Dave Shrein


Getting Started with Email Marketing

Email marketing works. If it hasn’t worked for you, there is good news… you can go back to the basics and rebuild your email marketing strategy.

Getting started with email marketing couldn’t be easier. There are three very simple steps you need to follow:

  • Create an email list
  • Invite people to subscribe to your list
  • Email your subscribers

At the core, this is all you need to do.

But you are smart enough to know there is a lot of nuance in these steps and you might even be looking at the list saying, “This is exactly what I did and it didn’t work.”

Like I said above, there is good news… you can always change the way you’re doing things and reap the same rewards you’ve seen other marketers and businesses experience.

In this article I’m going to walk you through the steps you need to take in order to get started with email marketing, taking time to stop and examine the finer points in greater depth. As we go through each point, take time to build your email marketing strategy on paper so that when you’re done, you have a plan to move forward with.

You should be experiencing email replies, link clicks, new free trials, sales, and more… and by the time you’ve finished this article you’ll have a good idea why these things have been missing and, more importantly, what you must to do change the outcome going forward.

How Email Marketing Is Supposed to Work

You may have an idea of how email marketing is supposed to work but, now that you think about it, you’ve never really had it laid out for you.

That’s okay!

There is so much information on the internet today that it’s easy to bypass basics not realizing that you’re missing key components of a successful strategy.

Let’s take a few minutes to make the case for email marketing and how it is supposed to function on a basic level.

Why You Should Use Email for Your Marketing

There are more reasons for using email as a part of your marketing strategy than there are to not use it.

But there is one reason above them all…


Nearly every marketing channel you have available to you has at least one gatekeeper standing between you and your customer. What’s more, these gatekeepers make the rules and, as we’ve seen with increasing frequency, these gatekeepers will completely cancel your access to your customers… their customers.

With a list of email subscribers, the only thing standing in between you and your customer is email deliverability rates (which we will touch on later). As long as your emails are high quality messages sent to people who asked to be on your list you’ve got access to your subscribers.

Social media networks will hold back the reach of your communication, compelling you to pay money to reach the audience you’ve already accumulated. Search engines will continually update their algorithms to serve up results they determine are relevant to the user’s query. But when someone subscribes to your email list, that email subscriber belongs to you and you can now contact that user at any point in time, without the need to pay additional money.

The over arching reason for email marketing is to have direct access to your customers.

Here are some additional reasons for email marketing:

  • Build a relationship
  • Get feedback
  • Share new content
  • Promote new products or services
  • Build a network

The question isn’t “Why should I use email in my marketing?” the question is, “Why would I not use email in my marketing?”

Trying to Get Something Going with Email Marketing?

Email marketing is one of the more competitive service categories and if you’re trying to launch your email efforts off the ground – or breathe new life into a list that you’ve sat on for years – you are not short on options.

The choices can be are overwhelming. Here are a few of the players that I’m aware of as of this writing:

You may be looking for someone to tell you which service to use. That is easy enough to do – but that is not what this post is about. By the time you’re done reading, you will be equipped to choose for yourself which service will be the best for you to start with.

The Service You Will Want to Choose

It would be great to go through the process of choosing the best service for you with someone who has been there and done that – that’s what we hope to simulate in this post. Here are some “coaching” questions that will guide you to choosing the the best service. Or in other words, your perfect email marketing service.

  • Why are you choosing to use email marketing?
  • What will you be using email for?
  • How often will you be emailing your list?
  • Will you have more than one subset of people to email?
  • How many people need access?
  • How many emails will you be sending out?
  • What does your email marketing look like one year from now?
  • Are you going to rely heavily on graphics and design?
  • What is your comfort level with coding?
  • Are you going to be using your email marketing with other 3rd party services?
  • Will you be doing any automation? (If this then that)

You may not know the answer to all of these questions and that’s okay. First, you should be applauded for being willing to venture into something new. Seriously, celebrate it because if you’ve read this far you’re way ahead of the millions of people too afraid to actually learn something foreign like email marketing.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Even if you’re unsure of what you’re doing with email marketing, you should be applauded for starting” quote=”Even if you’re unsure of what you’re doing with email marketing, you should be applauded for starting.”]

Answer the questions as best as you can and not in your head – actually write your answers down and don’t worry about saying something dumb or sounding stupid. You’re not showing this to anybody else.

Click here to Tweet me directly with any specific questions

As you begin to write out what you will be doing with email marketing it will become clear what features you need. From there, you will land on a revelation that should have been written at the top of this post (but it was placed here to reward people who actually read):

Never purchase or subscribe to a service based upon the features it offers. Make your purchases based upon the features you need.

Every service is going to tout dozens of features, with many of them being quite cool, and most of which you will never use. When you base your purchase off of what you need you will partner with an appropriately priced solution that will not leave you wanting on features.

Just Make a Decision Because This Shouldn’t Hold You Up

As reckless as it may sound, just make a decision. Seriously. After looking at the answers to the questions above, begin to formulate what you need. For example:

  • Why are you choosing to use email marketing in the first place?To send a once a week update to current customers with a list of what to expect the following week.

    Based upon that answer, you need the ability to send an email to a single list of people, you need a mechanism for them to sign themselves up for an email or for you to add them and you may want the ability to schedule your campaign.

    Look at the various providers and see which one will allow you to do those three things.

Pick one option and go with it. The time you are wasting by analyzing, collecting information, weighing the options, budgeting… blah, blah, blah… is time that could be spent composing emails and building your list.

One thing NO ONE says but is true of everyone and every decision you will make launching your platform: you can always switch to a different service provider later. True, it could be difficult, but wouldn’t it be better to be frustrated by having hundreds or thousands of subcribers to switch than never starting at all and having nothing to switch?

If There is One Service to Recommend

So, after all that – you might be saying, “I just want to start today! Just tell me what you use.”

Far be it from anyone to stand in the way of someone who is ready to take action. The one service that stands out above all the others (in my eyes) is MailChimp. Here is what MailChimp has going for it:

  • Free – a very generous free plan that works for nearly anyone starting.
  • Forward thinking – MailChimp is a company that is constantly improving their service and their interface, always adding new, sought after features.
  • Popular with 3rd Party Services – you will run into the need to integrate your email marketing service provider with other 3rd party services and if you’re using MailChimp, more often than not you’ll be in good shape to integrate.
  • Easy to Use – The MailChimp drag and drop email designer is very easy to use and intuitive. Before you get frustrated, spend some time experimenting and putting together different elements. You’ll get more comfortable over time.

Truthfully, you could go with Aweber, MailChimp, Get Response or Mad Mimi and be happy with any of them. The important thing is to launch. Just launch. Don’t wait for the perfect solution to launch… just launch and learn over time what you need.

Subscribe for More

Welcome to Online Marketing Intro Course Screen

Become the marketing expert you need

You shouldn’t have to hire an expert to market what you do best! My free intro course will give you a simple framework you can use to build a marketing plan — no matter your product or experience.