Getting Started With Email Marketing | Advice / how-to, Internet marketing

Getting Started With Email Marketing

by Kris Gutknecht

SEO-optimized advice article for The Mission Suite blog. Originally published here July, 2013.

Congratulations on starting an email marketing campaign! You’ve probably found that your software for email marketing provides you with lots of tools, and the cost of an email blast is pennies compared to the potential return.

Here’s some tips to help you get the best results from your campaign.

Gather Emails Now

Before you start the first draft of your newsletter, start gathering email addresses; after all, you want someone to send it to, right? Gathering emails is easier than you think it will be.

  • Don’t buy or rent email lists. Even if it’s legal (it’s probably not), your unsubscribe and spam rates will be enormous, and your whole company may get marked as a spammer. You could be blocked from sending all email, even personal mail.
  • Instead, gather emails from customers who know they’re signing up for the email list and have given you their permission for you to email them. (That’s the law!)
  • In-store, train staff to ask customers to sign up by emphasizing what the email list will do for them, the customer. Say, “Do you want to receive coupons and deal alerts by email?”
  • Post a sign-up form on all social media and you website — your ESP can provide you the code. Let customers know the incentives for getting on the email list, like event alerts, a special sign-up incentive, or email-only coupons.
  • Put your social media and website links on all print advertisements, receipts, give-aways, anything you print or give to customers.


  • Consider your audience: not your staff and board members, who are interested in administration and details, but your broader audience.
  • Most people sign up to a newsletter for coupons, but that isn’t enough to carry interests for the long term.
  • Customers want to know about your brand, product updates, tips and instructables, your opinion on related issues, and links to content that interests them.
  • Put a call to action in each paragraph. What should they do next? Buy, go to a website, forward the newsletter, Like on Facebook, Tweet their purchase, leave a review?
  • Make the next step easy with a text and button link.

Get Great Images from Any Camera

Your images should be HD, with no pixilation, noise, or blurriness. Choose photos with [good composition] [], that [tell a story] [] at a glance.

In email, a small photo must catch the eye, so the subject should fill up most of the photo’s area. Think close-up and single subject, not a landscape or group photo. Artistic shots are effective if the composition is arresting, but human beings as subjects got the most click-throughs in one non-profit’s email newsletter A/B test.

Be Friendly

  • Put a real person in the return field.
  • Use an upbeat, informal communication style. Your reader is “you” and your company is “I” or “we.”
  • Use bylines for the pieces in your newsletters so readers get a sense of real people behind the corporation.
  • Make your company easy to contact. Include customer service numbers in transactional email so customers can contact you easily if there’s a problem.
  • Include links to your Facebook, Twitter, and website so customers can easily follow your brand or make another purchase. Include links to subscribe to the newsletter so when a subscriber forwards the email to a friend, that friend can easily sign up.