorporating email marketing into your business strategy, you are on the right track to boosting your business results. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to digital success.

Infographic showing the benefits of Email Marketing for the business

Let’s explore why marketing through email has become a significant part of the digital marketing mix.

Direct & personalized communication with your audience

Email marketing allows for tailored communication that speaks directly to the individual, creating a sense of one-on-one dialogue. This personalized approach is not just effective – modern audiences expect it.

Consumers nowadays desire communication that’s tailored to their likes, interests, and past interactions with your brand. They know when they are being marketed to and have little patience for irrelevance. That is why an email demonstrating understanding and consideration for their individual needs and preferences is more likely to be well-received.

In email marketing, unlike other channels, the opportunities for personalization are numerous and this is what makes it so powerful. You can start with simple personalization like addressing subscribers by their name and then explore more advanced segmentation of your email list based on demographics, purchasing behavior, engagement levels or else to craft messages perfectly catering to each segment.

Example: If subscribers receive emails suggesting them to buy products or services that have never been part of their buyer journey, they are likely to disregard your messages. However, if you personalize your email content and subject line according to each subscriber’s preferences, you’re likely to score higher open rates and engagement in the form of better click rates and replies.

Cost-effectiveness compared to other marketing channels

When it comes to ROI, email marketing continues to outshine the other channels being the most cost-efficient way to reach your target audience. Multiple sources claim that the average ROI of email marketing is $36 for every $1 spent. Sending out marketing emails comes with a price tag that pales in comparison to traditional direct marketing expenses, especially considering the costs related to Google and social media ads.

The fees associated with email marketing can be roughly divided into two parts – the cost of gathering email addresses and the cost of sending blast emails, which usually involves signing up for an Email marketing service. When it comes to collecting contacts, the price tag could go down to zero – you already have your clients’ emails for a start and keeping in touch with them could ensure repeat purchases and other engagement benefits. Should you wish to gather new leads and contacts, you could quite easily and at no extra cost add a sign-up form on your website that will do the work for you over time.

For example, SiteGround Email Marketing service comes with a free lead-generation plugin for WordPress sites, which lets you easily create a subscription form on your website to collect visitors’ emails.

The more tangible cost comes from the subscription fees for email service providers. But, in 2024 all such providers offer tiered pricing to suit various business sizes, which means you can heavily optimize the spending and let it grow only if your email list grows. That makes email marketing extremely affordable even for small businesses that are tight on budget.

Driving customer engagement and loyalty

Email marketing is heavily used by businesses for building client retention and loyalty. A well-crafted email marketing strategy can turn one-time buyers into loyal customers that repeatedly shop from your business and stay engaged with your content and brand.

The key to retention, engagement and loyalty lies in the way you continue the communication after the first touch point (a purchase or subscription or else). If you personalize your messages and keep your content relevant to the individual and continual at the right frequency, you lay the foundation for a long-term relationship with your audience.

The chance of an email resonating with a recipient dramatically increases when it feels like it was written just for them. It shows that you are paying attention and you care—a sentiment that can go a long way in nurturing customer loyalty.

Types of Marketing Emails

To answer “What is email marketing?” it’s essential to understand the different types of marketing emails. Each email serves a unique purpose in your overall email marketing strategy, contributing to the achievement of your business goals.

What are the different types of Email Marketing Emails

Let’s explore these types to help you tailor your content and connect with your target audience effectively.

Promotional emails: Driving sales and signups

Promotional emails are marketing emails designed to drive sales, signups or subscriptions. They bring attention to special offers – seasonal discounts, flash sales or other limited-time deals, new product discounts, etc. These can also be announcing bundle offers like “buy 2, pay 1”, cross promotions between brands, raffles where users can win a prize after purchase, and others.

It is common that these promotional emails come in a series to ensure that your offer reaches as many readers as possible and achieves the biggest impact. Depending on your past email history, time of delivery, title effectiveness, and other factors, your emails will be opened by a certain percentage of the users, but never all of them! Also, not all of them would take action immediately – many would postpone reading the message for later ….and eventually forget. Which is why, you want to do at least 2 even 3 reachouts to communicate and make a substantial part of your subscribers aware of the promotion you are running.

When crafting promotional emails, the call to action is paramount. It’s the crown of your email content, the moment when recipient engagement turns into a measurable action. The advantages of email marketing shine here, allowing for direct tracking of metrics like click-through rate, which gauges the effectiveness of your campaign.

To create email campaigns that convert, consider including the following essentials:

  • Showcase the special offer
  • Explain clearly what your offer includes
  • Include clear and strong call to action button
  • Use tone of voice and language that creates excitement

Informational emails: Providing valuable content and resources

Informational emails are all sorts of announcements, newsletters, invitation to webinars or access to gated content, educational messages, or else that does not aim to sell something directly, but rather inform and educate users. Normally good informational emails will lead the reader to a link on your website, blog, or social media profile for more information. In other words, they are frequently used by seasoned marketers as a way to create engagement with their brand’s content and resources.

For example, many bloggers would send emails to their subscribers when a new article goes live, or a newsletter once per week/month to include all fresh content released between two emails. That way, they inform their audiences that they have created something new worth reading and would bring all those people back to their blog, where they can not only offer them valuable content but also include third-party banners, run promotions, or put other engagement and sales triggers.

Much alike, companies that have strong content marketing would do something similar with the fresh content on their websites, blogs, YouTube, and other channels to keep their clients and leads engaged with the brand. They aim to deliver helpful, educational content to their clients, thus improving client retention; reinforcing the brand as top expert in a certain area; stimulating word of mouth and referrals; or just keeping the brand on top of mind.

Retention emails: Keeping customers engaged and using your product

Retention emails play a significant role in helping existing customers use the product or service you offer and keep them engaged and invested in your brand.

The most essential retention email is the “welcome email.” It initiates the customer journey and serves as a guide to get started using the product. It often includes “how to” resources and information how users can get assistance if needed. The welcome emails are considered an industry standard nowadays.

In order to analyze more effectively the other types of retention emails, you may want to ask these three questions, which help you determine what kind of retention emails you need to create for your clients and see how they fit into a bigger picture:

  • What problems do my clients face when starting to use the product that I can prevent by educating them? Let’s offer the solution via an email, before they even encounter the problem – that will spare client frustration and make them happier with you as a service provider. Send them a series of emails soon after they make the purchase and educate them on how to get started and face these common challenges. These are the “how-to” emails, including help resources, outlining the next steps that users should take in order to be properly onboarded or successfully exploiting all the features of the product they bought.
  • What content is relevant to my clients that is also relevant to my product and brand? Here comes all the news related to what your brand does, inside information on how you build your product, CEO’s insights on the industry, special educational content exclusive to your clients, invitations to exclusive events like webinars and workshops, use cases and success stories that your clients can relate to. Share such things with your clients and engage them not just with your product and brand, but with topics that are interesting and useful to them in general.
  • Is there anything I can do to make my clients feel happier with my brand and product (not including service upgrades or feature additions)? Since we talk about feelings, it is actually quite easy to create small moments of joy and pride by celebrating your client’s progress and success every step of their journey with your product. This is where “achievement” emails get in the play to commemorate those milestones for the client and show them that you share the excitement.

Transactional emails: Facilitating customer interactions and transactions

Transactional emails are triggered by specific customer actions and aim to initiate or validate the successful beginning or ending of a process. Their main purpose is to automate important moments in the buyer’s journey and create a sense of trust and confidence in the process. Transactional emails include:

  • Order confirmation emails
  • Invoice emails
  • Password reset emails
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Enabling 2-Factor Authentication

Let’s zoom in on 2 of the above types: Order confirmation emails ensure customers feel secure about their transactions, so they are considered a standard in ecommerce. While “Abandoned cart” emails are extremely important for online stores since they can recover potentially lost sales, nudging customers to complete their purchases.

In short, as email marketers looking to maximize benefits, it’s crucial to understand and effectively use the different types of emails in your email marketing strategy. Each plays a vital role in nurturing the customer journey—from the initial brand awareness to the repeated transactions of a loyal customer base.

Leverage email marketing types to create email campaigns tailored to your audience. This way, you can tap into the full advantages of email marketing and contribute to a successful email marketing strategy.

How to Get Started with Email Marketing?

To kick off your marketing efforts on the email front, you need to devise an actionable plan. In other words – an Email Marketing Strategy. A strategy may sound a bit complicated if you are just starting out so imagine a series of email campaigns that you send to reach out to different segments of your audiences – mails for your clients, messages to your prospects, etc. But to make it even easier for a start let’s strategize on what is needed for sending out your first email campaign.

The foundation of your email marketing efforts involves setting goals then choosing the right email marketing tools and approaches to connect with your audience effectively.

Infographic showing a checklist for creating an Email Marketing Campaigns

So, let’s get into the details of scoring successful email marketing campaigns to level up your business.

Define the Goal of Your Email Marketing Campaign

Setting a goal for your email marketing campaigns allows you to focus your marketing efforts better. An email marketing campaign may aim to accomplish any of the following goals:

  • Drive sales
  • Raise brand awareness
  • Boost Engagement
  • Generate Leads
  • Convert Leads to Customers
  • Enhance Customer Retention
  • Promote New Products or Services
  • Re-engage Inactive Subscribers
  • Grow Social Media Presence
  • Collect Customer Feedback
  • Educate Your Audience
  • Improve Customer Loyalty
  • Segment Your Audience
  • Maximize Event Attendance
  • Test Marketing Messages

Whether it’s driving sales, nurturing leads, improving brand awareness, or else, having clear goals will guide your efforts. The goals provide a framework for creating targeted content and become a key metric for measuring campaign success.

This clarity allows for precise tracking and analysis, facilitating informed decisions to enhance the campaign’s performance. Having clear goals allows you to optimize resources and maximize ROI of your email marketing initiatives.

Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to consider how you gonna make it happen, which naturally leads us to the choice of an email marketing service.

Choose the Right Email Marketing Provider

An email service provider (ESP) is your primary tool for executing your email marketing campaigns. You need to define and prioritize the features you require and see how that fits your budget.

Most email marketing services offer tons of capabilities like email list management, email design templates, automations, segmentation, and analytics. The real difference is in the complexity of the tools and their pricing, which is why here at SiteGround, we have launched one of the easiest Email marketing tools out there at a really great price.

>Getting started with SiteGround Email Marketing

SiteGround Email Marketing service is a lightweight solution for small businesses to collect leads and send blast emails to clients and prospects. Although it is a very powerful tool, it allows for quick and streamlined email marketing, saving you time, cutting the learning curve and fitting perfectly into any budget.

  • Collect leads and segment subscribers, so you can ace in email personalization.
  • Create beautiful marketing email messages to keep your readers engaged.
  • Enjoy the AI Email Writer to craft valuable and impactful content.
  • Get powerful analytics to improve your email marketing strategy one step at a time.

Learn more about SiteGround Email Marketing

Build and manage your contact list

Effective email marketing largely depends on a robust contact list. If your campaign goal is to engage your existing clients with your brand, then you already have your email list and all you need to do is import it using a .CSV file in the email marketing tool of your choice. But if you wish to nurture leads and you still don’t have many of those, you may want to put some effort into growing a contact list of prospects.

Add a signup form to your website

With SiteGround Email Marketing service, you can easily build a form on your WordPress site using our Lead Generation Plugin. With it, you get each subscriber from your website automatically added to your Email Marketing tool.

If you already have a form on your WordPress website, you may use SiteGround Lead Generation plugin to connect SiteGround Email Marketing service with the contact form plugin you use. Currently, it allows integrations with:

Segment your mailing list

Segmenting your mailing list is a crucial step in targeting your audience effectively. Organize your subscribers based on specific criteria like demographics, purchase history, or engagement levels. That focused approach can lead to increased relevance of your messages, higher engagement with your content, and, ultimately, more conversions from your email marketing campaigns.

SiteGround Lead Generation plugin lets you classify your subscribers into particular Groups. This way, you can tailor your messages to the distinct needs of different audience segments.

Email design and content creation

Once you have selected the Email service provider and you know what you aim to achieve with your email campaign, it’s time to prepare the content. You shouldn’t worry, all email marketing tools have ready layouts or templates and will help you build a message without any HTML or coding involved.

SiteGround Email Marketing tool includes the simplest no-code email builder. You choose a layout for your message and then simply add your text and images in the sections. In just a few minutes you can have professional and visually appealing emails.

If you feel challenged creating copy for your emails, you may safely rely on our AI assistant integrated in the email builder interface. It is trained extensively by our AI engineers and marketing experts to deliver spot-on content for emails specifically. We have also prepared downloadable email prompts to help you instruct AI on what content you need it to generate, saving you time from learning how to talk to Chat GPT or even our friendlier AI Email Writer.

And if you are not sure where to get images for your emails, we got that covered – our AI-generated image gallery, conveniently integrated in your email builder interface gives you free and quick access to tons of images to choose from.

SiteGround’s features ensure that each email captures attention and resonates with your audience, driving your campaign’s objectives forward.

Best Practices for Email Marketing

Follow these guidelines to ensure high email deliverability.

The success of your email marketing campaigns not only depends on how you have set your goals and how you have built your emails, but also on the practices you are following. If you want your emails to land successfully in your subscribers’ inboxes, you need to adhere to certain industry best practices.

Consider email deliverability factors

Email deliverability is a huge topic on its own, which we have thoroughly covered in a different blog post and we invite you to read carefully. Mind that there are a few things that you should do before you even start sending out emails such as authenticating your domain that could improve your campaign delivery.

Avoid purchasing email lists

Focus on gaining subscribers ethically – subscribers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer are gold. Grow your list organically by offering value in exchange for subscriptions.

You should avoid purchasing email lists. Many of the contacts in these lists are invalid, spam traps, or just unengaged, which is why they often lead to high bounce rates and can damage your sender reputation. They can also breach anti-spam laws.

Refer to our blog post on email deliverability for more information on spam traps and email list quality.

Get subscribers permission with double opt-in signup forms

As mentioned earlier, having a list of subscribers that are willing and interested to receive your content is a large part of your email marketing success. Which is why you need to ensure you have the consent of your contacts to be on your list. The easiest way to do so is by using double opt-in forms, which add a verification step for subscribers. Once the user signs up, the form automatically sends a message to the provided email and requests confirmation via a link. That is your easiest way to maintain your email list quality. Using double opt-in signup forms respects user consent and aligns with best practices for permission-based marketing.

Clean your email list regularly

It is highly recommended that you regularly remove inactive subscribers and incorrect email addresses from your email list. That ensures that you’re only sending emails to those who are interested and engaged and reduces bounce rate and spam complaints.

A responsive, active list yields better engagement and more accurate data for analyzing your campaign’s success.

Comply with legal regulations and give users the opportunity to unsubscribe

Adhering to legal standards is essential in email marketing. Regulations like CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CASL set the ground rules for commercial emails. Compliance fosters trust and avoids significant penalties.

Email marketers should prioritize subscribers’ privacy. This involves transparent data handling and providing easy opt-out options. Respecting privacy solidifies a reputation for integrity and ethical practice.

SiteGround Email Marketing tool automatically puts an unsubscribe link in the footers of your emails and recently included a 1-click unsubscribe option in the email headers to make our clients compliant with latest deliverability requirements by the big email providers.

Segment audience & personalize messaging for engagement

Segmentation is a strategic approach to divide your subscriber list into smaller, focused groups based on specific criteria such as demographics, purchase history, or behavior. This practice enables you to tailor your messaging to the distinct needs and interests of different user segments, resulting in more relevant and effective communication. Audience segmentation can lead to higher engagement rates, increased conversion, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

When you pair segmentation with personalization of your emails, magic happens. Emails that feel personal and provide relevant content to the subscriber forge stronger connections. People tend to engage with emails from a friend or colleague rather than a faceless brand. Incorporate personalization tactics, like using the subscriber’s name or referencing past interactions. That way, you can significantly increase the chances that your emails will be read and acted upon.

Test and Refine

Regular testing and refining your email campaigns help pinpoint what works well with your audiences. The best way to do that is with A/B testing, or split testing – a method where you split your audience and send two versions of an email, each with a different feature, like subject lines or CTAs. This way, you can see which yields better results. Such continuous optimization uses the data collected from these tests to improve both current and future email marketing campaigns.

Conducting A/B testing to optimize performance

Leverage A/B testing to experiment with different subject lines, images, and calls to action, steering clear of assumptions and guiding your decisions with the stars of data. Remember, even a seemingly minor element, like the timing of an email campaign, can impact your results.

For example, if you’re sending an email about a new coffee blend, you could test two subject line versions and see which one has a higher open rate such as:

  • “Introducing Our New Sumatra Coffee Blend – a unique experience for your senses”
  • “Try our newest coffee blend addition from Sumatra – Your Taste Buds Will Thank You!”

These variations use different approaches – one focuses on a direct call to action, while the other evokes curiosity and experience. Measuring open rates helps you to determine which subject line resonates more with your audience and refine future emails accordingly.

Leveraging automation to streamline workflows and scale your efforts

Email marketing automation is powerful for streamlining the sending of emails. It usually refers to the sending of emails triggered by predefined events, such as the welcome emails for new clients and new subscribers. Set up automated email sequences to maintain consistent communication with your audience while freeing up time to focus on targeted email campaigns.

Automation allows for timely and relevant engagement with subscribers without the need for constant manual oversight.

How to Measure Success?

Measuring performance is about comprehensive analysis over time. Monitor Key Performance Indicators that will help you gain insights into your email campaign’s impact. The most important metrics that you may want to consider are:

  • Open rate – indicates whether your subject lines are engaging.
  • Click-through rate – shows whether your content was interesting and convincing for the readers.
  • Conversion rates – the true measure of your success if your campaign goal was sales and conversions.
  • Spam complaint rate and unsubscribe rate – both show that your content is not aligned with your subject, and you are drifting away from the desired relevance.
  • Bounce rate – indicates the quality of your email list and, if growing, may show that it’s time for a cleanup.

Guiding your marketing campaign to success lies in clear metrics and data analysis. With

SiteGround Email Marketing tool, you get out-of-the-box analytics that help you measure the success of your campaigns.


As we conclude, remember the key takeaway – email marketing is an essential and powerful tool for digital communication that offers tangible benefits. It’s highly effective for engaging with customers and achieving a high return on investment.

Success in email marketing doesn’t come from just a single well-performing campaign. It’s the cumulative effect of all the lessons learned, and strategies tried over time. So, email marketing success is there for those who seek it, one well-crafted email at a time.

For beginners, now is the time to harness the potential of email marketing. Start building your campaigns with the tools and knowledge shared here. Don’t hesitate to delve into the world of email marketing – it’s easy with SiteGround Email marketing tool.

SiteGround’s Email Marketing service provides a solid platform with all the necessary features to launch, manage, and refine your email strategy effectively. With these resources at your disposal and well-equipped with a helpful Email Marketing Knowledge Base, you’re ready to make your mark in the competitive email marketing arena.

BONUS: Glossary of Email Marketing Terms

Term Explanation
Open Rate The percentage of recipients who opened an email, indicating how well your subject line worked.
Click-Through Rate The percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links contained in an email. It shows engagement with the content.
Conversion Rate The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action, like making a purchase.
Bounce Rate The rate at which your emails are not delivered to the recipient’s inbox, either due to invalid addresses (hard bounce) or temporary server deliverability issues (soft bounce).
Deliverability The measure of the success rate at which emails are delivered to the recipient’s inboxes.
Unsubscribe Rate The rate at which people opt-out of your email list after receiving an email, indicates the relevance and quality of your campaigns.
Segmentation The process of dividing your email list into smaller, more specific groups based on certain criteria to send more targeted campaigns.
Personalization The practice of tailoring email content to individual recipients based on the data you have about them.
A/B Testing Sending two variants of an email to a small percentage of your total recipients to see which version performs better, before sending the better-performing version to the rest of the list.
Call To Action (CTA) A button or link placed in your email that encourages your recipients to take a specific action, such as “Buy Now”, “Learn More”, or “Subscribe”.
Email Automation Email that is sent automatically by the system when triggered by a specific customer action or event. For example, a welcome email after sign-up or a confirmation email after purchase.
CAN-SPAM Act A US law that sets the rules for commercial email and establishes requirements for commercial messages. It gives recipients the right to stop unsolicited emails from being sent to them and spells out tough penalties for violations.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) A regulation on data protection and privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the transfer of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.
Email List Hygiene The practice of regularly cleaning your email list to remove inactive, invalid, or unengaged subscribers to maintain a high-quality recipient list.

Vladislava Karataneva

Technical Content Writer

Passionate about SEO content creation and WordPress. She is enthusiastic about lifelong learning and has an insatiable hunger for acquiring skills. Her philosophy: the learning journey is infinite, and the truth lies in the tech we tame.

Start discussion

Related Posts