How to Get Started With Email Marketing

Email marketing was the most effective digital marketing channel in 2014.

59% of B2B marketers say it’s their most effective channel for generating revenue, and 49% say email marketing is where they put the majority of their efforts [1]. Clearly, it’s a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

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If you’ve been thinking about making this profitable leap, here’s how to get started with email marketing.

Which email program to use

Many email management programs will offer a free plan until you reach a certain amount of email subscribers and emails per month. Once you hit the cap, you’ll need to upgrade to a monthly paid plan.

Popular email management programs to create campaigns, manage your list, and send emails are:

  • MailChimp
  • AWeber
  • GetResponse
  • Mad Mimi
  • Emma
  • Campaign Monitor

While the most popular program is MailChimp, it’s not every firm’s cup of tea. Research the plans, determine what you’ll need, and try out free options before committing.

Get your emails seen

Sometimes emails get lost in the spam folder. A spam folder is a dark place, a forgetful place. We don’t ever want our emails ending up there.

So we have to make sure our emails are whitelisted.

It’s a simple process, easily incorporated from the initial “you’ve successfully signed up!” email sent to new subscribers. All you have to do is remind the person to add your emails to their OK list (address book) to avoid spam folders.

It’s also recommended to use two-step verification.

Two-step verification means a person receives one email agreeing to be on your list. Then a second email is sent as a simple confirmation, basically a “Hey! You made it! Now you’re on the list to get x, y, and z. Cool, huh?”

What’s the point?


Truth is, people like 1 step verification because it’s easy; they input their email and that’s it. They’re in.

While it’s simpler and less of a hassle, it also leaves you vulnerable to bot spam. The number of subscribers will look good but your engagement metrics will be dead. Not worth the trouble.

Decide on which type of email to send

Here is where we decide the role your emails will play in your subscriber’s life. This will shape interaction, their expectations, and the ways in which you will sell products or services through email marketing.

Do you want to…

  • Provide company product updates?
  • Tips related to your product/industry?
  • Give discounts for sales?
  • Point towards your blog series?
  • Do mini-interviews with other businesses?
  • Submit white papers or case studies?

Clearly, you have plenty of options. You can select one focus or mix and match. But what you decide must correlate with your brand identity and customer needs.

Take Appsumo, for example. Each product they advertise on their website has a flair of humor. The jokes get their readers smiling to open up their hearts (and wallets) to the product advertised.

But if their emails decided to showcase weekly stock updates, with a tone so stiff you’d think you’re reading a high school textbook, it would be a problem. Because their initial brand identity would be lost in the transfer from website to email. The humor and discounts are what Appsumo’s customers give their email for — not stocks and formalities.

Whatever you do, don’t confuse your customer.

And of course, the point of email marketing, like any form of marketing, is to sell. You’ve collected (with permission!) emails from potential customers who are interested in what you have to offer.

Sure, they like what you do, or your company message, but they handed over their coveted email because they a) like what you can do for them or b) like the potential you can offer them.

All in the form of a product or service.

How to get emails

In order to entice a prospect to hand over their email, you’ve got to win them over with a strong call-to-action (CTA).

Go to most websites and you’ll find either:

  • A banner on the top of the page
  • A pop-up in the center / corner of the page or
  • The entirety of the website blocked until email is given

These are provided via the email programs mentioned above (MailChimp, AWeber, etc).

Banners and pop-ups with CTAs are used to grab attention and, if it goes well, emails.

For example, when you go to Quick Sprout, the first thing you’ll see is the headline: “Make better content.” Already you know this is for people wishing to create content that converts.

Under that, with a picture of Neil Patel, is the following: “Quick Sprout is the easiest way for you to make better content so your audience and traffic continue to grow.” Followed by a place to insert your email.

This is a CTA. It identifies the target market with a simple but effective headline, follow-up information (what the reader gets: A way to increase traffic), and the place for a person to volunteer their email.

The CTA is everything. Would you be compelled to give up space in your inbox for a CTA that said:

“Hi! How are you? So, my website is about ceramic cats. And…if you like them, then you should totally give me your email. It’ll be so much fun, I promise! Please?”

What does this really tell you? Are the ceramic cats being sold? Is this a website about ceramic cat facts? What do you get if you hand over your email? Are they even confident about ceramic cats?

Be specific about who your customer target is, what you’re providing, and the value the subscriber gets by giving their email. This is the premise behind a strong CTA.

What to analyze for better email marketing results

We’re looking at 3 parts when measuring email marketing analytics:

  • The open rate
  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • Number of unsubscribers

Open rates show how many people are opening your email. If they’re deleting them the moment they hit the inbox, the emails are not being read. What’s important here is your email subject lines; if they’re not compelling or peak emotional interest, they won’t be opened.

For example, one email says: “Changing priorities.” This is bland. While it does peak interest about what priorities are to be changed, it doesn’t include enough information to really care.

Another says: “$1500 worth of tools + a course to grow your passive income.” This one promises to provide a product to grow passive income using expensive online tools to help you get there. What are the tools? Why are they worth $1500? What course will increase this? Are they offering $1500 worth of tools to you?

Interest peaked.

If your click through rate (CTR) is also low, you’ll want to consider testing different headlines, narrowing down the message in each email, or bettering your email copy.

And unsubscribers can come from anywhere. They might leave after the confirmation email (two-step verification). If they do, adjust the confirmation email message.

Or if they leave after a specific campaign, analyze the message. Was it too salesy? Did it not work with your brand identity? Did it not really identify your customer needs?

Remember marketing requires thorough analysis. Email marketing is all about strategizing, A/B testing, and constant re-working.