Email marketing generates $42 for every $1 spent.
This makes it a great tool for small business owners to connect with their audience and convert their subscribers to customers.
So how do you get started with email marketing? How do you build up an email list?
What are the steps you take to go from never having done this before to having a successful email strategy for your business?
We’re answering all of those questions and more in today’s post about email marketing for beginners.
Let’s dive in!
- Email marketing is important because your list of subscribers is your list, therefore, you own it and it’s not dependent on another platform.
- Segmented emails are effective because they allow you to send emails to people based on the actions they’ve taken so far.
- The best way to build your email list is to offer a lead magnet and by using an email marketing software.
What Is Email Marketing?
Before we tackle email marketing for beginners, let’s first quickly define what email marketing is.
Opt-In Monster said, “Email marketing is a type of direct marketing that uses personalized, mass emails to educate…
…and convince a lead to take a specific action, like making a purchase.”
So you, as a business owner, would have a list of email addresses from your target audience that you can send emails to.
And we’ll talk more about how you get a list of email addresses in a minute…
…but we want to clarify something right out of the gates because a lot of people hear that definition about sending “mass emails”.
They think that it means you’re logging into your Gmail account and sending emails one by one to all your customers.
Or, sending one giant email to a list of 100 people with them all CCed.
That is NOT how you perform email marketing.
There are super easy, user-friendly programs you will use to conduct your email marketing that we’ll cover today.
But we just wanted to clarify that upfront to take away some of the stress people have about even approaching email marketing.
It’s not that time-consuming or labor-intensive when done right.
And we’re going to teach you how to do it right in this email marketing for beginners guide so make sure you read to the end.
Email Marketing For Beginners: Why Is It Important & Still Relevant?
If you’re on social media, you may have experienced the struggle a lot of small business owners face in growing their followers.
Don’t get us wrong, it can be done and we have several posts on that.
But the downfall is that ultimately, your profile on social media and your followers there are in the hands of the social media platform.
If the platform experiences issues and isn’t working for the day, you don’t have access to your followers for the day.
You don’t have any way to contact them.
And if the platform shuts down permanently, RIP Vine, then you just lost all your followers and potential customers.
Email marketing is important because your list of subscribers is YOUR list. You own it and it’s not dependent on another platform.
Think of it this way, if Instagram were to die today, and you lost all 40,000 of your followers…
…would you still feel pretty stable because you’d gotten the email addresses of the majority of those followers?
Or would you be panicking like, “I just lost all my potential business?!”
If it’s the latter, then you need to stop putting all your eggs in one basket, and diversify how you connect with your followers.
To do that, we would suggest email marketing, no matter if you’re B2B or B2C either way.
Now, some of you might be wondering why we would suggest email marketing specifically over other channels.
The biggest reason was stated at the beginning of this post: Email marketing generates $42 for every $1 spent.
So contrary to what a lot of people may think, email marketing is not dead. It is very much alive and profitable.
But in addition to that, it helps create something a lot of small businesses desperately need: brand-consumer trust.
One of the biggest hesitations consumers have in purchasing from a small business is their lack of trust or familiarity with the brand.
People are going to have a harder time giving you their payment method to purchase something if they’ve never heard of you…
…or feel like they don’t know you, and therefore aren’t sure if they should trust you.
Email marketing allows you to send what feels like personalized emails directly to their inbox to help bridge that gap and gain their trust.
This is so that when they make a purchasing decision, they think of you fondly and not negatively.
So now you know what email marketing is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how to get started with email marketing for beginners.
How To Build Your Email Subscriber List
This is the first thing you’ll need to learn because you need to have people who you’ll be sending the emails to, right?
The best way to build this list is to offer a free piece of valuable content, which is called a lead magnet.
This is in exchange for their name and email address.
So if you’re a restaurant owner, you could offer a free drink coupon in exchange for their name and email.
If you run a dog-grooming business, you could offer a PDF.
This could be on how to best manage your dog’s hair in between grooms for different breeds in exchange for their name and email.
If you’re in retail and sell things like clothes or home decor online, you could offer a style guide using your products.
The point is, you want to offer something of value, something your audience would care about and want enough to give you their name and email for it.
And you can then advertise this lead magnet on social media with a lead generation campaign.
This is something you can learn by reading this post on how to do Facebook lead ads.
Or on Google with a PPC campaign to show the offer to a specific demographic of people who would be interested in the lead magnet.
Your target audience will see the ad offering the free lead magnet, they’ll click on it and submit their name and email address to get it.
This method works well for two reasons.
- It qualifies your email subscribers.
- It allows them to opt-in to receive emails from you, meaning they are giving you permission to email them.
You do not ever under any circumstances want to buy email lists or send emails to people who have not given you permission to do so.
Not only does that fail to ever work in generating purchases…
…but it can also get you in trouble with email providers. and either permanently land you in spam or prevent you from sending emails at all.
Using the lead magnet method works because your lead magnet should be related to what your business offers.
So if someone is interested in your lead magnet, you can safely assume they’d be interested in what you sell as well.
So it automatically qualifies the person as a good lead.
And since they’re opting-in to your emails to receive something they want, it creates a positive first impression and interaction with your brand.
If you need a little help on how to create a good lead magnet for your business and promote it…
…read our post on the best ways to generate leads and it’ll teach you how to do exactly that.
Now that you’ve started collecting some email addresses, you’ll want to store them in email marketing software…
…so next on our email marketing for beginners guide is teaching you to how to utilize them.
Email Marketing Software: How They Help You & How To Utilize Them
First of all, we want to say that there are a lot of different email marketing software out there…
…all the way from free and rudimentary to paid and more complicated.
So depending on where you’re at in your small business journey, you’ll want to pick the one that best suits your needs.
We shared our top recommended email marketing service providers here, so we’re not going to rehash that here, you can check our post out for that.
But we’re going to cover the basics of what email marketing software should do for you.
It will house all of your contacts and their information and allow you to group them by demographics and/or behaviors.
This is important because instead of just sending the same email blast to every person, you can send certain emails to certain people.
This is what’s called segmentation or segmented emails and we’ll get more into this in a second.
Your email marketing software will also allow you to set up automated emails in advance.
This means you are not manually going in and sending an email every time it needs to be sent.
Instead, you go in one time to set up the emails you want to be sent.
And then, your software will automatically send them to the right people at the right time based on the conditions you’ve set.
Now we know that’s a lot of information, especially if you’ve never dabbled in this before so let’s look at an example.
Let’s say someone just filled out the contact form on your website.
You can set up an email sequence so that every time someone fills out that form…
…they automatically receive a “Thank you for contacting us!” email that lets them know a member of your team will reach out to them shortly.
Now, you wouldn’t want that same email to be sent to someone who just made a purchase on your website, right?
You’d want someone who just purchased something to receive a confirmation email with a tracking number.
Or, if someone submitted their email to you through your lead magnet campaign on Facebook…
…the first email they should receive is an introductory email with the lead magnet in it.
Segmented emails allow you to set this up automatically.
This is why segmented emails are so important. They allow you to send emails to people based on the actions they’ve taken so far.
And this applies to all emails, not just the logistic emails like what we just mentioned.
The real marketing magic begins when you start setting up conditions like:
“If they didn’t open these first 3 emails, send them this one next because clearly they’re not as invested in my business yet.
But if they did open these 3 emails, then send them this one with a CTA to purchase because they seem like a warmer lead.”
Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
And an email marketing software is going to make segmentation like that easy, fast and efficient.
Now moving on to the next topic of our email marketing for beginners guide…
What Kind Of Emails To Send To Your Subscriber List
Our biggest tip to you here is to always create emails with the audience in mind.
You don’t want to come out with sell sell sell emails right out of the gates because that’s a quick way to get people to unsubscribe from your emails.
Like all types of content in marketing, you want your emails to be value-driven first.
And then later down the pipeline, after you’ve seen them take certain actions that indicate they are interested and/or a good fit for your business…
…then you can start sending them CTA-driven emails asking for the sale.
We think a lot of small business owners get stumped here because we always see the big photo, promotional emails from brands in our inboxes, right?
And so small business owners start to do the same. But the difference is what we mentioned earlier- people don’t know who you are yet.
They need to be wooed.
They need to have a few positive brand interactions with you first…
…where they’re receiving value from you for free before they can feel confident purchasing from you.
So when drafting your emails, keep that in mind.
Brainstorm how you can give them free value in the first emails before hitting them with sales content.
Now before we wrap up, we do want to leave you with 6 tips that are extremely crucial to keep in mind when launching your email marketing campaign.
Email Marketing For Beginners: 6 tips For Running Profitable Email Campaign
1. Avoid spam triggers.
A big, ongoing obstacle you’re going to want to avoid in your email campaign…
…is landing in someone’s spam inbox because nobody will ever see your emails if they’re going to spam.
So what are spam triggers?
They’re things in your email that raise a red flag to email providers that cause them to be directed to the spam inbox instead of the regular inbox.
The email software you choose will probably have some material on this for you to look at, like a list of common spam triggers to avoid.
And you can often run what’s called a spam test through your email software which we would recommend.
But some common spam triggers across the board include having a subject line that is in ALL CAPS or includes a lot of punctuation like this ??!!?!
There are also lot of spam-trigger-words that email providers pick up on and filter to spam like:
- “earn cash now”
- or the word “prize”
- or “free trial”
So just do your research there, it can literally be as minimal as a quick Google search to see a list of the words you should avoid using in your emails.
2. Clean up your list every 6-12 months.
What does that mean? Well, over time, as your email list builds, you may get some people who don’t unsubscribe but don’t open your emails either.
Or maybe you’ve got a few email addresses that are bouncing, meaning the email can’t be delivered.
All of this registers as a “low email engagement rate” to the email providers, and having a low delivery rate is another spam trigger.
So just make sure you’re going through your contact list every so often to make sure it only consists of people who are actively opening your emails.
3. Use effective subject lines.
We always say that the rest of your email won’t matter if the subject line doesn’t get them to open your email to begin with.
So you want to write a subject line that piques your customer’s curiosity but does so without getting flagged as spammy clickbait.
You want it to speak to the receiver’s goals and pain points to get their attention and give them an exciting idea of what to expect if they open the email.
4. Make the body of your emails easy to read.
Nobody is going to sit there and read a clunky, long paragraph.
We would suggest entering down after every 1-2 sentences and to keep your sentences short and simple.
This keeps the spacing nice and the text consumable.
If they open your email and see one big paragraph or words they don’t understand, their brain is going to go…
…“Ugh, I don’t want to read that,” and they’re going to click out.
So don’t do that.
5. Sign up for your own email list and for your competitors’.
Either use your personal email or create a new email just for this test to sign up for your business emails as well as your competitors’.
a. Put you in your customers’ shoes to see what they receive from your business when they fill out your contact form, and
b. it will show you what your competitors are sending to your shared target audience to learn from what they’re doing well and what they’re doing poorly.
Take this information and use it to your advantage when writing out your emails.
6. Measure your results and adjust accordingly.
Most email software will allow you to set up goals that you can track, including:
- how many people open your emails,
- subscribe or unsubscribe,
- click the link in your emails, and
- convert from them.
You want to measure this the same way you would for any marketing channel.
And that’s because it will show you what your audience is responding well to and what they’re not so you can optimize accordingly.
This will allow you to make more of what’s working and ultimately, increase your profits.
So that wraps up our email marketing for beginners post!
And if you need help with your email campaigns, head over to our email marketing services page today!