A lot has changed in the world of marketing since the first email marketing campaign launched in 1978. But what hasn’t changed is its unparalleled effectiveness.
With a low cost to entry and the potential for a substantial return on investment, value is indisputable. In 2022, Litmus released findings that ROI can soar as high as $36 for every dollar invested in email marketing.
Figuring out how to get started though is the toughest part.
The best (email) marketers begin with the relationship
Email marketing may have begun a mass marketing strategy, but it’s always been important to focus on quality rather than quantity. As a consumer, you likely prefer newsletters that inform rather than inundate you with unsolicited and overt promotions, right? Despite the stress GDPR (and before that, Can-Spam) brought to the marketing world, it’s acted as a filter and helped improve both the caliber of our output and the quality of our audiences.
If you’re new to email marketing, begin by thinking about your current (and future) customers who may appreciate what you have to offer. From there, you can build a foundation to captivate your audience, yielding meaningful engagements and tangible results.
Step 1 – Build the foundation with a lead generation strategy
It can take time to build your list so don’t be afraid to start with a handful of subscribers. While there are services that sell email addresses, don’t fall for it. Good emails aren’t for sale and reputable email marketing services won’t let you market to purchased email addresses. They can seriously harm your IP address and reduce email deliverability.
When building your subscriber base, remember that this may be your first interaction with a consumer and will set the tone for your future relationship. Try these ideas to kick-start the process.
- Use lead magnets. Consumers are hyper-protective of their email addresses, so offer something worthwhile in trade. A product sample, a coupon or a downloadable resource are great lead magnet examples.
- Optimize your opt-in form. Create a branded, visually appealing and user-friendly opt-in form. Test the entire experience before you launch, ensuring smooth functionality.
- Capture email addresses in-store. Capitalize on in-person interactions by asking for email addresses in-store.
- Engage existing customers. Leverage the familiarity customers have with your brand and extend an invitation to opt in for future communications.
- Integrate email sign-up in company emails. Simplify the sign-up process by including a link to the opt-in form in your company’s email signature.
- Utilize social media. Actively promote your newsletter on all social profiles — or run ad campaigns that direct people to your signup page.
- Host in-store events. Foster community engagement with in-store events. Whether it’s a fundraising event or a weekly pizza party, build your subscriber list with a store-owned tablet that allows customers to sign up quickly and easily.
- Collaborate with other businesses. Expand your reach through cross-promoted ad campaigns, contests or in-store events to help you both grow. Just be transparent with your customers about your joint communication strategy.
- Run online contests and giveaways. People love to win prizes and are usually willing to offer up an email address in exchange for a chance to win something. Use your social channels and website, and work with content creators to drum up attention.
As you add customers to your newsletter list, segmenting them into subcategories will be the path to success. For example, a customer who signs up after a purchase will have different expectations than a social media contest groupie. You can also tailor your list by age, geography, lifecycle stage or awareness, consideration and decision stage. Regardless of your growth strategy, treat every subscriber like gold and your list will continue to grow over time.
Step 2 – Build your email empire with the right email marketing system
When it comes to email marketing, the right provider is the linchpin that either streamlines your efforts or complicates them. Some will require coding knowledge while others offer the ability to set up your lists and campaigns within minutes.
- ConstantContact. Best for customer support options. One of the largest, fastest-growing providers, it’s a good beginner-friendly option. They offer live chat, phone calls, community support and a large library of resources.
- MailChimp. Best for all-in-one marketing. MailChimp stands out with its intuitive drag-and-drop email builder, auto-responders and seamless integration capabilities. Even with limited automation features, their customer support makes them a good option for small businesses.
- MailerLite. Best for selling paid subscriptions. MailerLite offers a user-friendly interface with easy-to-use features. Customize your email list, access templates for opt-in forms and landing pages, and benefit from a visual automation builder.
- Brevo. Best for unlimited contacts. A simple-to-use, drag-and-drop platform that can create beautiful, engaging emails in minutes. Recent upgrades to their premium plan include advanced features, such as a landing page builder, live chat and Facebook ads integration.
- ConverKit. Best for professional content creators. You’ll be able to integrate a variety of third-party tools to supplement your email strategy. Choose from a variety of lead magnets, content upgrades and landing page templates to simplify lead capture.
- ActiveCampaign. Best for automated email marketing. With advanced automation functionality, it supports complex funnels to speed subscriber growth. Features like subscriber tagging, list segmentation and A/B testing for optimization make it a powerful tool — albeit with a steep learning curve.
Step 3 – Captivate your audience and engage your readers at every turn
Email marketing is more than growing a list and picking a reliable provider. Learn how to engage your readers at every touch point, beginning with the often overlooked “from” field.
- “From” email address. Brand your “from” email address with a creative moniker that establishes an identity and sparks curiosity and connection.
- Subject line. Keep it succinct, clever and on-point for the content in the body of the email. Leverage AI to refine the content and A/B test to measure results.
- Personalization. Address your reader by name and in a familiar tone. Remember, you’re cultivating a relationship — personalization is the bridge that spans the gap between sender and receiver.
- Body text. Craft short and informative content with a direct path to the call to action. Avoid unnecessary verbosity, keeping content concise and compelling.
- CTA. The CTA is a button or piece of text that prompts the reader to take a specific action, such as clicking for more info or a secret discount code.
Email marketing, like all digital marketing, is constantly evolving, improving the tool for both consumers and brands. At the core of it all though is the relationship it creates and nurtures.
Treat your readers with the same care and consideration you would a cherished friend. Every auto-responder, lead magnet and subject line should serve as a catalyst for engagement, propelling tangible results. And remember, the more you help your subscribers, the more they’ll want to hear from you.