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How to start with Email Marketing Software

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You know for sure: you want to address all those interested in your business specifically with what suits them, in a personal way. Build a strong relationship with them and sell to that person several times over the years. And oh yes, without spending much time on your part. We already know the WHAT; that is smart personalized Email Marketing. But how?! > With Email Marketing software. Already possible from USD 9,- per month. The HOW of smart and personalized Email Marketing software; in this blog I tell you all about it. 

In getting started with Email Marketing Software there are 3 steps to take. I will discuss them all in this blog:

  1. You need to know the WHY – the benefits of Email Marketing in general and the benefits of Email Marketing software
  2. You need to know HOW to select the best Email Marketing Software for you
  3. Finally you should know how the software works and HOW to set up your Email Marketing Software

I address in this blog: 

  • What are the benefits of a subscription to Email Marketing software?
    • What is the difference between Email Marketing, Email Marketing software and Email Marketing automation software?
  • Our Lessons learned when choosing your Email Marketing Software; how to arrive at the right choice for you? 
    • What are the best Email Marketing tools? Which Email Marketing provider do we prefer and why?
  • I explain step by step how setting up Email Marketing works and how an ‘automation’ works. After this you will understand how to use your Email Marketing software and how (automated) personalized Email Marketing works. Read this blog and you can get started!

We’ve also written about What Email Marketing is and the #1 best Email Marketing automation software

Would you like to get insight into which Email Marketing Software systems are the best providers right now? Then read the highlights of our extensive research which resulted in the Top 9 Best Email Marketing Automation Software. This way you save yourself the trouble and valuable time and don’t have to compare the email marketing tools for personalized email marketing yourself. 

Here is the top 4 from this extensive research on the best Email Marketing Automation software: 

  1. Sendinblue
  2. ActiveCampaign
  3. Drip
  4. Mailerlite

Or are you curious to know more about what Email Marketing is and what you can achieve with it? What personalized Email Marketing is and what the 8 big advantages are you can read here.

email marketing software

In this blog we will take a closer look at the software you need to execute Email Marketing; what the benefits are and how to use it.  

Step 1 – Know the WHY

Why do you need Email Marketing software anyway?

7 Reasons why you really can’t, and don’t, want to do without Email Marketing software 

Email Marketing software advantage #1: To bring the WHY of smart and personalized Email Marketing into practice

If you’re convinced of the why and power of personalized Email Marketing, you simply can’t execute it without good software.

#2: The Automation functionality is your new favorite  

I talked about sending each customer personalized emails. Your new best friend Email Automation does that for you. So that’s the very finest functionality within Email Marketing software – whether you use it from ActiveCampaign or Drip. You set up emails one time, based on various criteria, and you don’t have to do much work beyond that. You lie in your bed and the emails are sent. You review the results and make adjustments. And each lead feels personally approached and addressed. 

The best Email Marketing software has a clear visual representation of this ’email plan’. What you have to do: drag and drop, write the emails and your plan is ready.

By the way, ‘drag and drop’ means that you can simply drag parts of your automation back and forth in a visual representation. And thus form your desired automation in a simple way. There’s no programming or other complicated stuff involved!  

Email Marketing software advantage #3: It’s the place to keep your email contact list

There is simply no other logical place to keep your collected contacts (read: visitors who signed up through your website to be emailed. “Yes, another one there!”) conveniently stored and managed. Including all kinds of tags with information. That’s all the contact information and other info you decide is useful.  

Advantage #4: Easily subscribe and unsubscribe from the email list 

Email Marketing software makes it easy for your contacts to subscribe and unsubscribe to your list without your involvement. This happens automatically, where you would otherwise have to do it all manually. And this saves time. A lot of valuable time.

#5: Get to know your contacts better 

Thanks to Email Marketing software you get to know your leads and customers better. They click on what interests them and based on that you get to know their preferences. The knowledge about your lead becomes more and more specific and extensive. And that naturally leads to other benefits and opportunities.   

#6: Differentiate leads based on their engagement

Are you thinking in funnels? If not, I recommend you start doing so immediately. Have you never heard of a funnel? Then make this word your own as soon as possible. And all the theories about customer engagement and conversion behind it. 

Let me tell you more about what is known as the sales funnel. Contact with a person takes place on a timeline that stretches out. There are multiple contact moments and as the relationship builds and time passes, your contact moves up the “funnel. The further your contact is in the funnel, the more engaged he is. Or in other words, the warmer the relationship is. The ‘funnel’ is indeed shaped like a cone. The further in the funnel the greater the chance of a conversion.

At the beginning of the funnel are the people who just heard about you for the first time. On the other side are your loyal fans who tell everyone about you. And there are several stages in between.   

Selling is not something you prefer to do to a cold contact. It sells better to a warm contact.  

Email Marketing software facilitates the differentiation of your contacts based on the warmth of your relationship. You can then also attune your email content to this information. You build a relationship slowly. It does not work with anyone to be a stranger with a bold request. After all, how often have you bought something from a door-to-door salesman? Wait until the relationship is more developed and then make an attractive proposal. 

#7: Save endless hours and work  

Email Marketing software with automation functionality takes a lot of work out of your hands. It saves you mountains of time. Think in terms of full-time jobs here. There’s no need for manual emailing. You can trust your automated email Flow to execute what you set up.

Choose an Email Marketing platform that you see fit. And get started. Go to the platform you’ve chosen. Log in. And find the dashboard there that allows you to create one-off email campaigns, design Automations, view statistics and manage email lists. 

The difference between Email Marketing, Email Marketing Software and Email Marketing Automation Software

What is Email Marketing?

> Email Marketing means building a relationship with your follower, lead or customer through the medium of email. When done right, this leads to more engagement, customer satisfaction and sales. Before you start doing this it is important that you understand the reasoning behind Email Marketing; why it is important and why it is effective.  

What is Email Marketing software?

> If you’re smart you don’t do your Email Marketing manually from your own email inbox, but you use high quality and affordable Email Marketing software to do so. Your mails are stored in an organized way, your contact lists are managed very easily (contacts subscribe and unsubscribe themselves which saves a lot of time), there are proven formats available etc. etc.  

What is Email Marketing Automation software? 

> If you are even smarter you don’t just use Email Marketing software but you use Email Marketing Automation software. That means that the program mails for you – the mails you have created and set up yourself – at the time that is ideal. This is done on the basis of triggers. Eg: someone clicks on a link from you and then a follow-up email appears that perfectly matches the action and the moment. Or; someone has owned an ebook for a week and gets an interesting afterthought and inspiration for the future. If done right: these are all value-added and relationship-building. Not spam but something that adds and enriches right in your inbox.   

It could happen that you are lying on the beach, and that Danielle receives a certain email (from you) because as we speak she visited a page on your website; gets very enthusiastic about it because the email hits the right chord, and subsequently decides to purchase your course. And you are on the beach. For example.  

We like to emphasize the Automation part of Email Marketing >Automation< Software. Because it is specifically the automation feature that really lets you take advantage of the many benefits Email Marketing has to offer. Without automation, you have a fancy and well-organized program and no fiddling in your own mailbox, but you don’t rise to great Email Marketing heights. So when you sign up for a plan: make sure that ‘Marketing Automation‘ is part of the plan.  

Step 2 – HOW to choose

How do I select a good Email Marketing software provider for me?

7 tips for choosing your Email Marketing Software provider

There are many Email Marketing software providers out there. It is important to choose the right one for you. And this is how. I wish you success in choosing the provider that suits you. In any case, pay attention to the following things when buying: 

Tip #1 – deliverability 

How are the ‘deliverability’ figures? It doesn’t help you if a large part of your emails ends up in the spam box or doesn’t arrive. The deliverability percentage is secretly the most important criterion you should pay attention to. The software providers have a big influence on this one, not just you. 

Tip #2 – visual automation builder

Is there a visual workflow builder? I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to be without one. 

Tip #3 – what are the limits? 

Pay close attention to what is and is not included in your package. Sometimes very obvious features are only included in the more expensive packages. Or if you use a cheap package, a logo of the software provider will appear in your mail as standard. In some cases the possibility of Marketing Automation is only included in the third package counting from the cheapest. There are also regularly limits on the number of contacts in your email list or the number of emails you can send per day or month.

Tip #4 – price / quality

Take the price / quality ratio into consideration. The price / quality ratio was the deciding factor for us to go for ActiveCampaign. For all serious providers, we can say that the quality of what they offer is good enough for most of us. Then it is simply a matter of looking at functionalities, possible limitations, ease of use and the price.  

Tip #5 – VAT excluded? 

Many prices are exclusive of VAT. Sometimes you get a discount if you pay per year and not per month.  

Tip #6 – functionalities

What you get in terms of functionalities and how comprehensive the Marketing functionalities are varies greatly from provider to provider. For example, Getresponse’s package is relatively expensive (including Marketing automation starting from USD 49,- per month) but it does include the option to organize Webinars. And if you want that you would otherwise have to purchase it separately. Webinars are an effective way to engage customers and shape your funnel.   

Tip #7 – free trial periods

Every provider works with a free trial period of 14, 30 or sometimes even 60 days. This means you can test whether the email software works for you risk-free. Pitfall here is – and those smart people are of course fully aware of this – that after 3 weeks you have had the warm-up and are in the middle of the game. You have a list of contacts, you have already established your first email flow. And then for most, it’s simply too much hassle and a waste of your work and time to move everything. 

And you like the software. So you stay. So make a conscious choice about who you do a trial period with. Before you know it you will stay.  

Moosend – register for a Trial period you do here

Convertkit – register for a Trial period you can do here

GetResponse (great for webinar funnels) – sign up for a 30 day Trial period here

email marketing software

For us, ActiveCampaign is the best choice 

After extensive research, we chose ActiveCampaign. I will tell you how we ended up with ActiveCampaign and why we are still very satisfied years later.  

We consider these great benefits of ActiveCampaign:

  • Email automation is very easy to set up
  • Active Campaign works very intuitive
  • Extremely good customer service
  • Visual automation-building tool
  • Additional argument for if you are starting out with few contacts in your list > ActiveCampaign is very affordable for startups that don’t have thousands of contacts in their email list in the early days. In those first months or years you’ll have a full Email Marketing program for only 10 dollars a month. Other providers won’t do that to you. 

Our consideration for choosing ActiveCampaign

“What Email Marketing Software?” we also asked ourselves once. You could say that all well-known and large Email Marketing software providers are good to very good. By a large margin good enough for what you want, both on usability and functionality. A hard criterion for me is that there is a visual Automation builder. 

If you then drop all professional providers that do not offer a visual automation experience in their package, then ActiveCampaign, is left, among others. A nice side note is that ActiveCampaign is also the best priced professional provider. So that’s a double benefit.

I don’t really care about a month of free testing. A month is over in no time and from month 2 you start paying anyway, and if all goes well for years. So my tip is not so much to look at the attractiveness of the free period, but how good is what comes after it.  

Up to 500 contacts, ActiveCampaign’s Lite package is $9 a month. That’s a price that no good provider beats in attractiveness, not by a long shot. And with Lite, you have a full-fledged package on your hands. Should you become more serious and bigger in your Email Marketing it is easy to scale up to more contacts and more functionality. Of course the price will increase accordingly.

email marketing software

Visit the website of ActiveCampaign

Step 3 – HOW to set up

What are the steps to make the Email Marketing software work for me?

How does Email Marketing software work – step by step explanation 

I’ve already written a lot about what smart Email Marketing is, and what the benefits are. And why you can’t do without Email Marketing software if you’re serious about this. But how does it actually work in practice? I’ll take you through the steps your website visitor and you take. 

Step #1 – It starts with building your email list 

People can sign up for your email list on your website. This can happen during a sale. Or because visitors sign up to receive information from you. Visitors leave their email address to receive your valuable ebook. Or visitors may have created an account on your website. To make subscribing to your email list a smooth process, you need a special optin form.

When visitors subscribe to your list they come up as contacts in a contact list. And this overview is nicely displayed within your own domain of your Email Marketing software provider. 

The software offers all kinds of handy options to make your email list ‘smarter’ and to organize it in a smart way. Within this list you can easily create groups by adding tags. These tags are not all assigned manually. But they are automatically ‘stuck’ on contacts based on the behavior – that you have defined – that they show. Or you simply create different lists. 

The options for differentiating between contacts are endless. Beginners have enough with a single differentiation. The Email Marketing pros are so advanced that they can implement endless nuances of communication based on characteristics of their contacts. 

Step #2 – There are two ways to send emails: campaign and automation

Make sure ‘Marketing Automation’ is part of the package you purchase. You can send all your contacts (within a certain group) the same email at a scheduled time. This is called a campaign.  

But you can also choose to create “email routes” or automations. That looks like this:

A contact ‘enters’ the automation at the top and it starts ‘running’ when an action you define occurs or x amount of time passes. This is called a trigger. There is a trigger at the start of the automation but also in the rest of the automation you can build in triggers.  

Examples of triggers are: subscribing to a list. Unsubscribing to a list. Fill out a form or open or read an email. Etc! Almost anything that seems useful to you is possible. And that’s what makes Email Marketing so incredibly powerful.

The route is different for each contact. His or her route depends on the behavior he shows or the characteristics he has. That behavior is, for example; opening or not opening an email. Opening or not opening an attachment. Or clicking on a link or not. For example, an attribute determines as follows: all women get this mail, and all men get this mail.   

Step #3 – Your contacts move playfully through and between your automations 

The position of your contact in which automation determines which email your contact will receive at any given time. 

The different ’email-routes’ or Email Automations can be linked to each other. Based on behavior or characteristics (defined in tags and information fields) a contact will automatically jump from one automation to another. This way, your contact always receives the most relevant and valuable content at the right moment. Your contacts will always receive the email that fits the current moment and their current situation.  

And all that because you have cleverly designed your ’email routes’. The vast flexibility and possibilities of the Email Marketing software are really your best partner.  

In the beginning you may not be so good at it. By investing time and energy in it, you will automatically become a smart email marketer too. 

Step #4 – Features within your Email automation – goal setting, metrics and split testing  

In this step it is all about improving your results and customer experience. There are all kinds of smart options available in your Email Automation. For example, setting Goals. You define the goal of an automation and once the goal of the Automation is reached your contact ‘shoots’ to the end of the route. Or to the place in the Automation where ‘the Goal’ is located. So that your contact doesn’t get unnecessary emails. 

For example, a goal is; opening an ebook. Or buying a product etc. 

The automatic reports and statistics available help you to make improvements. For example, adjust the title of an email to increase the opening percentage by 90%.

It is also possible to ‘split-test’: half of the contacts in your Automation gets one mail, the other half the other mail. And so you can see which one performs better. The best performing email is a great basis to continue improving.  

It is alway possible to make things better. 

Your aspiration #5 – This is what you’re working towards with your automated Email Marketing software 

After some fine tuning, you’ll have the Email Automations in place that serve your contacts best. No sense of spam, but a sense of valuable messages. This ensures that your conversions are optimal, with a high engagement with your customers / followers. Sales and a warm relationship are not mutually exclusive at all. On the contrary, they are on the same side and strengthen each other!   

What else you need to effectively do Email Marketing

Let me lay out for you what the basic ingredients are to start Email Marketing from now on and make it a success. 

You need this for successful Email Marketing: 

  • A website is a requirement. So that can also be a blog. This is how you can start a blog or website in 7 easy steps.
  • Email Marketing software like ActiveCampaign, Convertkit and Sendinblue
  • Good converting optin forms. Like we have from Thrive Themes.  
  • Be aware of the recently tightened European privacy laws and abide by them  
  • Sense of learning and of experimenting 
  • Not be averse to the numbers and statistics. They show you what works and doesn’t work and are your directional guide to improve your mailings. Most of us will start Email Marketing at a loss (what’s called loss, from $20 a month for your Automation software + optin forms), and the reports are going to help you turn this into a big plus. 

Hopefully this blog will give you guidance on how to get started with email marketing software. If you haven’t read up on this topic yet then read on here: 

What is personalized Email Marketing, and… Why Email Marketing?! > 8 convincing reasons coming up

The best Email Marketing automation software in 2021 > Top 9 comparison

Good luck with setting up your first Email Marketing campaign. Give yourself some time to discover how it works and get a feeling for the program, and then it will run smoothly! (and you’ll be on the beach). 

Are you excited and want to get started in minutes? With one of these choices you won’t go wrong: 

Of course, we’d love to hear what your questions are. Let us know via a comment. Thank you and see you soon!   

Smart nomad choices 

We write about all kind of things that matter to (digital) nomads. To set up and run a smart business, to grow as a person and to implement a great and free lifestyle. Enjoy browsing all our Nomad Business articles. And don’t hesitate to get into touch if you like!

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