Getting Started With Email Marketing: Step-by-step Guide

Getting started with email marketing simple guide
Posted on by in Ecommerce, Email Marketing

Email marketing is the #1 digital marketing vehicle for audience engagement and driving sales. That’s not an exaggeration, it’s the data-backed truth. With that as our base understanding, this guide is created to make getting started with email marketing easy to understand. I’m going to explain exactly what email marketing is, how it works, and how you can get up and running as quickly and as pain free as possible, today 🙂



SECTION 1: WHAT IS EMAIL MARKETING?

Email marketing is using email as a platform to engage with an audience. You can send one-off emails called broadcasts, or you can send automated emails that are triggered based on specific actions taken by your audience or website visitors.

 

WHAT IS AN EMAIL LIST?

An email list, also typically referred to as a newsletter list, is simply the list of email addresses you’ve collected from your audience/customers that have subscribed to get emails from you.

 

WHY IS EMAIL MARKETING IMPORTANT FOR BRANDS AND BUSINESSES?

Put simply, because almost everyone has an email address and checks it regularly. On average, about 20-30% of emails sent to email lists are opened and read. You might be wondering, “why wouldn’t 100% of emails sent be opened?” and that’s a great question that has a lot of reasoning behind it that’ll be covered in other posts here 🙂 For the sake of keeping this guide simple, just know that 20-30% of subscriber engagement is 10X higher than average social media engagement.

Having a list of emails of your audience members/customers/potential customers/fans that you own, gives you direct communication for engaging and selling, which is why it’s by far the most profitable form of digital marketing that exists. Plus it’s fun 🙂


SECTION 2: HOW DOES EMAIL MARKETING WORK?

First, you’ll sign up to use an email service provider (sounds fancy, but it’s just an online software).

Since it’s frowned upon (and very inefficient) to send mass emails using your standard personal email service like Gmail, you’ll need to use an email service provider that is built to support email marketing and lists.

These email service providers (ESPs) are not expensive, some even have free versions that are very good for starting out. This is where your email list lives, and where you’ll send your emails from to your subscribers. Most are simple to use, and you can figure out the basics without any trouble. We’ll be going over exactly how to get set up shortly.

When someone joins your email list, you’ll be able to send them emails from your ESP right away.

 

BROADCASTS VS. AUTOMATED EMAILS

There are two types of emails you can send to your list: Broadcasts and Automated Emails.

Broadcasts are one-off emails you send to your entire list, or a specific segment of your list. It’s an email you create once and send once, manually. This is the most common type of email sent, typically for updates, special sales or offers, or announcements of new content. For example, when we write new blog posts or create a new guide, we’ll send a broadcast to our email list letting everyone know there’s new content they might want to read.

Automated emails are emails you create one time, and set to automatically send to certain people on your email list based on specific actions they take or specific opt-in forms they subscribe with. One example is when people subscribe to our email list, they automatically get our automated welcome email explaining what they can expect being a part of our email list, and some resources they can check out. Instead of having to manually send a one-off broadcast to each new subscriber, this automated email runs on autopilot, so we never have to push a button or worry about doing it manually.

 

HOW DO PEOPLE JOIN YOUR EMAIL LIST?

The most common way people will join your email list is through either an opt-in form on your website, or an opt-in form created through your ESP. If you don’t have a website, you can still have an email list!

When someone puts their email address into your opt-in form, they will be added to your email list, usually automatically unless you’re using a third-party opt-in plugin or something that’s not connected to your ESP by default.


SECTION 3: GETTING STARTED WITH EMAIL MARKETING (STEP BY STEP)

Now that we’ve established a base knowledge of email marketing (and dare I say, a friendship?), let’s get practical about how to get up and running!

 

VIDEO WALKTHROUGH

 

WHICH ESP IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

There are a lot of different options to choose from when picking your email service provider—some are really good, and some are awful. Depending on your needs, certain ones are better than others, but when you’re just getting starting with email marketing, there are two options that stand well above the rest, in my experience, and those are MailChimp and ConvertKit. I’ve been able to use these two for different brands and businesses and scale them to large numbers without ever needing to switch providers, but what I like about both of them, is they make it pretty stress-free to transfer over your email list and data if you ever do choose to go with a different ESP later.

 

START WITH CONVERTKIT IF YOU:

  • Have a website OR don’t have a website
  • Can afford $29/mo
  • Are currently making at least a little bit of money from your business/brand
  • Are serious about using email marketing for real, and growing your business

 

START WITH MAILCHIMP IF YOU:

  • Have a website
  • Need to start with a free solution (MailChimp offers free basic service until you have 2,000 email subscribers or more)
  • Aren’t currently making any money with your business/brand
  • Aren’t that serious yet about growing your business online (it’s ok to not be serious yet)

If you have a website, keep reading . If you don’t currently have a website, you can absolutely still have an email list, just skip down a little further in this article and follow the steps to get set up!

 

GETTING STARTED WITH EMAIL MARKETING (WITH A WEBSITE)

 

UP AND RUNNING: CONVERTKIT

convertkit logo

STEP 1: SIGN UP FOR A CONVERTKIT ACCOUNT
STEP 2: CREATE A SUBSCRIBE FORM

At the bottom right of the main dashboard screen once you’re logged in, click the “Create Form” button in the lower right hand side of the screen.

 

create form

When it gives you the option of creating a landing page or a form, select form.

Select Form

Then, you’ll choose the form style you want to use. For this tutorial, we’re going to choose the standard form.

Form style

 

Create your form explaining why people should join your email list (don’t get caught up on this right now, just keep it simple. You can go back later and make it awesome, for now let’s just get something live and ready). You can play with the colors/styles of your form by clicking on the little magic wand icon in the upper right of the screen. Don’t forget to save your changes! Here’s what one of our basic forms looks like:

design your form

Once you’re done with the content of your form, click on “Settings” and go through the different settings tabs on the left. Make sure to save your changes before changing to the next tab (important!).

email form settings

 

When you get to the “Embed” tab, you have a few options. If your website is built on WordPress.org, there’s a plugin you can download and follow instructions for that if you want. No matter where your site is built (including WP), you can still use the javascript or raw html options. Don’t let the fancy terms intimidate you, this is super simple.

If you’re not familiar with what either of these options are, I’d recommend just selecting javascript. It will generate some code for you to copy and past onto the desired page or section of your website where you want the form to show up. We’ll walk through that now.

embed

STEP 3: PUT YOUR FORM ON YOUR WEBSITE

Copy the javascript code on this page, and paste it anywhere on your website that you want it to shop up that allows code to be placed.

embed
STEP 4: INVITE PEOPLE TO JOIN YOUR EMAIL LIST

Tell your friends, tell your mom, tell you network, and start getting people on your email list!

 

UP AND RUNNING: MAILCHIMP

mailchimp logo

STEP 1: SIGN UP FOR A MAILCHIMP ACCOUNT
STEP 2: CREATE A SUBSCRIBE FORM

Once you’re logged in, click on “Lists” in top navigation, then click the “Create List” button.

getting started with email marketing on mailchimp

After you’ve created your list and save it, you’ll be on a page showing you your new list. On this page, select “Signup Forms” from the navigation options.

signup forms

Select “Embedded forms” from the options

embedded forms

 

Create your form (I suggest sticking to either just asking for an email address, or asking for a first name in addition to the email address, but not asking for more. The less resistance, the more people will subscribe).

On the form creation page, once you’re finished, copy the code it provides for you at the bottom.

mc4

STEP 3: PUT THE FORM ON YOUR WEBSITE

Paste the code on your website where you want it to show up.

STEP 4: INVITE PEOPLE TO JOIN YOUR EMAIL LIST

Tell your friends, tell your mom, tell you network, and start getting people on your email list!

 

GETTING STARTED WITH EMAIL MARKETING (WITHOUT A WEBSITE)

 

UP AND RUNNING: CONVERTKIT

convertkit logo
STEP 1: SIGN UP FOR A CONVERTKIT ACCOUNT
STEP 2: CREATE A LANDING PAGE

Once you’re on the main dashboard page inside ConvertKit, click on the button that says “Create Form.”

create form please

The next screen will ask you if you want to create a landing page or a form, we’re going to select landing page.

landing page

Choose any style of landing page you like most, and create a simple landing page asking people to sign up for you email list. Here’s one I whipped up in about 2 minutes:

landing page example

After you save your form, click on “Settings” in the navigation. Under the Main Settings tab, make sure to select “A full landing page hosted by ConvertKit” if it’s not already, and click save.

host on ck

After saving, click on the “View” button to pull up your landing page, and you’ll be able to see the URL of your form.

view

STEP 3: INVITE PEOPLE TO JOIN YOUR EMAIL LIST

Grab your landing page URL and send it to people to join your email list!

 

UP AND RUNNING: MAILCHIMP

mailchimp logo

STEP 1: SIGN UP FOR A MAILCHIMP ACCOUNT
STEP 2: CREATE A SUBSCRIBE FORM

Once you’re logged in, click on “Lists” in top navigation, then click the “Create List” button.

getting started with email marketing on mailchimp

After you’ve created your list and save it, you’ll be on a page showing you your new list. On this page, select “Signup Forms” from the navigation options.

signup forms

Select “General forms” from the options.

general forms

Build your form, and then take note of your signup form URL.

signup url

 

STEP 3: INVITE PEOPLE TO JOIN YOUR EMAIL LIST

Grab your Signup form URL and send it to people to join your email list

 

That’s it! You’re ready to rock.

Click here to sign up for Convertkit

Click here to sign up for Mailchimp

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