Email Marketing Basics: Getting Started in 2017

I’ve seen email marketing become the most powerful marketing channel across many different industries. Aside from WORKING, email marketing is highly measurable and affordable. Depending on the amount of emails you send and the email software you use, your email marketing could end up being virtually free; I say virtually because if you are running the campaigns yourself, your time is money!

If your business is brand new to email marketing or simply has not been getting good results, follow me in this article as I take it back to the basics with: what you need to know to get started with email marketing.

  1. Start building your email list.

Do not buy email addresses and do not add people to your list without getting their permission. People are more likely to open emails if they know who they come from so if you buy emails, in my opinion, you’re wasting your money. If you add people to your email marketing lists who do not opt in, you are more likely to get reporting for spam.

Get started building your email list by:

  • Adding a sign up box to your website.Puracy has this simple sign up box on the bottom left of its website. I like that it’s not intimidating while tempting consumers: “Sign up for our exclusive email offers!”
  • Driving sign ups through Facebook advertising.
  • Enticing users with sign up offers via print marketing.


  1. Choose a reliable email marketing software.

You don’t want to use just your email with Gmail, Outlook, or whatever else you use to check your email – you won’t be able to track and analyze results well. There are a ton of email marketing softwares out there, many of which offer free trials. I have been using iContact an am a huge fan, but I do recommend you check out the free trials and figure out which works best for you. I like iContact because it’s not finicky when using template designers and has superb customer support. Pricewise, it’s comparable to competitors.


  1. Determine what kind of content you’ll push in your email marketing.

The type of content you will promote will be dependent on your goals. Of course, at the end of the day you want to get more sales, but how are you going to get there through email marketing? Try these tactics:

  • Establish trust
  • Generate excitement
  • Create urgency


  1. Develop an email marketing schedule.

This should work with your overall marketing schedule. You don’t want to send too many emails out each month (you could end up annoying your subscribers), but you also don’t want to send too few. Choosing that exact number is always a challenge as it varies from brand to brand. According to Smart Insights, 17 percent of companies are still sending four to five emails to their contacts, while 8 percent sends out emails 6 to 8 times per month. For the complete stats, view the article on email marketing frequency.


  1. Segment your lists.

This is one of the most important things you can do as an email marketer. All customers are not created equal and neither is email marketing. As you are just building your email list, you may not have many emails to segment but what I want you keep in mind are the differences between your subscribers. For example, let’s say you’re a realtor. You have a new listing that just came out in the Forked River area selling for $400,000. On your list, you have subscribers who are specifically looking in this area in this budget, but you also have subscribers who could no way afford this budget and have no desire to live in the area – don’t send the people who don’t qualify an email trying to sell them on this property.


  1. Craft engaging content.

This may sound like a no brainer, but you can’t imagine how many emails I’ve gotten that had a design painful to my soul and copywriting that just did not make sense (also painful to my soul). If you’re not a writer who does not have any graphic design experience, hire someone who does. P.S. – I’m available!

Creating engaging content starts with the subject line, which I defer you to HubSpot for: 17 Tips & Best Practices for Writing Catchy Email Subject Lines.

Email marketing is a good thing and I hope you will have fun crafting your messages. Here’s to your success!

Marisa Sanfilippo is a journalist turned award-winning marketing professional who has more than six years experience developing and executing marketing campaigns for small and medium sized businesses. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, Social Media Today,, Patch, and other publications.