Despite how often you might find yourself deleting half your inbox to get down to what really matters, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to announce products, recap your company’s month of work, and generally stay in front of your potential customers. But, how do earn your place in the inbox? How do you even get to the right inboxes?

Let’s start by simply defining email marketing. Email marketing is the practice of blasting out an email to many people to engage them in your company or product. On a fairly regular basis (we’ll look at numbers in a minute), you send out an email to a list of folks who are (hopefully) interested in your products/services asking them to engage with you and potentially begin, continue, or complete a buying cycle.

What Do I Need?

Email marketing doesn’t need to be difficult, but you do need a few things to get started. With these items checked, you’ll be well on your way to garnering those buying relationships.

Email List

Email lists can be grown organically or purchased. With an organic list, people sign up for your emails, either through a form on your website, through an app, or at an event via pen and paper (yea, old school). While an organic list may yield a higher rate of return (those people literally asked you to email them), it takes a lot longer to grow the list to a size that provides a great enough reach. Email marketing is effective, but it’s still a numbers game at the end of the day.

So how many people do you need on your list? Well, it depends on your industry but a good target to start with is 2,500-5,000. To get to that number at a clip fast enough to start making money, you’ll probably need to purchase a target list. There are a few great companies that you can choose from and the prices range from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand.

NOTE: A search for purchasing lists will result in a good number of articles telling you why you should NOT buy email lists, but we can assure you that many of the largest companies in the world not only purchase lists, but got there by purchasing lists. (There may be legal implications for you for buying lists though in some countries, so do make sure you check into that before buying a list.)

Email Content

This might be the hardest part of the whole thing. Creating content is not only hard sometimes, it’s also time consuming. Guess what… you have to do it! I won’t get into the how or how much here, but you will need content for your email.

In some cases, you’ll be looking to announce a new products/services. Other times, you just want to stay in front of your customers. One of the best ways to keep customers engaged is through monthly newsletter emails. You can bundle blog article teasers (that link back to the website), social media recaps, and completed projects in a newsletter. Whatever you do, keep it from being spammy and you’ll be good.

Email Template

We’re a marketing agency, so I’m sure you assume that I’m going to tell you that you need an agency to build email templates. (You’re half right.) While you don’t need an agency to send out emails, an agency is going to best know how to optimize your email, track opens/clicks, and analyze reports – both for the email and how it drives traffic to your site.

But you’re just getting started. Assuming that you aren’t working with an agency already and just want to get started, any of the worthwhile email sending services have great templates to get started. Our favorite, MailChimp, makes life easy and gives you some templates that you can customize without any coding required! Just add your logo, pick your colors, and toss in your content. They even handle mobile device readiness very well.

Email Sending Service

There are many, many, many great email sending services out there, but why do you need one? Well, the answer is fairly simple: you want your emails to be legal and stay out of spam folders.

That first one – being legal – is pretty important. Any email you send out needs to give people a way to opt-out. It also needs to include your physical address and be verified by your ISP. Without getting into too much detail, these sending services are prepared, even made to make sure everything is legal.

Then there’s the issue of spam folders. Email sending services have the proper infrastructure in place to make sure that your emails pass all the tests that email accounts test for to determine if an email is spam. As a bonus, your emails even show pictures by default when sent from a reputable email service!

So who to pick? Well, we already mentioned MailChimp, but there are other great ones as well like Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact and full-service marketing automation services like SharpSpring.

A Quick Example

So let’s run down a quick email flow. Here’s how we produce our monthly newsletter.

  1. First thing on the list is to curate the content we want to include. Most of this content comes from our blog articles and social media. With our articles, we add the headline and a one-sentence teaser (along with a photo) that links back to the website. On the social side, we like to add things that we thought were of interest over the last month. It may be stuff we said, it may be from other people. Once we have that, it’s time to load up our template.
  2. We’ve created a couple of different templates for ourselves, depending on what type of email we’re sending out. In this case, we’re picking our newsletter template and loading the content in.
  3. Once the email is good and loaded (and spell-checked, grammar edited, etc), it’s time to choose who we’re sending it to. Depending on your setup, you can segment your list for different purposes, but this is a newsletter, so we’re going to send it to everyone!
  4. With everything in place, it’s time to click send! (You’ll most likely have the option to send immediately or schedule the email. Both have their pros – it just depends on you and the email purpose.)

I’ll refrain from saying “that’s all there is to it”, but we’re done. Collect your content, get it into a template, choose who to send it to, and click send. That’s a bit over-simplified, but that’s how you do it.

How We Can Help

With a few hours and an afternoon, anyone can get started with email marketing, but there’s more to it if you want to really make it count. We’ve only scratched the surface here.

Beyond the steps above, there are a ton of things we take care of like customizing and optimizing your email template, tracking users from email to website, integrating analytics software, setting DNS records to verify domains, creating an overall brand, and developing a marketing automation strategy.

It can be as little or as much work as you’d like, but the time put in pays off in the long run. Let us help you get to your goals faster. Give us a shout today!


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