What your students should know about email marketing in 2024

Email marketing can be a secret weapon for businesses looking to drive engagement and convert prospects into paying customers. 

Plus, the demise of third-party cookies to gather data means leveraging first-party data to communicate and influence is crucial.    

Graduates with email marketing experience are a valuable asset to any business, especially when the return on investment (ROI) for email is $36 for every $1 spent according to Litmus research– no easy feat in the digital world.    

This makes email marketing an important part of your digital marketing curriculum. It’s a channel that companies rely on to drive personalization and communicate with their target audience at scale.    

So let’s look at what email marketing is, why it’s important, and what your students need to learn to succeed in the competitive job market. 

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a marketing strategy that uses email to prospects and customers to increase engagement, boost brand awareness, nurture leads, or drive conversions.   “Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches—at scale.” – David Newman, marketing expert and host of The Selling Show Podcast. 

Why is email marketing important?

The number of global e-mail users is set to grow to 4.73 billion in 2026, according to Statista. This figure shows the global reach and potential influence of the channel for marketers and businesses.    It also results in several measurable and key benefits such as:  

  • Driving personalization
  • Boosting web traffic
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Driving leads and sales
  • Helping with customer retention
  • Growing an audience
  • Boosting other marketing channels

What email marketing skills do your students need?

With so many tangible benefits, your students need to know how to use email marketing. So what are the key skills they need? 

1. List management

Lists are everything when it comes to email marketing. The quality of the email lists will determine who and how a business communicates with subscribers or customers.    While tons of leads coming in may seem like a great thing, if the quality of those leads is low, then the chance of converting is also low. So list management is essential.    It’s not only about tagging leads to know where they came from (e.g. a Facebook ad campaign) but also cleaning lists regularly to delete spammy or incorrect email addresses. This will help drive click-throughs and reduce unsubscribes.   

2. Segmentation and targeting

A well-managed email database will help to segment leads and customers. This enables marketers to create lists related to an action or interest so any communication is relevant and more likely to drive engagement.    For example, a PPC campaign generated hundreds of leads by prompting people to download an ebook on TikTok. By segmenting this group into a list, marketers can retarget prospects with messaging about that ebook or TikTok to drive engagement.    There are many segments you can use for emails:  

  • Demographics
  • Behaviour
  • Location
  • Persona
  • Stage of the funnel
  • Organization type (B2B)
  • Activity
  • Customer type

  Using segmentation will help a marketer gain insights into how different groups respond to emails. This knowledge will help to create content that resonates with particular groups.   

3. Content creation

Content creation is important for all marketing channels, but emails require a well-thought-out approach.    Unlike blogs or landing pages, emails need to get to the point quickly and provide enough information to encourage someone to click through. So there’s a fine balance when writing email content.    It’s important to craft interesting subject lines as this is the first thing people will read in their inbox. Marketers need to think about the group that’s being targeted and craft something that will spark interest.    CTAs are also crucial. ‘Learn more’ may be commonplace but is it enticing? Could something else be used that relates to the offer or message that would be more effective?    A/B testing can help your students understand what type of subject line or CTA works.    

4. Analytics and insights

The great thing about email marketing is that it is measurable. Using a platform such as HubSpot or Mailchimp provides a dashboard with the key email metrics to gain insights to see what emails are effective to double down on what works rather than wasting time with low-performing messaging or content.   The types of email marketing metrics to track are:   

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Bounce rate
  • ROI
  • List growth rate

   It’s important for students to establish key metrics from the outset and track and review them regularly to get the most from email activities.    

5. Automation

Automation is a key part of email marketing. It enables businesses to set up automated workflows and trigger campaigns. According to ‘The State of Marketing Automation’ report, 65% of marketers leverage email automation.    The benefit of automated flows or campaigns is that they are based on an action. For example, someone may have abandoned an item in their cart. An automated email can be set up to remind that person of that product and prompt them to go back and complete the purchase.    Automation can drive personalization, improve customer retention rate, and scale up email marketing efforts.   

Conclusion: Email marketing

The key to helping your students get to grips with email marketing is to offer hands-on experience. It’s important to understand how to use email tools to create and craft engaging emails but also track performance to get the most out of campaigns and activities. 

Empower your students with an email marketing simulation

Try our free email marketing simulation demo to see what you can offer your students. See why universities, schools, and learning providers trust our simulation solutions to upskill and empower future marketers.