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Make sure you're up to date on the latest best practices for this strategy.

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How Does Email Marketing Work

Have you given any thought to how you can keep up with your clients? Well, one of the best ways to keep in contact with your customers and keep them up to date on all of your specials and company news is by sending out a newsletter through email. In fact, a study done by MarketingCloud suggests that 77% of consumers prefer permission-based marketing communication through email. 

You can email this newsletter out monthly, weekly or whatever frequency you deem most appropriate. But the important part is to be consistent. Not only do you need to be consistent with your newsletters, but you should also make it your goal to give your customers a reason to want to receive your letters. One of the easiest ways to make your customers want to receive your newsletter is by including discount codes or coupons. These not only give your customers incentive to want to receive your newsletter, but it also encourages them to purchase more of your products or services.

This is what is referred to as email marketing. According to Forbes, not only is email marketing a great way to keep in contact with your customers but it can also help you to build credibility, boost sales, generate leads, promote your services and much more.

And the best part is, any business can use it. However it can be time consuming and tricky to set up if you're not quite sure how to do it. So let's take a moment to discuss email marketing in-depth

How Email Marketing Works

 

Email marketing is pretty simple if you understand all of the basics. Below are five things that need to be taken care of if you want to be a successful email marketer. Let's go over the process step by step.

Step 1: Choose A Platform

 

One of the first things you need to do is choose a website that will host the emails you're collecting in a way that will keep you organized. The most important thing is to choose a email marketing service that has a server that you can rely on and that people can unsubscribe from if they need to. According to PC Mag, Campaigner and MailChimp are the two most trustworthy platforms, though there are a few more that we'll discuss later on in this article.

Step 2: Create A List

 

Once you've created an account, create your main mailing list. You may want to create multiple lists, but in the beginning it's usually best to keep it simple by creating only one. Platforms usually give you the ability to name your lists as well as choose the name of your return address. For example, you may want people to see your name when they receive your email or your company's name. Just make sure it's something that your customers will remember and easily recognize. 

Step 3: Create An Autoresponder

 

An autoresponder is the email that goes out immediately after someone confirms their first subscription. For example, if you offer a free gift for the people who sign up for your newsletter, then you need to create an autoresponder that has that attachment included once the customer opts-in. This ensures that the person receives the gift immediately. Autoresponders are a great way for you to do less work, but also keep up with your subscribers more efficiently. Also, Hubspot recommends that Autoresponders be sent out 1 day, 5 days and 10 days after the person signs up so that they don't forget that they've joined your mailing list. 

Step 4:Create Opt-In Forms

 

Within your platform, go to your list and create a signup form that is specific to that list. You may choose to create something for your sidebar, which is seen throughout every page of your website. You may also want to consider placing your form in more than one place as well. BufferApp experienced a huge increase in sign ups by adding more email capture opportunities to their site.

Brian Dean from Backlinko is a perfect example of this. 

 

He puts his form in several places.

Opt In Form

And one in the sidebar;

Sidebar Opt In

Step 5: Prepare Your First Campaign

 

In his article 5 Reasons Why You Can't Make Your Email Marketing Work, Neil Patel discusses the importance of sending out an introductory email to your subscribers. "This email should set expectations about what kind of content you are going to send your subscribers and how often." You should be very upfront with your customers and subscribers about how often you plan to communicate with them. Let them know that they can unsubscribe at any time. Remaining consistent and transparent is the best way to keep your subscribers happy.

Derek Halpern from Social Triggers provides an excellent example of how to set expectations:

Set Email Expectations

He also makes it clear that subscribers can always unsubscribe:

Easy to Unsubscribe

Tried and True Strategies

 

When it comes to email marketing, I've found that every company has their own tips and tricks. While there are many to choose from, let's discuss the top four. If you master these, you'll be well on your way to building the ultimate lists.

Make Sign Up Easy

 

It's very important that you ask for the least information possible. When a sign up form asks for too much information such as date of birth, home address and age, it tends to cut down on the number of subscribers you'll get. People get bored easily and their attention spans can be very short. So make the process quick and easy.

Create A Straight-forward Subject Lines

 

Your subject line is the first thing your subscribers will see. You need to make it clear what the email is about. The point is to give them a reason to open it. Use words like 'exclusive' or 'limited time'. Keep it short and sweet, preferably under 40 characters. Try to avoid using the term 'Free' because it can come across as spammy. You should also avoid using all caps.

Ecwid gives us a nice example:

Email Special Offers

If you are in need of a little more inspiration, Hubspot offers 18 attention grabbing subject lines to learn from.

Email Frequently, But Not Too Frequently

 

If you email too much, people will unsubscribe. If you don't email enough, then people can easily forget about you. 

 

So you're going to need to do your own tests. Starting sending them out every 3 days, 2 days and then one day. 

 

Pay attention to when people unsubscribe the most. Entreprenuer.com suggests that each and every business has it's sweet spot so you must be willing to measure what's best for you.

Send Emails Mid Week In The Middle Of The Morning

Email Timing

It's important that you pay attention to the timing. Avoid Mondays and Friday because everyone is hustling to get the week started or finished. You should also avoid early morning and late night because these are the times people are occupied with other things. 

 

You may consider polling your clients about the best times to email them. However, if you are not able to arrive at a solid conclusion, WordStream offers afew quick answers from data they have collected.

Software Tools

 

Of course these instructions would mean nothing without the proper platform. Though we briefly referred to two earlier on this article, let's discuss a few more. It's important that you are familiar with as many platforms as possible as well as what each offers.

Aweber

 

This platform is one of the oldest and most reliable email marketing services around. Aweber has both superior features and an easy-to-use interface which makes it excellent for beginners. Also, this platform is a well-established company which promises deliverability as well as consistency.

Features include:

  • Personalization options

  • Subscriber tracking and management

  • Live support

  • Easy interface

  • Email personalization

  • Autoresponders

  • Split-testing


Get Response

 

If you're looking for a platform that's easy and user-friendly, then GetResponse is a great option. It offers a 30-day free trial so that you can get used to all of it's features.

Features Include:

  • List Booster

  • Social sharing

  • Multimedia Center

  • Autoresponder

  • Split testing

  • API developer program

  • Free surveys

  • List Building Program

  • Landing page designer


Mailerlite

MailerLite

MailerLite is one of the easiest email marketing tools for small businesses. Forget all of the complex settings and features. This platform is so simple that even if you're new to the online world, you create and send beautiful newsletters, manage your subscribers and track the results.

Features Include:

  • Drag-and-drop design editor

  • Manage subscribers

  • Forms for websites

  • API

  • Wordpress plugin

  • Safe servers

  • Autoresponders

  • Personal emails


Freshmail

FreshMail

FreshMail provides the tools you need to launch your campaign. Create templates without coding skills. The software allows you to create, send and follow various campaigns.

Features Included:

  • Drag & Drop editor

  • Real-time analytics

  • Google Analytics 

  • Smart management of lists

  • Email automation

  • Tutorials, how to's, webinars


ConvertKit

ConvertKit

This service is great if you ever outgrow any of your free email service providers. then you're probably thinking about switching to a paid plan either there or someplace else. 

 

Convertkit is relatively new to the email service provider field. 

 

However, it's growing quickly for two main reasons: it's very easy to use
and it's not list based.

Features Included:

  • Easy to use landing page

  • Buyer tracker

  • Auto-pilot selling


Mail Chimp

 

MailChimp is a very popular choice. It offers all of the standard tools needed for managing and tracking campaigns of any size. It's user-friendly and can be easily customized. 

 

This makes it an excellent choice for users who are non-technical. This is especially the case if you're interested in testing the best times to release your newsletters; Mail Chimp makes it easier to see how many people unsubscribe during that time:

MailChimp

Features include:

  • A/B split testing

  • Third-party app integrations

  • Multi-user accounts

  • Google Analytics

  • Social media integration

  • Geolocation

  • Customizable templates

 

In the Youtube video below, NYC Tech Club provides a pretty simple and straight-forward tutorial on how to get the most out of this software.

If you own your own business or website, then it's important that you never underestimate the power of email marketing. 

 

Having a list of people who are voluntarily signing up to be advertised to is invaluable. As long as you provide value, they will always stick around. 

 

Though there are a few rules and tips you should always keep in mind, it requires very little technical knowledge. 

 

There's no programming necessary which means that anyone can do it. 

 

All it takes is an investment of time and an awareness of what tools are available to you. So give email marketing a try!

Check out our Top 10 Email Marketing Software Comparison Table to see the best tools from a bird's eye view...

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