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Breaking Down E-Mail Marketing: Where to Start

If Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest went away tomorrow, how would you reach your customers?

Back in 2003, I started my email list over at Constant Contact because that was all I had access to. Building a website was difficult and blogs weren’t yet mainstream. If I met people at a convention or class I was teaching, the best, most non-invasive way to follow up was through email marketing.

After I started my blog, Hydrangea Hippo, in 2007, people still wondered why I bothered sending a newsletter. It seemed passé and old school, but it was incredibly effective. I liked to say that if I needed a quick $1000, all I had to do was send out a newsletter and watch the orders and class sign-ups roll in. It was true!

Fast forward to 2014. Many business owners put all of their eggs in the social media marketing basket. When terms of service changed or platforms like Facebook changed their algorithms, everyone realized they had “built their house on rented land.” B that I mean that they built a following on a platform they had no control over, like Facebook, because it appeared to be a free, easy way to reach new customers.

Why does email marketing work?

If you don’t yet have an email newsletter list, it’s not too late to start. Here are the steps to getting started and some essential things you need to know.

Steps to Get Started in Email Marketing:

1. Sign up for an email newsletter service*. They all have different price packages and features, but most have a free trial so you can try it out before you buy.

2. Set up an email list. You can use different lists for different events, customer groups, etc. For example, I have lists for “Contacts Made at CHA 2014” or “Contacts from Patchwork Show Spring 2013”.

3. Once you’ve set up a list, you can start adding email addresses. There are two methods you can use – you can type these in or import them. ONLY add emails to your list if you have permission. Someone handing you their business card is not the same as them granting  permissi0n for you to add them to your list. Send an email to your contacts inviting them to sign up on your list via a widget or form on your website. For example, I keep a book in which people can sign up to receive my newsletters when I am teaching at an event. You can make your own, like the example below, or use a notebook.

4. Set up a sign up form or widget. You can add these to your website, blog, and social media. Every reputable service has a form builder to help you create the code. Just follow their instructions to add the form, widget, app to your site and social media.

5. Schedule your first newsletter – you can use templates or pay someone to create a custom template for you. Most of the services are easy to use and feature drag and drop modules. Here is what a sample newsletter can look like, using a template provided by the email service:

*Why you need a service to send your newsletter versus sending it yourself – the CAN-SPAM Act was passed to protect email users from spam. To comply with CAN-SPAM, you should use a service to deliver your newsletter. This will protect you from spam claims and ensure customers that their email addresses are safe.

Start connecting with your customers via email today.

 

By: Jennifer Priest from Hydrangea Hippo