How To Kickstart Your Email Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to kickstart your email marketing

For the past few years, many have claimed that email marketing is on its way to becoming obsolete or that there might be better ways of generating ROI from marketing. New assets such as live content, virtual reality, and social media might seem to leave email going stale, but this couldn’t be further from the truth: email marketing is still the most effective marketing channel out there. “For ten years in a row, email is the channel generating the highest ROI for marketers. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.”, as per Campaign Monitor.

Email is undoubtedly here to stay.  Email is a highly-captive, yet personal platform. So it’s important to get on it, while also getting it right. So for the email marketing virgins and newbies, here’s my step-by-guide to starting your email marketing.

1) Know your email marketing goals from the get-go

At the outset know what your asks from your email marketing activities are. More often than not, it’s going to be to “driver higher sales”. That’s the eventual goal for everyone yes. But even to get there, there are many smaller goals to be accomplished. For example, “drive more traffic to my website”, or “reach 50% more promotional campaign”

There’s no greater risk in marketing than being inconsistent. So carefully talk to your client, polish those strategies and always keep track of achievements and failures.


2) Build and grow your email marketing list

The basis of email marketing is having an email list!  As a business that has already been in operation for a while, you already have a list of your existing customers. But if you’re a new business, you need to build a list. Or even as an existing business, you simply need to grow your list. You can use multiple touch-points on your website to collect emails.  Check out one of our clients BlueOffer who uses 3 email collection touch points:

  1. Email pop-up (Read more about how to use email popups to build your email list)
  2. Website section asking visitors to sign
  3. A side bar for a “Join a VIP club” prompt


On this pop-up, you can ask for them to sign up using a “lead magnet” – a fantastic offer in exchange for their email address. It can be an incentive, interesting content, support, or product updates. Ideally the opt-in should be simple, have a clear call to action button an enticing headline, and an attractive design. Once you have your tools in place to capture the leads you need to.


3) Choose the right Email Service Provider (ESP)

Choose a mailing service this is very important to collect the right data of your subscribers and be able to take advantage of multiple email marketing strategies. We’ve decided to work with Klaviyo because it lets you segment your list based on multiple different factors, such as behavior on your website, open rates, multiple properties such as gender, date, interests, etc. This means marketing automation is sophisticated and lets you build flows/rules for subscribers in different stages/situations. Another great advantage of Klaviyo is that you don’t need programming skills to install forms on the website or create workflows. Here’s a detailed blogpost on Klaviyo features that make it great for ecommerce businesses.

4)  Plan your emails

Now that you have your ESP set up and have a robust email marketing list you need to start firing those emails! And here’s when you need to get with your email marketing specialist or agency in planning the next steps.

Briefing: Plan your campaigns and flows in advance. Make them coherent with your brand, try to always brainstorm and come up with new ideas, do your research, and dig deep into the content. A good approach is to note down: Email frequency, type of email, a rough idea of the content, the main action you want subscribers to take (such as signing up for an event, following you on social media, buying a product)

Carefully plan the offer: how well you put together your message and convey it to your audience. It’s ultimately what will make your emails convert, even more than a good copy or great design.

Writing the copy: Be strategic, you’ll want to create a hook right at the start that will get people to want to read on. Make your readers feel comfortable and understood before pitching them the offer. Keep it simple but smart. It’s your tool for educating and segmenting your audience. Also remember, good copy includes writing killer subject lines.

Focus on your design: Always have in mind that for most clients, and especially for the ones who don’t like to read too much, design layouts will become your ultimate assets to catch their eye. Make it look professional, visually appealing but remember great emails are often not image-based so don’t get that excited. It is also important to use a responsive email template so your email resizes automatically when reading it on a phone or tablet. Remember: 70% of your audience will be on their mobile device! Here’s our Email Design Guideline cheatsheet to help!

4. Track, test and keep testing

To really nail your email marketing, you’ve got to collect some data first in order to improve future campaigns. So, test is all: from copy to design layout, from subject lines to sending times. And of course, carefully keep track of your analytics: open rates, click rates, spam rates, and unsubscribers.

5. Segment your lists

Break down your list into smaller groups based on specific criteria so that you can keep the content tailored and relevant to each group. This alone will allow you to keep the open rates healthy, boost your click-rate and keep the unsubscribe to a minimum.

Read our detailed blogpost on email segmentation here.

6. Promote action:

Single CTA email marketing

Be very clear and encouraging with your CTAs. Have a single CTA across one email so as to make the email structured and expect a certain action from the customer. Make your audience feel rewarded and ready to buy

7. Be relevant

Don’t try to force content into your audience, if you know them well you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. It’s always nice to try something new but pay close attention to segmentation while doing it.

8. Use data to make better decisions

We’re luckily in an era full of sources of data and information on your customers as well as external research conducted on your industry or email marketing in general. Use all the research tools you can, there are endless possibilities, from Google Analytics to reviews, blogs (such as this one), dedicated Facebook groups and more. Make good use of your reports to collect data and reflect on your performance. Finally, never stop learning! Email marketing, and marketing in general, is all about always keeping your doors wide open to new possibilities.

And now, you’re ready to plan and rock those campaigns. You go!

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