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Email Marketing 101: From Building Your List to Driving Sales

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An email marketing strategy remains one of the most powerful tools in an online biz owner’s toolkit.

Despite the rise of social media and other digital marketing channels, email continues to offer an unmatched return on investment (ROI). In this blog, we’ll explore the fundamentals of email marketing, share tips for creating compelling campaigns, and highlight email marketing strategies to maximise your success.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the practice of sending targeted emails to a group of subscribers. These emails can serve various purposes, such as promoting products, sharing news, or offering valuable content.

This is an important part of your overall marketing funnel (warm stage below), where the goal is to build a relationship with your audience, increase brand awareness, and drive conversions. That’s why having an email marketing strategy is crucial for your biz.

For more about your Marketing Funnel – read my blog: Mastering Your Marketing Funnel: Strategies for Making More Sales here.

Marketing Funnel which discusses hot, cold and warm marketing methods.

Why Email Marketing Matters?

You might be wondering, with all the social media buzz, is email marketing still relevant? Absolutely!

Here’s 5 important reasons why:

  1. Direct communication: An email list allows you to communicate directly with your audience, bypassing social media algorithms and ensuring your message reaches your subscribers.
  2. High return on investment (ROI): Email marketing consistently delivers one of the highest ROIs among digital marketing channels, making it a cost-effective strategy. According to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), for every £1 spent on email marketing, the average return is £42.
  3. Personalisation: With an email list, you can tailor your messages to individual preferences and behaviours, enhancing engagement and conversion rates.
  4. Ownership and control: Unlike social media followers, your email list is a business asset that you own and control, reducing dependency on third-party platforms.
  5. Building relationships: A well-managed email list helps foster trust and loyalty, turning subscribers into repeat customers and brand advocates. Prioritising your email list not only strengthens your marketing efforts but also lays a solid foundation for sustainable business growth.

Therefore, having an email marketing strategy will help your biz thrive!

5 reasons why your email list should be a priority in your business.

How to Choose Your Email Platform

Another important email marketing strategy is having an email system, as it helps automate the process of managing subscriber lists, sending targeted campaigns, and tracking performance metrics, ensuring efficiency and effectiveness.

Also, using a reputable email platform helps ensure compliance with GDPR by providing easy unsubscribe options, and secure data handling, safeguarding your subscribers’ personal information and respecting their privacy rights.

When selecting a platform that’s right for you, consider factors such as ease of use, features, pricing, and scalability for your future biz.

Here are 3 Popular Email Solutions:

MailChimp is a popular choice for beginners due to its user-friendly interface, robust analytics, and free tier for small lists.

Flodesk is known for its beautiful, intuitive design templates and flat-rate pricing, making it ideal for creatives and small businesses. This is the tool I personally use* after trying a few other systems over the years.

HubSpot offers a comprehensive suite of marketing tools, including sophisticated automation, CRM integration, and detailed analytics, suitable for larger businesses seeking a more powerful solution.

*Get 50% off your first year with Flodesk, along with a 30 day free trial using my referral link here.

Building Your Email List

Your email list is the gold in your business. When you consider the typical conversion rates of 1-2% of your audience in making sales – while this might seem low – this has always motivated me to make my list building activities a priority. As I know that my sales success in my business is down to the size of my email list – which is something I can directly control, as opposed to social media which relies on many other factors.

But how do you build one?

  • Offer Value through Lead Magnets: People love free stuff. Offer a valuable resource like an eBook, discount, or exclusive content in exchange for their email.
  • Sign-Up Forms: Make it easy to subscribe to your list. Place sign-up forms on your website, blog, and social media profiles.
  • Social Media Promotion: Use your social media channels to promote your email list. Highlight the benefits of subscribing and what kind of content they can expect.

For more help and tips with your social media – read my blog: Mastering Social Media: Increase Business Revenue here.

Crafting the Perfect Email

Now that you’ve got your list started, let’s talk about crafting emails that people actually want to open and read.

  1. Catchy Subject Line: This is your first impression. Make it count! Be clear, compelling, and a little bit intriguing. You can test your subject line using this handy tool,
  2. Personalisation: Use your subscriber’s name a couple of times in your email because personalised emails perform much better than generic ones.
  3. Segment: Have your audience opt in to their areas of interest through your lead magnets and sign up forms, so you tailor the content to their interests.
  4. Engaging Content: Your email should offer value. Share tips, insights, updates, images or special offers. Keep them concise and engaging.
  5. Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): What do you want your readers to do? Make your CTA clear and compelling. Whether it’s clicking a link, making a purchase, or downloading a resource, guide them towards the action.

Timing and Frequency

Timing is everything. Here’s how to get it right:

  • When to Send: Test different days and times to see when your audience is most responsive. Generally, mid-week and mid-morning are good starting points.
  • How Often to Send: Find a balance. You want to stay top-of-mind without being annoying. For most businesses, once a week or bi-monthly is a good frequency.

Analysing and Optimising

Your work doesn’t stop once you hit send. Analysing the performance of your emails helps you improve. Here’s what to look at:

  • Open Rates: How many people opened your email? A low open rate might mean your subject line needs work.
  • Click-Through Rates (CTR): How many people clicked on links in your email? This shows how engaging your content is.
  • Conversion Rates: How many people took the desired action on your CTA? This is the ultimate measure of your email’s effectiveness.

According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing has an average open rate of 20.81% and a click-through rate (CTR) of 3.57%

While the open rate and CTR may surprise you – this is significantly higher than what you will be getting through traditional social media where your posts are typically only being seen by 2% of your followers.

Using your data is the key to tweaking your subject lines, content, and CTAs. Continuous improvement is key to email marketing success.

Tips for Avoiding the Spam Folder

Let’s be real—ending up in the spam folder is a nightmare. Here’s how to avoid it:

  • Get Permission: Only send emails to people who have opted in.
  • Invite engagement: Ask a question, or invite your audience to reply – this ensures
  • Avoid triggering spam filters: With ‘salesy’ words, overly promotional language and unnecessary capitalisation and symbols.
  • Be Honest: Don’t use misleading subject lines or make false promises.
  • Include an Unsubscribe Link: Make it easy for people to opt-out if they choose Ignoring unsubscribe requests can harm your reputation and deliverability and this is also in breech of GDPR policies for email marketing.

Repurposing Your Newsletter

Repurposing your newsletter content onto other platforms, such as LinkedIn articles, blog posts or social media posts, can significantly enhance your content’s reach and impact.

Converting some of your newsletters into blog posts optimises your content for SEO, improving your search engine rankings and attracting organic traffic. This strategy not only maximises the value of your content but also ensures consistent messaging across multiple channels, ultimately making your content work harder for you and boosting your online visibility.

Learn more about SEO with my blog: The Power of SEO: To Boost Your Online Visibility & Traffic


Email marketing remains a cornerstone of digital marketing strategies for online businesses. Its ability to deliver direct, personalised communication with a high ROI makes it an essential part of your biz strategy.

By incorporating these tips I’ve shared and with the right strategy, you can create engaging emails that your audience looks forward to. Which will help you to establish a strong connection with your audience and drive sustainable growth for your online business.

Remember, it’s all about offering value and building a relationship with your subscribers.

And if you’d like support with setting up your email marketing strategy, or creating your lead magnet opt in, this is exactly what I teach you do to in the Thriving Biz Club – my marketing club which teaches you the step-by-step (as well as many other important digital marketing elements) to be able to do this yourself.

For more tips and advice to grow your online biz, you can download my Digital Marketing Roadmap Guide here.

Happy emailing!