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Building Successful Email Marketing in 10 Steps: Beginner’s Guide

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This article was last updated on September 1, 2020

Want to build a successful email marketing but don’t know where to start? First impression matters and we are pretty sure that you want to get off on the right foot with your future subscribers.

In this article we’ve outlined the 10 steps of putting the foundations and developing a strong, successful email marketing for your brand. Learn how to make people volunteerly opt in to receive your emails, how to design your opt-in form, how to craft your email marketing campaigns, and everything else that is essential for building your successful email marketing. Let’s start!

1. Choose an email marketing service

You may be eager to start turning your visitors into subscribers but first of all, you will need a place to gather emails, conduct email campaigns, follow results. So, in order to build successful email marketing, you will need to pick an email marketing service first.

Such services are MailChimp, CampaignMonitor, etc. Тhey are designed to help you manage your email database, conduct your campaigns, and monitor your results. Think of this as putting the foundation of your successful email marketing.

2. Design an opt-in form

Time to start collecting email addresses. Since we consider buying email lists a no-go, the best way to start filling up your email database would be via a sign-up/opt-in form.

  • Copy:

Clear, descriptive, and non-misleading. Perhaps needless to say but your opt-in form copy should tell your site visitors exactly what they are signing up for, what they will receive in their inboxes, and how often they will receive it.


  • Fields:

Keep the sign-up form short. You want to make the sign-up process as quick as possible. One- or two-field form requiring just email or name and email address is absolutely enough at this point. You can gather all other information later.


  • Call-to-action button:

The most prominent part of your opt-in form design. The form design should naturally lead the user’s eyes to the call-to-action button. Make it big enough, in a contrasting color, and leave enough negative space around it to make it pop.

  • Location:

The opt-in form should be visible but non-obtrusive. It should not interfere with what your website user is doing at the moment. Also, make it easy to locate in one or a few places on your website. Your goal would be to gently prompt your site visitors to sign up without being too pushy. A few suggestions for the opt-in form locations are: a welcome gate, in your website header or footer, in a floating bar on the side, in a timed or exit popup, on your About page, on a specially designed landing page, etc.

Check out even more ideas on How to collect email addresses for your email marketing.

3. Give value

Nowadays, people are bombarded with email offers all the time and another spammer is certainly not what they dream about. This is why we didn’t recommend you to buy email lists in the first place.

Put some time aside to figure out the incentive that will make your site visitor give their email address. Think about what your audience would want: а whitepaper, a free product, a sample, free testing, a discount code, anything that would give value exactly to your buying persona.


4. Nail the Welcome/Thank You email

It’s proven that greeting and thanking your newly subscribed user for joining you aboard warms the customer-brand relationship. This is also the time to give the free product that you’ve promised in exchange for their email address.

The tone of your Welcome email should be friendly and ice-breaking. Your message should convey the feeling that you can be trusted. It is also a good idea to remind your subscriber what they signed up for and how often they will receive emails from you.


5. Get whitelisted

Unfortunately, you cannot fully control if your emails will fall into the Spam or the Inbox folder of your recipient’s e-mail box. To make sure you stay away from the Spam folder, you should get whitelisted. In other words, you recipients should mark you as a friend, е.g. add your email address in their Contacts list.

It’s important to provide these instructions in the Welcome email and give a good reason for your recipients to follow them. Since this type of message is expected by the subscriber, it usually gets higher open and conversion rates in comparison to a regular newsletter. Or you can keep the Welcome message short and simply provide a call-to-action button leading to an article on How to put this sender in the whitelist.

Furthermore, check out these 20 tips on how to avoid spam filters and increase email deliverability.

6. Get to know your audience

We already cleared up that your opt-in form should contain only the essential fields – your recipient’s name and email address. Therefore, you know very little about your subscribers at this point. How to get to know them better? Send surveys in exchange for something your audience desires. People value their time. This is why you have to offer them something they truly want. Receiving requires giving first.


7. Segment your list

Now that you know more details about your audience, you should start creating mini email lists filtered by certain criteria. Segmenting your email database will help you send your recipients more relevant content. This, on the other hand, will result in increased open rates.

Remember that it’s never too late, nor too soon, to start segmenting your email database. Demographics, type of purchase, amount of purchase, website activity, cart abandonment are just some of the filters you can use for creating multiple mini lists. Want to learn more about Email list segmentation best practices?

8. Nail the actual campaigns

Crafting highly engaging email marketing campaigns may take some time and lots of testing. Here are a few factors to pay attention to:

  • Subject line

Both the length and the copy matter. A research shows that short subject lines get higher open rates but long ones generate a higher conversion rate.

Also, there are certain words in your subject line that might not get through your recipient’s spam filter. This is why it is especially important to provide instructions to your recipients on how to whitelist your email address.

Check out these 23 tips on how to write a masterpiece email subject line.

  • Copy

It’s not only vital to make your audience open your message but also get them to convert. Whatever your campaign is, the copy should correspond to the email subject in all cases.

Also, personalization is king! Write your copy as if you are speaking to one person. Use as many personalization points as you can. Try to make the message more personalized than just using their name in it. Also, write your message in a friendly tone, so you can appeal to your audience better. Learn more about personalizing your emails.

happy-half-birthday email campaign

  • Optimized for mobile

It’s simply imperative that your template is optimized for mobile devices. More and more people open their emails via their smartphones. A research by CampaignMonitor shows that email open rates on mobile devices reached 68% in 2016 and are expected to grow this year.

  • Timing

The time you send your email campaigns is also an important part of your successful email marketing. It’s proven that people open their emails more in certain days of the week and hours of the day. Here is a research, according to which the highest open rates are achieved around 3:00pm on Tuesday.

9. Set autoresponder

Autoresponders are a great way to maintain your brand-customer relationship warm while saving you plenty of valuable time. Basically, these are pre-defined email messages sent when a certain event has happened. For example, you can automate your Welcome message (or series of messages) to be triggered whenever a new user signs up. Promoting up-sales or cross-sales, reminding about abandoned carts, sending free materials in a series of emails, etc. Autoresponders can be used in different ways, all working towards your brand’s successful email marketing.


Want to learn more on How to boost your conversion rates in 2017 by using automated emails?

10. Test, test, test

What works for someone else may not work for you, and vice versa. We encourage you to test-out different opt-in forms, incentives, subject lines, sending times, etc. Most email marketing services offer split testing, so you can play with it and find out what works for you the best.

Learn more about how A/B testing improves your email marketing and how to, in fact, measure your email marketing success.

You can also do retargeting campaigns (ads) for those of your website visitors who abandon the subscription form. There is nothing wrong to remind these users about yourself. Perhaps something happened and they had to leave. In order to lower this number, just stick to the two-field form rule.

To sum up,

Building successful email marketing might take some time but it is still worth it. Email remains one of the highest converting channels. According to some researches, this channel even outperforms social media.

We hope we’ve been helpful. If you feel like you want to add something to the subject, you are welcome to do so in the Comment’s section below. Good luck building your successful email marketing!