MSP Marketing: A Guide to Email Marketing

 Monday 16 April, 2018

A guide for MSP businesses on how to create and use email marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness and generate new customer leads.

While you might think that email marketing is a thing of the past it still very much has a place in most companies’ digital marketing strategy. While it has been around for a while email is still a great way to engage with your audience and upsell and cross-sell services to them. Email in 2018 is still showing some impressive statistics for marketing purposes - spend on email marketing in the US will grow from $2.07 billion in 2014 to $3.07 billion in 2019. One of the most important metrics to measure for email marketing success is click-through rate and according to Email Monks average CTR across all industries in 2017 was 4.19% . Just like in any other marketing channel personalisation is always a big key to success and it is no different for email marketing. According to Campaign Monitor, 72% of customers open an email due to the discount it offers and 62% customers open due to the personalized subject line which will affect your email campaigns greatly if you don’t attempt to personalise to your different customer segments. The three main email platforms used by consumers to open and interact with their customer base are in order Apple iPhone, Gmail and, Apple iPad and with smartphone usage increasing year on year, mobile optimisation for email will have to be a consideration when companies design their campaigns.

Creating an email campaign

When it comes to creating an email campaign you don’t have to do that process manually as it will eat a huge amount of time for any kind of significant customer base. Luckily there are a number of email automation platforms that will help save you a lot of time and will give you effective reporting to see how your campaigns perform. To name a few of these: MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and Drip.

Drip Logo
Mail Chimp Logo
Campaign Monitor Logo

For the purpose of showing you how to use email marketing to your advantage and how to create campaigns, we will use MailChimp as it is one of the most widely used around the world. The screenshot below is what you should see when you go to the MailChimp website and attempt to log in/create an account. There are a variety of different price plans available including a free option which has its limits however there are paid plans to suit small businesses.


Once logged into the dashboard you will see the image below (minus the coloured boxes). It is a very simple interface to navigate and you should have very little issues finding your way around. The RED box shows the navigation panel where you can quickly move between all the campaigns you’ve created, find email templates to help you design effective emails to increase conversions and to find reports of your performance. The GREEN box will allow you to filter through ongoing campaigns that you have running and campaigns that have finished or are still in draft. Lastly, the BLUE box shows you your campaigns in greater detail and make edits to it and for campaigns that are running, you can get high-level metrics on its performance such as open rates. Just above this blue box in grey, you can see a dark grey box which is where you will click to start creating your first campaign.


The next screen you will see is the one below. MailChimp will allow you to create an email campaign, ads or a landing page for your campaigns. For this, we will continue the focus on email and look at what that process will be like.


Next, you must decide what type of an email you want to send to your audience and are given four different options ( as seen in the screenshot below); regular, automation, plain-text and A/B test. “Regular” is your standard email which you will be using most of the time, “Automation” emails are extremely useful for saving time allowing you to automate the process of sending product update emails or even sending your customers an email on their birthday with product discounts and you won’t have to do that one by one once you have the correct data gathered legally. “Plain-text” is a very basic email with no images or hyperlinks and only contains text and “A/B Test” allows you to test different aspects of one email on different customer segments so you can find the right subject line or gif that leads to conversions from the target audience.


Next, you can decide which of your customers or leads you want to send your new email to. It is best practice to segment your customers as best you can to allow for effective targeting when it comes to email. It will help you to make sure that you are sending the correct messaging to your different customer types and to increase the chances of a higher CTR.


Now you have to edit the campaign information. The information is broken down into a few different boxes. First, you have the campaign name which you had entered previously but can now change if you see fit. The next box is the email subject which will probably the first thing that the customer reads/sees and needs to be written effectively so it is eye-catching without seeming like it is spam in the eye of a customer. The next box is the preview text while it isn’t as important as the subject line but it should be written concisely so that the customer will get an idea of the content of the email without clicking into it. Obviously, you want customers to click into the email but if these aspects mentioned above aren’t considered carefully it may not be opened at all.


On the same page, you have to consider the different tracking rules and which ones will be most important for your campaigns. It allows tracking links through Google Analytics and campaign statistics through Salesforce.


Once those details are sorted you will get to the design stage of your email campaign (above). Here you can choose from a list of already created templates which are based on specific goals of the campaign such as selling a product or following up on a query. If you have the time to create your own these can be saved for later for duplication and quick editing. If you have web development know/programming knowledge you can code your own from scratch to give you full creative reign to design what you need.


If you choose and pre-made template you will be brought to a design screen where you can swap in and out different elements to your liking using a simple drag and drop method. MailChimp allows you to send a preview email to anyone you wish so you can send it to members of your team to get critical feedback if changes need to be made.

Once you are happy with all of the above steps in the process of creating an email campaign you will be brought to a final review screen to make sure that you have everything correct before it is send onto your chosen list of users. Depending on what plan you use you may have to pay for more “sends” if the campaign you are planning exceeds that of your plan limitations. MailChimp offers a “Pay As You Go” plan which may be more effective for a smaller business with limited marketing budgets.

While a lot of people view email marketing as useless spam it is still a highly effective tool to generate leads and to increase sales and conversions in the current digital marketing climate. With the MSP market becoming more saturated year on year there is a need for smaller players to stand out or reach clients in a new and interesting way and email is one of the channels that will lead to that success.

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