Email Marketing For Beginners: A Step by Step Guide
Marketing has many shapes and forms but one of the most effective strategies is email marketing. Email marketing has been around forever, and for good reason. It’s the most direct and effective way of connecting with your leads, nurturing them, and turning them into customers, consistently winning out over all other marketing channels. I remember getting my first email from Travelocity about 20 years ago.
Email marketing has the highest return on investment out of all marketing channels. According to a study, for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can generate $42 ROI. Pretty impressive, no?
Another benefit of email marketing is that you own your email list, unlike your social media profiles. You can take your email list and upload it to any email provider. You can also email your subscribers at any time and rest assured they’ll see your email instead of relying on an algorithm that may or may not show your latest post to your followers.
If you’re looking to jumpstart your email marketing, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll share 7 simple steps for getting started with your email marketing so you can grow your list and convert your subscribers into clients and customers.
1. Set Your Goals
The first step is to set some goals for your email marketing. Of course, you need to know what’s the ultimate goal that you’re trying to achieve with your email marketing. But you also need to know how many subscribers you’re shooting for as you’re getting started.
In addition to that, you also need to know what metrics you’ll keep track of and what’s the desired and realistic engagement rate you’d like to get from your email campaigns.
Once you have goals, you can set metrics to keep track of and measure your progress. You can then adjust your email marketing strategy as needed to ensure you’re on track for reaching your goals.
2. Pick a Marketing Service
Some email marketing platforms allow you to get started for free while others give you a free trial during which you can try out all of their features.
The price for their paid plans will depend on the number of subscribers you have, however, there are some that are free to use for up to 1000–2000 subscribers. This includes MailChimp and MailerLite.
MailChimp and MailerLite are also very beginner-friendly and offer a drag and drop email builder so composing emails is easy and straightforward. MailerLite’s free plan is also more robust and offers automations and different types of sign up forms.
However, if you’re looking for a more robust automation system and powerful targeting options, email marketing services like ActiveCampaign or Constant Contact might be a better fit.
The choice is yours. We recommend signing up for the free plan and giving each platform a try before settling on your final choice.
3. Install Sign up Forms
Once you’ve signed up for an email marketing service, you need to install sign up forms onto your website. Luckily, most email marketing platforms allow you to easily create a sign up form and give you the code you need to add it to your website.
The setup will differ from one provider to the next but generally speaking, you might need to add a piece of code to your website’s header or you’ll need to add the form’s code directly to the page where you want the form to show up.
There are a few places you can include sign up forms on your website:
- Your homepage near the top or above the fold so it’s visible when someone lands on your site without scrolling down
- The footer so people can sign up without having to scroll all the way up
- At the bottom of your blog posts
- In your blog sidebar
Essentially, you want to give your subscribers multiple opportunities to sign up and get on your list through your website.
4. Build Your List
Now that you have your forms installed, it’s time to focus on growing your email list. While you can certainly let your social media followers know that you have an email list, you also need to give them a reason to subscribe.
Unfortunately, no one wants yet another email in their inbox. That’s why you have to offer an incentive that will encourage people to sign up. This is known as a lead magnet.
The goal of your lead magnet is to solve a problem your ideal client or customer is facing and give them a quick win. It can be as simple as a checklist, free trial or a discount code. Or, it can be more complex as a free audio training or a case study. It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value to your visitors for free.
5. What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?
You already know that a lead magnet needs to provide value for free. But if you want your lead magnet to be highly effective, here are criteria for you to consider:
- Easily consumed: Lead magnets are only effective when the audience uses them, so if you deliver a 300-page manifesto, you won’t gain traction.
- Actionable: Lead magnets need to provide an actionable tool, skillset, or useful information that your audience can apply.
- Creates noticeable improvement: People continue to buy products and services if they work well. Your lead magnet will become successful if it’s as valuable as your products and services.
- Relevant: If you’ve done your homework about your prospects, you’ll have no trouble coming up with a lead magnet subject that solves problems.
- Immediately available: People love instant gratification, so give it to them right then and there.
After you have your lead magnet, start promoting it on your social media profiles and invite your followers to sign up. You can also tell them what to expect from your emails and how often you plan on emailing them.
Make this a part of your regular marketing strategy and promote your lead magnet at least once a week.
6. Email List Segmentation and Why You Should Use It
Email list segmentation is the process of dividing your subscribers into smaller group segments based on specific criteria. Segmentation allows you to send subscribers more personalized and relevant emails.
Segmenting your list is proven to increase email open rates, boost click-through rates, and decrease unsubscribe rates. That is why marketers use segmentation to drastically improve the effectiveness of their email campaigns.
7. Avoid Spam Filters
It is very easy to get into the span folder these days. So many emails from legit companies end up there more often than not. Here are some best practices to keep your emails from falling into spam folders:
- Make sure all recipients have actually opted-in to receiving your emails. If this is not the case many will flag your email as spam and the message will spread like wildfire.
- Send your email campaign from a good IP address. If your IP address have ever been flagged distributing spam, the emails will likely be recognized as spam once again.
- Send emails through verified domains.
- Keep your email template code clean. To do that, simply use the built-in interface and try to avoid coding your own.
- Personalize your emails by using tags such as [first name] [last name]
- Include your location physical address or city, state, country.
- Provide an easy way for users to unsubscribe. Majority of platforms provide this by default.
8. Select Your Campaign Type
As your email list starts to grow, you’ll want to send regular campaigns to your subscribers. There are several campaign types to choose from. Most commonly, they include automated email campaigns, regular campaigns, promotional campaigns, and similar.
An automated campaign gets sent automatically based on a trigger. For example, you can set up an automatic campaign that goes out to new subscribers as soon as they join your list. This is a great choice to set up so your lead magnet can get delivered to your subscribers.
If you want to send a regular campaign (also known as a broadcast), you’ll typically compose your email and send it immediately or schedule it in the future. This is a great choice for regular newsletters that go out once a week.
Lastly, you can use promotional campaigns when you have a sale or want to notify your email subscribers about a special event, training, and similar.
9. Create a Campaign
After you have decided on your campaign type, simply log in to your email marketing service and create a new campaign. You can then use the tools to compose your email. While most marketing services will allow you to add images to your email, don’t go overboard with them as the more images you have the longer it will take for your email to load. Also different email platforms might not show images right away and user will need to confirm the intent prior to showing them.
As far as what to include in your emails, you can share exclusive tips with your subscribers, let them be the first to know about special offers, share behind the scenes of your business, and more.
10. When should I send marketing emails?
Timing is another one that can vary widely depending on your list. Experiment with this and see what gives you the best results for your subscribers. Some platforms such as Mailchimp have an automated system that makes recommendations based on your subscribers open rate data. You also can check Google Analytics to find out when your subscribers are most active and send your emails at that time.
11. Test, Test, Test
The last step in our email marketing guide is to test everything to see what gets you better open and click rates. Test different types of campaigns as well as different subject lines and calls to action. Test different days to send your email campaign on as well as different times.
Most email marketing services have a dashboard where you can keep track of your campaign results so be sure to review it regularly. Then, tweak, improve, and adjust accordingly.
Watch Your Email Marketing Plan Take Shape
And that concludes our list of steps to get you started with email marketing. The only thing left to do now is to take action, define your goals, and start setting up your email marketing service. Good luck!