The Definitive Guide To Email Marketing for Beginners

The Definitive Guide To Email Marketing for Beginners
25 January, 2023 • ... • 1176 views
Diana Kussainova
by Diana Kussainova

Email marketing continues to be a staple of any marketing strategy. Do you want to start your own email marketing campaign but don’t know what to do? Where to start and what tools to use? Look no further! 

In this complete guide, we’ll walk you from theory straight to practice. Let’s create your first email campaign with Selzy!

What is email marketing?

Email marketing consists of marketing efforts that use emails to promote and sell products or services, build brand awareness and engage customers. 

An email or a set of emails made for a specific purpose is called an email campaign. For example, there can be a welcome campaign, a New Year campaign, an anniversary campaign, etc.

Email marketing is one of the types of direct marketing along with digital, content, SMS, social media, and other variations. As opposed to mass marketing, these methods are aimed at a targeted group of customers.

What are the benefits of email marketing? Why use it?

Email marketing helps companies promote services and products all over the world, in many different industries. Why should you follow the example of Google, Apple, and others? We have several reasons.

Email audience is enormous

Having an email address is one of the modern necessities. We use email to conveniently communicate with companies and brands every day. In 2020, the email user base counted 4 billion people worldwide. By the year 2025, it’s projected to reach 4.6 billion

Having access to a massive email audience helps any business reach its existing clients and expand even further. No wonder why 82% of marketers worldwide use email to promote and sell products or services. 

Email marketing is cost-effective and brings revenue

In general, digital marketing is cheaper than traditional one. No manufacturing costs for a print ad or a pop-up store, no need to rent a billboard or hire promoters. Reaching thousands of people with a compelling message isn’t costly thanks to email marketing.

With Selzy, you can even start for free. Register on our platform to send up to 1,500 emails to 100 subscribers without paying anything. Email builder with dozens of templates, analytics, personalization, and 24/7 support are all included! 

Start for free with Selzy!

One of the key marketing metrics is the return on investment (ROI). It shows how effective in terms of money a campaign is. Email marketing has a huge ROI. Litmus reports that for every U.S. dollar spent on email marketing, businesses gain $36.

That’s why marketers find this channel important. In fact, 79% of marketers gave email marketing a spot in their top 3 most effective channels.

But that’s not all: we’ll discuss email marketing benefits in use next.

Email marketing can be effortless

Modern email service providers (ESPs) like Selzy do the hard work for you. With drag-and-drop email builders and dozens of templates, you don’t need to code or design to create exciting content. The interface of such platforms is clear and intuitive so you can easily schedule, launch, and track campaigns. Moreover, you can do that in minutes. 

Email campaigns are easy to track and measure

There are several metrics that show the effectiveness of a campaign:

  • Delivery rate — a number or a percentage of all emails that were successfully delivered.
  • Open rate — a percentage of subscribers that opened the email.
  • Click-through rate — a number of times the CTA button in the email was clicked.
  • Unsubscribe rate — a percentage of people that opted out of your list.

After an email was sent, you can analyze all of these parameters to understand how successful the campaign was. 

Email marketing is flexible

What’s even more compelling about email marketing is what you can do with received metrics. ESPs like Selzy offer A/B tests. One part of your audience gets one variant of an email, and the other — a different one. You can change the subject line or images, add or omit personalized bits, etc. Comparing the results, you’ll better understand what your audience likes and dislikes and what you should do next time.

On a broad level, email marketing strategy is very adaptive. Formats, sending frequency, design, and everything else can be adjusted to exactly fit your business’s needs. Segmentation and personalization also contribute to email marketing flexibility. You can divide the audience into different groups (that’s segments) to send them different content and add dynamic content or make use of subscribers’ browsing data (that’s personalization). 

Automation on all levels

Last but not least: email marketing works when you rest. Triggered emails will guide your customers through all of the stages of the sales funnel:

  1. On the awareness stage, offer quality content in exchange for the subscription. 
  2. For subscribers in the consideration stage, automate an enticing welcome email.
  3. To guide customers through the conversion stage, prepare limited-time offers like birthday promo codes, browse and cart abandonment emails, etc. 
  4. To maintain customers in the loyalty and advocacy stage, offer gifts and bonuses for a review or recommendation.

Email marketing transforms subscribers into customers effortlessly thanks to automation. And thought-out order email sequences especially do wonders for customer experience.

Types of email marketing

Email marketing strategy depends on the company and its needs. However, there are certain types of emails any strategy must include. Here are 5 essential campaigns you should keep in mind.

Welcome emails

A welcome email is the first email a person gets after subscribing to your list. This campaign has the highest open and click-through rates, so prepare it carefully. In the welcome email, you can offer a newcomer discount or another gift (a guide, checklist, wallpapers, etc.) and describe what your company stands for and what you’ll send in the future. And don’t forget to guide your customers where you need them (to the website, for example) and tell them what to do (buy products, use promo codes, etc.).

A welcome email from Casper
Source: Really Good Emails

In this welcome email Casper introduces the types of content readers will get and announces several benefits of the email subscription. Another notable feature of this email is the last section: there is the first helpful tip from the brand and a bundles’ promotion.

Transactional emails

When users make orders or interact with the site in other ways, they initiate transactional emails. These emails are automated and consist of notifications, reminders, confirmations, order status updates, etc. Transactional emails have high open rates because users trigger them with their own actions and wait for the answer from the site. Although not manually sent, transactional emails can be personalized based on the subscriber’s name, interests, location, and last purchases. More on personalization later. 

A transactional email from Twitch
Source: Really Good Emails

This transactional email from Twitch is a request to verify the account. Although minimalistic, it uses the brand’s signature color and also provides social media buttons to promote the company’s other accounts.

Newsletters and announcement emails

These types of campaigns are aimed at informing customers about company news, events, added service features, and product launches. Newsletters and announcement emails strengthen the brand-audience relationship, boost awareness and loyalty while also showcasing the company’s expertise. Here, it’s important to use corporate design, interesting visuals and headlines, and provide useful information.

A newsletter from Pitch
Source: Really Good Emails

In this email presentation software Pitch announced their launch and shared other news and updates. Knowing new features of the service helps email subscribers stay up to date and use the product’s full potential.

Promotional emails

These marketing campaigns drive sales and help customers discover the company’s products or services. It’s important to keep offers relevant and not to recommend something subscribers aren’t interested in. You’ll learn how to make promos more personal when we’ll talk about segmentation.

A promotional email from East Fork
Source: Really Good Emails

In this email, East Fork cleverly promotes a selection of their items using the brand’s team. Playful cut-out style of the email contributes to the overall sincere feeling of the message. 

Special offer emails

Limited-time deals and seasonal sales are good topics for a seasonal offer email. Customers will value the email subscription more if they can learn about sales before anyone else. 


Always add clear CTAs (calls to action) for users to complete the purchase.

A holiday special offer email from Harry’s
Source: Really Good Emails

For holidays Harry’s offered their customers free shipping starting from $10 and a discount code. The email contains a clear offer, a CTA button, and a timer to reinforce the urgency of the matter.

How to start email marketing step-by-step

Let’s now get to practice. In this part, we’ll explain how you can launch your first email marketing campaign.

Step 0. Choose an ESP and register

Email service providers are marketing automation platforms that are crucial for bulk email sending. Although there are many options, with Selzy you can start for free. Register in Selzy today!

The registration process in Selzy is simple. And you don’t even need to add your card information. Click on either one of the bright green buttons on the Selzy main page.

Selzy main page with registration buttons
To begin the registration process, click on the green button on the main page

Next enter your email or log in with Facebook or Google.

Selzy -entering page
Enter your email to continue the registration

Afterward, you just need to create a password and confirm the email address.

Step 1. Build your email list

Now that you have an account in an ESP of your choice, it’s time to begin your email marketing journey. We’ll explain everything based on Selzy.

When you first enter Selzy, you can clarify your personal information: add your name and cell phone number, specify your occupation details.

Selzy personal information page
Here, you can share your information with Selzy

Next you can either add your contacts or start by creating a campaign. We recommend you first import your subscriber base if you have one or add each contact manually.

A screenshot of two starting options: creating a campaign or importing a subscribers base
Click on the right option to import contacts

Next, you can either upload a file containing your subscribers’ list or copy your list from an Excel table.

A screenshot of Selzy’s importing contacts process
Import your subscribers’ list to start sending

After the list is imported, you’ll see a confirmation message like this one:

A screenshot of Selzy’s importing contacts success state

If you don’t have a subscriber base yet, you can set up signup forms on the website with Selzy, too. You can also try other ways to build an email list.

Step 2. Define your communication strategy

At the base of every email you send should lie a marketing communication strategy. Think of it as a map toward your success. For every business, the communication strategy will be different. Find answers to the following questions to craft your own plan:

  • What goals do you want to achieve? It can be growing the subscribers’ list, increasing the website traffic, lead generation, and the number of completed targeted actions. For each goal, define success metrics and set clear indicators.
  • What can you learn from competitors? Analyze what types of emails and how often they send, examine their templates, design, and copy, and note everything you find helpful. That’s where your first email campaign ideas will come from.
  • What does your target audience look like? Create your subscriber persona: describe their age, gender, location, hobbies, and other valuable parameters. This step will help you understand what content and delivery will be relevant to them.
  • What types of emails will you send? Choose the convenient email types from the previous part of this article.
  • When and how often will you send emails? Create a content plan and set the dates and times of email sends, types of emails, topics, and the date when you’ll analyze campaign results. 

Gather insights into one cohesive strategy and head on to the next step.

Step 3. Set the starting point

Having a clear vision of the future is as important as knowing where you’re starting from. So before heading into action, track the metrics that you have now. Indicate the number of subscribers and the effectiveness of previous campaigns if there are any. This way you’ll have a reference point for future results. 

Step 4. Build a template

Now to the practical steps you’ll need to recreate for each email campaign.

Let’s imagine you want to send a promotional email about a product launch. First of all, choose the appropriate template. In Selzy, click on “Create campaign”.

A screenshot of Selzy’s main dashboard

On the next screen, you’ll see templates of different categories. There are both empty and pre-filled templates.

A screenshot of Selzy’s template dashboard

For our purposes, we’ll choose this template from the “Universal” category. Pointing the cursor at any template, you’ll have the option to use it right away or preview it. To preview the template, click on the eye symbol.

A screenshot of several templates from the “Universal” category

After choosing the template, you’ll find yourself in Selzy’s intuitive drag-and-drop email builder. On the left, you’ll see available elements with which you can customize, settings, and mobile and desktop screen views of the email. You can change each element of the template by clicking on it. On the top left corner, there are options to preview the email and make a test sending. Designing emails in Selzy is easy and fast.

A screenshot of Selzy’s email builder

After you adjust template elements to your liking, it’s time to prepare the content for it. 

Step 5. Create content for the campaign

Determine what you need to finalize the campaign. Prepare the copy, images, and links. Then add your content to the template, preview, and test send it.

For our purposes, we changed some of the template’s text and colors. We also used Selzy’s image editor to apply filters and add a “New” sign to the image. Here’s the final look:

A screenshot of the customized email template

Step 6. Launch your campaign

When you ensure the email looks and works as intended, it’s time to send the campaign. Click the blue “Continue” button in the editor and enter the “From” text and the subject line.

A screenshot of Selzy’s campaign sending process

On the bottom of the screen you’ll see a preview of what your subscribers will see in their inboxes.

The subject line of your emails needs to be catchy to attract users’ attention.

Next, choose a list of subscribers to send your campaign. You can also add contacts here if needed.

A screenshot of Selzy’s list selection

After clicking “Continue”, you’ll see the full information about the campaign. Here you can send a test email, schedule the campaign for later, or send it right away.

A screenshot of the full campaign information before sending

Before sending the campaign Selzy will also display a confirmation message. This way you won’t launch anything by surprise.

Selzy’s confirmation message before sending

After sending you’ll be redirected to the main page. There you’ll be greeted by the green success message.

Selzy’s campaign launch success message

Now that your campaign is sent, there’s one last step. And it’s very important to the whole email marketing strategy.

Step 7. Analyze the results

To see how effective your campaign was and what you can change next time, examine the analytics. From the main dashboard in Selzy, go to the “Campaigns” section. There you’ll see the results of all your previous campaigns.

Selzy’s campaign analytics screen

For each campaign, you’ll see how many emails were sent and delivered, the open rate, and the transitions from the email to your website, for example. When you point the cursor at the campaign metrics, the percentage changes to the number (in our case, 33% turns into 1, for example). Note that in Selzy analytics update in real-time.

Don’t expect to see the results right away. Instead, come back to analytics after several hours or a day, depending on the goals you set for the campaign.

Analyze the metrics of your campaign and decide what you can do to improve them. Maybe writing a more memorable subject line? Changing the sending time? These are some of the options to try out. Having the results of previous campaigns at hand, you can also understand how realistic your goals were and revise them if needed.

Don’t know what else to try? Keep reading for our favorite tips that can work for any email marketing strategy.

Email marketing tips for beginners

Email marketing is constantly changing and evolving as everything does. However, there are several tried and true industry tips you should definitely use. 

Choose a convenient email marketing tool

Yes, you can hammer in nails with a frying pan but it’s much more effective with a proper tool. In email marketing, having good instruments too can significantly ease the work. 

Here are some of the ways Selzy can help your email marketing efforts:

  • Website subscription forms so that visitors to your website become subscribers
  • Email automation to guide your customers down the sales funnel
  • Various CRM and CMS integrations for all-encompassing marketing
  • Image storage to ease the email design and sending
  • Send time optimization to make the most out of your campaigns
  • 24/7 support that is ready to answer your questions

Start email marketing for free with Selzy!

Want to research ESPs more? Read about the best email marketing services to make up your mind.

Segment your audience

Segmentation is dividing your subscribership into groups by location, gender and age, activity, preference, and customer journey stage. This is a powerful way to make your emails more relevant and therefore enticing to your clients.

For this campaign, Nike segmented its subscribers into two groups based on gender. The message itself was mostly the same across these groups but the visuals weren’t. 

Nike’s promotional campaigns for women and men
Source: Milled

Simple change of campaign images instantly made the message more relevant to subscribers. And seeing suitable products in turn made the offer more appealing. 

Personalize emails

Personalization is another way to make email marketing campaigns more relevant. Combined with the segmentation, this approach explores the potential of direct marketing messages to their finest.

You can use subscribers’ browsing data to send browse abandonment or cart abandonment emails, insert dynamic content to show order details in a confirmation message, and more. It not only adds the personal touch that the clients enjoy, but it’s also very effective. According to Epsilon, consumers shop 3 times more with brands that personalize their offers.

Use images

Apart from eating, people also shop with their eyes. So to make your products and offers enticing, add visuals to your emails. Images can either showcase the product or portray a feeling or lifestyle associated with it. Interchanging these two types is the most beneficial. But some of the visuals can do both. 

Calzedonis’s promotional email
Source: Milled

This Calzedonia email has only one photo at the top yet it strikes two birds with one stone. First, it depicts a cozy family moment that connects the brand with the feeling of joy. Second, the photo clearly draws the attention to two products: children’s socks and adult slippers.

Although simple, this campaign makes a clever brand promotion. This brings us to the last point.

Keep your emails concise

Your subscribers are probably busy and won’t spend a lot of time going through their inboxes. That’s why you should make your emails short and straightforward. Ideally, the CTA button should be on the first screen so the readers don’t have to scroll. Another point in favor of this approach is the trend for minimalistic design. If you feel like the need to simplify the message limits you try looking at others’ examples.

A minimalistic email example
Source: Milky Mail

In this email, the clever layout conveys the brand’s personality and makes the campaign unique.

In conclusion

Email marketing is a must-have for any company as it is easy to set up and measure, it is flexible and cost-effective, and there are billions of people using email every day.

If you want to start your first campaign, follow this list:

  1. Choose an ESP. Your first steps in email marketing will be easy and intuitive with Selzy. Plus, you can start for free and prepare for sending in 15 minutes only.
  2. Build your email list. Import existing contacts or start collecting emails with website forms.
  3. Create a communication strategy. Determine who to send emails to, decide on goals, desired metrics, and a schedule.
  4. Set the starting point. Record the metrics in the beginning to compare them to your future results.
  5. Create content. Prepare copy and visuals for the campaign.
  6. Send out the campaign.
  7. Analyze the results. See how effective your sending was and what can be improved.

After you send out the first campaign, repeat the last steps again and perfect your email marketing. With Selzy, the support will help you along the way, 24/7! Register today and start using the service for free.

Article by
Diana Kussainova
Writer, editor, and a nomad. Creating structured, approachable texts and helping others make their copies clearer. Learning and growing along the way. Interested in digital communications, UX writing, design. Can be spotted either in a bookshop, a local coffee place, or at Sephora. Otherwise probably traveling. Or moving yet again.
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