What Is Email Marketing and Why Does My Food Brand Need an Email List?

So you’ve heard of email marketing and you’ve started putting together a list of email contacts. You’ve signed up to a few mailing lists for inspiration. You have a feeling it’s important for your brand but getting started is tough. You keep saying that you need to do it, but for whatever reason, you’ve never quite got round to sending your first marketing email. But that’s about to change.

With the growth and scope of social media, email marketing might seem old-school. But don’t be fooled, Email marketing is very much alive-and-kicking! And there’s never been a better time to start sending regular campaigns.

Read on to discover why every food brand should incorporate email marketing in to the mix.

The Definition of Email Marketing – Are You Already Doing It, Without Realising?

Email marketing is simply the promotion of your products or services via email. It could refer to a single plain text email sent to one person, or an HTML and rich media campaign sent to thousands. Ultimately, whenever you send a promotional message via email, you are email marketing.

You can also do email marketing without selling or promoting anything. If you don’t have a product yet or don’t want to sound overly promotional can use email as a way to build a relationship with your audience. You can introduce them to your brand, ethos, mission and values over time. Then, when you do ask for sales, your subscribers will be even more likely to buy.

What Are the Benefits of Email Marketing for My Food Business?

Here are just a few of the ways email marketing can help your food business.

It’s Targeted

Your emails go straight to the inbox of the person you want to reach. And with social media reach and engagement on the decline, it’s the most sure-fire way of reaching your audience.

It’s Low Cost

Providing you choose the right marketing platform, email marketing is relatively cost-effective. Certainly in comparison to other forms of paid digital marketing, it’s low cost. And there’s potential for a huge return on investment (ROI).

It’s Straightforward (We Promise!)

Most email marketing platforms offer simple, easy-to-use templates. You can drag and drop your content into place to create beautiful emails in minutes.

It’s Measureable

Most email marketing platforms will generate detailed reports. You’ll be able to view open rates, conversions and link clicks.

It’s Scaleable

It is easy to scale your email marketing up (or down!) to suit your brand’s needs.

It Saves You Time

By using an email marketing platform, you can save countless hours on adapting and sending individual marketing emails.

It’s Environmentally Friendly!

Email marketing is paper free which, let’s face it, is always a bonus.

The Power of an Email List – You Own It and Can Take It Anywhere

Your email list is one of your most reliable marketing tools. It is a list of people with a very real interest in what you do. So building an email list is one of the most important things you can do for your food brand.

What’s more, these people have given you permission to contact them.

You can create the narrative and control their journey as they get to know your brand.

And your list stays with you forever! Your brand could change direction or your offices could move to the other side of the world. But no matter what happens, you’ll always have that email list.

Email Service Providers and Other Tools to Help You Send Marketing Emails

There are many email marketing providers and tools that can help you send your marketing emails. As with most things, they all have their own benefits and drawbacks. Most email marketing platforms come with variety of tools such as customisable templates, list building and integration with other platforms.

We’ve identified some of the best platforms and tools for beginners, with a brief overview of their features and benefits. It is really important that you choose the right service provider for you. But don’t panic if you don’t like the platform you’ve chosen. You can usually switch to a different one with little fuss.

Email Marketing Service Providers


Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing tools for beginners. This is probably because it is one of the easiest to use. You can create your own template or use one from the Mailchimp library (there are hundreds!). Use it to create a beautiful-looking campaign in minutes.

You can also choose optional, easy-to-use integrations and add-ons. It recently also started offering integration with Facebook and Instagram to help you run ads, which is pretty cool. It is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and prices grow with your mailing list size.


Like Mailchimp, GetResponse is easy to use and competitively priced. It is used by a variety of established brands including Hilton, Citroen and Avon. GetResponse users also get access to a full iStock gallery of images, which is a real time-saver.


Drip is one of the newer email marketing services around. It is easy to use and there are plenty of features. Although these can be a little overwhelming if you’re new to email marketing. The visual workflows are a great initiative for helping you to plan your campaign. Drip is one of the priciest options but you can try it for free for up to 100 subscribers.

Copywriting Tools

If you need a hand with the content of your emails, these nifty tools can help.


Grammarly is a free spelling and grammar-check tool, handy for writing email copy. (And any other copy for that matter.) The extension works with Chrome, Safari and Firefox and checks spelling and grammar across Facebook, Linkedin, WordPress, Twitter and pretty much anywhere else you can think of!

Hemingway App

This brilliant app aims to make your writing as bold and clear as possible, which makes it great for email content. Hemingway displays basic information such as word and paragraph count, and also highlights common writing mistakes in different colours. It also tells you the reading time and ‘readability’. Fantastic for giving your emails the greatest impact.

Copyright-Free Image Libraries

Powerful images are key to an impactful email campaign. But if you don’t have your own, there are some great sites offering copyright-free images that will make an impression.


Foodiesfeed says it’s aim is ‘to make the online space related to food more beautiful and eliminate all the ugly sterile stock photos that people still keep using.’ We say Amen to that!


One of the best! The Unsplash team curate the submissions and highlight their favourites on the homepage.


A great resource, powered by Shopify, Burst offers free images for entrepreneurs.

More Email Marketing Tips

It can take just one email to make or break your relationship with your audience. Our Guide to Email Marketing will help make sure your next email campaign gets it right.

It’s also important to invest some time in growing your email list. Our article about Converting More Visitors to Subscribers has many tips and best practices.

Data Protection Guidelines

Ok, we know this is the boring bit. But it’s important to make sure you’re up to date with these guidelines now, so you can avoid any issues later.

A new set of laws known as the General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, has just come into effect. The purpose of GDPR is to make sure customers have control over their personal data. It affects anyone that sells to EU citizens.

There’s quite a lot of complexity to these new laws which is outside the scope of this article. If you need advice or guidance on ensuring you comply, we recommend reading around the subject on the Information Commissioner’s Office website and seeking professional advice if you feel you need it.

Email Marketing Tips for Food Brands

We hope that by now you’re armed with enough information to get you started.

For more tips and tactics to help you send the right email marketing message to the right person at the right time, download our email marketing guide.