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If you haven’t added email marketing to your arsenal of growth tools, then it’s time to. Why email marketing? Whether your email list is 10 close friends, or 100,000 paying customers, using email marketing is key to telling your story, boosting sales, and promoting your content.

If you’re not 100% committed to email marketing yet, just take a look at these facts:

You are 6 times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.


Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.

Now, we’re all about using social media for growth too, but you have to look at the facts: email marketing performs better than almost any other channel. And even if you’re only planning on using emails to send abandoned cart alerts or monthly newsletter, the important part is that you’re doing it, and doing it right. (Cue Daft Punk lyrics)

So why does email marketing work so well? If you think about it, email is still personal. It’s like a phone number. You have to give it out to someone or to a company and grant permission for them to email you. Yes, there are tricky ways to scrape or “buy” email lists, but thanks to the CAN-SPAM act, it’s straight up illegal to abuse email addresses.

Email is something that we now open first thing in the morning, sometimes before brushing our teeth (gross, right?). It’s something we get alerted about on our smartphones, Apple watches, and I think even refrigerators have Bluetooth now (it’s the future, y’all).

So, of course, email is going to work. Yes, people get spammed all day every day, and we all get a bazillion emails a day (At least I do, because I’m very popular). But, if done well and written sincerely, it’s actually pretty easy to reach your subscribers and to get them to open your well-crafted message.

So now that I have you completely convinced to start your email legacy, it’s time to go over the hows, whens, and whats. I’m going to walk you through the whole process so that by the time you’re done with this series, you’ll have the beginning of an email list, a few sequences, and a good basis of when and what to write.

Why Email Marketing: The First Step

Here’s what you need to do first: pick an email provider. This can be as hard as picking your newborn’s first name, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s first discuss what your priorities will be when choosing a provider, and we’ll go over a few that may be a right fit for you.

Ease of use
This is easily the most important characteristic, especially if you’re just getting started. You need to make sure that your email provider is something that you’ll enjoy working on every day (or at least every week). Pick one that doesn’t want to make you throw your computer out the window.

If you don’t know how to code, you’ll definitely want to pick one that has easy campaign builders, like MailChimp. They make it super easy to grab building blocks or elements, and drag and drop to create your campaigns. Most providers offer the option to use building blocks or to code your own, so you can usually switch between the two.

MailChimp is my go-to provider when it comes to ease of use. They make automation simple, their integrations are flawless, and customer support is just plain nice. Plus, we can’t say no to that little chimp fella.

Price is another important thing to consider. If you’re just getting started, then you’ll most likely be able to use a lot of providers’ free options, but if you’re importing your list, you need to take into account how many contacts you have. Most email providers charge by the size of your list. So while you may be at $10/month right now, you could easily be looking at $300/month when you’re up to 50,000 contacts. Make sure that the price is going to work for you not just for now, but for later.

Also, make sure to check what features are available with each plan. MailChimp, for example, is free up to a certain amount of contacts, but then bumps you up to $10/month if you want to use automation (which you do).

Speaking of automation – you need it. We’ll get more into why and how later, but this is a factor that you need to consider when choosing the right provider. I personally like using ActiveCampaign when it comes to automation While it has in-depth features, it’s still very simple to use. There are also tools like InfusionSoft, which is probably the end-all-be-all of email software (and CRM) but you practically have to be a wizard to send out even the simplest of automations.

Another important feature you need to consider is integration. This is actually probably the most important because if you can’t integrate with your ecommerce software, then you really can’t do much with your emails in the first place. Luckily, with new software like Zapier, you can integrate most emailers with your current software. I really recommend automatically importing contacts into your email lists so that you don’t have to export/import every time you have a new contact. That’s what Zapier does, and most email providers integrate with them flawlessly. Before you sign up for any email provider, make sure you’re going to be able to integrate with your ecommerce provider. They need to be BFFs.

If you’re using your email provider as a CRM, then that should be taken into account as well. Companies like Marketo and HubSpot provide email marketing services within a larger customer relationship management tool.

Ok, so have you decided? What are you waiting for? Check out the companies above, or do a quick google to find the endless providers just waiting to fit your very needs.

Once you’ve chosen, get started by setting up your account. Import your existing contacts and create lists based on your user base. Make sure you’re setting up the list with your appropriate name, address, and the opt-in information – this will make you less susceptible to getting thrown into the dreaded spam inbox.

In our next post, we’ll talk all about the HOW. This is going to be how to get subscribers on your list, and why you need those guys. Happy Emailing!

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About the author

Molly Corless

Molly has been marketing for small startups for over 5 years. From marketing automation to Facebook ads to copywriting, Molly has figured out the key to growing a business from the ground up. She lives in rainy Portland, Oregon with her dog named Hamms.


  1. felicia nelson

    My future web site will be for now with my email can I use the services you have in this article with my email for now till I get my site set up? Thank you felicia

    1. Kristen DeCosta

      Felicia, these are definitely tips you can use with your email! Once you get your site up and running, you can continue to use all of Molly’s tips as well!

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