One of the biggest challenges every startup faces is to build a loyal and engaged audience. Email marketing series can help with that.
Despite the multitude of marketing channels out there – from social media to Google Ads – email is still one of the most effective avenues to pursue. If done right.
This article will walk you through the basics of creating an email marketing series for your startup: what it is, why it works, and how to go about it.
Ready? Let’s get started.
What’s an email marketing series?
An email marketing series – also called an email marketing campaign – is simply a series of emails your business uses to communicate with customers. Apart from current customers, you can also address potential ones.
Typically, an email marketing series is three to six emails long. They are usually distributed automatically via an email marketing platform to simplify the process.
Each email marketing campaign has a specific goal. You can either aim to nurture leads, encourage engagement, or increase conversions.
There are different types of email marketing series. The most common is the welcome email series. Here, you send people who just signed up for your email list a series of emails to introduce them to your business and increase the likelihood of conversions.
Other kinds of email marketing series are seasonal campaigns – think Spring-themed, Halloween, and Christmas. Also, regular newsletterstriggered email series, cart abandonment campaigns, and re-engagement campaigns.
Triggered email series are a staple of automated marketing. As their name suggests, they’re triggered when (potential) customers take a specific action, such as clicking on a link on your website, putting items in their cart, or responding to a survey.
Cart abandonment campaigns are a particular type of triggered series. They’re activated when a customer puts one of your products in their cart on your website but then backs out at the last moment before payment.
Re-engagement campaigns are something that your startup won’t have to worry about until you’ve compiled a substantial email list. The aim of this type of campaign is to catch the attention of subscribers who’ve been on your list for a while but haven’t opened any of your emails in ages.
These are just a few of the email campaign types out there. Email series are a versatile tool for businesses to wield to reach their goals.
Why opt for email marketing?
Email marketing is still one of the most effective weapons in a business’ arsenal. Recent statistics show that email generates $42 for every $1 spent on it. That’s an incredible 4,200% ROI.
This success is partly because email is one of our main avenues for communication in 2022. There are 4 billion daily email users in the world. Most people use email at their workplace, college, or even in school, often via multiple accounts.
That means that emails from businesses will appear right alongside essential messages from the office, and personal ones from friends. And thus have a high likelihood of being seen.
In addition, email also offers a high potential for personalization.
Once you’ve collected the necessary data, you can easily optimize an email to suit every subscriber’s taste – using their name to address them and considering their age, sex, geographic location, and personal preferences. This is called segmentation and can boost revenue from email marketing campaigns by 760%.
Older target audiences especially respond well to email marketing. For instance, the majority of baby boomers, who remain hard to reach through most social media channels, think that email is the most personal way for businesses to connect with customers.
So, is email marketing worth it? Absolutely! Here’s how to go about it.
How to create a high-converting email marketing series from scratch
We will assume that your startup is beginning its email marketing efforts from scratch. You start with a vision without specific tools or an existing email list. You can skip the corresponding steps below if you have either of these already.
Since your startup is just taking off, we will focus on creating a welcome email series to engage potential customers and introduce them to your business. However, the principles and steps for creating any kind of email marketing campaign are pretty similar.
1 – Choose an email marketing platform
To start with, you need to choose an email marketing platform. These platforms offer the tools you’ll need to create a visually stunning, automated email series, manage your list of contacts, and analyze your performance.
When choosing the right email marketing platform for your startup, there are a couple of aspects to consider.
On the one hand, there’s your budget. But on the other, you should also evaluate additional features and scalability.
For instance, many businesses opt for solutions that offer free email marketing options as long as you stay below a certain number of subscribers. Unfortunately, as soon as your startup and email list grow, these providers quickly become expensive.
In terms of additional features, it’s essential to be clear about what you want. For example, is it a bare-bones email marketing solution you’re after? Or would you like a native landing page builder and a customer relationship management (CRM) tool?
Finally, you should check how easily various solutions integrate with the tools you already use at your startup. The more native integrations with third-party platforms an email marketing provider offer, the easier it’ll be to develop smooth workflows and scale them in the future.
2 – Identify your target audience
Next, you need to identify the target audience of your email series. Often, this audience will be the target audience for your startup’s products or services – but not always. For instance, you could set out to target a subsection of your potential customers through email.
The best way to design an email series is to have a concrete marketing persona in mind. Think of your ideal customer/email recipient.
What are their interests? Where are their pain points? What issues are they struggling with? And how can your startup help them solve them?
Having a concrete idea about just who you’re targeting also makes writing the copy of your email series much easier.
3 – Set your goals
As a next step, you need to be clear about what you’re hoping to achieve with your email marketing series. For example, what do you want customers to do once they receive and read it?
Do you want to get them hyped about a new product? To follow you on social media? To take advantage of a limited-time special offer?
Being explicit about what you expect to gain through email marketing simplifies a lot of decisions along the way – from your copy to your design. It also helps you set concrete metrics to measure your email marketing success (think SMART goals).
4 – Write your copy
Your next box to tick on your email marketing to-do list is to write the copy for your email series.
Keep it short, snappy, and conversational. You’re not trying to lecture someone via a blog post – you’re trying to start a conversation.
The first part of your welcome email series is the most important one. First, celebrate your recipients joining your list. Then, introduce yourself and your business.
And, most importantly – stoke their curiosity. Give them a preview of what to expect. Tease important information. Add a cryptic “PS:” to keep them clicking on your future emails.
In your subsequent mails, it’s time to deliver on your promise and add some value for your recipients – whether it’s information, curated content, or advice.
Your copy is vital, so take your time to polish it. Get input from a few pilot recipients. Ask for feedback. Make sure it’s captivating right off the bat.
5 – Create a stunning design using templates and editors
Once you’ve got your copy nailed, it’s time to move on to the visual side of things.
Most email marketing platforms offer some solid templates for you to work with. And drag-and-drop editors to adjust them to your own needs.
The visual elements of your email marketing series shouldn’t be overwhelming. Eye catching? And it is. So prominent that recipients struggle to find the actual value proposition? Nope.
Add a captivating header image (design tools like Canva are great for designing these fast!) and your business logo. You can also adjust colors and fonts to suit your brand image.
One thing to keep in mind is optimizing your email design for mobile. People read over50% of emails on their mobile devices today. So your mail is bound for the bin if your design breaks when they do.
6 – Set up an automated email chain
Next up, you’ve got to harness your email marketing platform and set up your first automated email chain.
The first part of your email series should typically be sent immediately after someone signs up for your email list. Alternatively, you can create a landing page that people are forwarded to once they complete the signup process.
Depending on how many emails are in your series, you can either send another two to three in quick succession or space them out over a week or ten days.
However, to keep in mind, your subscribers are most likely to engage during their first few days on your list. So, take advantage of this window of opportunity.
7 – Draft a signup form
You’ve wrangled all the technical specs so that your email series is good to go. Great! Now it’s time to allow people to sign up for it.
To this end, you’ve got to create a signup form to add to your website.
There are a few different ways to go to achieve this.
Some email marketing platforms come with in-built form builders. For example, you can create a form directly and then add a bit of HTML code to your website.
Alternatively, you can use a website builder such as Elementor to directly design your form from scratch in WordPress if you’re using this CMS.
If you’re on WordPress, though, the easiest way to go is to use a form builder plugin such as WPForms. They come with nifty features such as spam prevention and intuitive drag-and-drop editors.
8 – Add the form to your website (and create incentives for people to sign up)
Finally, you can add your finished form to your website and wait for signups to flood in.
If you want to speed things up, you can use a couple of tricks.
One common tactic is to offer a lead magnet – an incentive for people to join your list. This could be a checklist, an e-book, a whitepaper, or a cheat sheet.
In addition, you can use lead generation plugins such as OptinMonster. These plugins help you highlight your email signup form so that every website visitor is sure to see it. You can make it appear as a pop-up or a slide-in. It’s even possible to have it flash on a website visitor’s screen just when they’re about to leave.
9 – Track your email marketing performance and optimize your content
Your email series is up and running. Congratulations! You’re done. Well-almost.
Now, it’s time to monitor the performance of your emails. And to make improvements. Using the analytics feature of your email marketing platform, you can track which emails are most successful, how many people open them, and which links they click on.
That way, you can refine your design and your copy. You might even want to test out a few different versions to see which performs best – a strategy known as A/B testing.
With a little bit of time and effort, you’ll be able to perfect your email series.
Email marketing is a fantastic, high-ROI strategy for startups to engage their audience and increase their sales. By following the steps above, you’ll be able to create a high-converting email series and build a loyal and engaged audience for your business.
Image Credit: Canvas Studio; pexels; Thank you!