Email Marketing Explained: Start Building Your List

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If you haven’t started collecting email addresses from your clients, customers, or prospects, then now is the time. In today’s world, if you’re not talking with prospects, clients, or customers with some form of communication regularly, you’re hanging out with the dinosaurs. And we all know what happened to them.

This year is the perfect example of why communications is a critical part of your marketing plan. Let’s say you’re an interior designer who never emailed clients with promotions, and your usual word-of-mouth referrals have dried up.

You have some projects in the pipeline, but not the number you need to keep everyone working. You’ve done killer work, and all your clients love you, but they don’t hear from you on any regularity because you’ve been too busy – well, working.

Yes, it happens. As a small business owner, you’re wearing so many hats you aren’t on top of your marketing tactics.

When work is coming in hand over fist, piling up with back orders, you don’t worry about what’s going to happen when a pandemic strikes. The last one was 1919?

What’s the chance of that happening? If more work came in, you’d just have to put them on a waitlist.The curse of small business, feast, or famine.

You don’t need to generate more business, because at the moment you have more than you can handle. But, as they say, winter does come. And when it does, you need to be prepared to ride out the storm.

Email Marketing Definition

Email is the most basic method of communicating. It’s a series of messages sent to people letting them know about your promotions and future sales opportunities for them.

Long ago, right after the dinosaurs, when we purchased a product, it came with a registration postcard to authenticate our guarantee. I filled it out, answering all sorts of questions such as how old you are, where you purchased the product, male/female, and demographic information – oh and your address.

The manufacturer was collecting consumer information to use for the future. I usually filled them out and mailed them in; I used to follow directions. Until I realized that nobody needs to fill that out to validate the warranty, they’re collecting demographic information on us.

Now, it’s what every business does to capture your contact information to initiate communications with you, i.e.; they start emailing you. If you’re a big fan of the company, you’ll love getting their emails, but most of the time, they’re boring; it’s time to opt-out. To withdraw your name from their mailing list.

What to Do If You Don't Have Any

Like our interior designer, who didn’t collect email addresses, now is the time to start. Winter is here.

If you’re old school, you can call all your clients and ask them. Tell them you have something important to send them - information that they don’t want to miss.

Start a Facebook ad campaign to collect emails. A popular strategy to get people to come to your website where you offer them something in exchange for their contact information. Every business can offer something for free to entice readers to give their contact information.

The oldest tactic in the book, and it still works.

Whatever you do, don’t buy an email list. It’s 99 out of 100 times garbage.

You could partner with another business that has an email list of people who could be your clients. Ask them to send out your offer to their list with a bonus to the list owner for each person who signs up. Win-win. When they respond, you now have their contact information.

Templates for Emails

The format for emails is straightforward.

  • Welcome them to your world
  • Give them a reason to contact you
  • Rinse and repeat

Your emails can be short. If you don’t have much to say, good, let them know what you’re doing and give them a reason to connect.

Email them frequently—more than once a week. Yes, really.  Don’t worry about being a pest. They will contact you when you’ve got something they want.

Provide value: tips, shortcuts, a way to save, or a new spin on an old tale. Send them a joke, a story, or something exciting.

Email Marketing Tips

People like to be entertained. You can never be too long or frequent, but you can be boring. Make sure you’re talking about things that interest them… not you. Remember to keep the focus on the word ‘you’ vs. me, or I. All too often, business owners get confused in their offers when they make it all about them vs. the clients.

Don’t be too fancy, either. You don’t have to have images, pictures, or a GIF for your readers. I’m distracted when people add a GIF [a short video clip] in an email. Naturally, if you’re selling products, you want to have images. Only include what is essential; leave the fluff behind.

The Next Steps

Start collecting emails today. Start your campaign to reach out to your people often. Be organized, create a master plan to get the word out with topics and promotions. Forecast a quarter at a time to map out your goals using holidays and other significant events. Make sure you give the reader a chance to unsubscribe to your email. Nothing is worse than getting an email without an unsubscribe link. Cause when we’re ready to break up, I want out.

If you’re going to start, be consistent. People are paying attention. Email marketing is the easiest method to find out what your readers like and want. When you know what they want… give it to them. Share valuable information to make their life better. Use this as your opportunity to build connections because when the world turns upside down, you can reach out to your people to let them know how you can help them. With email marketing, you can pivot and bring your people with you. It beat sending out smoke signals.

In summary: Email marketing is fun and profitable if you do it right. It plays a big part in successful companies.  Always give more. Consider your messaging. If you'd like to chat about your next project, reach out at

Linda James Bennett; day 24 of 365 writing an article every day and making you a shiny object in the world.

Linda James Bennett is obsessed with creating clear brand messages to help business owners win online. She believes that marketing shouldn't be complicated to be great. Let's face it, as a business owner you need to focus on the bottom line that drives sales, not being a copywriter. She is also an author of the book, Becoming A Seriously Happy Special Needs Mom ~ 21 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place, on

Linda James Bennett

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