How to Build an Email Marketing Program You Can Be Proud Of

How to Build an Email Marketing Program You Can be Proud of: A laptop a tablet and a phone on top of each other displaying an email account and a list of emails

If you don’t use email marketing already, building a program can feel a little like standing at the foot of Mt. Everest, contemplating a hike to the summit.

The obstacles might seem insurmountable:

  • You don’t have a mailing list
  • You’re not sure how to build an email list
  • You don’t know how to use the email marketing software
  • You don’t know what to write about in your emails
  • You’re afraid you’ll send out the wrong email to the wrong group of people (don’t worry — it happens to the best of us)

But we all know:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. –Lao-tzu

Like everything worth achieving in this life, an email marketing program has to start somewhere.

And in order to build it, you have to be willing to start from scratch.

Starting your email marketing program from scratch

What does “scratch” look like?

If you have an email list on a provider you’re not happy with, your first step is to migrate it to a new email service provider company.

This may seem daunting, but these companies assist with migrations every day, and they want you as their customers. It may take a few days, but it’s do-able.

If you have no list at all, you may feel intimidated by the time and effort needed to build one.

The intimidation doesn’t last long. If you create something worth exchanging an email address for, use it to invite people to your list, then make it easy for people to invite others, growth will happen.

If you don’t know how to make your emails look good, and don’t want to send out marketing that makes your business look unprofessional.

The good news here is that with so many emails in our inboxes, oftentimes the best way to stand out is to keep your design simple. In a world of clutter, simplicity stands apart. And — lucky for us — simple emails are easier to design.

If you believe people don’t want to hear from you, change that thinking, my friend.

You offer something people need — and want. You’ve done your research and know there’s a market for what you offer. Your customers are looking for you — the thing you do and they way you do it. Never tell yourself they don’t want to hear from you!

Related: Anatomy of the Perfect New Subscriber Welcome Email Template

Related: Stop Begging and Start Giving: Why Perks Work to Build Your Email List

Use a combination approach

The best email marketing programs use a combination of autoresponder emails and broadcast emails.

Let’s take a look at each:

Autoresponder emails are a series of emails that are sent out once someone signs up for your email list.

They’re delivered over time. Each email is spaced out by a predetermined number of days or weeks. You choose the intervals when you set up the autoresponder.

On any given day, someone on your email list may be receiving message #1, someone else is on message #7, and someone else is on message #18.

Some of the best uses of auto responders are:

  • A series of lessons delivered over time, one per email, like this one
  • A series of emails to help someone understand your offer and your process so they can make a purchasing decision
  • A follow-up series sent out after a purchase is made to share additional information, encouragement, or resources
  • A series of emails with valuable, evergreen content

One of the best characteristics of autoresponder emails is that you set them up once, and can pretty much ignore them as they go out to the people who sign up for your information automatically.

Broadcast emails contain time-sensitive content that’s sent out to your entire list at the same time, or a segment of your list (more about that later).

Good uses of broadcast emails are:

  • Newsletters
  • Special announcements
  • Sales or coupon offers
  • Event information

Think of broadcast emails as megaphones that deliver information to everyone at once.

Don’t feel discouraged!

Yes, it is a lot to set up.

But email marketing is worth the effort: as you build lists of interested prospects, current customers, and repeat buyers, you can communicate with each group using a friendly, helpful voice that builds your relationship over time.

And it doesn’t have to be anything like climbing Mt. Everest when you know the shortcuts to success.

Email service providers have tips and tutorials to help you get set up.

The best ones have tech support where you can often get questions answered in real time, while you build your email marketing program!

Put your email marketing to work

The best part? Once you do that initial setup work, your emails can start taking care of business for you.

Interested prospects get the information they need, to get to know you and get closer to making a purchase.

Current customers are nurtured to maintain their relationships with you — and can provide you with valuable feedback when they reply. Customers do reply to emails!

Repeat buyers are happy current customers. And email is the best way to stay in touch. You don’t have to rely on social media algorithms, which change regularly. You have a direct route to their inboxes.

One of the beautiful things about email services is you can “tag” and “segment” subscribers so you know who they are:

  • Who signed up for a specific lead magnet
  • Who purchased a program — and which one
  • Who clicks on links — which helps you make adjustments on your email copy and your offers, so they’ll be the most appealing to your best prospects.

All that information helps you target upcoming promotions to the right people.

The broadcast emails mentioned above? Sometimes you want to send a message to your whole list, but sometimes you want to send a broadcast email to a certain group of people.

Email marketing services allow you to send emails to just that group — the people who are interested in a specific product or service.

Focusing your email messages means your subscribers don’t get overloaded with information they don’t need.

Email marketing isn’t about sending the most messages — it’s about sending the best messages.

Your subscribers will love you for that.

Related: How to Build an Email List: The Fast and Slow Methods

Focus on data, not drama

Something you might not love — at first — is being able to see who doesn’t open your emails at all. But that’s okay.

People who consistently don’t open your emails aren’t your best customers. They might have an overflowing inbox, or they might be dealing with big things in their lives.

Or your emails might be landing in their spam folder, and they don’t realize it!

Either way, don’t worry, and don’t take it personally.

Data is a crucial part of email marketing. It’s there to help you.

Unopened emails give you an opportunity for personal outreach, which is an important part of email marketing. You can let those subscribers know you’re looking at your subscriber list. If they’d like to continue receiving your messages, ask them to reply and let you know. Otherwise, you can take them off your list.

Cleaning up your email list is a good thing! You know the people on your list are interested in your email marketing.

Make the most of email marketing — set smart goals

You can see how email marketing can help you achieve both short-and long-term goals.

Keep those goals in mind when you set up your marketing calendar for the month, quarter, and year. Think about where email fits into your marketing mix.

It’s never about the tools. It’s about how you use them, and how they help you reach the people you serve.

Keep quality in mind as you develop your program. It helps you differentiate and stand out in the marketplace.

Email isn’t public like social media or print advertising. It’s far more personal. Being invited into someone’s inbox is a privilege.

That might feel like a lot of pressure, but it shouldn’t. You send thoughtful emails to friends, family, and colleagues all the time!

Successful marketing means you earn revenue and your customers get great results. It truly is a win-win.

Build your goals around that mindset.

That makes your work satisfying. It makes the initial setup worth the effort.

A great house sits on a solid foundation. That helps you sleep at night, knowing a storm won’t shake it.

Marketing is a big part of the foundation of your business. Choosing good tools — and using them well — helps make your business solid.

It’s worth taking the time to build a high quality email marketing program. It’s something you can be truly proud of.

Here’s the email provider I use (and love)

I am a proud ConvertKit customer and highly recommend their email marketing service! It delivers the perfect combination of power and ease of use.

Like every tool, you need to learn how to use it, but they have a great knowledge base and tech support. It’s a great business asset.

There are free email marketing services and services that require a subscription fee. The free services are fine, but as your business grows, you need robust tools.

Think of these as an investment, not a cost. Email marketing continues to be a powerful marketing tool. The subscription fees help you earn far more revenue in your business than you pay out.

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson coaches people to build profitable online businesses. She's an online educator, author, and keynote speaker. Read reviews of the tools used to run this site and business. Have you taken the free Focus Finder quiz yet?

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8 thoughts on “How to Build an Email Marketing Program You Can Be Proud Of”

  1. Thank you for posting this article. I have recently started looking into building a list and have looked at free email providers that have an autoresponder. Are there any that you recommend, or do you recommend only using a paid service provider?

    • Hi Henry,

      Good question. I believe email marketing is important enough that you should pay for it. There are services that are very reasonable and allow you to scale up when your list grows.

      I have a short (4-part) course that covers email marketing basics. Part of the course is a comparison of the major email marketing providers that includes what they offer, how much they charge, and how easy they are to work with.

      The course is free, and if you’d like to sign up for it, you can get it here: https://listsetupkit.com/

  2. Nice post Pamela.

    I’ve always wondered why email marketing does not get the love that it really deserves.

    In my opnion, it is the most powerful money making strategy that a marketer can learn.

    It’s more much stable than SEO, and it is the primary marketing method for 81%
    of small businesses.

    Just mastering this skill alone can set you for life.

    I tell anyone who is new to internet marketing, focus on learning how to build a list first, then worry about learning other skills like SEO or social media marketing if you want to.

    Once again, great post.

    Keep up the good work.

    Fred

    • Thanks, Fred. I’m a believer!

      I don’t see our inboxes being replaced any time soon, so building an email list seems like a smart investment.

      Thanks for your comment.

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