The best way to start email marketing

There are almost 5 billion email accounts all over the world. That’s more email accounts than Facebook accounts!

You’ve probably seen reports that show that email marketing has the highest ROI. That means that if you are selling something, you practically HAVE TO do email marketing.

But how exactly do you get started? What steps should you do to set up and run your email marketing campaigns?

In this guide, we’ll talk you through the process of getting started to be sure your campaigns will succeed.

Step 1: Establish your goals

Doing market research and setting up your goals is critical to ensure the success of your email marketing efforts. Every marketing activity starts with proper market research. Learn more about it here: Market research – the Ultimate Guide.

After market research, the second step is usually to set up marketing goals.

Before jumping into your email marketing efforts, first it’s worth taking a minute to think about your goals and what you really want to achieve with email marketing. Your goals will shape the campaign you will send, the design of the emails, the audience you send it, and the content you provide.

Here are some of the most common goals you can set up:

  • Generate leads
  • Sell a product
  • Drive traffic to a specific website or landing page
  • Sell as an affiliate
  • Generate attendees for your event
  • Drive donations to a non-profit

Even if your goal is to sell your product, don’t bombard your subscribers with your offer every time you send out an email.

If you mix your emails with educational and promotional announcements, you will achieve far more success than if you would just send out your offers all the time.

Step 2: Build your email list

In order to send out emails, you have to have a list of intended recipients.

In the previous step, you set your goals and what you want to achieve from email marketing; now you have to build your email list so you can start sending campaigns that achieve those goals.

To grow your email list, you need to attract people with a compelling offer—in other words, a lead magnet.

What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is something valuable for your target audience that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. Most lead magnets are digital materials like PDFs, videos, or MP3 audio files that you can create on your own, and doesn’t cost you a dime.

For lead magnet ideas, read this: 18 amazing lead magnet examples

Or this: Where to place your lead magnet?

Step 3. Choose an email marketing service provider

If you’re serious about email marketing, you need to work with an email marketing service provider. But choosing the best provider can be a challenge. Finding an effective and reasonably priced autoresponder is a big step in this process.

What is an Autoresponder?

“An autoresponder is a service which allows you to automatically send out emails to a group, or to several different groups of people.”

You write the content first, and set up the email you wish to send, and your autoresponder will send it out to whomever you want on your list, at the time you want, and you can be sure that the emails are delivered to the recipient’s inbox.

So which autoresponder should you choose?

If you’re just starting out, and your budget is limited, then MailChimp’s free service, is going to be a great fit. If you can spend some money on your email marketing provider, the best autoresponser choice can depend on your content. If you send out videos, you might try Kartra, or if you sell online products, services like Aweber or OptinMonster would work.

Here is a comparison of some of the most popular email marketing/autoresponder services: The best autoresponders – comparison

The important factor to remember is that, ultimately, your content is more important than the service you are sending through.

Step 4: Personalize your marketing with email list segmentation

Most email lists are much more effective when they are properly segmented.

What is Email list segmentation?

It’s the process of breaking your subscribers into smaller groups or sub-groups, based on specific criteria, so that you can send them content that is more relevant to their specific needs/wants.

Rather than sending out a message to your entire list, proper segmentation allows you to send each email only to those subscribers who you think will be most interested in the content. It will help in conversion, which brings you closer to your goal.

Segments also make it easier to know which subject lines and messages to write that will be helpful for your group.

Here are some segment ideas:

  • New subscribers– send new subscribers a welcome email, or a welcome series.
  • Interests– subscribers who want to hear about specific blog posts vs. those who are interested in another blog category.
  • Location– notify subscribers who live in the area about your offline store or your local event.
  • Open rate– create an offer for your more engaged subscribers.
  • Shopping cart status– remind subscribers who haven’t completed their purchase of the next step you want them to take.
  • Lead magnet– send targeted emails based on the topic of the lead magnet that they opted in for.

These ideas are just a few; there are many more you can come up with.

Once in a while, select the subscribers who have not engaged with you for a specific time period, and unsubscribe them from your list. You can keep your list clean, and deliver your emails only to people who are most likely to open your email, and consume your content.

Step 5: Create your email

When it comes to design, in my opinion, less is more. The simpler your design is, the better. But be sure it contains all the important information you want them to know.

Look for a template that is clean, eye-catching, and fits into your branding. Choose one that is responsive and can be looked at on mobile device, laptop, or tablet.

Spend some time on your subject lines.

Besides great copy, one of the most important elements of a successful email campaign is the subject line. The more interesting your subject line is, the better the chances are that the email will get opened.

Your job is to make your subject lines stand out.

Why should you spend time on writing subject lines? The subject line is the first that your subscribers will see, before they even open your message. Make a good impression and people won’t be able to resist opening.

Your subject line should be short (less than 50 characters) and eye-catching.

To learn more about writing effective subject lines, read this: How to write a good subject line.

And here are: The best subject line formulas

And some examples: 70 email subject line examples

Step 6: Measure your results

Email marketing doesn’t end with when you hit “send”.

Before you send out your campaign, you should set up the proper tracking. Being able to evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts is the ultimate goal of a marketing campaign.

Email reports will tell you valuable information like who opened your email and who ignored it, who clicked on specific links, and what content was the most interesting to your subscribers.

To evaluate results, you can use a report from your email service provider, or a tool like Google Analytics to take your analysis a step further, and see what subscribers did after they clicked on a link through your email.

To learn more about data your email efforts can provide, read this: The most important metrics to measure in your marketing campaigns

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