The Beginners Guide to Email Marketing

1. Determine your goals -Before you can do anything with email marketing it’s important to distinguish why you’re doing it. Are you trying to increase sales? Build awareness? Nurture leads? Perhaps all three of these? . Figuring out the why before hand will help you tailor a custom strategy that will work towards your specific needs. For example, building a campaign with the objective of increasing sales will most likely involve a lifecycle campaign whereas building awareness and nurturing leads would lend it self more to weekly newsletters or updates about your business.

2. Realize that email marketing is MORE than just newsletters. Perhaps you determined that your goal is simply to keep in touch with already existing customers. That’s fine and well, but even so, email newsletters are just the tip of the iceberg, but it is a great start, so start there and move forward.

3. Start simple. Use an email template and a known newsletter provider. There are a multitude of email service providers and CRMs to choose from when you’re getting started with email marketing and most are very intuitive and simple to use. An added bonus of most of the top email newsletter tools is that have ready to use templates that you can simply plug your information into to get started. As you become more experienced with email marketing, you may get to the point where you’d like to start designing your own customized templates from scratch. This is all well and good but it’s important to realize that building in email HTML is much different from standard HTML because some email clients have limited CSS features. Besides these limiting factors, designing a template from scratch is time consuming so to begin with, just choose one of the many  email templates available and customize the heck out of it.

4. Determine the content your audience wants to hear about. Spend about 20 min – 1 hour spitting out all the ideas you can on what your audience wants to hear about. If you have trouble coming up with a decent number of ideas, don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they’d like to hear about via social media channels. Feedback is going to be key going forward as you pinpoint your email objective. Refine your list, put it on a content calendar, and get ready to send emails about it.

5. Choose a frequency. How often do you plan on contacting your subscribers? Daily, weekly, monthly, or only based on activity? While it’s always good to maintain contact, it can also be detrimental to your business if you contact your audience too often, often times becoming annoying and a bit of an nuisance. So, choose a lower frequency at first, maybe weekly, and then test using the data collected on open rates by your chosen email service provider, and optimize over time .

5. Collect email addresses using a tool from the following list. This could be a form on your site, a link to a landing page, pop-up plugin, survey tool, Facebook etc. Here’s a list of tools that will help you collect email addresses: List of Email Marketing Tools

6. Send and Optimize. This is where the real work begins. Where you’ll discover what works for you and what doesn’t. Thing of this stage as the AB testing phase. Try out different subject lines with the same content to see which gets more opens and responses. Try out different email timings throughout the day. Try sending emails with images or no images, etc. This is the step where your subscribers will tell you want they want in their inbox every week, month, etc. There are numerous other articles out there that will help you optimize your emails.

7. Continue to build your list – Not everyone is going to want to give you their email address right off the bat and that’s fine. List building is a huge part of the job in email marketing. There are tons of different ways to build a list and as you gain more experience you’ll figure out which methods work best for you. You’re going to be in the website traffic and email marketing list building stage for a while, so use that time to focus on what is and isn’t working. Blog posting and networking through social channels etc. will build the traffic that will build the list. You don’t need a large list to be super effective at email marketing so don’t get discouraged if you struggle to build a list at first.

8. Go out and do it. Now that we’ve covered the basics of email marketing the best way to get better is to go out there and do it and learn through immersion. Good luck!

10 Lessons in Startup Marketing




So you started a business and you’ve got a product, but don’t know how to go about marketing it to your community? Let us help.


1. Marketing is about making people want you before they need you. The truth is, less than 1% of the population is in the market for what you probably sell right now. With the exception of paid search, reaching people who want what you sell right now is like playing the lottery. You’re just trying to get lucky. The right way to go about marketing is to start influencing people’s decisions long before they need to make them.

2. The best way to tell a great story is to be a great story. Creating a bar that revolves around being  a dog park is a more effective way to make people believe you’re a fun and dog-loving bar than merely telling people you allow dogs. Actions will always speak louder than words. When you make this actionable, you’ll appreciate just how much marketing influence you actually posses.

3. You’re probably talking people out of doing business with you. The main goal of any marketing endeavor is to get new customers through the proverbial door. But we can assume everyone, including already existing customers, that calls you, emails you or walks in your door is looking for a reason to do business with you. Keep old customers in mind when developing marketing strategies by generating incentive for them to return such as rewards programs while also looking ahead. Also, ask yourself the following questions: What is your closing rate? How can you improve it? This opportunity is neglected far too often.

4. Win the heart and the mind will follow. Decisions aren’t made in the left brain. With every decision you take, every judgement you make, there is a battle between intuition, logic, and emotional response.According to Simon Sinek, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. You have to establish an emotional connection. Today, it’s all about Engagement Marketing. When people are shopping, who do they shop for? Themselves. Not for you, not for me. So you need to become their friend, and as a friend, you look out for their best interest. That  in and of itself is the basis of winning over the heart of a customer.

5. Get customer input. The endgame of any business endeavor is to to generate a profit and the only way to do this is to be a company that people want to give their hard earned cash to. So, what better way to become that company that to keep your ear to the ground and listen to what people are saying when they talk about your business? Granted, it won’t always be positive, and it might make you upset, but you should treat criticism as an opportunity for growth and fine tuning.

6. Don’t stop marketing once you’ve reach your sales goals. After someone makes a decision (either to buy from you or not) your agenda with them, technically, is stripped. What you do in these moments speaks significantly louder to people than what you do while trying to get a piece of their wallet. How about going above and beyond after the fact and creating an experience they can’t help but tell people about? “Hey, you’ll never believe what happened when __________.” This is easily accomplished through generating incentive through rewards programs, discounts, great customer service, and going above and beyond expectations.

7. Blog Blog Blog! It’s one of the easiest ways to be seen as an expert in your field and lets people know that there are real people behind your business who care about them, making it easier for people to relate and reciprocate. Creating your own content, no matter the medium allows you to control the conversation and free up new marketing channels.

8. Help people without asking for anything in return. This goes along with tip number 6. Going above and beyond and being altruistic is a quality that can never be overrated. Most people need to see you as a resource – someone who has something valuable to them before they choose to buy anything. You need to be the one who starts the conversation.

9. Fine tune where you need to be present. There are more types of marketing media out there than ever before and the field is only going to get more and more crowded. Jay Walker-Smith, President of advertising firm, Yankelovich, says, “we’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day,” today. Just because a marketing tool or opportunity exists doesn’t mean you need it. It’s better to have one quality marketing campaign that to have 30 average ones. Do research on your target market and fine tune your efforts and opportunities to reach those people instead of wasting resources trying to be everywhere at once.

10. If you’re taking shortcuts, you’re bound to fail. Becoming successful only comes with hard work unless you’re born with a golden spoon in your mouth. There are no shortcuts in marketing. The less effort you put into your outreach, the less likely it is to be innovative, the more likely it will come across as artificial, and the more likely it is to be ignored. Creating things that gain and hold attention is difficult. That’s why it requires so much work to get right.

3 Keys to Lifecycle Marketing Success

lifecycle marketing

As marketers, one of the most important facets of our job in being able to run successful lifecycle marketing campaigns. For those reading this who may not be familiar with what lifecycle marketing is, allow me to briefly explain. Lifecycle marketing refers to sales and marketing campaigns that take your potential and current customers’ needs into account as they transform over time. That means providing incentive for new customers to choose you over your competition as well as for already existing customers to continue choosing you, thus, generating more revenue. This is done first off by recognizing that new and returning customers have different needs and utilizing that knowledge to assign specific user profiles and create direct marketing campaigns that make the customer feel important rather than enterprising campaigns that are hit or miss at best. Doing this will transform your marketing campaigns into meaningful and engaging initiatives. No matter the customer, timely, poignant, and motivated emails will help you engage your client successfully, as their needs evolve. So, having read that, how now can you guarantee lifecycle marketing success?

1. Constant Communication

Clients want to know that you are providing them with value. The best way to reassure them of this is by keeping in contact with them and letting them know what steps you are taking in the evolution of your business and product to do the most you can for them. Letting them know about new updates, fixes, and sharing content with them are some great examples of things to update customers with because it expresses your commitment to delivering value.

2. Usage-based Programs

Knowing how your customers are using your product in relation to the usage-cycle affords you the ability to let them know exactly what you need to regarding any offers, updates, or events. There are a number of ways to monitor this sort of activity, primarily the method of CRM triggering in email marketing campaigns. The typical order of a lifecycle marketing campaign goes as follows: Trial phase > Onboarding > Land & Expand > Customer Success. Recognizing where customers fall within the expanded spectrum of those four steps gives you the opportunity to tailor solutions and emails in a way that is geared towards moving them along the funnel.

3. Product-based Upselling

Incentive goes a long way to bring in new clients as well as keeping existing ones within the funnel. Offering additional products that speak to your customer’s needs and usage is a fantastic way of upselling. Whether this be in the form of complimentarily bundling a purchased produced with an unpurchased one or offering special events and purchasing opportunities for returning customers (much in the same way that Nordstrom does with their member sales), keeping paying customers in the loop and learning about their product use can teach you a lot about your clients and yourself.



60 Tips to Grow Your Email List

email list

When it comes to email marketing, you know how valuable your email list can be. Your list isn’t just about quantity though. This isn’t spray and pray marketing. It’s about relationships. You can have 20k people on your list, but if 90% of them have your emails going straight to their spam folder, whats the use? The goal isn’t to build a list of numbers but rather, a list of individuals who you can actively engage and who are willing to support you. You’re trying to build relationships and retain and convert leads, but coming up with new ways to get people to sign up for your emails isn’t always easy. In order to build an engaging relationship with your potential leads you’ve got to treat it like one from the start.  That’s why we put together this collection of list growth ideas! Use these tips to grow your list and take your email marketing relationships to the next level!

Whatever methods you use, be sure to start with a reason “why” someone should join your email list. What’s in it for them? This will make it more likely that people will say yes.

1.  Use a paper sign up sheet. 

Sometimes a physical sheet is the way to go. Putting their name on something tangible can have a lasting effect.

2. Ask face to face.

Just having a sign-up form available won’t always be enough. Train yourself and your employees to always be asking and engaging prospective contacts to sign up.

3. Check your database.

Don’t overlook the obvious. You probably already have a database of contacts who would love to join your list. Ask them to sign up.

4. Ask friends and family.

Look to your personal network to help jumpstart your list growth.

5. Put a fishbowl on the counter at your office and events

This gives visitors incentive to drop their cards in and join your list.

6. Reach out over the phone.

Having a great conversation with a customer or supporter? Keep the conversation going. Ask them to join your email list!

7. Use your sidewalk sign.

Using a sidewalk sign or sandwich board to bring in foot traffic? Tell passersby about all the great info, discounts, and news they’ll find by signing up for your emails.

8. Participate in Small Business Saturday

If there’s one day people are excited about finding new businesses it’s Small Business Saturday. Make sure you’re asking people to join your list when they come in for this special day.

9. Add a sign up form to your Facebook page

Not everyone visits your site directly. Make it easy for fans to join your list by adding a sign-up form to your Facebook page.

10. Tweet it!

Write yourself a note now: “Tweet about my email list once a week.” You should also post about your email list on your other social networks, but less frequently than you would on Twitter.

11. Update your Facebook page cover photo.

You can now include a call to action on the cover photo of your Facebook page. Have some fun with it and ask people to join your list.

12. Buy a Facebook ad.

Supercharge your Facebook list growth with a Facebook ad. Add new fans and new subscribers by driving people to your Facebook sign-up form.

13. Use your Youtube channel

Making the leap into online video? Talk about your emails in a video and tell people where to sign up.

14. Use Foursquare

Foursquare lets you update your business’s info and post alerts to people in the area. Try sharing a link to your sign-up form and see how it goes.

15. Join a LinkedIn group

When appropriate, let members of the same LinkedIn groups know about your email list.

16. Join a Google+ community.

Like LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities are the place Google+ users go to find information relevant to them. Share your latest email and ask members to join your list.

17. Host a Tweet chat.

Tweet chats are a great way to boost engagement on Twitter. It can help you attract new followers and can give you a unique opportunity to grow your list.

18. Use Vine.

Tell people why they should sign up in 6 seconds or less. You can share your Vine video on Facebook or Twitter and can embed it on your blog.

19. Add a signup link to your social bios.

Allow social connections to easily find your email signup form by linking to it in your profiles. Try it on Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Google+.

20. Sample your content on Pinterest.

Create a board on Pinterest and “pin” your email newsletter right when it comes out! Use an image from your email or take a screenshot of your entire newsletter to give readers a preview of your content.

21. Add a signup form to your website.

This one is pretty obvious. Easily add a link to your signup form on your website and collect emails from people who visit your site. Give your signup form plenty of visibility by putting it on every page.

22. Create a “Reason to Sign Up” page. 

Ask your current contacts why they enjoy your emails, and then create a page on your website highlighting the biggest benefits of signing up.

23. Keep your signup form short. 

Don’t ask too many questions. You may miss chances to grow your email list. Keep your signup form short and simple. Only
ask for the information that’s absolutely necessary. You can collect more information down the line.

24. Add to your blog.

If someone enjoys what you have to say on your blog, there’s a good chance they’d want to see your updates in their inbox.

25. Guest blog.

Writing for other blogs is a great way to get in front of a new audience. Include a link to your sign-up form in your author bio. If people like your post, they’ll want to get more information from you.

26. Comment on Blog Posts.

Participate in conversations about your area of expertise on your favorite blogs. When you leave a comment you’ll also be able to add a link back to your website as part of your identifying information. This can lead people to your website where they can sign up for your email list.

27. Test different calls to action.

Similar to AB testing, rewording your call to action is a great way to approach new leads without being repetitive as well as seeing which methods are most effective.

28. Online payment forms.

Collect email addresses when people are making a purchase. Be sure to indicate they’re opting-in to receive future emails from you.

29. Optimize online listings.

Did you know that 49% of small businesses have never updated their online listings? Keep your listing up-to-date and provide a link to join your email list.

30. Use your podcast.

Mention your email newsletter during your podcast. (Have you listened to our weekly Speakeasy Marketing Roundtable
Podcast? Check it out and while you’re there, subscribe to our Hints & Tips newsletter at the top of the page!)

31. Collect emails with an online survey.

Add a sign-up link to your next online survey. Let people share their feedback and join your email list.

32. Promote your email archive.

Use Email Archive to promote your past emails. You can share your archive on your blog, website, and on social media.

33. Put a signup link in your newsletter.

You never know how people are going to find your emails. When new readers find them, make sure they have a way to sign up.

34. Add social share buttons to your email.

Sometimes, the best way to grow your list is to extend the reach of your emails. Add social share buttons to make it easy for people to share your emails on their social networks.

35. Use forward to a friend.

Add a “forward to a friend” button to your emails to help you reach your next subscribers.

36. Your email signature.

Get more exposure for your email list by including a link in your regular emails.

37. Use PicMonkey.

With PicMonkey, you can put text over images—a great way to ask people to join your list! Share your images on Facebook, Twitter, or hang them in your store.

38. There’s an app for that.

Download the Quickview app from Constant Contact so you can enter new emails on the go.

39. Use text to join.

More than half of all Americans now have smartphones. use a Text-to-Join feature to let your people sign up via text message.

40. Use a QR code.

Add a QR code to a flyer, post, or brochure and make it easy for people to scan-to-join your email list.

41. Use an iPad.

Wondering what to do with the new iPad? use it to collect email addresses in-store or at your next event.

42. Use a brochure.

Giving out flyers, brochures, or pamphlets at your store or office? Let people know your emails are the best source for up-to- date information.

43. Run an ad in your local paper.

Get the most out of your print advertising investment. Tell people to visit your website and join your list!

44. Put a link on your business cards.

Work with your business card supplier to add a QR code with a call-to-action to join your email list.

45. Add to your menu. 

Own a restaurant? Add a QR code on your menu and let people join your email list at the table.

46. Use your shipping boxes.

Shipping orders to customers who placed an order online? Put a QR code on your boxes, and encourage customers to sign up.

47. During event registration. 

Stay in touch before your event by collecting email addresses when people register for your event.

48. Collect emails at your event.

Collect email addresses at your event with a paper sign-up sheet, QR code, or even via text-message.

49. Be a sponsor.

Work with other businesses and organizations in your community to host an event. It’s a great way to introduce your business (and your email list) to a whole new audience.

50. Book a speaking engagement.

If people are interested in what you have to say, there’s a good chance they’ll be interested in what you write in your emails. Let people know you have a resource they can sign up to receive.

51. Use your table tents.

Do you use table tents in your restaurant or at your events? Add a QR code and make it easy for attendees to join your email list.

52. Run an in-store raffle.

Raffle off a prize your customers will love and collect email addresses in the process. (let them know that signing up will include them in your email list)

53. Run a Facebook sweepstakes.

With Social Campaigns from Constant Contact, you can run a contest on Facebook and collect email addresses in the process.

54. Start a loyalty program.

Look for ways to reward your customers and grow your email list in the process!

55. Run a birthday club.

Create a club to help celebrate your customers’ birthdays and grow your email list.

56. Run a local deal. 

If you want deal buyers to come back after the deal is over, you need to make it easy for people to join your

57. Ask when someone redeems an offer.

Testing your luck with one of the big-name deal providers? Don’t forget to ask new customers to join your mailing list when they redeem the offer.

58. Offer a coupon on Facebook.

Utilize deal through your social network to lure new customers in and sign up for your email list.

59. Offer a piece of content.

You can offer up a great piece of content—like a whitepaper, eBook, or guide—to entice people to join your list.

60. Offer an incentive to your employees.

Get your employees excited about growing your email list. Offer a prize to the employee who collects the most email addresses.