How to Get Started with Email Marketing

Guest Post

Nothing else in email marketing is more important than having a strong relationship with your email list subscribers. Do things right and you’ll have a super responsive list of recipients, which is gold in the email marketing game.

Most likely your list is in QuickBooks or a spreadsheet. The most common is a stack of business cards collected over months, maybe even years.

Be Polite: Get an Invite First. You’re taking a huge risk if you email that list of people. Think of an inbox as someone’s home or inner office. Now imagine you’re knocking on their door after only meeting them once at a networking event months or years ago. Most likely they’ll tell you to leave. Where I grew up and some unknown person came to the door, we just wouldn’t answer the door.  The key is to know the people you are emailing and to have them eagerly awaiting your emails.

Confirm Your List. Actually, you can email your entire list of contacts. It’s called a confirmation email and it’s risky. Most email marketing firms only let you send this email once. Whoever doesn’t click on the link is lost and will not receive any of your future emails. Since you only have one shot, make it good. Write an eye-catching headline and be as friendly and engaging as possible; showcase your personality and the character of your business.

What to Say and When to Say It. Once you have a lean and well-developed contact list you have to determine how long you’ll “come over to visit” their inbox. Weekly is actually best. But monthly works too. Anything more and you’re risking being marked as spam because people will forget you. Quarterly is not a strategy!

Here’s what to say when you do come over:

  • “This recently happened in our industry and here’s how you can avoid the consequences.”
  • “Check out this case study of a business/person who is facing the same challenge you are but came out with a great success story.”
  • “Want to overcome this challenge? Here’s your 5-step plan to make it happen.”

When you have content like this, it doesn’t matter which day of the week you send, or even what time of day. It’s about the relevance of the content that truly matters. Your key tidbits of advice are like gold to them – if it solves a nagging problem for them.

Make It Brief, Make it Sweet. You’ve heard the term, “Less is more.” If your emails are too long you’ll begin to be an unwanted guest and the recipients will lose interest. Make sure you remain relevant and on top of the latest trends in your industry. One way to do that is to give your audience just one quick and effective tip to solve a problem they’re facing.

Don’t be considered SPAM. When you contact people without their permission, you could be considered spam. If someone marks your communication as spam it is the equivalent of calling 911. It brings more trouble than it’s worth. It could get your email privileges rescinded.

Key Action Steps For Successful Email Marketing

Create a simple design for your newsletter: One column is the best format. Two and three column emails divide the attention of the recipient. And they don’t know what you want them to do.

  1. Go easy on the graphics: Keep a ratio of 60% text and 40% graphics.
  2. Call to action: Make the majority of the content of your email educational. Give them secrets, tips and key insights that get results for them. Then include a promotional paragraph about your business with a call to action for an offer for your products or services.
  3. Show your personality: When you’re writing show your personality to keep your client interested.

Stick to these rules and you’ll start right out of the gate with high response rates, a bevy of solid leads for business and a stellar reputation for being a good “guest” in the email inbox.

Lisa D. SparksAbout the authorLisa D. Sparks is the CEO of Verity Content, a content marketing strategy firm. Lisa has more than 10 years of experience in small business marketing. Here’s where to find out more: 

Image “Hand Pushing Mail Sign” courtesy of Photokanok /”

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  1. says

    Excellent tips for small businesses! Email isn’t just a tool, it’s a method for connecting with real people, and as such, marketers should think about recipients as friends, not just targets to be “blasted” with promotions.

    If you have a brick-and-mortar business, think of how you interact with people when they enter the store or approach the counter. Now see if your emails take a similar approach. That can be a real eye-opener for small business owners.

    Love the keep it simple and personal tips, Lisa. Thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    Email marketing is effective for blogs too! I was reluctant to have an RSS email option at first thinking they wouldn’t come to the site itself but it is actually a great source of traffic for me!

    • says

      You’re absolutely right, Scarlet! Feedburner, a Google product, is one of the best ways to get started with emailing your blog posts to your audience.

  3. says

    Great share and the tips about the strategies of Email Marketing are on point. And I wish that the Author would mention a few good services to use for Email Marketing. Thanks. Dr.James Dazouloute

    • says

      Hey there Dr.James Dazouloute! Here are a few dependable services to facilitate email marketing:

      – Aweber:
      – Constant Contact:
      – iContact:
      – MailChimp:
      – MyEmma:

      I recommend trying Constant Contact first because it offers an easy entry into the world of email marketing. When you’re comfortable with the basics, try out Aweber, which is a highly respected tool.

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