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Get started! Three steps to kick off your email marketing plan

Building Email List

The gurus tell us all the time; we need an email list. Now, I am one of those guys who take what the gurus say with a grain of salt, but this is one that you can ignore at your own peril.

Why?

For one, an email list where readers opt-in means you have a list of emails with individuals who are willing to hear what you are saying and, possibly, what you are selling. Building that list can take your business to the next level.

Another reason to build that list is that you can sell them on products and services.

Now, to be sure, that list needs to have qualified individuals to do so effectively. A better word for list might be a tribe.

A tribe, according to Seth Godin, is more engaging,

It starts with permission, the understanding that the real asset most organizations can build isn’t an amorphous brand but is in fact the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them.

A tribe is more engaged. A lot of experts worry about various metrics such as open rates and click through rates, and while those are important, engagement is essential. Are subscribers emailing you back? Are subscribers choosing to do business with you?

If all you need is a large list, there is an extreme temptation to buy a list of a large database of emails.

This is a mistake and illegal in some cases. Don’t do it. It is a shortcut to having a large list, it erodes trust, and is spammy. In many cases, buying a list will be against the terms of use by your Email Service Provider. Also, make you check your own country’s laws regarding Spam. 

Build your own list, build your own tribe.

 

Email List
Building your Email List

A couple of caveats

There are always caveats, no?

First, how do you handle prospecting with leads?

You need to check with your Email Service Provider (ESP), however, many do not advocate using their software for those that have not opted into your list. In other words, they are permission-based email service providers.

Check with your ESP to see if this is the case. If it is, you will need to use a different platform.

One platform I use is MailShake. There are others such as Woodpecker and Prospect. There is more information on these types of tools from a Quora question

The second caveat concerns current customers. This is also an interesting conundrum. The email marketing in this article refers to permission-based lists. Therefore, with current customers who aren’t on your list, you can use your Client Relationship Management software. As with Email Service Providers, there are a lot of CRM’s such as AgileCRM and Zoho. Additionally, there are a number of CRM plugins.

Step One: Know your purpose

What is the purpose of your email marketing campaign? This is an important thing to know.

There are three general purposes for utilizing email marketing: Lead Nurturing, Sales, and Onboarding.

Most WordPress Entrepreneurs are looking to nurture leads. One of the best ways to do that get subscribers on your email list. Once they are on your list, you can show them your expertise.

Over time, using emails, you can build a relationship with your email subscriber. Email newsletters are often referred to as the top of the funnel. It is an easy way to engage someone who isn’t ready to reach out and contact you.

Sales is another purpose for email marketing. If you are in business, you definitely have a need for sales.

Sales emails take a slightly different form. Those who are selling products will send regular emails with a very soft sale. This is excellent for those selling products or courses.

Beaver Builder expert Davinder Singh Kinath began building his list when he offered a beginners guide to Beaver Builder. Eventually, he is looking to launch a few courses, and he already has a list to begin offering his courses.

Onboarding is another purpose of email marketing. If someone has already signed up for an e-course, product or a lead magnet, using a sequence to onboard your new subscriber or customer is an excellent idea.

Ever wanted to get your new subscriber up to speed with the rest of your audience? Build an email sequence to onboard your new subscriber.

What kind of emails should you send? Sumo wrote a guide for the 15 types of emails you should send which includes some good emails for onboarding.

Email Marketing
Email Marketing

Step Two: Grab a tool for email marketing

We have already talked about the core tool for your email marketing. You will need an Email Software Provider.

An ESP helps you deliver the emails to those on your lists and includes a number of ways to make sure you comply with government regulations for SPAM including providing a way for you to offer an opt-out link.

Other benefits of ESP include keeping track of how users subscribe, making sure your emails remain whitelisted, so they don’t get to Spam folders, and automatic removal when someone unsubscribes.

You can run your email marketing entirely via WordPress with plugins. For you, it may make more sense. If you do, then you will need to make sure that you comply all rules and regulations for your country.

Your email service provider will need to handle autoresponders if you choose to do email sequences. This can be beneficial if you decide to do an e-course or send certain emails at certain times.

Email sequences can help nurture leads. If this is part of your purpose, then autoresponders is a must have.

If you are only sending your latest post to a smaller list, then it might make sense to use WordPress. See Discussion below.

Discussion

You can use a WordPress plugin to handle newsletters, and you may be thinking, “why would you not?” After all, there are several plugins available to take advantage of this method. WPBeginner wrote a post on why you should not use WordPress to send email newsletters. Below are links to that post and one from WPMU to give you more perspective. 

 

Three ways to collect emails

You will also need a way to collect email addresses on your website. This is three fold.

First, you will need to have a form that collects the addresses. Most ESP’s provide embed code for a form. If you want more control over the sign-up form, however, you may want to use one of the many available opt-in plugins such as OptinMonster or Sumo.

More email list building plugins from Blogging Wizard

These opt-in plugins will allow you to include sign up forms in different locations as well as a scroll up or a pop-up.

Another use of the opt-in plugins is to build content upgrades you can use to get subscribers.

Second, you may also use a form builder like Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, or Contact Form 7 and include an addon to make the connection to your email service provider.

Finally, you may choose to create a landing page to get people to sign up by downloading a lead magnet. Sometimes a landing page makes sense just to entice people to subscribe to your newsletter.

Step Three: Determine your frequency

The frequency of your email is another element you will want to make a decision. You can email subscribers daily, weekly, monthly or some other combination such is a couple of days a week or every other week.

Much of this will depend on your purpose. Several email marketers who are selling to a list will email daily. This takes a lot of skill; otherwise, you will drive subscribers away.

Your decision will also be based on those on your list. They may wish to get more emails than you would like.

See what your subscribers respond to.  Regardless of what you choose, just make sure to engage your list on a regular basis. If you choose once per month, stick to that time frame.

Resources on Frequency

 

Hitting Send

Like anything, executing email marketing objectives takes a plan.  In our current landscape of Email Service Providers, the companies themselves are helping by delivering more resources to their customers. Most provide segmentation for your subscribers, an autoresponder, templates, and much more.

Are you hitting send for your email marketing campaign? Let us know!

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Todd Jones
Along with being the resident writer for MainWP and content hacker at Copyflight, I specialize in writing about startups, entrepreneurs, social media, WordPress and inbound marketing topics.
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