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Introduction to Email Marketing

What is email marketing?

Email marketing does what it says on the tin: it’s the process of emailing your audience(s) to market the products and services you offer.

This can take many forms, such as:

  • Delivering valuable content and stories about your organisation to build a relationship with your audience(s)
  • Letting people know about products they can buy in your shop
  • Announcing upcoming events at your venue
  • Taking your audience on a customer journey (e.g. a series of 3 emails: ticket purchase confirmation → additional venue information → post-event feedback request)

How can email marketing help my organisation?

Email marketing is the best performing channel: it can help you connect with your audience in a meaningful and cost-effective way. It can work with your other channels, such as social media and your website, allowing you to include more detail and tailor your communications to different parts of your audience.

Your email marketing can encourage your audience to carry out certain actions and, if used effectively, could lead to increased:

  • ticket sales and repeat sales
  • visits to your website
  • engagement with your organisation
  • sales in your shop, café and other secondary outlets
  • donations
  • visits to your venue

Email marketing can also help you learn about your audience. Using email reports, you can start to build a picture of what people are engaging with (or not). You can even link your emails to Google Analytics to gain a deeper understanding of your audience and find new marketing opportunities.

How do I get started?

It’s best to take small steps to begin with. There are a few things you’ll need before you can send your first email.

An audience

You need your audience’s permission before you send them any email marketing. They may already have given you permission through your shop or box office, or you can also create a sign-up form for your website – most email marketing platforms have this function.

A platform

You’ll need to choose a platform to send your emails from. There are many available with easy-to-use templates and step-by-step documentation. Some offer free trials or free versions depending on how many emails you send or how large your audience is. You might want to choose one that integrates with your website, box office or CRM system. Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor and Dotdigital are just a few good examples, but there are plenty of other options to choose from.

Some content

Your content is where you can really start to let your organisation’s personality shine through. You can write new content for your emails, or take ideas from your blog, social channels or even sector news.

Each time you write an email, consider:

  • how will this add some value to the person reading it?
  • what would I like the recipient to do when they read this email?

What kinds of emails should I send?

The type of emails you send will depend on your organisation, your aims and how much time you have to work on your email marketing. A good place to start is a regular newsletter. Need some inspiration for your newsletter’s content? Sign up to organisations you already love to see what type of content they send. You could also look at The Museum of Modern Email and Really Good Emails for some ideas.

Once you’ve got the hang of it you can try adding in emails to announce product launches and new events, thank you emails and welcome emails. With every email that you send, remember to ask yourself: is this adding value for the person I’m sending it to?

What else should I think about?

Sending a newsletter to your whole audience is just the start. There are lots of other techniques you can use to make sure your email marketing is effective:

  • Segmentation – choosing certain people in your audience to send more targeted emails. For example, you might send an email to people who recently bought tickets to let them know about a similar event.
  • Personalisation – adding personal information into your emails, like the recipient’s first name.
  • AB testing – trying out different ideas in your emails and seeing which one works best. For example, sending the same email with two different subject lines, and seeing which one more people open.

What next?

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas for using email marketing to enhance the relationships between you and your audience, and of ways to make real-world differences to your organisation. If you’d like to learn more, take a look at the articles linked below.

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

Original article by Peggy Naumann. Reviewed on 1 June 2022.

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