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5 Steps to Start Email Marketing

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Email marketing is one of those inbound marketing efforts that people either love or hate. That makes total sense. It takes time to build an email list. It takes energy to nurture it and it takes strategy to convert those on your list. In this blog, we will review 5 tips to start email marketing. No previous experience required!

Breakdown of the 5 steps to start Email Marketing are as follows:

  1. Treat your subscribers like friends

  2. How to build an email list so you can start right away

  3. Set up a Welcome Sequence and what it should include

  4. How to measure what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong

  5. What email tools to use

1. Treat Your List like Your Friends

One thing you need to know is that you don't need hundreds of thousands of people on your newsletter list for it to be worth your while - just like it's better to have 5 really good friends instead of 1000 acquaintances. This speaks to the quality of your list.

Let's say your current email list is at 100 subscribers. (That's amazing. Imagine 100 people in your house right now. It's a lot!) Now, imagine those subscribers are your friends. You want to be there for your friends and make sure they're happy. You know by being there for them, they will return the favor down the line.

Well, the same goes for your email list.

By providing your email list with valuable resources and a human touch, your subscribers will click and even respond to your emails. Then, when you mention your product or service every once in a while, they will consider working with you! You have a better chance at converting the subscribers.

Plus, by focusing on your relationship with your subscribers, your conversions will be higher. If you currently have 100 people on your list and you convert 20 of those people. That's a 20% conversion. The average conversion for an email is 15%.

This is the first tip because treating your subscribers like humans (because they are) is often overlooked. Don't get sucked into the metrics of wanting one hundred thousand million subscribers. That's not a good list that will convert. I've worked for clients who have impressive subscriber lists that are 100% dormant and not active. Therefore, that fancy metric is worthless. Treat your subscribers like friends and focus on conversions!

To summarize the first point, we spoke about the importance of having a quality list, making sure you keep your list happy by providing them with value, treating your subscribers like humans, and focus on conversions.

2. Build an Email List

If you don't have any subscribers, do not worry! In this section, we will cover a few strategies to build your list email list.

The simplest way to get people to give you their email is if you are offering them something for free. This could be a checklist, an ebook, a coupon, a free product or service, and a webinar.

Building an email list is more than building those numbers. Like we discussed in the first section, it's about attracting the right people to your list and building a relationship with them. Getting someone's email is a privilege and you can't take it lightly. You need to treat it with respect. So if someone is signing up for an ebook, you need to make sure that that ebook is of value for that person. If not, you break the trust with the people signing up. They will unsubscribe. That first impression is important. Make sure you put time and effort into the free resource you are providing.

Once you create the free resource, you need to promote it. This can be on your social media platforms; you can let people know one by one; you can ask your customers; you can promote it at the end of your blogs; have it on your homepage; in your email signature; ask people to spread the word. In your promotion, be sure to tell them why you're starting an email list and how you are helping those who subscribe.

To summarize how to build an email list, don't overthink it. Determine how your list will help your subscribers. Create a free resource to encourage people to sign up. And make sure to promote that resource so people know it exists!

3. Welcome Sequence

I spoke to copywriter and course launch expert, Kim DeGracia, on the Marketing Bound Podcast. She revealed that people spend a lot of time getting people on their list but miss a key part in nurturing that relationship - and that is not having a welcome sequence! A Welcome Sequence is a sequence of emails that introduces the subscriber to who you are, your brand, and what you offer.

If people subscribe to get a free resource, you want to include that free resource in that email. However, you don't want to forget that Welcome Sequence. Add the resource to the Welcome Sequence sequence or have a separate sequence for it. It's up to you to decide!

Here is a breakdown of what the Welcome Sequence would look like:

  1. The first email is about you and your brand. Build rapport and trust but being open with your subscribers.

  2. In the second video, you want to provide even more value. This can be an additional free resource or blogs that you think can help them.

  3. By this email, you want to increase their trust in you. Kim DeGracia likes to include testimonials. This is social proof that tells the reader that you are legitimate.

  4. The fourth email is a call to action so the subscriber can work with you. You can lead them to a landing page on your website or ask them to respond to the email to continue the conversation.

And just like that you now know how to build your email list, how to treat your subscribers, and how to nurture them to take action.

4. Measure your Progress

At every step of the way, there are metrics that will help you determine what is working and what isn't working. Let's break down the steps that we listed above and how to measure each section.

Let's say you created the free resource that you know will help your potential subscribers/prospects. If people do not sign up for the resource, then you are either not promoting it enough or the resource is not valuable to your ideal audience. Try promoting it more. If you know you've done as much promotion as possible, consider asking your clients or followers on social media what kind of resource they would be interested in. Then make that for them. Promote it. And then you should see an increase in sign-ups.

Note: Doing promotion once will not ensure a consistent number of sign-ups. You must continue to promote it.

Now people are signed up but they aren't opening the emails. That could mean one of two things. First, you're still not targeting the right audience or two, your subject lines are boring. It's best to test the subject lines first. Make sure your subject lines are short and enticing. Think to yourself: Would I open this email? Kim and I talk more about this in the episode that you can listen to here.

Let's say people are subscribing and opening your emails. However, they aren't clicking on anything. Then you have a problem with the content of the email. If you send them a free resource, for example, and they aren't clicking on the free resource in your email, something is wrong. This is because something is wrong with the email itself. It may not look nice or the copywriting is bad or the link isn't clear. When testing to find out which one it is, only change one at a time. For example, update how the email looks but don't change the copy or the link. If that works, then you know the email aesthetic wasn't right. Continue the tests until you find out which one it is.

Note: At this point, you're like holy moly, this is a lot! But do not worry about what can go wrong. Focus on creating a valuable piece of content that your ideal target audience wants. And focus on building those relationships. You can literally start that process right now! Once you have the free resource, follow the steps in the blog and adjust accordingly! You got this!

5. What Email Nurturing Tools to use

We covered how to build your email list, how to treat your subscribers, and how to nurture them to take action, and how to measure your email marketing efforts for the best possible outcomes. In this step, we focus on what tool you should use for your email nurturing efforts.

You're probably thinking, "Well Laura, shouldn't this be the first step?"

My answer is NO.

People get consumed by choosing a new software - myself included. So I would rather explain how to build a profitable newsletter list and then I would prefer you create the free resource. And only AFTER that, you can choose an email marketing tool.

How many times have you purchased software just to realize you don't use it. Well, not this time! We are going to make sure you understand the strategy AND build the resource FIRST.

Now, we can get into the different tools that are available. To be blunt, there are way too many email marketing tools. There will require research to determine what works best for you and your business. However, I know about a few of them. That would be a good place to start your research.

Email Marketing Options

First, there is Flodesk. I have never personally used Flodesk but people love this tool for its simple user interface and eye-catching templates. I looked into it and it's very affordable for entrepreneurs, about USD$17 a month.

If you are a larger business, I would recommend Autopilot. The functionality and integrations make it really easy to fit into your current marketing tools for a seamless experience. Autopilot makes it easy to customize email nurturing sequences and has really good support. But at the low end, it starts at USD$50. If you have the budget, I would recommend this tool.

The third option is Mailchimp. I personally dislike Mailchimp because it is not user-friendly at all. However, they do have a free version which is helpful for people just getting started with their email lists.

There are hundreds of other tools but consider your budget, business needs, and where you are in building your email list.

Final Thoughts

If you made it this far, congrats! You are prepared to start your email list. Here is a summary of the 5 steps to starting your email list:

  1. Treat your subscribers like friends

  2. How to build an email list so you can start right away

  3. Set up a Welcome Sequence and what it should include

  4. How to measure what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong

  5. What email tools to use

Stay in Touch:

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About the Marketing Bound podcast:

Helping new B2B marketers look good at work. Tune in to the Marketing Bound Podcast to develop your marketing skills, navigate the corporate world like a pro, boost your confidence in your role and access the greatest minds in B2B marketing. Join Laura L. Bernhard every week to fast-track your career in B2B. Subscribe to the Marketing Bound Podcast onSpotifyor onApple Podcasts.


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