If you’ve leaped the hurdles of building your own business by validating a concept, doing a little bootstrapping, and promoting your company, you’ve likely started thinking about increasing your marketing efforts, too.

You know you need to get your brand in front of peoples’ eyes, but where do you start? Do you need a big ad budget and an entire agency on board to help? Should you aim your strategy toward social ?

If you’re not a marketing expert, the waters can be exceedingly murky.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a marketing pro to set your off on the right foot. With countless professional-level email service providers opening their doors to complete beginners these days, you can start your own email marketing campaigns with only a little bit of know-how.

While you could spend years perfecting your email marketing techniques, simply getting started with three rules in mind can do wonders for the success of your business, no matter how new.

1. Personalize

Every email you write to customers or clients should be personal — like it’s been written from one friend to another.


Because humans have become numb to most marketing tactics. In fact, Americans are said to see somewhere between 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day. They’re all around us. Just take a look at the brand logos on your electronics, clothes, food, car, and more. They’re everywhere.

With that much exposure to different ads and brands each day, our brains start to tune out most marketing attempts. That means your marketing attempts need to make their way through the mess. Adding a highly personal touch will usually do the trick.

To start, make sure you ask for peoples’ names when they subscribe to your email list. That way, you can address them personally in each email.

It might sound like a small touch, but doesn’t “Hi John,” sound so much more friendly than a vague “Hello”?

Beyond the simple addition of a name, though, make sure your language and writing are personable, too. The easiest way to tell? Just read through your emails, or better yet, ask a friend to help.

Do your marketing emails sound like a human wrote them? Like your favorite coworker or friendly neighbor next door could have written them?

If so, you’re one step closer to email marketing success.

2. Add Value

Just like people are numb to ads, they’re also highly sales-fatigued.

What I mean is, people are constantly being sold to throughout their everyday lives. They drive past billboards selling restaurants at every highway exit on their commute, listen to ads for grocery products on the radio, and get coupons for deals on their next meal while out to lunch.

For the most part, all those sales go unnoticed.

And if the emails you send to customers are filled with the same of sales, those will go unnoticed, too. They’ll end up deleted, in the spam folder, or blocked by the recipient.

By adding value to your emails, though, you’ll be able to increase your chances of having them end up where they should — in your customer or prospect’s inbox.

When you make an email valuable, it means you’re offering subscribers something they can use — for free.

You’re giving them things like:

  • Useful information they can instantly benefit from
  • Step-by-step directions to achieve a small goal
  • Inspiration they need to tackle an overwhelming obstacle

Whatever help you offer should come with no strings attached, and giving that free value up-front does a few things in everyone’s favor:

  • Lifts a veil of uncertainty and shows customers you’re worth their time and money — if your free content is valuable, your paid content must be excellent
  • Adds a level of trust by showing customers your ultimate goal is to help them succeed
  • Builds a connection that’ll support a long-lasting customer-business relationship

Don’t just look at “adding value” as “giving stuff away for free” because the more your customers trust you and see your business as an expert, the more likely they’ll be to stick around.

3. Segment

Your first step toward becoming email marketing savvy is to start segmenting your list.

Segmenting, in and of itself, is simple. It means only sending certain emails to people you know are interested.

So, let’s say you software with two different user-types:

  1. Businesses
  2. Individual customers

The version of software for businesses has its very own dashboard and operates on an enterprise scale. The version for individual customers is the exact opposite.

If you had a single email marketing campaign for all your customers, you could end up selling add-ons for the business user to the individual customers, and vice versa.

To your customers, those add-ons would be completely irrelevant. People would question whether your company had any idea who they were selling to.

Segmenting your list, though, would mean sending targeted emails to the right people. Your enterprise customers would get emails tailored to big businesses. Your individual customers would get emails catered to small-scale users.

Segmenting is all around us. You see it everyday as you browse the internet and social media.

Remember that time you looked up a product on Amazon, then magically started seeing ads for it on Google, Facebook, and Instagram? It’s because the makers of that product know you’re interested in it if you searched for it. With that information, they can send targeted ads to follow you around on the internet. Creepy? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely.

To segment your email list, track which forms subscribers sign up through. Depending on the topic, wording, or offer on their chosen form, make sure they get relevant emails.

Not only will they appreciate seeing how on-the-ball your company is, they’ll also stay informed about information directly related to their interests.

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