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07 March 20247 min.
Piotr Pawluczyk
Piotr Pawluczyk

Email marketing – what it is and where to start

Email marketing – what it is and where to start

In the age of smartphones, social media and networked instant messaging, it can seem as if the good old emails are becoming a thing of the past. But email marketing is a proven marketing strategy that still delivers results! Find out how to increase your online shop sales and gain new leads with effective email marketing!

Email marketing is like throwing an SOS bottle into the ocean in the hope that someone will find it and become interested in your product or service. It is a marketing strategy that involves sending emails to potential customers to promote offers, build relationships and generate sales. It can be likened to sending little ‘digital carrier pigeons’ to other people’s inboxes in the hope of catching their attention and interest. Will your email be opened and read? Will someone click on the posted link? There are many factors that will influence the final opening of an email and in this article we will try to show you which ones.

From this article you will learn:

Email marketing – a definition

To begin with, it is important to dispel the myth that email marketing is dead or dying. Yes, the most popular social media has changed the customer’s purchase path heavily in the last decade, but this does not in any way mean that emails no longer make sense.

Email marketing is a marketing strategy that involves using emails to communicate and promote products, services or marketing information. It is one of the most popular tools used by businesses to connect with customers, build relationships, generate sales and maintain loyalty.

Definition of email marketing

On the contrary: email marketing is doing very well, and most marketers still find this strategy extremely effective.

  • In 2023, 347.3 billion emails are sent worldwide every day.
  • 61.9% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, an increase of 47% compared to 2019.
  • The average email open rate is 18%, although this can vary by up to 1%, depending on the day of the week.
  • Most B2B and B2C marketers use email as an effective tool to attract leads and generate revenue.
  • The average email contains 434 words.
  • Email marketing provides an average return on investment (ROI) of 4,200%.
  • 4 out of 5 marketers would rather give up social media than email.

Advantages of email marketing activities

Email is one of the many ways to connect with customers via the web, and let’s be honest: every online shop needs to keep a close eye on this. However, e-mail marketing also has its own characteristics that you can use to your advantage over your competitors

So what is the advantage of email marketing over other forms of customer communication?

Email engages the recipient – emails tend toreceive more attention than other advertising, such as social media. Why? Social media inundates us with tons of information. We reflexively ignore most posts, even if there are elements in them that might interest us. We are simply used to it. You could even say that we are programmed to scroll. However, this phenomenon does not apply to emails. If we do open them, we tend to take our time, our attention and… perhaps take advantage of the offer presented or immediately delete the e-mail and block the sender.

Almost everyone has an e-mail address – while it is still possible to function without a Facebook account, without e-mail it would be very difficult today. We would not even be able to use the full capabilities of our smartphones. As a result, with the help of e-mails we can reach those customers that we cannot access in other communication channels;

Low cost – There are many forms and types of online marketing, but email marketing is one of the cheapest today. Using ready-made templates and bases of your own audience, you don’t even have to pay for the work of a graphic designer and mailng lists.

Measurable results – there are marketing strategies whose effectiveness is extremely difficult to test, such as whisper marketing. On the other hand, if you want to intensify sales in your online shop through email marketing, you can verify the effectiveness of this strategy by checking almost every step of the recipient by measuring:

  • email open rate
  • click through rate
  • cTOR (click to open rate)
  • uTOR (unsubscribed to open rate)

Versatility – Email marketing is not just about promotional and sales messages. it is also about catalogues, newsletters, guides… and much more.

Audience acquisition for email marketing activities

There are two and only two directions in building mailing databases.

Buying mailing databases – Buying mailing databases for email marketing purposes is an activity that raises numerous controversies and risks. Such an activity is associated with ethical and legal/organisational issues, and can also lead to negative consequences for a company’s reputation. Common consequences of using purchased mailing databases:

  • low email open rates
  • high newsletter opt-out rate
  • failure to achieve the goal of page views and conversions
  • possibility of receiving negative feedback in Google and Social Media

The advantages would include the possibility of very broad outreach without waiting to build a subscriber list.

Creating mailing databases – a lengthy process, but one that provides measurable value. The owner of the email address has voluntarily subscribed to your newsletter so is already interested in your service, product or the values you have to offer. There are many ways to build a mailing list e.g.

  • Subscription forms on your website.
  • Offering free digital material in exchange for an email address.
  • Organising competitions and draws.
  • Using social media.
  • Working with partners to promote subscriptions.

Disadvantages of this would include the long time it takes to build your own mailing lists.

Email marketing – good practices

As with most marketing activities, simply sending an email is likely to be insufficient to achieve the desired results. What can you do to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing? Basic knowledge (and a good email marketing programme) will be useful.

Take care of a proven address database

Buying a cheap email address database, often from an insecure source, can be the first step to a major marketing mishap. Therefore, the best option is to collect email addresses, i.e. to build your own mailing base among your own customers and website visitors. You can promise them something in return for leaving an address – e.g. a discount in the form of a discount code – thus creating a win-win situation.

Send messages only to interested users

It is imperative that you only target e-mail marketing to people who have agreed to it. If someone is not interested in the shop and has not consented to receive emails, the messages will only upset them and, in extreme cases, may result in legal action. Emailing does not always go down well, and there are plenty of people to blame – led by spammers and those who illegally create databases. So what is definitely not to do in the e-mail marketing of an online shop? Spamming. While frequent email marketing is tempting, you need to be careful that your brand does not associate your recipients with spam. It’s not a social medium. Too frequent messages can be counterproductive. A ‘infrequent but regular’ strategy works much better.

Personalise your messages

Personalisation is the most effective email marketing tactic. Customers appreciate when you address them specifically, personally. They then feel singled out and appreciated. This makes them bond with your brand, and the better associations they have with it, the more eager they are to buy.

Keep it short and catchy

This point applies above all to the topics of the message. It is based on these that the recipient decides whether they will open the email or move it straight to the bin.

So limit yourself to short messages. Don’t give everything away; understatement will stimulate the recipient’s curiosity. You can also add a little humour, but make sure the content is in line with the brand image. Remember to use benefit language.

Use call to action

Increasing sales with email marketing would be very difficult without encouraging the recipient to go to the website… a CTA (given in the right form) will greatly increase the chance of success in this regard. Analogous to the subject line, in the CTA also bet on concreteness.

Take care of the aesthetics of the message

While there is no rule stipulating the form in which emails should be sent, “bare” text alone rarely works. So will a template suffice? Unfortunately, the choice of layout is a little more complicated, because you can’t fall into the trap of fussy, “screaming” templates either.

The email should simply be aesthetically pleasing. Everything else depends on the brand’s graphic identity and idea.

Test what works best

In many cases, carrying out A/B tests before a mass emailing is sent can give insight into which creative will have the best effect.

Types of content forms in email marketing

When our goal is to increase sales in an online shop, it may seem that emails with discount codes or those informing about upcoming sales will be the most effective. However, this is not necessarily always true.

Think of emailing a little like walking through a shopping mall. It could be that you come across a big ‘SALE’ sign, but it could also be that you see a boutique you’ve forgotten exists. Both situations can make you walk into a shop and buy something. It’s the same with email – both a newsletter and a discount code can increase sales, so it’s not worth sticking to just one form.

Discount code / promotion information

An email with a discount code or information about a promotion specially prepared for a specific customer is like throwing a hook.

Of course, you have no guarantee that the recipient will be interested in taking advantage of the opportunity, but he or she will certainly feel singled out. Even if the promotion is “especially for him”, it is not in fact just for him.


Email is also an excellent way of keeping customers informed about everything that is happening in our online shop. However, you need to be careful. Before sending information, always consider whether the recipient will be interested in it at all. They may want to read about new features on the website, but they don’t necessarily need the news that you have introduced Fruit Wednesdays in the company.


A new collection has appeared in the shop? Let your customers know about it by sending them a catalogue. A well-prepared one will encourage more than one person to buy. In addition, it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a traditional paper catalogue.


Instructions on how to use a new product, a how-to video, a short article – all this content builds a relationship with the customer and can also encourage a purchase.


A newsletter is neither an advertisement for a product nor a bait to make a sale. It is a tool much closer to Content Marketing, which is all about communication, building a relationship with the customer and creating the right brand image. On the surface, this may seem like an ineffective strategy, but newsletters are an excellent opportunity to show your company from its best side. In addition, many other messages can be included in them (and information about a promotion, and an excerpt from a catalogue).

Email marketing tools

There are many email marketing tools available both online in SaaS form and as desktop applications.

Email marketing tools are applications, software or online platforms that enable marketers to create, manage and monitor email campaigns. They are an indispensable part of marketing strategies, enabling companies to reach their target audience via email.

Email marketing tools offer a variety of features and capabilities that help marketers create personalised messages, manage recipient lists, automate processes, monitor results and analyse data.

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