We can argue all day about how email marketing for beginners is not any different from the general guide to email marketing. But the truth is, if you are just starting, the journey can prove difficult and confusing at first.
Some email marketing statistics from Oberlo in 2022 show that about 333.2 billion emails are sent and received each day. The number of active email users is also estimated to reach 4.6 billion in 2025.
Email Marketing Guide for Beginners
Now, more than ever, there’s an emphasis on taking email marketing seriously.
But then, how feasible is this for someone who has always been clueless about it? If you own a small or medium-sized enterprise, chances are that you can’t hire the big guns to take care of your marketing strategy. In this case, it’s best to learn the basics.
In this article, we will share a step-by-step approach to email marketing for beginners.
Step 1: Know What Email Marketing is and How it Benefits Your Business
Email marketing is as simple as its name implies. It is the use of emails to communicate with your target audience and convert leads to customers in the long run. There are several ways to market your product or services and email marketing has been shown to bring in the highest ROI.
This digital marketing channel can change the game for your brand if properly wielded. While it helps you maintain a direct line of communication with your leads and customers, it is also a great way to build customer relationships.
Social Media helps you reach a wide range of audiences but won’t give you the liberty to connect one-on-one with them. With emails, you can send a personalized message to your audience’s inbox, which improves your credibility and solidifies their loyalty to your brand.
Understanding how email marketing benefits your brand will guide you to focus on the most important things in your email marketing journey.
Step 2: Set Measurable Goals
Never make the mistake of starting a campaign without setting your goals. Be clear about what you want to achieve with each campaign and know the overall goal of your email marketing. Why have you decided to start sending out emails? When you know your WHY, it becomes easier to set your goals.
Learn how to set and achieve smart goals and understand that it is beyond what everyone else is doing. Your goals must be specific to your brand and most importantly, measurable. Choose the metrics you want to measure; for example, click-through rates or the number of new subscribers monthly.
How would you define success in your email marketing journey? Is it based on the number of website visits or the number of sales you make? Knowing this will guide you in choosing the metrics to measure.
Step 3: Define Your Audience
Now that you have decided to venture into email marketing, who will you be sending emails to? To see results in your marketing efforts, you can’t send emails to just anyone. Focus on the people interested in your brand who will love to hear from you.
This is why buyer personas are also important. While they are a fictional characterization of your ideal customer, they will guide you in sending emails to the right people. Consider the demographics. Who are they? Where are they from? What are they interested in? Where will you likely find them?
Understanding who your audience is helps ensure you are exerting your marketing efforts only on potential customers. This also helps reduce your unsubscribe rate, as the people you have on your list are interested in what you are offering and are more likely to stay.
Step 4: Choose an Email Marketing Platform
Setting goals is important but you will only be able to achieve them with the right marketing platform for your brand. You can’t use a random email service provider (ESP) like Gmail or Yahoo mail, as they have limited features.
With a large audience base and to unlock numerous marketing features to improve your marketing efforts, consider some of the top email marketing service providers. This makes it easier to carry out your goals and choose the metrics you wish to measure.
There are several things to consider when choosing an email marketing platform and this is largely dependent on your brand and what you aim to achieve. For example, to create drip campaigns that would deliver at automated times, you will need a tool like MailDrip.
Look through the features of the ESP you are aiming for and see if they align with your brand goals.
Step 5: Collate and Segment Your List
For every email campaign you create, you need a list to share with. After defining your audience, you need to get their email addresses so you can start sending out campaigns.
Building a credible email list becomes easier when you know your audience and how to reach them. Start by creating a branded sign-up page and share the link with your audience, so they can subscribe. Most ESPs already have this as a template and all you have to do is edit it to taste.
The default form fields are Email Address and Name. However, you can decide if you want only the First Name to be compulsory and not the Last Name. You can also add other form fields such as Product or Service Interest, Address, Birthdays, and more.
Beyond collating a list, you should consider segmenting the list for a more effective result. Email segmentation helps you categorize your list and ensure that each segment gets content tailored for them.
Subscriber segmentation has also been shown to be one of the most effective strategies for email marketing campaigns, alongside message personalization and email automation campaigns.
So, while you create your generic list, work on breaking it into segments.
Step 6: Choose Campaign Type
Just as there are different types of emails, there are also different campaign types. This includes Newsletters, Content or blog updates, Re-engagement, Promotional, Drip, and Autoresponders (such as Welcome emails or transactional emails).
This is important when preparing your first email marketing campaign. Remember that you are not creating content for everyone and each campaign type has a different approach. Determining the type to opt for will influence how you reach your already-defined audience.
For example, if you think your audience would benefit from a step-by-step guide that will influence them to take action, you can consider a drip campaign. Drip campaigns help you send a series of pre-planned emails to your list.
If you think they would rather benefit from a community-like approach, you can consider Newsletters. Have specific times you reach out to them and let them constantly look forward to your next email.
You also don’t have to stick to one campaign type. Feel free to mix more than one at a time, depending on your audience and what you seek to promote. If you get this right, you can create successful email marketing campaigns.
Step 7: Choose or Design an Email Template
Once you have set up your email marketing platform, you need to create templates to work with. Creating from scratch every time you want to send out a campaign can be time-consuming. Some ESPs readily have templates to guide you but you can always modify them or create a new one.
Don’t overthink this; email templates don’t always have to be fancy. You just have to get the basic things in email marketing design right. This includes using the right colors, which should include your brand colors. Also, use rich media elements and keep the text-to-media ratio within 80:20.
The general rule is to keep the design as simple as possible while not missing out on the most important elements. Your subscribers should be able to easily navigate your email and see the CTA.
Step 8: Write Enticing Copy
This is the crux of your entire email marketing strategy and it requires dedicated time and energy. Most people would usually prefer to hire someone to handle this but as a small business owner, you can try it out first, as long as you know what it takes to create an enticing email copy.
There are several things to consider when creating an email copy. The content itself is the first thing and you must be deliberate about it. Ensure it links perfectly with the subject of the email and pulls your readers in.
The storytelling approach can also come in handy to entice your readers to stick with you until the end. Storytelling is an effective approach to content marketing. In a 2015 study by Headstream, it was found that “if people love a brand story, 55% are more likely to buy the product in future, 44% will share the story, and 15% will buy the product immediately.”
Your primary goal is to drive them to take action. Use a captivating headline, be conversational, and write with an understanding of your audience while focusing on how the content benefits them.
Personalizing your email copy has also been shown to improve the open rate as seen in the chart below.
Step 9: Review, Test, and Send Your Email
Before you send out any email campaign, ensure that everything is in the right place and there are no mistakes. Proofread the email copy and insert the subject and preview text where necessary.
It is also important to test your emails before sending them out. You can either send them to your email or invite a friend or colleague to give feedback. This helps you view the email from the reader’s perspective and notice certain things that you might have missed while creating it.
Once you have reviewed and tested the email, it is time to send it out. By now, you should already have a list. If the list is segmented, choose the segment(s) you’d like to send the email to. Then, decide if you want to send it out now or schedule it for later.
Scheduling your emails saves you time and helps you stay consistent if you can create and schedule bulk emails. Check with your ESP to be sure they offer that feature and whether or not it is a paid feature, especially if you’re working with a budget.
Step 10: Measure the Results
Key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to track after sending out a campaign includes:
- Unique Opens
- Clickthrough Rate
- Click-to-open rate
- Conversion Rate
- List Growth Rate
- Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate
- Overall ROI
- Spam Complaints
- Bounce Rate
- Unsubscribe Rate
All these metrics are important but you can also define what’s more important to your brand. Consistently measure the same metrics for each campaign and notice what’s working and what’s not.
It doesn’t help your marketing strategy if you keep sending out campaigns and not measuring the results. Checking the metrics is as important as creating the campaign itself. This helps you understand how your campaigns are performing over time and can give you insights into what your audience would love to see more of.
Anyone, regardless of their business size, can venture into email marketing. If you have decided to start your email marketing journey, the steps in this article will guide you to follow the right path. However, it doesn’t stop at just starting or sending out the first campaign. You must strive to improve with each campaign sent out and measure your results across all campaigns.
This is why having an effective email marketing strategy cannot be overemphasized. This helps you streamline your focus and do only what is important and beneficial to your business.
At MailDrip, we understand that not everyone can create a working strategy. As a result, we came up with a template that you can tailor to your business. All you have to do is fill out the form below and you will get it in your email.
We have a team of professionals who can also guide you along this journey. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about getting started with email marketing.