8 ways to get your startup email marketing right


Email marketing – sending out content  to your mailing list - can be a hugely valuable tool for startups. It’s low-cost, helps you capture information about your audience, and ensures that you can push your message far and wide.

Do you have a special offer, a piece of exciting news, or a campaign you’d like people to get behind? These are all examples of times when using email marketing can take things to the next level. Sending consistent email updates and offers can also help keep your audience engaged and keeps you at the forefront of your mind.

However, it’s not just as simple as whacking out an email every so often. Think about the number of marketing emails you get every day – how many do you actually open? What does it take for you to unsubscribe? You’ve got to get the attention of your readers right away, and make it relevant and interesting enough that they’ll stay subscribed.

Here are eight ways to get your email marketing spot on.

1. Make sure only people who want the email are getting it

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can buy email addresses from a third party – all this will do is send your email marketing to people who have no idea what you’re on about, no interest in what you’re selling, and it’ll probably get you into legal hot water too (because you can’t just mess around with people’s personal data).

Make sure that you’re only targeting relevant people who have expressed an interest in receiving email communications from you, such as by signing up to your mailing list. And always, always, always have an unsubscribe option (usually automatic with email marketing solutions such as Mailchimp) – you’re not going to get along with everyone, so let anyone who wants to leave the party go quietly.

2. Make it look good

Standing out with a catchy, clean, and well-designed email is a must – it’s way more engaging then just a boring lump of text. Most email marketing solutions have some pretty slick templates that you can customise yourself. If you want to go the extra mile and stand out, you could hire a designer to create your own custom template.

3. Use engaging subject lines

You have a millisecond to get your customer to click - so take time crafting subject lines that will actually make people want to click. Think of how you can angle things to make them exciting, something that your customer just has to look at. Getting people to click is half the battle. Don’t be afraid to be bold, but don’t get too controversial or off-topic, else you’ll just end up annoying people.

4. Data

Many email marketing platforms have analytics built in, and if not don’t shy away from tracking your own metrics. Use the data to get better results. What sorts of emails do better – short and sweet with one call-to-action, or long-form content? How frequently – does the click rate improve if you send twice a week, or does that just get on people’s nerves? Even the time of day is important. When do you get the most reads? Analysing all of these and using them to inform your strategy can be super powerful. And don’t forget to keep tracking so you can follow the impact.

5. Make sure it comes from a person

Simple, but ensure that the address your emails are coming from is one owned by a human, and that the sender name isn’t just noreply @ whatever.com. People are more likely to open it if they don’t think you’re a spam robot. It also gives it a nice personal touch and means that any replies to the email can be dealt with quickly. Which brings us to the next point...

6. Listen to feedback

You might get feedback on your emails, whether positive (people love it, yay) or negative (whoops, your subject line or frequency of sending has really annoyed someone). Both types of feedback are valuable. Not everyone will enjoy your newsletters, and you shouldn’t try and please everyone, but if you’re noticing a pattern of people unsubscribing at certain times, or even telling you straight that your content isn’t relevant or that you send too many emails, it’s time to reevaluate what you’re doing.

7. Make your call-to-actions strong

You want people to click through from your email to your site, so make your call-to-actions really strong and clickable. Communicate the benefit – such as “Get your free ebook now” – as opposed to just plumping for the less evocative “Click here”.

8. Avoid being spammy

If you’re regularly marked as spam by a large proportion of your recipients, your emails will make it into dramatically fewer inboxes – this is why you need to be so careful to stay on the right side of your readers, and why having a solid email address to reply to is essential. Try to also avoid ‘spammy’ words and phrases such as “pills” and “lowest price” – Hubspot has a list of common ‘trigger words’.

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