• Matthew Hood

Email Marketing: The ultimate guide for beginners in 2018

Updated: Nov 19, 2018

You've probably been told you need an email list.

But you might not know why.

And you mightn't know how to do it effectively.

No worries.

In this article, I'll show you why it's so important and I'll take you through a step by step guide to:

  • Grow a targeted list of people

  • Keep your subscribers engaged

  • Turn your subscribers into customers

So, why is email important?

  • Biggest ROI

Email marketing has the best return on investment compared to other marketing channels.

Campaign Monitor found 59% of marketers see the most ROI from email.

  • Email is how people want brands to contact them

Adobe found that email is the preferred way to be contacted by a brand.

  • Email usage is growing

Emarketer found total emails being sent and received worldwide will keep growing.

Email marketing is an amazingly effective way to market your business for free.

So, how do you do it well?

1. Sign up for an email marketing service

Best free: Wix ShoutOut (for Wix websites), MailChimp.

Best paid: Active Campaign, Convert Kit.

There are limitations around the free platforms but they're great when starting out.

2. Create an offer/opt-in/freebie

You want to create something so valuable, people are willing to trade their email address for it.

Free ebooks, online courses, templates, checklists and discounts on your online store are all good examples of offers.

I created a really impactful free ebook, 38 effective and actionable tactics to elevate your business, and a landing page to go with it.

If people want to read the ebook, they put in their email address and I send it to them. Their email address is then added to the Banni Digital email list. They'll then receive our weekly update with our latest blog post and some other goodness.

You also need to create a landing page to direct traffic to. See ours below.

Tip: Make sure there is one, clear call to action on the page.

Tip: Remove your header and footer to put emphasis on the call to action.

Note: Manage expectations by telling new subscribers they will also receive updates from your business. More on this later.

Once you've created your freebie and landing page, you need to get people seeing it.

3. Drive traffic to your landing page

Set a realistic goal for the number of subscribers your aiming for.

Maybe it's 5000 this year.


Then break it down.

That's roughly 100 a week.

What do you need to be doing to get 100 new subscribers a week?

Formulate your strategy from there.

  • Share with your personal network

In an interview with Tim Ferriss, serial successful entrepreneur Noah Kagan shares his thoughts on how to get your first 100 subscribers.

  1. Reach out to your network by posting it on your socials like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and anywhere else you can reach your friends.

  2. Post a photo of yourself and tell people you're starting a newsletter about [your topic]. Ask them to comment or DM you their email if they'd like to hear more about it from you.

hey guys, I’ve just started a newsletter about hydrofoil surfing, pop your email in a comment or DM it to me if you’re interested in learning more about it from me. Or if you know anyone who might be interested, tag them here. Cheers!

Your friends and family are the people who care about you most. So whether they have any interest in what you're talking about, they may just be interested in what you're doing. So, it's a great starting point.

  • Reach out to your existing customers and audience

Your existing customers are your best marketers. Ask if they have any friends who might be interested in your topic.

We naturally mix with people who have similar interests to us so more often than not you'll get some referrals.

  • Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are great for generating traffic from a targeted audience.

Winning at Facebook Ads is a whole article in itself. Read it here.

4. Keep them there

Once you start getting your subscribers, how do you keep them there and avoid high unsubscribe rates?

The first step to this should start back on your landing page.

Remember on the Banni Digital landing page, new subscribers are told they will get a weekly email from us?

That's called managing expectations. We tell subscribers we'll update them weekly, and we do. Not daily. Not sporadically when we're trying to sell something. Weekly.

I get Seth Godin's daily email. I expect it to come daily. It does. Perfect.

Make sure you have in place a strategy once you get subscribers. I.e. Don't forget to email them.

5. Learn from your analytics

Most email marketing services will give you insights and analytics.

The three number to focus on are:

  • Open rate

According to MailChimp, in the Marketing and Advertising industry the average open rate is roughly 16%.

Check your industry standard here.

We can see our open rate from our first ever email sent out was 25%.

If yours is low, it's either going to their spam folder or being deleted.

To avoid your email going to the spam folder, request subscribers add you to their address book in the first email you send them. Or ask them to in your thank you message after they have submitted their email.

To avoid having your email deleted, your focus should be on managing expectations and providing value. More on this later.

  • Click through rate

Check your industry standard here.

If it's low, it's likely your audience is not targeted well enough.

Focus on writing better copy and creating more enticing headlines to articles. More later.

  • Unsubscribes

Again check yours against your industry standard here.

Using your email analytics are critical in this case.

If your unsubscribe rate is high, see when people are unsubscribing and the last email that caused them to do this.

Was your last email aligned with your previous content. 66% of people unsubscribe because of misaligned interests.

Using your analytics to determine when people unsubscribe can help identify what topics or interests are driving people away. This is particularly useful when you notice high unsubscribe rates from particular emails.

6. Segment your audience

Rather than sending the same email to every single person on your list, you can segment your audience and tailor your message to that audience.

For example, MailChimp allows you to segment by subscriber engagement.

You can segment by new subscribers in last 7 days, those who have opened at least 1 of your last 5 emails and those who have not opened any of the last 5.

Then, tailor your message to this audience.

Duolingo nail the Inactive Subscribers segment message.

7. What goes in my email?

Updates, new content, insights, case studies. I.e. anything that adds VALUE.

Try telling a story, teach your audience something, illustrate the benefits of a product or service you sell, or persuade them to take action for something.

You're trying to build relationships to the point where your subscribers trust you and your product or service enough to buy from you.

Keep your emails, short and sharp, with a clear call to action.

See Shopify's clear read more call to action in their email campaigns.

Tip: Work backwards when creating your campaigns.

Who is going to be reading it? Fortune 500 CEOs? Small business owners? Female teeneagers looking for make-up tutorials?

Identifying this will help you frame your tone and content when writing.

Your subject line is really important.

35% of recipients open emails because of the subject line alone.

Fortunately, the team at Sumo put together the best list for creating email subject lines that work.

+ 45 more!

The wrap

Email marketing is super important. It's the marketing channel with the best return on investment. If you're not using email marketing or not using it effectively, you're leaving lots of money on the table.

If you have a Wix website, use Wix Shoutouts as your service provider. Otherwise use MailChimp. Both have free versions that will be fine to kick things off.

Grow you list by creating a valuable freebie like an ebook where people trade their emails to get it. Let them know when they download the freebie that they are opting in to your email marketing updates.

Drive traffic to your freebie landing page by getting the word out to your existing network and with Facebook Ads.

Keep your subscribers engaged with good content, by segmenting them into behavioural categories and learning what's working from your analytics.

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