Email Marketing…Where to Start

by David Heitman

With social media front and center there are a lot of questions about how (and if) email marketing should fit into the equation. Email marketing should not take a back seat to social media. Instead integrate the different media channels to present a comprehensive, cohesive and consistent message to your audience.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Think about who you are talking to and what they want to know from you. Become the expert in your clients and potential clients eyes and you can be assured that they will think of you first when they are ready to make a purchase. Try to think beyond advertising and decide what you can contribute to the conversation.

Take your expertise and share it.

Start with the basics.
Even the most relevant messages won’t get to recipients if you get flagged as a spammer.

CAN-SPAM Law. You are compliant and within the law if:

  1. Subject line is not misleading and advertisements are clearly labeled as such
  2. Email headers haven’t been tampered with
  3. Body of email contains valid physical address of sender
  4. Functioning opt-in and requests are handled within 10 days

Take it a step further to earn your readers trust by following the below best practices…

DO send emails to people who:

  1. Are members of your organization
  2. Bought something from you in the past 18 months
  3. Signed up to receive your emails


  1. Grab emails off websites without people’s knowledge
  2. Email anyone who has ever asked you not to

Basically, talk to people who want to hear from you and a) stay compliant and b) have more successful campaigns because people are listening.

How to Organically Grow Your Email List
There are lists you can rent and ways to blast your message from high and low but it has been found that the most effective way to market via email is to “talk” to people who have said, “I want to hear from you”. So, this begs the larger question, how do I make sure people know I am here so they can decide if they want to listen to what I have to say?

Growing your email database list won’t happen overnight but it is worth the time and effort.

A few suggestions to get people interested…

  • Explore co-registration with other sites. For instance, when someone signs up for a newsletter about organic food they are then prompted to sign up for your newsletter about home vegetable gardens. It is important to determine companies who you aren’t competing with but who do want to get introduced to the same target market.
  • Add testimonials to your newsletter sign up page. Once they are at the sign up stage help them take that last step to becoming engaged with your message by showing them a few people who have benefitted.
  • Promote your e-newsletter at all networking events that you attend.
  • Provide incentives for signing up to your e-newsletter.
  • Include “Join my email list” links to your email signature and all electronic communications.
  • Promote e-newsletters in all printed materials (even your business cards) and offer a place they can visit on your website to view past newsletters to show them the information you send out.
  • Use social media to promote! This is an outlet where you have already started to establish a group, who wants to connect with you, make sure they know about your email newsletters and make it easy for them to sign up.
  • Keep subject lines concise and catchy. A great subject line is the difference between success and failure for your campaign. Don’t be misleading but add as much intrigue as possible to get those emails opened.

Keep expanding that list of people who want to hear from you and continue to keep them engaged with informative and helpful content, it will pay off.