Email marketing is an excellent way to cultivate relationships and keep customers updated about your brand while being one of the most cost-effective tools in your marketing kitbag.

At its most basic level, email marketing is the use of email to promote your business – much like the old-school direct marketing where mailshots arrived through the letterbox, just without the paper and the postman.

Sending out your message to a mailing list means you are reaching an audience who has already opted to be engaged with your business, and often you can achieve this without spending a penny.

So, how do you get started with email marketing?

1. Build an email marketing list

The first thing you have to do when starting out in email marketing is build a mailing list. In its simplest form it’s a list of email addresses of people who have “opted-in” to receive your messages.

To start building a list you can –

  • Create a sign-up form on your website. When people visit your website and like what they see, they will welcome the opportunity to stay informed about your business. Add a pop-up for first time visitors to really catch their attention.
  • Use an old-style paper sign up sheet when you meet people in person, whether that’s in your bricks and mortar shop or office, at a business meeting, networking event or conference, for example.
  • Drive sign ups through social media. If you already have an engaged audience on Facebook, for instance, share your sign-up form and grow your list that way.

2. Grow your email marketing list

If you already have a list and want to grow it to reach even more people with your email campaigns, you can –

  • Host a contest or offer a discount. Give people an incentive to sign up, such as a prize draw or a discount for new subscribers.
  • Make your emails easy to share. If your emails look good and have great content your existing subscribers may wish to pass it on to others they feel will also like what you have to offer. Make sure your campaigns include share buttons.
  • Build a landing page. Some email marketing platforms, such as Mailchimp, make it easy to build specially-designed landing pages with clear calls to action to encourage people to sign up. Use beautiful imagery and your best content to really grab their attention and see the sign-ups soar.
Although the saying goes “the money is in the list” – meaning an email list is valuable to your business – do not be tempted to buy a list.
The people on it will not be engaged with your brand and your emails could land you in hot water for spamming.

3. Choose an email marketing platform

There are lots of email marketing platforms available that make creating and sending our campaigns as easy as a,b,c.

Talk to other people who regularly send out email campaigns and ask their opinions on the system they use. Of course, you can also do your own research online, or you may already have access to email marketing throuugh other software you already use such as your CRM.

It’s worth having an idea of what you want to achieve with your email marketing platform. Some offer free campaigns if your list is below a certain size, while others offer a premium service for a premium price.

Consider choosing one which will scale with you and your business.

Personally I don’t think you can go wrong with Mailchimp. It’s easy to set up, has lots of features to enhance your email campaigns, including useful templates and a drag and drop email design builder, and, if your list is below 2,000, it’s free.

4. Create your first email marketing campaign

Whether your goal is to build your brand or sell more stuff, the message you send out is going to make or break the success of your email marketing campaign.

Done well, email marketing can help build and strengthen your relationship with potential and exiting customers.

Done badly, and you risk your emails ending up in the trash, or even worse, recipients unsubscribing from your list.

You should consider it an honour that people have signed up to your list and effectively invited you into their email inbox.

Next week, we’ll look at what makes a good email marketing campaign.


Get in touch

If you want to find out more about how Tracey Sweetland and Plan B Marketing can help you with email marketing, call on 07595 036454 or email

Marketing tips for small business

Visit Plan B Marketing’s blog for even more useful articles on ways you can market your small business easily and affordably.