Getting started with email marketing: a step by step guide.

Craig Greenup 18/03/24, 08:00

Getting Started With Email Marketing

99% of people check their email inbox every day. And 87% of brands say that email marketing is critical to their business success.

Email is great at engaging new and returning customers. So how do you make it part of your business marketing strategy?

Getting started with email marketing is easier than you might think. Below we’ve included the eight relatively easy steps you need to take to make it happen.

But first, let’s take a look at the types of marketing emails you can send and a few email marketing benefits.

Types of marketing emails

Welcome email

When a user signs up for your emails, you can send them a welcome email. This is an automated email that gets sent in response to an email sign-up.

You can use this email to thank your users and tell them what they can expect from your marketing emails. If your user signed up in exchange for a download or a discount code, this is the time to share it with them.

Newsletter emails

In newsletter emails, you give your readers the latest updates. You might like to fill them in on company or industry news. Or share resources that you think would be useful to them.

Generally, newsletter emails include some kind of call to action. They may try to drive traffic to your website or encourage users to view your products. But the main focus of these emails isn’t sales.

Instead, you’re aiming to build a trusting relationship with users, giving them useful information, establishing yourself as an industry expert and giving them regular reminders of your existence.

Promotional emails

These emails tell your audience about a new deal, promotion or competition. If you plan to send promotional emails, tell your audience about the promos they’ll get when they sign up. It’s a great incentive.

You may want to schedule milestone emails, too. For example, you might like to send a money-off voucher for a customer’s birthday.

Lead nurture emails

Lead nurture emails are an email series sent over days or weeks. You send a sequence of emails (usually between 5 and 10).

The aim? To keep your readers engaged and move them further down the conversion funnel towards a sale.

The first email is triggered by a user action. That could be an email mailing list subscription. Or adding an item to their cart. Or downloading an ebook from your website.

Lead nurture emails progress naturally, like a conversation. You start by building rapport and trust. Then, with subsequent emails, you focus increasingly on your product, service or latest promotion.

Product update emails

Have you improved your product or service? Launched something new? Or want to highlight seasonal products to your readers?

Then it’s time to send a product update email. These emails encourage your mailing list to revisit your website by telling them about the new developments they can expect.

Abandoned cart emails

If you run an ecommerce website, abandoned cart emails are another great marketing tool to have up your sleeve.

These emails (where you remind users that they haven’t checked out yet) have an impressive 39% open rate and a 23% click-through rate. So they’re a great way to make more sales.

Email marketing benefits

Any new marketing strategy takes time, effort and money. So why get started with email marketing? What’s in it for your business?

Creating a connection with customers

Get started with email marketing and you’ll find it easier to connect with your customers. That’s because:

  • you find it easy to share information
  • you can gather customer feedback
  • you can personalise your messages by segmenting your mailing list or addressing readers by name
  • customers get to know your brand better

Consistent email communication makes your brand seem more credible. And keeps your brand in the minds of mailing list subscribers.

Great ROI

Email marketing offers a great return on investment (ROI). For every $1 you spend, you can expect to get $36 back.

That’s because email campaigns are pretty inexpensive to get off the ground. And because landing in someone’s inbox still has a huge impact.

Anyone who signs up to your mailing list is considered a warm lead. These people have already shown an interest in your brand, product or service.

Warm leads are easier and quicker to convert than cold ones. You spend less time and money convincing them to buy from you or work with you. And this translates to a better conversion rate and higher revenue.

Owning your contact list

Some brands thrive on social channels like Facebook and Instagram. But remember that your company’s social media channels are the property of the platform.

What happens if there’s an algorithm update? Or sweeping changes to the way a platform operates (as we’ve seen with the platform formerly known as Twitter)? You can end up getting fewer views and clicks, which can put a real dent in your sales.

In contrast, when you build your own contact list and send out marketing emails, you’re in total control of the communication channel. You can count on getting your messages out to everyone who’s signed up.

8 steps to get started with email marketing

To get the most out of email, you need to incorporate it into your marketing strategy as soon as you possibly can.

Starting out with email doesn’t need to be a daunting task and there are options available at pretty much every price point.

As with most things in life, careful planning can mean the difference between success and failure. So give your email campaigns the best possible start with our email marketing tips.

1. Create an email marketing strategy

The first thing you should do before dipping into email marketing is to come up with an achievable and realistic plan of action.

What’s your budget? What are your goals? What do you want to say to customers?

Think about whether you want to draw attention to a product or service to increase sales. Or whether you want to keep your audience up-to-date and remind them of your brand.

Then decide how often you plan to send out emails. Setting a realistic schedule that you can stick to, valuing quality over quantity, is a good place to start.

2. Get grips with data rules

Another important point when you’re getting started with email marketing is data regulation.

You need to think about how you’re going to collect and store user email addresses for your mailing list. And learn about GDPR.

GDPR is the set of rules businesses have to follow when collecting, using and storing user data. It’s a legal obligation so it’s well worth doing your research.

One of the most important rules when it comes to email marketing is user consent.

It used to be that you could ‘scrape’ customer email data or transfer a mailing list from one company to another. Now, you need users to actively opt-in for your marketing emails.

3. Decide on a sign-up incentive

Think about how you will encourage users to sign up. Most people like to get something in return when handing over their data.

Here are some email sign-up incentive ideas:

  • Offer customers a discount on their first purchase
  • Make a promise (that you intend to keep) of exclusive promos and content
  • Offer a free downloadable resource (for example, an ebook, a template or a white paper)

At a minimum, make it clear what you plan to share with readers after they’ve signed up. A promise of valuable content and zero spam may be all it takes to get email subscribers onto your list.

4. Make it easy for users to sign up

You need to make it super easy for users to sign up for your mailing list. Because very few users will spend time searching for your sign-up form.

For this step of the process, if you don’t have an in-house tech team, you may need the help of a web design and development agency.

We help lots of clients get started with email marketing by adding features to their websites. That can be an opt-in box at checkout, a header bar, a slider or an email subscription pop-up.

As long as you get an active opt-in from users, there’s no right or wrong way to incorporate email sign-up features. It depends on your site and how users navigate it. Just get in touch with the Radical team if you’d like some advice.

5. Find the right email software

There’s a huge amount of choice when it comes to email marketing software. Some of the most popular options include MailChimp, ActiveCampaign and HubSpot. These platforms help you to manage your mailing list and craft your emails.

Most email marketing software comes with a drag-and-drop editor. This makes it easy to create visual, interactive emails that grab reader attention.

Some platforms provide extra features, like automated email journeys, audience segmentation, and A/B testing. These tools help you to make your emails and subject lines more effective.

Most platforms offer a basic, free plan, which can be useful when you’re just starting out. However, bear in mind that these free plans usually have limitations.

They may limit the number of emails you can send each month. They sometimes insist on using platform branding on your emails. And they’re unlikely to have any useful extra features. So it may be that you need to send some marketing budget in this direction.

6. Craft your message

Before you launch your email marketing campaign, you need one more essential ingredient. The emails!

Start with a welcome email for new subscribers. You should have this ready before an email sign-up box goes live on your website.

Then craft and send emails as per your email marketing strategy.

Images and videos are great for engagement.

A consistent tone of voice is also really important. Remember that your emails are a chance for customers to get to know you better. So don’t be afraid to show some personality in your copy.

One final thought on email writing? Subject lines can make or break your email marketing. So make them short. Try to spark reader curiosity. And don’t be afraid to use the odd emoji.

7. Keep it up

Email marketing is most effective when it’s consistent.

So schedule time each month for email marketing by putting it into your marketing calendar. Or consider outsourcing this task to a content writer.

Automation can also help. When you set campaigns to run on a set schedule, you don’t have to manually click send on every customer email.

8. Use analytics

So now you’re sending marketing emails. But is anybody actually reading them?

Most email marketing software comes with analytics. So you can see how many people are opening your marketing emails. And how many people are clicking on the links included within them.

If nobody is opening your emails, your subject lines may need a little work. And if people are opening but then not engaging with your emails, you need to give your layout and content a rethink.

Use your software to track email marketing metrics and you’ll find ways to improve your emails going forward.

Get your first email marketing campaign off the ground with Radical

We hope this guide has given you everything you need to launch your first email marketing campaign. But if you need a little extra support, we’re here to help.

At Radical, we combine web design, development and content writing expertise. Everything you need to get started with email marketing.

Whether you’re building a website from scratch or simply want to add email sign-up functionality, get in touch to chat about your project.