Email Marketing Guide: The Best Way to Connect With Your Readers

In this post, I’m going to explain what is email marketing and what are the key steps when getting started with your email marketing campaign.

Did you know that email is the best way to connect with your audience, grow your blog, and make money online?

So if those are your goals then keep reading.

This email marketing guide might be exactly what you are looking for.

Email marketing

Let’s start.

What is Email Marketing

Email marketing is an aspect of direct marketing used to promote your blog, products, or services.

If you don’t have a blog yet, make sure to read my guide on how to start a blog.

You send emails to build relationships with your subscribers by providing them relevant and useful advice that will help them to take action and go a step closer to achieve their goals.

There are plenty of solid reasons why you should start with email marketing.

Here’s a couple of them.

5 Reasons Why Every Blogger Should Build An Email List From Day One

When you are building an email list you are trying to get more people to subscribe to receive your emails. The more ways you can let visitors subscribe to your email, the bigger your email list will be.

You should know from the beginning that your email list is going to become the most important ingredient of your blogging success.

So here are the reasons why you should start with list building from the very beginning.

1. Email Will Get You In Front Of Your Readers Regularly

An email is the easiest way to share news about your blog and to keep in touch. Not everyone will check your social media accounts or blog every day.

But do you know what will they probably do every day?

That’s right, they’ll check their email.

So, if you have something significant to share, and want to be sure that it will reach your audience, then an email list is a way to go.

2. Email Will Help You to Grow Traffic

If you have a blog, every time you publish a new post, you can tell your list about it and that will help to increase your traffic.

Even if you aren’t selling any products, you should still collect emails so you can get people back to your site.

And when your list is big enough, it can become a powerful tool.

Let’s say that you have a list of 10,000 subscribers:

With a 20% open rate, you’ll have 2,000 people who will open that email and see that you write a new post.

And if just 5% of those people click to see your new post, that’s 100 people who are looking at your post in a short amount of time.

If you need help with your content then make sure to read my post about content creation.

3. Email Helps You to Make a Connection With Your Audience

Building an email list is vital because it’s the best way to build a connection with your audience in a personal way. People will subscribe to your email list because they like the things you share.

When you send them emails, they are going to be thrilled because they like you and trust you enough that they want to see more of what you have to offer.

Infographic - How To Build Trust With Customers In Your Email List

4. Email is the Best Way to Sell a Product

If someone subscribed to your email list it is not just a casual follow as we do it on Twitter.

That is a real and engaged person.

And they might want whatever it is that you’re offering.

This is why it’s very important to look after your email subscribers. They will be your most engaged blog readers, and maybe also your most loyal customers.

5. Email is an Effective Way to Grow Your Social Media Channels

Probably your audience is not following you on all your social media accounts and email is a great way to tell them about the places where you share your content.

Make sure that you grow your social media accounts at the same time you are growing your email list. And don’t forget to invite your followers on social media to also join your email list.

When you are just starting with email marketing, you don’t have the set-up to grow your email list.

Even if that all sounds discouraging, don’t worry, because in one hour you can set up everything you need.

Key Steps When Getting Started With Email Marketing

With around 300 billion emails sent each day, there’s a lot of competition for your audience’s attention.

That’s why it’s important to learn the right way to do email marketing, so you can catch up with your target audience and hold their attention.

Sign Up With an Email Service Provider

First, you will want to sign up with an email service provider.

Email service providers will help you with many things:

  • capture new email subscribers
  • create remarkable emails and newsletters
  • organize your subscribers
  • help you to segment them
  • provide all statistics that you need after you send an email

The email marketing tool that I recommend, especially for beginners, is HubSpot’s free email marketing tool. It helps you to efficiently create, personalize, and optimize marketing emails that look professional.

Once you’ve signed up for an email service provider, you can create forms, landing pages, content upgrades, and lead magnets. This will enable you to collect email addresses from your visitors.

You can start with the free tool but you’ll eventually have to pay for the email services as your email list grows, this is non-negotiable.

Here is a list of other email marketing providers worth checking out:

  • Aweber is free for 0 – 500 subscribers – no time restrictions.
  • Getresponse offers 30 days free trial to test their features.
  • ConvertKit now offers a free account for up to 500 subscribers and access to forms, landing pages, and broadcasts.
  • Constant Contact has a most generous 60 days free trial offer to test all the features.
  • MailChimp is the most popular free email service provider. Everything is free for up to 1000 subscribers.
  • MooSend is the best Mailchimp alternative that also offers a free account for up to 1500 subscribers.
  • Benchmark offers its services for free with limit of 250 emails/month.

Create Your Opt-in Form

An opt-in is a form of permission given by your visitors to allowing you to contact them with additional information.

Opt-in forms allow you to build your list by collecting email addresses. They can be presented as pop-up forms on the homepage or landing pages, and built-in widgets across your website.

If you took my suggestion and decided to go with HubSpot here’s how to create a form with their form builder.

Hubspot email marketing tool
  • To create a form, first, you should log into your HubSpot account, and click on Marketing > Lead Capture > Forms.
  • Now click Create form.
  • In the left panel, select Regular form.
  • Then click Next.
  • Select would you start with a blank form or a pre-made template.
  • After selecting the template click Start.
  • Click the pencil icon at the top of the form editor to edit the form name.
  • To edit and add form fields use the search bar to search for a field.
  • Now drag and drop fields onto the form preview on the right to add them to your form. Fields can be placed above, below, or next to other fields.
  • To customize your form options click the Options tab.
  • Now set what should happen after a visitor submits your form. You can choose to display a thank you message to your visitors or redirect them to another page.
  • Then you can click on the Style and preview tab to choose a theme for fields and buttons and customize the form’s width, fonts, and colors.

When you choose a theme, fonts and colors click Publish to make your form live so you can embed it on your website.

In case this looks complicated and you just want a simple form then you can also check Hello Bar and Sumo.

Hello Bar

Hellobar email capture tool

Hello Bar is a tool that you can use to add a notification bar at the top of your WordPress blog, as well as some other pop-ups to help you engage with your visitors. These notification bars are incredibly helpful for boosting conversion, driving traffic to a particular page, or to increase affiliate sales.

Hello Bar is a decent lead generation tool and they offer a free plan. Setting it up is very easy.

  • Type your domain name in the homepage text box to create an account.
  • After creating an account, you can choose from the different types of Hello Bar. If you’re going to be using it to collect emails, you’ll want to choose show an announcement or collect email.
  • Then fill in the information for the bar, like color and message.
  • Use the Next button to continue through the 5 main steps or just click the menu tabs on the left.

When you click Save and publish, you can choose the installation option. Install the code yourself or install the Hello Bar plugin to make it easier.


You can also collect emails with Sumo. Sumo is also easy to set up and install on your website.

  • Log in to your website’s WordPress Admin Dashboard.
  • Select Plugins > Add New. Search for Sumo and then click Install Now.
  • Activate Plugin to complete your install of Sumo.
  • Click Settings within the plugin list or on Sumo within the dashboard.
  • Connect to attach your account and access your Sumo tools.
  • Enter in your Sumo account information or create a new account.

That’s it. Now click on My Apps to access your tools.

You can use Sumo for offering content upgrades, with both a Welcome Mat and a Click Trigger.

When you use more than one offer anyone who doesn’t want to sign up right away from your Welcome Mat will have another opportunity within your content with a Click Trigger.

Create Your Content Upgrade

Now you have to create a content upgrade that will add more value to your content and convert the visitors into subscribers. Those visitors will give you their email addresses in exchange for the free content upgrade.

Content upgrades are specific and targeted. Because of that, they can improve your conversion rates while increasing your chances to make the sale.

A visitor who downloads your content upgrade is very interested in what you are talking about and it’s more likely that he will follow your affiliate link.

Open your best blog posts on your website and start to think about what can you create that will add more value to that particular piece of content.

Ask yourself what problem is the reader encountering?

What information does the cover?

When you have a few ideas, create them.

It’s not nuclear physics and it won’t take more than an hour or two per content upgrade.

Here’s a couple of content upgrades you can create easily.

  • Checklist
  • Cheatsheet
  • PDF article

When you know what you want to offer, and you have created it, you have to insert the content upgrade into the content and offer it to your visitors.

Create Your Lead Magnet

What I was just explaining in the previous paragraph was conversion rate optimization for your content. But you’ll want your whole website to be optimized.

So now, I’ll show you how to do site-wide conversion rate optimization.

That means you’re going to try that more of the traffic that visits your site, sign up for your email list.

You’ll do this by creating a lead magnet.

A lead magnet is practically the same as a content upgrade but it’s not so specific. You can create checklists, PDF articles, challenges, or blueprints.

You can choose to offer whatever you want but keep in mind that it has to be created for the bigger part of your target audience.

So, content upgrades are tied for the specific blog post and lead magnets for the general theme of your website.

Like I already said, if you just ask for emails you won’t do good. Instead of just asking for emails you offer something in exchange for their emails.

That’s why you need to create a site-wide opt-in offer.

It can be simple, it doesn’t matter. Just offer something and set up your email apps for it just like you did for the content upgrade.

Infographic - How to Build Your Email List Using Incentives

You can increase your site conversion rate by giving your visitors more chances to subscribe.

For example, let’s say you are using Sumo, so you have the Welcome Mat and you add exit intent pop-up.

So visitors who weren’t ready to subscribe with a welcome mat gets another opportunity to subscribe when they go to leave your website.

This way you can collect emails you wouldn’t collect otherwise.

How does it sound to you?

Not bad, right?

Remember, if you distract visitors with too many things to do when they visit your page, most probably they won’t do anything at all. So, remove distractions and only keep what is necessary on your page.

Create a Landing Page

A landing page is a page that is specifically designed to get and convert traffic from your online marketing campaign.

Here is a couple of must-haves for every landing page:

  • It should have one precise goal, and every part of it needs to be designed to move viewers toward that goal.
  • You have to make sure that your landing page is compatible with your topic, and it’s optimized for mobile devices and speed.
  • Your headings on a landing page need to be attention-grabbing, and all distractions have to be removed.
  • Always use a Call To Action and limit the amount of information you ask from your visitors and make sure you use great visuals.

So far you’ve discovered how to set up email technology, and how to set up your website and content to collect emails.

Now it’s time to write a couple of emails that you’ll send to your new subscribers through autoresponder on an automated schedule.

Writing Your First Emails

It’s best to write a couple of emails at once and save it to your autoresponder. Otherwise, you’ll have to constantly think about creating content for your emails.

For a couple of hours just focus on creating several valuable emails to keep your subscribers engaged.

Infographic - How To Use Email Autoresponders

Do you think you can do this?

I bet you can.

Don’t complicate just do it.

Here are a couple of email types you can send to your email list.

Types Of Emails You Can Send To Your Subscribers

You can choose some of these 10 different types of emails. Start with the Welcome Email, and go down the list until you create at least 4.

Welcome Email

A welcome email is your chance to tell your subscribers more about you, your website and how they can benefit from it. It’s very important that you start to build a connection with them immediately after subscribing.

Don’t forget to include a call to action of what you want your subscribers to do next, like following you on social media. Take advantage of the momentum while they are still very much interested in what you are offering.

Remember, they have to get this email right after subscribing.

Expectation Email

In this email, you should include when you’ll send emails, how often you’ll send them, and what you’ll send in them.

You should also include a call to action to whitelist your email address. This will tell your email service provider that your emails are not spam.

You can include this into a welcome email if you want or send it separately a day after your welcome email.

Resources Email

This email should include a list of free and paid tools that you are using (make sure you include your affiliate links) to help your audience getting results they want.

Send it at the beginning of the sequence while they are still engaged.

Inquiring Email

With this email, you are inviting them to tell you about their challenges around your topic. In the end, let them know that you are going to read every response you get.

This can help to achieve maximum engagement from your subscribers, plus they will tell you exactly what to write about in your future emails to please them.

Asking your audience about issues they’re experiencing will help you with a content creation and give you insight into exactly what your audience wants. You can use their exact words for your sales copy, content, and emails.

Send it within the first couple of weeks.

Informative Email

In this email, you’re asking them to respond to you with information about themselves. You want to know as much as you can about your subscribers.

The more information you get from them, the more targeted your marketing can be, and you can achieve more sales.

It should be different from inquiring email, don’t ask for their issues with your topic. Ask them about their lives and experience with your topic in general.

Send this one within the first two or three weeks.

Free Gift Email

Every once in a while, send your subscribers a free gift. It can be a worksheet, a video, or a tool to help them.

You have to surprise them from time to time and remind them that subscribing to your list was a good choice they made.

Send it often if you can.

Exclusive Content Email

Sending out emails with exclusive content to your subscribers is a great way to reward them for being on your list. And it helps build loyalty.

You don’t have to complicate here, you can give them exclusive content in a shorter form, like a couple of quick tips. Just give them something that can not be found on your website.

Send them maybe once a month. The more exclusive and valuable content you give to your subscribers they’ll be more interested in what you have to say.

Content Email

Content teasers are an incredible way to get your subscribers back to your website because they can excite them about a post you’ve published.

So every time you publish new content send a content email to notify subscribers about it.

There is actually the other, simpler way to do similar things. It’s called RSS to email.

I prefer content teasers because that way people will come back to your website and with RSS to email, you automatically send the whole post into subscribers’ inboxes so they don’t need to visit your site.

Recommendation Email

In this email, you share other people’s content so you don’t have to create it on your own. For example, you can tell them about 10 articles you enjoyed so they can read it too.

You can send them regularly or anytime you need a break.

Newsletter Email

Newsletters are regular updates about your site. Send them when you have updates to share with your subscribers.

Best of all, after creating these 10, you can repeat 8 of them for continual follow-up sequence.


Scheduling Your Emails

If you have no idea how to schedule your emails here’s a quick guide.

You should send the first emails faster, as you are getting your new subscriber introduced to you.

Then, you need to back off for a couple of days.

You don’t have to follow that exact format, but don’t email every day. If you send too often that can increase your email unsubscribe rates.

While most of those email marketing and retargeting options can be scheduled easily there is one question that marketers keep asking.

When is the best time to send an email?

Best Time To Send Emails According To Data From Researches

According to these researches, you can try to send emails in this order:

  • Tuesday: The best day to send emails according to the data from this researches.
  • Thursday: If you send two emails a week, send 2nd email on Thursday.
  • Wednesday: Researches showed that Wednesday wasn’t the most popular, but it came in second place many times.
Best days to send emails

When it comes to the time of the day many of the researches shown differing results, here is when you can try to send your emails based on data:

  • 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Late-morning times were the most popular in general, many types of research determined that this is the best time to send emails.
  • 8 p.m.-midnight They found out that emails normally get more opens and clicks later in the evening. Do you check your emails before going to bed?
  • 2 p.m. Try to send your emails later in the day as people are looking for distractions from work.
  • 6 a.m. Lots of us begin our day by checking emails and notifications while we are still in bed. You can try to send it at this time but I believe that we are not ready for marketing so early in the morning.

After collecting the results of many types of research, it’s very clear that there is no one universal best time for everyone.

For further information from researches about the best time to send an email I suggest that you read these articles:

We are all creatures of habit that subconsciously want consistency. So send your emails on the same day every month, week, or day.

By being consistent, you build trust and expectation as your audience expects your content at a designated time.

Email Marketing Segmentation

Email marketing segmentation is dividing your email subscribers into smaller lists based on different criteria.

With segmentation, you have the ability to send only the most relevant information to your email subscribers, based on their particular interests.

I guess you realize that not everybody will be interested in everything you write about, so every website has different categories (or segments) of the audience.

Let’s say for example that you have a fitness blog.

Some of your readers might want to lose weight and others want to gain muscles. Those are some segments of that audience.

Your audience has segments, too.

Think of the larger categories that could fit your audience.

When you’ve recognized these categories, set up segments related to those categories in your email service provider.

Surveys and quizzes work wonders when it comes to segmentation.

After you do this, you can connect the content upgrades you created to different segments.

Segmentation is huge.

Believe me, once your list grows you’ll be glad that you do segmentation and have an organized email list because, without email marketing segmentation, it’s difficult to connect with your subscribers and boost your conversion rate.

Fast List Building Techniques

At this point, we set everything up and now you can continue with the creation of content and content upgrades and wait a couple of months before you start getting some significant amount of traffic from Google.

Or you can try some of the most effective, fast list-building techniques available to start to grow your list quickly and to see the power of email marketing.

Give Something Away

Giveaways are one of the best strategies to drive visitors to your site and to grow your email list.

You have to select something valuable to give away to your audience. Something that is specific to them and what they will want to have.

Then promote the giveaway on giveaway submission sites, social media, and on your website and make it necessary to sign up for your email list to enter the giveaway.

You can use the RafflePress plugin for WordPress to get your visitor’s attention with giveaways. They’ll have to enter their email address to participate and they can share it to get additional entries.

Create Cornerstone Content

Cornerstone articles are long, informational articles, integrating knowledge from different blog posts and covering everything important about a specific topic. They should provide the best and most complete information, so don’t use them to sell products.

Cornerstone content is viral quality, in that it’s so good that your readers can’t help but share it. That’s why it needs to be detailed. If you just scratch your topic, nobody is going to share it.

All your other posts about related topics should link back to cornerstone article. This internal linking structure will increase the chance of your cornerstone content articles ranking in Google searches.

After you’ve created the content, you should also create a content upgrade.

Cornerstone content with a content upgrade can be your most valuable list building tool.

Write a Guest Post

The difference between cornerstone content and guest post is instead of writing an amazing piece of content for your own site, you write it for your competition.

You are looking for blogs that have content related to your niche and engaged audience that is also interested in your niche.

By engaged I mean that posts have been shared and commented on.

Like for your cornerstone content, you should also create a content upgrade that the audience can’t resist, and link to it in your bio if the host site allows that.

Guest posting is a great strategy not only to grow your email list to do email marketing but also to connect with other blog owners, build backlinks, and social proof.


Studies show that email marketing still beats other digital marketing channels like social media and paid search.

Email marketing is the best long-term investment with a high return and one of the largest mistakes you can make is not to build an email list from start.

Email lists can have a big influence on traffic and your opportunities for success with your online business.

Let’s summarize:

  • Get an email service provider
  • Create content upgrades, lead magnets, and landing pages
  • Write at least 4 emails and add them to the autoresponder
  • Don’t forget about segmentation
  • Use giveaways, cornerstone content with content upgrades, and guest posting to rapidly grow your email list and get your email marketing onto a higher level

That’s it.

I hope you have more knowledge about email marketing and now it’s up to you how you’re going to use it.

Have you started with email marketing yet? What do you think about this email marketing guide?

Tell me in the comments below.

Anthony Miller is a blogger and freelance writer who helps busy bloggers get long-form, SEO-optimized content for their blogs, so they can focus on other important aspects of their online businesses.

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