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A foolproof guide to email marketing for beginners

If you’re setting up a new business or thinking of alternative ways to reach your audience, crafting a solid email marketing strategy is a great way to scale your results. 

After all, around 88% of people in the UK use email daily*, so it’s one of the easiest ways to boost brand recognition, which is probably why it’s 40 times better at driving engagement than social media and can dramatically cut the time to achieve a sale.** 

Okay, so email marketing is a fantastic tool, but where should you begin? If you’ve been researching, you may have come across reams of tips and tricks to maximise your results, but taking the first step is the most important. So, let’s begin.

Choose an email marketing platform 

An email marketing platform will automate the email process, meet sender requirements to stop you from ending up in spam folders, and help you analyse data. A quick Google search will bring up several options, such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Hubspot, to name a few. 

Consider the type of emails you wish to send and the features you’ll need. For example, you’ll probably want to send a combination of transactional emails and drip campaigns, so a platform that can deliver a wide range is your best bet. 

Look for in-built features like A/B testing, automation, and integration with online stores or social platforms. Some providers offer a free plan for a small list, which is a great way to test what they can do before committing. 

Plan your campaign content

Can you define the purpose behind sending customers emails? Are you looking to increase sales, develop trust in your brand, increase website traffic or encourage people to book a call? Keeping a clear goal in mind will allow you to decide how your first campaigns should look. Think about design, tone of voice, valuable content you can include in each email, and appropriate calls to action. 

Build an email list & segment it

Before you can send your emails, you’ll need to attract potential customers to sign up to it. For example, you could offer a free guide or discounts on your website in exchange for emails, encourage sign-ups on your social channels, or host events and webinars that require an email to join. 

However, ensure you make it clear on your sign-up forms that they’re agreeing to receive future emails from your company (worded to sound positive) and use a double opt-in process to ensure only warm leads occupy space on your list. 

As your list grows, divide it up using the tools provided by your platform to separate customers based on location, age, interests, behaviour, or anything else that makes sense for your business. This will allow you to send emails only to people likely to engage, boosting open rates and sender reputation. 

Schedule your content & send 

This step can feel like a leap of faith, but it needn’t be. You already know what type of content to send and to which customers. Use the plan you created earlier to create a series of emails that use simple, attractive designs optimised for mobile, and fill your templates with interesting, relevant content that reflects your brand and offers something of value to your subscribers. 

Use attention-grabbing but non-spammy subject lines, personalise the name fields, and round off your emails with a clear call-to-action that reflects the next step you wish your subscribers to take. 

Next, schedule your emails in advance using a content calendar and the automation features on your platform to ensure your subscribers receive high-quality content at predictable intervals.

Track, review and tweak

After you’ve completed your first few campaigns, it’s time to look at the data. What was your open rate? How many people clicked through to your website? Did you notice a corresponding uptick in enquiries or sales? How do these figures compare to industry averages? 

Over time, you’ll better understand the content that resonates with your audience and recognise trends more quickly. Yes, it can be overwhelming when you’re just starting out, but adopting a growth mindset and using any data – both good and bad – to inform future campaigns will set you on the right path. You’ve got this! 

*Data from ZeroBounce

** McKinsey & Company