Before you even get started with email marketing you need to believe that it is worth doing.
Then you need a message and a set of recipients (people you will send this email to).
Basically you need a list and you need content for the email.
Why a list? Sending bulk emails to your email contacts is not the right way to do it. You need a permission based list – a list of email address from people who have given you an explicit permission to send them your marketing message.
What if you do not have such list? You build a list using an email marketing software.
A good email marketing software will do 4 things for you.
1. On signup it will provide you a code that you can use to create a sign-up form for your website. If you are using WordPress then there are tons of plugins that can help you add these forms to your sidebar.
2. Once this form is added to your website the user who add their email to this add will automatically be added to a list. The list based on the setting you use and based on email marketing software provider – can be double-opt in or simple. In a simple list users can simply added to a list once they enter their email and press enter. In a double-opt list which is considered a better practice – once a used add the email and press enter an automated email goes to the subsciber’s mailbox. Subsciber then need to confirm the link by clicking on it and then they are finally subscribed to the list.
3. Now once you have created a list you can create content and also create a unique email design within the software of your choice.
4. Once you have sent an email to your permission based list, you can check which of your users opened your email and if they clicked on any links within the email (if there are). In industry language this is known as “open rate”.
These email marketing software providers also embed a “link to unsubscribe” at the end of every email message which is a legal requirement in many countries. Otherwise also it is a good practice.
If you are looking for a free solution check out MailChimp they have a pretty robust offering for upto 2000 member list. For bigger lists you can choose a paid solution. iContact, Aweber, GetResponse and ConstantContact are other major players in this market. Aweber is used by many top pro-bloggers and internet marketers.
The best way to use these services is to signup for a free trial (most of these services offer it) and give it a go.