Grow your business with email marketing.
If you’re in business today, you need an email marketing strategy. In spite of the rise of messaging apps and social media, email is just as popular as ever.
We send and receive hundreds of billions of emails every year, and most adults and three-quarters of teenagers use email as a communication tool. That means no matter what demographic your business is targeting, email is an excellent way to get their attention.
In fact, if you’re not engaging with your customers on email, you’re missing an excellent opportunity to make them fall in love with your brand, because most people want to get emails from the brands they like. If you’re offering discounts and coupons via email, they’ll likely love you even more!
An email marketing campaign gives you the chance to improve your relationship with existing, new and potential customers while providing the information they need.
Just as importantly, email has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing strategy. For every dollar you spend on email marketing you get back $38 in revenue, or even more.
There are many benchmark data reports you can check out by Supplygem or SmartInsights, that shows responses to email that have been fairly constant and growing over the past few years.
Whatever your reasons for using email marketing, there’s no denying it’s an excellent tool for launching products and services, driving traffic to landing pages, and highlighting your expertise with excellent content and resources.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to get started with email marketing in four simple steps. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to launch and optimize your email marketing strategy.
Step #1: Choose Your Email Service Provider
One of the most important decisions you have to make when starting your email marketing strategy is which email service provider to use. There are hundreds to choose from, but we’re going to assess three of our favourites: MailChimp, MailerLie, and Sendinblue.
Mailchimp is more than just an email marketing service provider. Besides email marketing, it comes with all the important features that let you convert your visitors into subscribers and customers.
Mailchimp’s features are powerful and affordable for marketers of all sizes, whether you’re a blogger, local business, or a company with off-the-charts growth. For example, you can create beautiful landing pages to convert your visitors into subscribers and paying customers.
Connecting Mailchimp to your WordPress website or eCommerce store is a breeze. You can also find hundreds of integrations with apps you already use.
Mailchimp also offers pre-built templates and ready-made segments so that you can create professional emails in an instant.
Mailchimp pricing depends on the number of subscribers you have.
- Free – $0, includes 7 marketing channels, basic templates, marketing CRM, and 1-click automations.
- Essential – Starting a $9.99/month for all email templates, A/B testing, custom branding, and 24/7 support.
- Standard – Starting at $14.99/month. Includes automation series, retargeting ads, custom templates, and advanced audience insights.
- Premium – Starting at $299/month, this plan includes advanced segmentation, unlimited seats and role-based access, phone support, and multivariate testing.
Mailchimp is best for marketing beginners and other users who want an all-in-one marketing suite at an affordable price.
If you’re looking to build an email list on a tight budget, then you might want to consider MailerLite.
MailerLite lets you grow your email list for free until you reach 1000 subscribers. They provide you with advanced technologies to attract your visitors and convert them into subscribers, such as landing page, popups and easy-to-use form builder. Plus, their drag and drop editor lets you create professional looking emails easily.
With MailerLite, the more subscribers you have, the more you pay each month.
- Free – For 1 – 1000 subscribers, 12,000 emails per month, and limited features.
- $10/month – For 1 – 1000 subscribers, unlimited emails per month, and all features.
- $15/month – For 1001 – 2500 subscribers, unlimited emails, all features.
- $30/month – For 2501 – 5000 subscribers, unlimited emails, all features.
- $50/month – For 5001 – 10,000 subscribers, unlimited emails per month, all features.
MailerLite is best for users who need a simple solution to grow their email list. If you’re on a tight budget, then we strongly recommend MailerLite.
Sendinblue is an email and SMS marketing software designed with simplicity in mind. Even an absolute beginner can easily start creating marketing campaigns without prior knowledge.
Based on customer interaction, you can send transactional messages with reliable delivery. What sets Sendinblue apart from their competition is that their pricing is based on the number of emails you send.
You can buy SMS credits separately with no expiry date.
- Free – $0 for 300 emails per day and unlimited contacts.
- Lite – $25/month for 40,000 emails per month and no daily sending limit.
- Essential – $39/month for 60,000 emails per month and the ability to remove Sendinblue logo from emails.
- Premium – $66/month for 120,000 emails per month and marketing automation features.
- Enterprise – Price varies and includes all premium features, dedicated account manager, priority support, and more.
Sendinblue is best for beginner marketers.
Now you can compare Mailchimp, MailerLite and Sendinblue to see which one best suits your business.
Next, we’ll look at how to get started with your first email marketing campaign.
- Don’t be swayed by what’s cheap today. Remember that once your subscriber list grows, you’ll have to pay more, so work out what makes sense in the medium to long term.
- Make sure that your email service provider allows you to import existing customer data. This will make it easier to build your first email list.
Step #2: Set Up Your First Email Campaign
Once you’ve figured out which email service provider is right for your business, it’s time to get started with setting up your email marketing campaign. This means setting up an account, creating a list, designing an email signup form and creating a new campaign.
Open an Email Marketing Account
MailChimp asks you to provide an email address, username and password to get started. So does MailerLite for an easy account creation and next requests the most information, including name, address, email address to activate your account. You’ll need to have a credit card handy to complete the billing section.
We are certified agency partners with both Mailchimp and MailerLite. If you choose to go with MailerLite, you can get a 30 day free trial of all their premium features by signing up here. This is an incentive that is exclusively for their partners.
Set Up Your First List
You’ll also need to create an email list or audience which will collect the subscribers who fill in your subscription forms. You’ll need to give the list a name, and add any details the email service provider requests. This may include:
- Your name and address
- Your business website
- The name and email you’ll be sending emails from
Depending on the provider, you may also be asked to write a short note to remind people how they got on your list.
Design an Email Signup Form
The next step is to create an email signup form so you can add new subscribers to your list. Most email subscriber lists are double opt-in, which means that after people sign up, they’ll have to click a link to confirm that they really want your emails. This is important for compliance with national and international anti-spam laws.
All email providers have signup form templates and some, like MailChimp and MailerLite also have drag and drop form builders. Either way it’s easy to get your form set up. You can usually customize your forms to match the purpose of your list/audience, occasion, or business branding by adding images and changing fonts and colors.
You can also customize email signup forms by adding additional fields (such as first name and last name) instead of sticking with the default setup. This allows you to use an email signup form to collect the information that’s most relevant to your business.
When you have finished designing your form, you can add it to your website. Most providers have integrations with popular website platforms like WordPress to make it easy to put signup forms wherever you want. You can add your signup forms using HTML code.
Great places to put your email signup form include:
- In your sidebar, where it’s visible from every page
- In a floating bar at the top or bottom of every web page
- At the end of blog posts, because people who like your content are more likely to sign up
- A pop-up form that can be configured to show up after several seconds, scroll or even when people are exiting your site
Most providers also have integrations so you can embed email subscription forms on Facebook and other social media sites. The more places you put your signup form, the more chances there are for people to subscribe to your email list so you can market your business.
Create Your First Email
Next, it’s time to create your first email campaign. Unless you’re technically inclined, the easiest option is to use your provider’s campaign builder.
Give your campaign a name, then write your email subject line. This is what people will see when your email lands in their inbox. It’s also what makes people decide whether to open your email, ignore it, or mark it as spam. Here are some great inspiration of 164 email subject lines and 55 perfect cold email subject lines to help you get started.
Then it’s time to design it. Most of the providers now have a drag and drop email newsletter editor, a pre-made template, or a combination of the two.
There is also an option to import custom made templates that are built especially to your brands vision with stand-out identity. This requires some development knowledge or to hire someone to build it for you.
Now select your options and start writing the content of your first email.
Take advantage of preview and testing features to see what your email looks like and send a test message to yourself. This lets you see the email the way your subscribers will, and make any last minute changes before launching the campaign.
Once you’re happy, schedule or send the campaign.
- Think about what kind of email form you want. Some signup forms can be triggered to popup after a certain time, or when people are about to leave your site.
- Collect photos, logos and digital assets to give to your designer so subscriber forms and campaigns match your branding.
- Make sure that you ask for editable email templates so you can tweak them later if you change your branding.
Step #3: Create Your Email Lifecycle
Sending your first email is only the beginning of marketing your business with email. To be truly effective, you’ll need to think about creating an email lifecycle. Lifecycle marketing helps you attract prospects who eventually become customers, nurturing and supporting them along the way. An email lifecycle does exactly the same thing, but with email.
Your email lifecycle will match the stages of the customer journey. You can think of these as awareness, interest, desire, action or, otherwise described them, onboarding, nurturing, promotional and transactional.
Each stage requires different types of emails, all of which contribute to converting browsers into leads and, eventually, buyers. Some typical examples are:
- Onboarding emails: welcome emails, requests for subscribers to set or update preferences, getting started guides for your product or service.
- Nurturing: newsletters, blog post updates, product and service announcements.
- Promotional: offers, sales and other promotions.
- Transactional: order confirmations, receipts, subscription renewals, emails for loyal customers.
You’ll need all of these types of emails for a comprehensive email marketing campaign.
That means writing a lot of email subject lines, a lot of email marketing copy, and a lot of calls to action. In fact, in order to test the effectiveness of your campaigns, you’ll need to write multiple subject lines and calls to action for each email. We’ll talk about that more in the next step.
It’s also important to decide if you’re going to include any email marketing series or mini-courses, as you’ll be developing your relationship with subscribers across several emails.
In addition to the copy, consider creating email templates that are optimized for different types of emails. Down the road, you might want to send emails with multiple columns, interactive features and video, so your templates need to allow for that. And each email will need to be branded so subscribers know who it’s coming from. That brand recognition will help build the customer relationship.
- Know what you want to achieve with each email so you can brief your copywriter and help them target the emails in the correct way with the right call to action.
- Let the designer know what your brand colors are and the purpose of the email so they can create the perfect email template for your marketing campaign.
Step #4: Optimize Your Campaigns
After you send any email marketing campaign, your email service provider will give you statistics on how many emails were opened, clicked and forwarded, and how many people unsubscribed.
You’ll also be able to see what made people click and, often, when they took action on an email. And you can check the performance of your emails against the latest email marketing benchmarks to see if there’s anything you need to optimize.
The truth is, there’s almost always something you can do better. Common areas to look at with email marketing include sending time, subject lines, buttons and calls to action, and body text and images.
Optimize the Sending Time
Sending time makes a big difference to whether people open your emails or not. The email benchmarks shared above show that most people open emails on Thursdays around 4pm. Of course, this may be different for your own email list. Pay attention to your email analytics to see if you can get a better open rate by sending your email at a different time.
Optimize the Subject Line
As mentioned earlier, the subject line is a big factor in whether people open your emails. One way to optimize your subject line is to A/B test two different subject lines and see which one gets the better results. There are a lot of technicalities with setting up split tests, so it may be useful to get help from an email campaign optimization professional.
Optimize the Buttons
Once people have opened your emails, the buttons with your call to action are essential for guiding people to take the next step in their relationship with you. To make these better, you’ll need to experiment with changing button colors and copy, and split test to see what works.
Optimize the Copy and Images
Similarly, you can change the copy and images according to who the email list is going to, in order to improve performance. You wouldn’t send the same email to a repeat customer as to someone who’s just made their first purchase. A professional campaign optimizer can suggest ways to adjust your email messaging so you get it right every time.
- Provide as much data as possible on the current performance of your email marketing campaign so your campaign optimizer will know exactly what to do next.
- Ask for help with additional campaign tweaks – that’s why you’ve hired an expert.
Grow your business with email marketing by following these four simple steps and you’ll soon have email marketing campaigns that build your connection with your subscribers and help you generate more leads and make more sales.
Grow your business with email marketing
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