How to Use Email: A Complete Guide
How to use email? It can be easy to take email for granted, so let’s pause to look at the history, use, features and marketing use of this modern essential.
Read on for our complete guide…
Let’s Start at the Beginning
‘Email’ is an abbreviation for electronic mail, as it is was the one of the first methods of communicating through the internet, in fact it was one of the first uses for the internet.
Since its invention, emails have come a long way. At first, you were only able to send text files to one single person, nowadays due to the technological advances, the possibilities are endless. You can now send images and videos to any of just one or all of your friends all at once.
To get yourself started, you first need to create an account. There are countless domains out there so just pick one of them, you can try, such as Gmail or Hotmail. Depending on why you’re creating it, your choice of domain will vary. Sometimes, if you’re working in an office or if you’re part of a large institution a domain will be assigned to you, one that is usually owned by the institution.
Next, you’ll need to decide on a username. This could your full name, nickname or any recognisable combination of letters and numbers. Your username should identify who you are or what entity you represent because it is the first thing your email receivers will notice. Now that you’ve set up an address, get ready to send and receive emails to and from all your acquaintances.
Emailing in Different Contexts
In almost any field of work and even in your personal life, you will have to send a lot of emails. The different uses of email are centred on your purpose as an email sender and receiver. People send messages for endless reasons, but here are some general uses for the email.
- In Business
This can range from emailing your workmate to ask a question about the report they just sent in, or sending an email to your entire department to set up the weekly meeting.
- For Personal Reasons
As the holidays are coming up, you won’t have time to give everyone a call and wish them a happy holiday. Sending Christmas e-cards through email is an example of how you can use emails for personal reasons.
- To Make Money
Emails can now be used for marketing purposes to generate profit. If you own a business and want to get people talking about it, you try emailing your customers on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. This is known as email marketing.
The Many Uses of Email
There are several purposes for the email. In each context, sending someone a message means that you need a response in order to get a task done. Emails can help you achieve that through their multiple uses such as:
Working with other people on a project can be challenging when some members are more informed that others. Emails can help you create a group chain that keeps everyone informed of all communications between group members.
As mentioned previously, adding attachments is one of the email’s most beneficial uses. Sending a document or a picture to someone else has never been simpler.
- Setting appointments
If you’re looking to set up an appointment with someone, you can send them an email. This is helpful because most emails are linked to the user’s personal calendar, that way they can add it to their agenda and a reminder is automatically set.
- Group conversations
Group conversations are easier through email. Everyone gets an equal say and since they move at a relatively slower pace that text group chats, it will be easier to hear everyone out and plan things easily.
The Art of Emailing
- Get to the point
Keep your emails short and concise, you don’t want to bore your reader with unnecessary details that will distract them from the purpose of your message. Realistically, people will stop reading if you’re email gets too wordy.
- Use the subject line
The subject line of your email should indicate precisely what you wish to address in your email. That way, you receivers know exactly what you’re talking about. In email marketing, your subject line should be catchy and exciting
- Personalise it
Emails can seem a little intimidating, try starting your email with a “hello!” and ending it with a friendly and relevant remark. Also, try to include the name of the person you’re sending the email to to make it feel more personal.
- Take care of your spelling and grammar
While emails may not always be the most formal mode of communication, it is important to maintain formality. Also, this will make your message easier to understand. If there is a mistake in a mass message sent out, recievers will focus more on the mistake rather than the content of the email.
- Hold the CCs and the BCCs
Be careful with the number of CCs you add to an email as it can also distract from the content of the email. If it is not important for your email receiver to know who else is reading this email chain, add them to the BCC list.
- Sign it
Mark your name at the end of every email, this also adds to personalising the email. This could be in the form of a “Warm Regards” or a “See You Soon” followed by your initials.
Keep Your Inbox Neat and Tidy
There are a fair few ways to keep your email inbox clean. As trivial as the idea can sound. Keeping your mail organisd and precise, can make communication a much easier affair. Considering these days most of our communication is digital. We know how significant the use of email can be.
- Use filters
Modern email-based web services all have some kind of system that allows you to organise emails in whatever order or form you choose. Whether they be in priority, or the social circle in which that email originated. Either way, the manner in which you use these filters can be very useful in organising your email.
- Newsletters, spam and your consistency
Although subscribing to newsletters and automated services can be enticing, they are often not useful at any other purpose than cluttering your workspace. It might also be useful to deactivate any notifications from any social networking sites that may choose to auto email you with updates on your page.
Familiarise Yourself With Email Features
Email is one of the oldest forms of online communication that is actively used in modern society. However, the way we use it and consume information passed between one another is very different. The use of new features which provide both function and beauty should be taken advantage of. To make your emails more interesting, there are many features you could use. These features will brighten up your emails and will make your message clearer.
Large blocks of text in any form are hard to read. They often overcomplicate the simplest messages, and if you are using email for a service based function this can prove fatal. Adding interesting, even simple images or drawings can give your content more appeal!
Attachments are usually simple in whatever web-based email service you use. The web-based service usually contains an option for ‘attachments’, and a subsequent box from which you decide which exact file you would see added to your document.
Attachments can be a wonderful tool. Where image files are too large, or there are too many files on one email. The entire email can become clouded and hard to interpret depending on your device, assuming you have a perfect internet connection.
- The subject line
The idea of a precise and catchy subject line being useful is most relevant to the modern consumer. Making your title too long, you risk losing the attention of your audience before they have even begun to look at your content. Some ways you can improve this is by aiming to answer simple questions like, ‘what is this about’. You should also challenge yourself to use as little words as is possible. Given that you can still answer your question.
In a similar way, the way your email sounds is essential to how it is received. Are your messages personal and engaging? Do all your emails represent your company in the way you like? Is the email generic?. It is in the small details, such as the addition of a recognisable symbol of your company, that make the customer feel that you care about their experience. A personal touch or message, that your audience has associated with you. All of these factors can help make you venture successful.
How To Make Your Emails Stand Out
Amongst the emails people receive, you want to make sure that they click on yours. When consumers receive emails from unknown senders, they assume it is spam and most likely will not check it. Here are some tips on how to make your emails stand out, and your brand more popular
- Start a conversation
Rather than always advertising a product to buy, or some way that your customers can spend money, use your email lists to talk about ideas, testimonials and insights. You can use this platform to share personal experience or a memorable story that would humanise your content and your brand.
- Stick to a schedule
If you’re sending out a newsletter, stick to a weekly or biweekly schedule. This maintains the consistency of your image without overloading your customers with emails on a daily basis. Your email tendencies should be frequent enough to keep your audience entertained but not too frequent so they overlook it.
- Attractive subject lines
As mentioned earlier, you key goal is to get your recipients to click on your email and look at the message. Think about what your target audience likes to see and include this in your subject line.
An Introduction to Email Marketing
Spam mail represents email marketing in it’s worst possible light, where all emails follow the same generic formula that is sent to every single person on an email list, At its most effective, email marketing is a powerful tool. It allows businesses to tailor their messages to the consumer and keep them well informed.
Email marketing is used by business to promote products, events or ideas. It has many benefits and limitations but let us briefly introduce you to the world of email marketing.
- Know your customers
Email marketing brings you closer to your customers and allows you to establish a more personal bond with them. One particular benefit of email marketing is that it allows for the information distributed to be tailored to a target customer.
While your email recipients may be receiving the same broadcasted message, personalising the email by including the recipient’s name or username shapes the message into the individual. This is highly effective when sending out celebrations on special events like birthdays and holidays throughout the year. These are the kinds of gestures that help companies earn special relationships with their target consumer.
- Develop your technique
The biggest thing to avoid in online marketing is the spam trap. Where advertising becomes generic and unmodified mass message to the public which shows no thought or considerate to the consumer, and appears as such.
Creating your own list is a good way to avoid such an issue. Creating your own community, developing personal touches and graphics of your own that create a unique sense or feeling in your email’s is the right way to go with mail marketing.
Be regular. Be consistent with your content release. This may a consistent message or advertisement appearing within a set time, however this technique does not stipulate there is no room for spontaneity with your content.
How Does Email Marketing Work?
Your marketing emails can be sent out in many ways depending on the audience you’re aiming to reach. There are two main types of email marketing systems that help you do that.
- Transactional emails
Transactional emails are usually triggered by the consumer’s action on the website. For example, if someone just made a purchase on your website, they would receive a transactional email confirming their purchase and details of the package delivery. Sometimes promotions and advertisements are included in so it becomes a form of email marketing.
Another example of a transactional mail is sent when you click on ‘forgot my password’, the system then automatically sends you a link to reset your password . Transactional emails like this are a great opportunity to extend your relationship with your consumers and build a larger audience. Once the system is familiar with the recipient’s email, you can now send as many emails as you wish. Here are some more examples of transactional emails:
- Cart abandonment reminders
- Time-sensitive promotions
- Sales follow-ups
- Review requests
Email Marketing In Its Various Forms
Getting into email marketing is easy once you’re familiar with the the different types of marketing emails you could send. It’s great to keep sending a variety of emails to keep your audience entertained. It would be ideal to make use of more than one type of email, that way, neither you or your recipients are bored.
Welcome emails are usually the first interaction a firm has with its potential client. Because it is the first interaction between a marketer and its customer, you should try your best to make it memorable. This moment often defines how customers see any other emails they might receive from you.
Your welcome emails can come in series, you can send as much as five short welcome emails to familiarise yourself with your customers. This is your chance to get to know your clients and introduce yourself in much more detail. You can ask them things like, their birthdays, their email preferences and what they think of your brand, and use this feedback to develop your relationship with them and improve your brand awareness.
- Social Media
Now that you’ve secured an email address, you should get your customers to follow you on other platforms too. As part of your welcome email series, introduce your social media accounts and politely ask them to follow you on there as well!
These types of emails are great for a new customer. Where an audience might be unsure or confused about what your product/service can do for them. A tips and tricks video might help the customer understand how exactly you can help them, and why they should buy your product.
Familiarising your customers with your products through video attachment will leave a positive connection with your brand.
The best person to speak for the customer is the customer, keep your audience up to date with what everyone around them thinks of the products through testimonials. This will form a sense of community amongst your consumers and keep them engaged with your brand and your products. By sharing their experiences with the same brand or even the same product it starts a conversation, it is your job to make sure that this conversation is a beneficial one.
Consumers want to know who you are and where you come from, and learn more about the corporation that insists on sending them promotional emails even when they’re not interested. Tell the story of your brand through emails and your audience will most likely connect with you on a more personal level. This can be done through images, text or videos.
This can also include the behind the scenes of how your products are made, or the stories behind some business decisions. Showing that real people are doing real things in real life will humanise your brand and your product.
This form of email marketing might be the most important one. To establish connections with the customers you’ve lost touch with, you would send them a re-engagement email. Some of your recipients may not be as engaged or interested as others and that is completely normal. They just need a reminder of how much you miss their involvement with your brand.
Sending emails with ‘We miss you!’ or ‘Where have you been?’ as the subject line, will show them that you care about them and need them back. This personal connection that is created will remind your audience of your loyalty and humanness.
To keep your customers up to date with your latest updates, sending announcement emails will be very helpful! Announcements could include software updates, new features, promotion offers or sales, all the type of stuff your audience would be interested to find out more about.
Hosting virtual or real-life events are a great way to step up your online presence. But first, you need people to attend your event. Sending out email invitations to your customers and recipient list will ensure that you get a boost in attendees and generate a much more active presence for your brand.
- Holiday and Seasonal Greetings
Holidays may be your time off, but don’t make your customers feel like you’ve forgotten about them. Holiday greeting are a great way to further develop your relationship with your audience because it becomes a lot more personal. To boost up your holiday greetings, mention your holiday-themed sales and promotions.
Creating An Email Marketing Plan
For the likes of small companies. The creation and implementation of an email marketing plan can be a major challenge. They often struggling with planning the exact set up and minutiae of what they plan to do. As a result, they often become very regular, very predictable alerts and programs.
To be successful in email marketing, you need to produce better content. What an email marketer must create, is something that will keep their audience engaged. Often unique or distinct. Ideally, the audience should be excited to receive an email from you. Basically, you should not be re-producing the same email’s as it can become bland and uninteresting.
- Set your goals
Your email marketing campaign should have a goal, what is the message you want to get across? What action do you want your audience to take? You should establish a few points you want your viewers to take away from your campaign. If there are multiple ideas you’d like to send across, that’s not a problem. The broadens the scope of your campaign and expands your target audience reach. The goals you’ve set out are important to keep in mind when deciding on the other aspects of your campaign.
- Build your email list
To start an email marketing campaign, you need people to send emails to. Setting up your email is easy, have a sign up pop-up on your website that encourages your viewers to sign up for your website. Once you have their email addresses you can send them as many emails as you want.
The trick to this step is how to actually influence more sign ups for your emails and newsletters. People are already receiving tons of emails from brands everywhere, what would make them want to sign up for yours as well? To ensure sign ups for your emails and generate additions to your email list, you can always lure people through free stuff. If consumers are getting something in return like Free Downloads when they sign up for your emails, they are more likely to willingly sign up.
- Evaluate your performance
Once you’ve started your campaign and seen some results, track the activity on your website as well as the engagement rates to determine which types of emails work best. Remember it’s alright if you don’t see results as soon as you send out your first email, keep working at it and by time it will get better and better!
Benefits of Email Marketing
When thinking of your online marketing plan, you should weigh out the pros and cons of each form of online marketing. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective means of marketing is through email, although depending on your location you’ll need to consider GDPR legislation.
The largest advantage of email marketing is that it is cheap. This means that your returns on investment (ROI) will definitely be higher than through other means of online marketing. Email marketing represents a very economical way to advertise a wide range of products or services. It is also relatively easy to manage which makes it a very accessible marketing strategy. Creating and updating databases of contact information is simply not very difficult. Alongside its inexpensiveness, here are some of the advantages of email marketing.
- Its unavoidable
One particular advantage over more modern networking tools such as social media is its significance. People are more likely to recognise an email, as it will sit in your inbox until addressed. However, a notification or post on social media may easily pass and be unrecognised or ignored by its target audience. This does not mean that the two cannot work in hand with each other, in fact they should. It simply suggests an advantage email may hold over social media. Amongst the chaotic world of Facebook and Twitter, email mailboxes is where people go for a sense of sanity and directness. When it comes to online communication, emails are the most preferred channel amongst users, so take advantage of that!
- Larger reach
The number of social media users around the world is huge! There are over one billion Facebook users and over 255 million Twitter users. While these statistics are easily to believe given that social media is immensely popular these days, the number of email users is often overlooked. There are over 4.9 billion email users worldwide, which means that your reach is larger and your campaign is more effective.
Most internet users have an email address, so when it comes to connection people, sending messages and advertising, there is no wider reach than through email.
- Delivery is key
Sending someone an email ensures that they are going to end up in someone’s inbox. This ensures that when you send emails, your audience receives it. Unlike for example, creating Facebook post that only some might see. If you need your messages delivered, emails are the way to go.
Another reason why sending an email ensure delivery is because of subscriptions. The email list you’ve developed is made up of people who want to hear from you and signed up to do so. This means that not only your messages are surely delivered, but they are delivered to the right people so you can get the reaction you need from your audience.