Email marketing still has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing channel, generating average returns of $42 for every dollar spent.
Today, we’re going to be sharing a quick start guide that will show you how to set up and manage your own email marketing campaign so that you can unlock that same ROI.
If you’re completely new to email marketing, this article will show you the basics so you can start collecting customer email addresses straight away and get up and running with a very basic newsletter.
Now, let’s get started!
Step 1: Choose Your Email Marketing Software
First thing’s first, you need to sign up for an email marketing software solution. These tools help you to create forms to collect email addresses, store and segment those email addresses in mailing lists, and create, automate, and execute your email campaigns.
There are lots of different email marketing tools out there, but the two most popular are probably Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor. The one you choose to use is up to you, we won’t go into the pros and cons here—all of them will be sufficient for setting up a basic newsletter.
For the rest of this article, we’ll assume you’re using Mailchimp, but the process will be largely similar for most email marketing tools.
Step 2: Create a List
Before we start collecting emails, we need a place to store them. That’s why the next step is to create an email list. The process will be slightly different depending on what software you’re using, but here’s how to do it in Mailchimp
- On your dashboard, click ‘Create a List’
- Fill out the details and give the list a name (e.g. ‘customer newsletter’)
- Follow the on-screen instructions and click ‘Save’
Step 3: Create an Email Signup Form
The way you’ll collect your customer email addresses is by asking them to fill out an opt-in form. You can create this on your mailing software of choice. Here’s the process on Mailchimp:
- From the Dashboard, click ‘Lists’
- Click ‘Design Signup Forms’
- Use the ‘Build It’ tool to add sections for whatever data you want to collect.
- In the ‘Design It’ stage, customize the look of your signup form by changing colors and text.
Tip: Think carefully about what data you want to collect in the ‘Build It stage’. At the very least, you’ll want to collect email addresses and names. You might also want to collect things like phone numbers or other customer data.
The more data you gather, the more options you’ll have to segment your email list to send out more targeted campaigns later down the line. On the other hand, the fewer sections you require your users to fill in, the more likely they are to bother signing up and the easier it will be to collect email addresses.
Step 4: Use Your Form to Collect Email Addresses
Once you’ve created your signup form, you can start using it to grow your mailing list by sharing it on your social media accounts and embedding it on your website.
To do so on Mailchimp, click the ‘Share It’ tab. You can then grab the ‘Subscribe Form URL’ and share it on your social media page to direct your followers to the signup form.
You can also click ‘Create Form HTML’ to create an HTML version of the form that you can embed on your website. Just follow the on-screen instructions and create an embed code, then paste this into the sidebar widget of your website or embed it on a page.
“There are lots of strategies for collecting email addresses, but one of the most effective is to create a landing page with some kind of ‘opt-in bait’.”
This means creating a page on your website complete with copy and a call-to-action that asks your visitors to sign up to your newsletter in the promise of something in return. This might be a free giveaway, an ebook, or some kind of exclusive discount. You can embed your signup form on this page using the embed code on Mailing Chimp or whatever email marketing software you’re using.
Step 5: Create Your First Campaign
After you’ve collected some email addresses, you can go ahead and create your first campaign. To do so on Mailchimp, head to the ‘Campaigns’ page via the top menu and click ‘Create Campaign’.
On the following page, you can choose which mailing list you want to send the campaign to. In this case, we only have one email list, so select that.
You’ll then need to name your campaign. The name is just for your reference—your recipients won’t see it. The email subject, on the other hand, is the subject line that your recipients will see. Try and write a subject line that entices your recipients to open the email. You can also customize things like the metrics you want to track, such as email opens and clicks.
Next, design the template for your email and then use the Mailchimp editor to write the body of your email. If it’s a newsletter, you probably want to include, at a minimum, links to some of your latest posts and a call to action.
If you’d like to personalize your email, you can do so using tags in your mailing list. It’s possible to personalize your email messages to include your recipient’s name, company, and many other details.
Make sure you send a test email first to your own email address to make sure everything comes through as expected, then launch your campaign!
More Advanced Features
This is meant to be a brief overview of how to set up an email marketing campaign, but there are many more advanced features that you can use to enrich your campaigns that we haven’t covered.
This includes things like email segmentation, autoresponders, and campaign automation. We’ll leave those topics for another post.