While it’s tempting to shell out money for ads designed to put your content in front of potential new customers, there’s one money-maker you already have at your disposal: your email list. If done right, you can inform, delight, and drive your customers right to that “buy” button – and they’ll never once accuse you of cluttering up their inbox. Even more important for your business? Enticing brand-new audience members – and potential customers – to join your email list, so your online empire keeps growing.
With a little bit of know-how, you can learn how to make your list even more effective for driving sales and identifying leads. Consider the following data points from HubSpot’s Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics:
- 58% of all revenue is driven by segmented lists and targeted email campaigns.
- 86% of consumers actually want to receive monthly promotional emails from companies they like.
- Personalized messages generate 6% more engagement than non-personalized messages.
- 75% of companies think email generates “excellent” ROI.
Even if you’re already convinced that email marketing will drive business to your door, what can you do to set up a successful campaign from the get-go? And how do you use your content to reach new customers and keep growing your list? That’s why you need a solid email marketing strategy under your feet. You need to plan, test, and automate your marketing campaigns. That way you have all the time you need to process new orders, serve your customers, and analyze data to make your next campaign even better.
What does a killer email marketing plan look like? This list of email marketing resources will give you all the know-how to lay a good foundation for your strategy, pick the right tools, and segment your way to sales.
Chapter 1 – Building Your Email Marketing Infrastructure
What steps should I take before launching an email marketing campaign?
- Getting Started with Email Marketing, Campaign Monitor – Although this guide goes beyond the steps you’ll want to take before launching your new campaign, pay particular attention to its first section on setting goals. Drawing on the examples of BuzzFeed, UNICEF and SXSW, Campaign Monitor’s guide will help start your campaign off on the right foot.
- 5 Questions to Ask Before Launching an Email Marketing Campaign, Thunder Tech – Think you’re ready to kick off your first campaign? Don’t hit the “schedule” button on your first message before walking through the important questions posed in this article.
- Marketing Campaigns 101: 7 Steps to Launching Your First Email Marketing Campaign, Yola – Like Campaign Monitor’s guide, Yola’s article on the subject of getting started covers more ground than your first steps alone. Spend more time on the article’s first few steps, but review later recommendations for a glimpse into the activities you’ll be tasked with in the future.
- Email Marketing Pre-Launch Checklist [DOWNLOAD], Email Monday – You’ll have to opt-in to receive this downloadable checklist. Look at it as an example of email marketing in action, and you’ll benefit from the ability to check your future campaigns against embarrassing mistakes.
How should I choose an email marketing platform?
- 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Email Marketing Service, Entrepreneur – Believe it or not, you’ll have to do some soul searching before you purchase an asset like your email marketing platform. Pay particular attention to your needs around marketing goals, budget, design, and customer service.
- Choose the Right Email Marketing Tool for Your Agency, Campaign Monitor – Here are the major concerns you need to have ironed out before committing to a platform, from required features to ease of onboarding clients. This is an especially helpful guide if your business manages content for multiple clients.
- How to Choose the Right Email Marketing Platform for Your Business, Digital Marketing Institute – Need a quick overview of the most robust email marketing platforms out there? Use this handy how-to guide to comparison shop between MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, and more.
- Best Email Marketing Software: Which One Is Right for Your Business?, FitSmallBusiness – Nothing helps us make decisions like a handy comparison chart. Find out which marketing platform takes the cake for small businesses and which is robust enough to handle all your marketing needs.
- The 11 Best Free Email Marketing Tools, SproutSocial – Still growing your list? One of the best things about email marketing platforms is they’re often free – until your subscriber list hits a certain number. Find out which tools you can use when you’re starting out small.
- Best Email Marketing Services, WebsiteSetup – For those looking for something a bit more robust for your small business, Websitesetup has you covered with this pro/con list of affordable and easy to use email marketing solutions.
Chapter 2 – Growing Your List with New Subscribers
How do I get people to join my list?
- 25 Simple Ways to Grow Your Email List, HubSpot – If you need an idea bank from some of the top marketers on the planet, look no further. Here are 25 solutions that range from totally free to totally worth it.
- Build Your Email List, Shopify – A great overview from Shopify about list-building basics, covering everything from sign-up incentives to landing pages. Plus, this handy resource is part of a larger guide to online sales.
- 8 Effective Email Marketing Strategies, Backed by Research, Buffer – This short-but-sweet article from Buffer will transform your copy – and your approach to email marketing. Learn the basics of integrating your email marketing strategy with social media, writing killer subject lines, and more.
- 7 Clever Ways You Can Increase Your Email Opt-Ins and Get More Subscribers, Unbounce – From pop-ups to overlays, Unbounce lays out what you need to do to convince more people to click “Subscribe.” This article also puts an emphasis on A/B testing, which is one of the best ways you can figure out whether a strategy works for you.
What is a lead magnet (and how do I create one)?
- Lead Magnets Explained: (Almost) Everything You Need to Know to Turn Strangers into Subscribers & Devoted Fans, Leadpages – One of the absolute best services for building lead magnets and landing pages, Leadpages breaks down what makes a lead magnet the most crucial element of your email marketing strategy.
- How to Create a Lead Magnet That Actually Gets Leads, Entrepreneur – If you know how to create value for your customers, you can master lead magnets. Entrepreneur shows you how to tie in customer needs with your offer.
- The 20 Best Lead Magnet Examples To Help You Convert Leads Like Crazy, Autogrow – Sometimes it helps to see your options. If you’re new to lead magnets, Autogrow will take you through the kinds of offers and incentives that convert.
- 8 Free Tools for Creating Lead Magnets, Infusionsoft – If you’re going to give customers free content, it should still look amazing – and have stellar copy. Whether you have a small marketing budget, or you’re a solopreneur, here are 8 tools you can use to make your lead magnet look as professional as you are.
How can I make my opt-in forms more effective?
- 5 Tips for Improving Your Email Sign Up Forms, Campaign Monitor – When it comes to email opt-ins, sign-up forms are something of a science. Campaign Monitor provides all the tweaks you can make to get more subscribers.
- Choices, Consequences and the Reason Every Pop-Up Box Needs 2 Buttons: Opt In, and Opt Out, Copyhackers – Not sure what a double opt-in is or why you need one? Copyhackers uses their own data to help readers understand the power of opting in.
- The Two-Step Opt-In Process (And How It Increased Our Newsletter Subscriptions By 60%), Leadpages – A more in-depth look at why the double opt-in is so effective. Since the post is actually a video, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at how Leadpages works, too.
- 63-Point Checklist for Creating the Ultimate Optin Form, OptinMonster – Does the branding on your opt-in form match the rest of your site? Have you mastered the “Subscribe” button? We love these real-world examples from OptinMonster.
Chapter 3 – Creating an Email Marketing Funnel
What kinds of emails do I need?
- How Do You Build a Funnel? Start at the End, Leadpages – If you don’t know what action you want prospects to take at the end of your funnel, you’ll have a hard time persuading them to click “Buy” along the way. Learn how to map out where you’re going – and the best kinds of content to get you there.
- The Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation, QuickSprout – This is just one part of a deep dive into automating your marketing outreach. Pay particular attention to the real-world examples from HP and how it maps onto a sales funnel.
- The Best Content for Each Stage of Your Sales Funnel, Pinpointe – Break down each point of your sales funnel with content designed to convert.
- 9 Proven E-mail Templates to Add to Your Conversion Funnel, SingleGrain – No campaign is the same. Find out more about which types of content will convert best for your audience.
- The Ultimate Guide to Email Sequences, Web Profits – Automated email sequences can trigger when users join your list or take a certain action. This in-depth guide will show you the types of sequences to create in order to nurture your leads and turn them into sales.
How should I format my emails?
- How to Write Absolutely Irresistible Drip Campaign Emails, Crazy Egg – Flowcharts! Templates with short sentences! The Power of P.S.! This article has everything you need to convince your leads to keep reading.
- 5 Storytelling Formats to Support Your Sales Funnel, You & Co – With so many resources out there dedicated to content that converts, there’s no reason to be boring. Learn the strategies behind storytelling formats like video and infographics – and how you can put them to work in sales funnels.
- How to Build a Conversion Funnel That Will Triple Your Profits, Neil Patel – If anyone can help you unlock the right format for your sales funnel, it’s Neil Patel. This is a deep dive into how to guide your leads all the way to conversion, with examples from Seamless, Dropbox, and more.
How do I tag and segment subscribers in order to deliver targeted messages?
- How to Segment Email Lists for More Opens, Click-Throughs, and Conversions, Zapier – This article is an incredible overview of why segmentation works – and how you can use it to make your customers happier. Plus, there are tons of real-world examples to draw from.
- 30 Ways to Slice Your Email Database for Better Email List Segmentation, HubSpot – Email list segmentation depends a lot on your sales goals and needs. If you’re not sure what will work best for you, use HubSpot’s primer to identify a winning strategy.
- Segmentation 101: Setting Up for Success, Listrak – Get the low-down on running reports, making goals, and identifying lead behaviors before you design your segments.
- Manage Your Subscriber Database: Segmentation, Freshmail – While this guide uses examples from the Freshmail interface, it also does a nice job of explaining the benefits to segmentation and how to build rules that make sense for your business.
Chapter 4 – Using Email to Drive Conversions
How can I use email marketing to get people to take action?
- 19 Simple Email Marketing Tips to Improve Your Email Open and Clickthrough Rates, HubSpot – You’ll never get people to click on your CTA if your open rates are abysmal. Learn what kinds of content tempts people to open and engage.
- Improve Your Email Click-Through Rate with These 14 Simple Tweaks, Kissmetrics – From branding to layout to mobile optimization, there’s plenty you can do to convince your readers to click.
- 75 CTAs to Use in Your Email Marketing Campaigns, Campaign Monitor – Think you can just write “Buy Now” and be done? Hardly! If you need some help transforming your CTA copy, these 75 suggestions are a good place to start.
- 21 Call to Action Examples and 3 Rules for Effective CTAs, Crazy Egg – Learn the basic rules behind the copy that compels readers to click.
How will split testing help me improve my email marketing results?
- A Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing: Email Campaigns That Convert, Kissmetrics – Taking the time to test your email marketing strategy is one of the single best things you can do to improve your open and clickthrough rates – not to mention your sales. Kissmetrics takes you through the basics with an entire series devoted to the power of the A/B test.
- A/B Test Your Email Campaigns, Campaign Monitor – With real-world examples from BuzzFeed and Chuck Taylor, Campaign Monitor walks you through which elements of your email content benefit from testing.
- 50 Split Testing Ideas (You Can Run Today!), Neil Patel – While this comprehensive list of tests goes beyond email marketing, it touches on many other components of a successful email marketing campaign. Landing pages, copy, social media – they all impact who winds up in your funnel.
How can I use email marketing to support my product launch?
- 18 Tips for Planning a Flawless New Product Launch, HubSpot – This article does a nice job of explaining how much detail – and collaboration – goes into a successful product launch. It covers more than your email strategy, but the first few steps will help you develop the content you need to be successful.
- How to Promote a New Product Using Email Marketing, GetResponse – When it comes to planning a launch, everything from your timeline to your campaign design matters. GetResponse offers a great checklist for getting things done.
- The 20 Best Product Launch Emails That Reengage Users, Appcues – Learn from the greats with Appcues’ helpful descriptions of the email marketing strategies behind Evernote, LinkedIn, and Dropbox.
- Steal My Email Launch Sequence, The Rule Breaker’s Club – Courtney Johnston knows a thing or two about sales copy. Find out the email launch sequence she uses over and over again to launch new products and services.
Chapter 5 – Improving Your Email Marketing Results
Why aren’t people reading my email messages?
- How to Write Email Subject Lines That Will Increase Your Open Rate by 203%, Neil Patel – If almost 75% of people are guaranteed to never open an email from you, how can you market to them? Use your subject line to unlock your lead’s sales potential.
- 5 Email Marketing Mistakes That Are Killing Your Open Rates, Unbounce – Double check your copy, segmentation, and list management strategies with these helpful pointers from Unbounce.
- 3 Tactics You Can Implement Today for Higher Email Open Rates, Crazy Egg – A comprehensive list of strategies you can use to overhaul the way you send marketing emails. Crazy Egg provides plenty of examples and easy-to-implement action steps.
- 14 Ways to Kickstart Your Mobile Email Marketing Campaign, Single & Grain – 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices so your email marketing should cater to those readers. Follow Single & Grain’s guide to optimizing your emails for mobile.
What metrics should I be tracking with my email marketing campaigns?
- Email Analytics: The 6 Email Marketing Metrics & KPIs You Should Be Tracking, HubSpot – Not only is this a comprehensive guide to tracking your email marketing stats, but HubSpot also does a nice job of detailing how email marketing can give you a good sense of the ROI for your campaign.
- How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Email Campaigns, OptinMonster – Tracking data is important, but if you don’t know what it means to be an effective marketer, how will you use the data you have? This article from OptinMonster explains the strategy behind the data points you need to track and suggests how often you should check in on your analytics dashboard.
- 5 Most Important Email Marketing Statistics You Should Track (and How to Improve), Oberlo – This is a great overview of the basic stats you’ll need to track for each campaign in order to improve your open, clickthrough, and conversion rates in the future.
- 6 Simple Email Marketing Metrics You Can Use to Get Better Results, Campaign Monitor – Get familiar with your dashboard in this detailed post about improving your metrics.
How can I fix my high opt-out rates?
- The Email List Building Nemesis: Churn Rate, GetResponse – Learn how to calculate your churn rate – and how to reduce it in the future using strategies like double opt-ins and reader surveys.
- 10 Rookie Mistakes Increasing Your Email Unsubscribe Rates (and How to Fix Them), Sumo – Plagued by a high churn rate? Figure out what’s going wrong with this primer for email marketing newbies. It’s a great refresher course for old hands, too – especially if you’re experiencing trouble with a campaign.
- Industry Email Marketing Benchmarks, Delivra – Not all email lists are made the same. If you’re not sure how to gauge your unsubscribe rate, find out more about how each industry fares in their customers’ inboxes – and where you fall in comparison to the competition.
Chapter 6 – Looking Forward
What are the email marketing best practices coming into 2018?
- 13 Things to Start, Stop & Keep Doing With Your Email Marketing in 2018, HubSpot – HubSpot has distilled their wisdom into a set of guidelines for email marketing do and don’ts for sustainable growth in 2018.
- Effective Email Marketing Practices for 2018, GrowMap – Want to stay ahead of the curve with your email marketing next year? It’s all about tracking – from the eyes on your page, to the people behind your mailing list.
- Email Marketing Best Practices from a $42 Million Email Company, OkDork – Noah Kagan interviews the mastermind behind Mad Mini to discuss the email marketing practices that got them acquired from GoDaddy. Hint: Keep it simple stupid.
- 2018 A-Z Email Marketing Guide, SendGrid – Be an email marketing overachiever by brushing up on SendGrid’s top 26 email marketing best practice tips, tricks, and terms, filled with actionable tips.
What can we expect in the next year of email marketing?
4 ways AI can improve email marketing, VentureBeat – Artificial intelligence fills in the missing gap between traditional shopping and online shopping with 1:1 personalization; VentureBeat lists four of the ways AI is changing email marketing for the future.
- 2018 Email Marketing Forecast: Data, Micro-Moments, and Intelligence, Business2Community – According to B2C, we’re in store for more data-driven email marketing that will increasingly hone in on micro-moments. Here’s a deeper dive into those predictions.
- Email marketing trends 2018, Smart Insights – Six emerging email and marketing automation trends to help inform your 2018 email marketing communications strategy.
Have you mastered the art of the email marketing campaign? What’s the secret to your list-building success? Give other marketing leaders a leg up in the comments below.