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The first marketing email was sent in 1978.

Yeah, it is that old.

Since then, its popularity has only seen an upward trend. Nowadays, customers receive dozens if not hundreds of emails from marketers each day, all competing for their attention.

Why use email marketing if the field is so saturated?

There are 4.6 billion email users on the planet, and 51% of people say that they prefer brands to contact them by email.

Whether you’re a large retailer or a small business owner, email marketing is an effective inbound marketing tool for your business.

But, how to start email marketing?

We have the answer.

We’ll cover how to start email marketing in depth, from building a mailing list to optimizing your emails so that you can benefit from a successful email marketing campaign.

Read on to learn:

Why Use Email Marketing?

How To Start Email Marketing

1. Set Your Email Marketing Goals

2. Get To Know Your Audience

3. Select an Email Marketing Service Provider

4. Build Your Email List

5. Choose an Email Marketing Strategy

6. Optimize Your Emails

7. Evaluate Your Data

Final Thoughts: How To Start Email Marketing in 7 Effective Steps

Why Use Email Marketing?

In the era of social media, you may be inclined to ignore email marketing, considering it fruitless.

Here’s something that might change that.

Litmus reports that every dollar spent on email marketing provides an average return on investment of $36. With a 3600% ROI, it is the highest ROI across all marketing strategies.

Email marketing’s importance has increased further due to the pandemic and continues to grow as delta variant goes rampant in 2021.

Effect of the pandemic on marketing channels
Image Source

In addition to the higher return on investment and pandemic-proof solution, email marketing offers several other unique advantages.

  • Easy to measure:You can easily collect data on your email marketing campaigns and use that data to optimize your marketing strategy.
  • Inexpensive: With multiple free and cheap email marketing platforms, you can do digital marketing on a low budget.
  • Personalization: Emails enable you to personalize content according to the target customer and double your click-through rates.
  • Agile and timely: Email marketing campaigns require shorter lead times — you can get your exact message across instantly.
  • Build loyalty: You can share unique resources and helpful tips about your niche to nurture your relationship with your new subscribers and loyal customers.
  • Turn prospects into customers: By a successful email marketing campaign, you can keep the interest of users who just completed the lead capture form and received their first email. 

How To Start Email Marketing

  1. Set your email marketing goals
  2. Get to know your audience
  3. Select an email marketing service provider
  4. Build your email list
  5. Choose an email marketing strategy
  6. Optimize your emails
  7. Evaluate your data

Let’s break down each of these further.

1. Set Your Email Marketing Goals

Crafting an effective email marketing strategy starts with defining the desired outcome of your efforts.

You’ll likely have more than one goal, which means you’ll need several approaches to your email marketing.

For example, you might be starting email marketing to:

  • Drive product purchases
  • Build brand awareness
  • Nurture leads
  • Upsell products
  • Convert repeat customers

An email you design to get recipients to purchase a product for the first time will look different from the one you send to upsell a recent customer.

While both may include a call to action, an email retargeting a returning customer may feature personalized updates, information or offers based on what they previously bought.

2. Get To Know Your Audience

Email marketing from Tile says, “keep track of school stuff with Tiles for everything

Email marketing is most effective as a targeted marketing strategy.

Check out the example of the tracking service Tile. Tile’s email targets millennial parents with younger school-aged children who lose items frequently. It is persuasive because it shows how it solves a real, specific problem facing a portion of its buyers. 

To start email marketing, you’ll first need to understand your audience by creating buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a generalized character based on data about your target audience’s interests, needs and habits. It should be relatively broad as you want to work with limited buyer personas for easier management.

To develop a buyer persona, gather demographic data about the relevant customers and collect their preferences, desires and needs by interviews and surveys.

Through this, you will understand their motivations behind choosing your product and their specific buyer journey.

3. Select an Email Marketing Service Provider

Why use email marketing service providers?

In email marketing, you send hundreds to thousands of emails each week and collect data on each one. An email marketing service like Constant Contact can make it easy to manage this burden and start email marketing.

Unlike typical email service providers, email marketing software offer:

  • Email marketing automation
  • Marketing templates
  • Data collection

Here’s a list of email marketing service providers and their unique benefits to help you choose:

  • Constant Contact: Provides easy-to-use drag and drop email templates.
  • ConvertKit: Offers landing pages and forms to engage your audience.
  • GetResponse: Enhances your email marketing platform with autoresponders and sales funnels.
  • Mailchimp: Offers a free plan with powerful email marketing tools for small business owners.
  • Substack: Features paid newsletter subscriptions.
  • Drip: Enables small e-commerce businesses.
  • Campaign Monitor: Provides a simple and straightforward email marketing service.

4. Build Your Email List

Whether you have 15 or 1,500 contacts on your email list, you can always benefit from a list-building strategy in place to acquire more.

That said, you should also regularly clear out inactive subscribers to keep your bounce rate low and ensure the deliverability of your emails through spam filters so they don’t end up in the spam folder.

While there are many ways to grow your email list, one of the popular ways to build your list is by offering a free valuable incentive called a lead magnet. A signup form goes a long way in building an email list through your website

How to start email marketing — Build your email lists

Search Engine Journal’s email newsletter signup page is a great example you can follow while starting email marketing. It lets users opt-in and self-segment by selecting the type of content they’re interested in.

5. Choose an Email Marketing Strategy

One of the essential parts of learning how to start email marketing is understanding the kind of email you need to send to your email subscriber’s inboxes.

With different email marketing strategies catering to different goals, you need to use your primary goals decided in the first step to determine your email marketing strategy. It will then decide the types of emails you will be sending.

For example, if looking for:

  • Tactics to increase conversion rate, try:
    • Offer/discount emails
    • Upsell emails
    • New product announcements
  • Strategies to improve engagement, check out:
    • Newsletters
    • Helpful content
    • Welcome emails/kickback emails
    • Re-engagement emails
  • Methods to grow traffic, send:
    • Newsletters
    • Syndicated blog posts
    • Content roundups

6. Optimize Your Emails

Now that you know how to start email marketing, it’s time to learn how to make the most of your email marketing efforts.

The average effective marketing email is just 125 words. To capture your audience’s attention in such a short amount of space, you’ll need to ensure you’re using engaging, punchy copy and sending valuable emails to your customer.

You can use your buyer personas to optimize your emails.

Personalized email subject lines or body copy can be the difference between opening an email to take an action and closing an email to delete it.

By segmenting your email marketing lists, you can connect with your audience by sending emails that resonate with their interests and desires.

7. Evaluate Your Data

Constant contact’s email marketing metrics dashboard showing sends, opens and clicks
Image Source

The only way to know if your email marketing campaign is successful is to keep track of the data.

Essential metrics you should monitor are:

  • Open rate: The number of people opening your email
  • Clickthrough rate (CTR): The number of people clicking a link in your email
  • Unsubscribes: The number of people unsubscribing from your email

Using these three metrics, you can know if an email strategy is working as desired or if it needs changing.

You can also use A/B testing to see what you can improve in your emails. Use an A/B test to see which changes net you a higher open rate and low unsubscribe rate.

Final Thoughts: How To Start Email Marketing in 7 Effective Steps

Thanks to its high return on investment, getting started with email marketing is one of the best ways to grow your business.

Launching an email marketing campaign begins with a thorough understanding of your audience and your goals. With that out of the way, you can leverage tools like email marketing services and lead magnets to grow your email list.

A professional domain and address build on that by improving your open rate and click-through rate. Check out Bluehost’s Microsoft 365 to use a credible email address while interacting with your customers.

Tiffani is the Content and Social Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. She has a passion for creating engaging content, SEO and social media!


  1. Very true! Email marketing is one of the best promotional method. Great article Syed. Its really a very informative article. Learnt so much from it. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  2. Thanks Syed for sharing insights for realistic ways to monetize a email marketing. Let’s keep spreading the word about the value of marketing. they have deep immersive knowledge about their audience -that brands or startup companies could pay for.

  3. GetResponse Reply

    Fantastic work. Another helpful tactic is to learn when are the optimal times at which to send your emails. You can find many articles out there to help you get started with this.

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