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How to Start With Email Marketing: A Step by Step Guide

Email is the number one way to reach out to your customers. Get it right and you can and will boost your sales! Read this to find out how.

You may not think it, but email has actually been around a lot longer than the world wide web. The first recorded instance was a program called ‘Mailbox’, which was created by MIT way back in 1965. Email has come a long way since then, yet the fundamental principles still apply. Send out messages and have people read them. The trick now, however, is to get your emails read by more people and convince them to buy your stuff!

Did you know that people spend, on average, people spend 2.5 hours a day reading emails? What’s more, emails are approximately 40 times more effective at getting conversions than social media! With that in mind, it seems crazy not to use them, but a lot of people don’t.

Of course, not all emails are going to be successful. No doubt you’ve received a ton of spam over the years which has gone straight into the bin. However, if you can tailor your emails to grab people’s attention and make them open them, then you could be on your way to bigger things.

Making Emails Work for You


Take a second to think about all of the spam emails you’ve received. Why didn’t you open that one from Barry in Nigeria who needed you to wire him $2000 so he could bring his friend back from space? Or the one from the supermodel who so conveniently lived right next door to you? The reason? Trust! If you want people to open your emails, they have to be trustworthy. Otherwise, you’ll be joining Barry and the blonde bombshell in the bin for all eternity. However, gaining trust is easier said than done. One way though is to ensure that there is a value exchange.

If you’d opened Barry’s email, you’d have probably found out that he was going to pay you 300 billion Ugandan dollars for your effort. This is a value exchange, and that’s why those spam emails still exist because people very occasionally get fooled by them. However, it’s not the type of value exchange you want.

Value comes in many different forms and the key to getting someone to open and read your email is the promise of being better off having done so. In email marketing, you can give value simply through giving information. The easiest way to do this is to tell your customers something they didn’t know. If you can generate interest and then give them an interesting piece of information which they can take with them, you will have done a lot to gain their trust.

Here are a few subject headings to give you an idea of how to get your customers interested:

  • We’ve found what you’re looking for!
  • Why there’s no place like home.
  • Here’s what you’ve missed.
  • Did you know…?
  • Meet the man who…!

Leaving the key information out of the subject line but letting the customer know to expect the answer after they open your email, you allow their curiosity to get the better of them. However, if you want people to convert, make sure you don’t lead them astray. If you offer them an answer, give them one. Not too early though otherwise they will have instantly got what they came for and won’t stay for the rest. For example: If your subject line is ‘You’ll never believe which animal weighs the most’ and the first words in the body of the email are ‘the blue whale’, don’t be surprised when people don’t read the rest of the email.

The tricky part is finding the right balance. Your email should have a subject line to get people’s attention, a response to the subject line in the body and it should be relevant to the product you are trying to promote. Not an easy task and one which will take a lot of time to master. The best way to do this is work from the product backwards. Let’s build an example template.

Crafting Your Sales Pitch!


Imagine you are trying to sell shoes. For this example, we’ll use trainers. What are trainers used for? Running and jogging Perfect! Now let’s say that your demographic is male, between the ages of 25-35. They work out a couple of times a week but they aren’t die-hard fitness fanatics. They have busy lives and still enjoy a drink or two at weekends. For these customers, you don’t have to be formal but they still expect a decent product and you need to gain their trust that you can deliver. So, let’s try to figure out a subject line.

If we go back to what our shoes can be used for, we can get some inspiration:

Running late? At least do it in style - This play on words allows you to lead straight into selling your product and the tone remains professional but not overly formal. It also hints at being able to do something stylishly but doesn’t give away how.

Jog on, nothing to see here! - (UK slang meaning ‘get lost’. May seem insulting at first but will grab people’s attention and cause them to open. It also hits the nail on the head for the demographic. The nothing to see here part also plays to reverse psychology and should have people opening your email precisely because you told them not to.

The second subject header is probably going to be the best but you can always bank the other one and try it out another time. The next thing to do is marry the subject with the body.

Jog on, nothing to see here!

It’s a little difficult to get the subject to flow straight into the email at the minute because of the exclamation mark. Instead, let’s change it to an ellipsis. Ellipses are great because they show that something is missing.

Jog on, nothing to see here…

Now that we have that done it’s much easier to link the subject to the body.

Jog on, nothing to see here… Except the best trainers you’ve ever laid eyes on!

It might at this point seem like we’re answering the question of the subject line too quickly. Not quite, unlike the blue whale example, not everything is answered. For example, we’ve just said that they are the best trainers, next you need to justify that claim. If you can do that, then you have made your point and the customer will hopefully agree that they are the best trainers that they’ve ever laid eyes on and buy them.

Of course, not all emails have to be focused on sales. You should also be trying to engage with your customers regularly to let them know that you’re a legitimate company that cares about their concerns. The important thing to do though, is to remain consistent to your brand and your demographic and provide them with content and information you think they would like to read. If can you do that then you’ll have winning campaigns.

Finished reading?
Then it’s time to make some money.

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