Email Marketing Fundamentals: Your Guide

DSM Digital school of Marketing - email marketing

Did you know that direct email marketing boasts some of the highest conversion rates out of any other marketing tool? That’s because, when done well, emails offer readers a bunch of reasons to interact with the brand. From sharing videos and links to interesting information, through to informing readers about new developments in the organisation, email marketing works and should not be overlooked for the lead-generating tool that it is. This article looks at what email marketing is, a few things you can’t ignore when starting your email marketing campaign, and a few legal considerations to keep in mind before hitting SEND:

What Is Email Marketing?

Simply put, email marketing is using the digital platform of emails (or electronic mails) to disseminate marketing content to your existing customers. We say existing because the business needs a database of email addresses to send to, and these are mostly given voluntarily by customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Email is highly accessible, as most people will own at least one email address.

Email Marketing Essentials


The first email marketing campaigns were sent to each and every email address listed on the company’s database. Today, however, customers demand a personalised experience. Segmenting of a database involves categorising the contacts by their profession, job title, geo-location, etc. This way, a company can establish multiple email lists (staff, suppliers, customers, prospects) and carefully tailor messages to the tastes of the specific audience members.

Graphic Design

The quality of your subject line will determine whether or not an email recipient opens your mail, but equally important to note is the visual quality of the message itself. Basic HTML mailers are so 2001, and today consumers want to be wowed with stunning designs and creative wording. Online email marketing platforms like Mailchimp allow you to create and manage stunning campaigns in minutes easily.

Calls To Action

One of the main aims of email marketing is to get as many recipients to read your content as possible. Another more important goal is to convert them from readers into valued customers. Calls to action, often in the form of clickable buttons reading ORDER NOW or READ MORE, allow the readers to learn more about what they have read in the email, or to make a purchase if the deal you’re offering them is just too good to pass up.

Important Legal Considerations

It is incredibly important to remember that all South African businesses must adhere to the Protection of Private Information (POPI) Act when handling sensitive information like customer email addresses. Even if someone willingly gave you their email address years back, you are required to let them know that you have their details stored on your server, that you intend on sending them informative branded content, and that they can choose to opt-out of receiving your email marketing. If they opt-out, it is your responsibility to remove their email address (and any other information you might have of theirs) from your database.

Direct marketing is something that has always been part of the marketing professional’s arsenal of tools, and won’t be going away anytime soon.

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