email marketing guide for bloggers

Email marketing is far from dead. In terms of return on investment, it still holds up as a viable campaign element. The trick is to know how to use this resource to its best advantage. 

Even in a world with so many options for electronic communication, email remains an affordable and effective way to connect with consumers. But the most important bit is to make sure your emails go to the right people – qualified leads and prospects. 

If this is your first campaign, don’t feel overwhelmed. With a little help, you can create a plan that’s effective and brings the positive attention that you want. Here are some tips to get started. 

What’s a Qualified List Anyway?

The last thing you want to do is buy a list, blast out emails, and hope for the best. If you want reasonable results, that list must be qualified. What does that mean?

A ”qualified” email list has email addresses of those who have expressed interest in the types of goods or services that your company sells. Those addresses may be individual consumers, buyers for other companies, department heads, or anyone else with the authority to make purchases. The tie that binds them together is they have indicated the desire to receive emails related to products they want. 

How do you come up with a qualified list? One approach is to have consumers opt in to receive your emails. That often provides a list’s foundation. 

Don’t overlook generating qualified recipients by using your social media accounts. A simple post that includes a link back to the opt-in page on your website allows interested parties to sign up. Combined, the list will be composed of recipients who are more likely to open and read the email than hit the delete key. 

Now that you know who you’re emailing, it’s time to launch your first email campaign. 

Here are the 5 tips for launching your first email campaign…

1. Create emails with a specific purpose or offer.

chart: email list growth tactics rated very effective, by primary channel

If you’re serious about mounting an effective campaign, the email text must focus on engaging the recipients in a specific way. Offer them something in exchange for reading the email. Make a compelling case for accepting the offer. 

Some of the offerings you could make include: 

  • Notice and ability to register for an upcoming event
  • Signing up for an email newsletter
  • Discounts on specific goods and services
  • Announcements of new products

Can you include more than one offering? Yes, but it isn’t always the best move. One of the offers might be lost in the shuffle. You would do well to stick with one purpose for that email and follow up with a second one that contains a different offer a few days later. 

Remember that your content must not contain any element that hints of a scam. Be up front and clear from start to finish. You’ll get more readers that way. 

2. Write an eye-catching subject line.

Remember the old axiom that was at the core of Toastmasters International training? It works with email campaigns too. The “Three S” approach – stand up, speak up, and shut up – translates well into this type of campaign. 

Use the subject line to make a point or ask a question. Follow with information the recipient can use in the first paragraph. Follow with content that backs up that information. Close with a way to learn more by clicking over to your website. 

That’s it. Forget about flowery phrases or trying to impress readers with a wall of text. Keep it simple and to the point. More people will read the whole thing and be inspired to ask for more. 

3. Choose images and videos directly related to the email topic.

It’s fine to include images or embed video in your marketing emails. Just make sure they accomplish more than taking up space. 

The images must directly relate to the email topic. Unless you’re selling a new pet product, kittens are not good choices. Use an image that shows the product or at least someone using it. That creates context. 

The same is true with video. Make it short, sweet, and relevant. No one has time to watch a video as long as a TV show. Use the video to make a quick point and direct the reader to the product. Do it in less than three minutes.

4. Don’t hit “send” 500 times.

In the beginning, your email list may contain ten people. Maybe less. At that level, it’s no big deal to put them all on BCC using your regular email address and service and send it out. Once you have hundreds, or even thousands of names on the list, the technical aspect of simply emailing them all get complicated. Your standard Gmail account will likely be exhibiting symptoms of stress thanks to Google’s new AI spam filters.

Most web hosts help newbie email marketers take the next step in technical sophistication by offering email services like autoresponders, multiple email boxes for your domain, web mail, and other handy features for a marketer. A reputable service should fully abide by GDPR data privacy requirements.

Most hands-on HostGator reviews explain how to set up email in a GDPR-compliant manner, as does the HG knowledge base. As your list grows, it will eventually become too unwieldy to manage even with a web host’s resources. At that point, it’s time to look into a full-fledged email marketing service like Constant Contact.      

5. Use the email format that works best for your audience.

HTML template vs HTML heavy template with images

HTML is pretty. It works a lot of the time. It may work for you. Then again, it may not. 

Think about your target audience. Are they more likely to open the email on a phone or a laptop? Will the HTML slow down the load time and motivate the reader to close and delete the email? Will it add anything of value to the email itself? 

Only you can answer those questions, and a lot depends on the quality of the underlying code. As you decide, be aware that poorly-executed HTML increases the odds that readers will delete the email before finishing it. That also means they won’t forward it to their associates. 

The bottom line…

Expect to be horrified by the perceived complexity when you first dig into the idea of email marketing. It can be overwhelming but only if you’re a rank newbie and try to implement every tool and strategy at once. 

Start simple. Create a landing page, drive traffic to it, collect email addresses, and send the list emails periodically. Lots of online marketers have been very successful doing nothing more than this.

Later you can figure out autoresponder sequences, list segmentation, and conversion techniques. For now, take the first step. Choose one of those email marketing services we mentioned up there and take action. 

Many have a free level or trial period. Ultimately, the only thing standing between you and your first email marketing campaign is inaction. Change that by taking action now. Good luck!   

bio photo of Dan Fries

Dan Fries is a freelance writer and full stack Rust developer. He looks for convergence in technology trends, with specific interests in cyber security and micromobility (🛴💨). Dan enjoys snowboarding and is based in Hong Kong with his pet beagle, Teddy.