How Email Marketing Works

On Twitter? Follow me. 🐥

What is email marketing? I guess the easiest way to describe it is well, it’s marketing via email. It’s getting access to somebody’s email inbox and not just bombarding them with promotional messages, sales letters, “buy more stuff.” It’s also providing information and getting feedback and see if they want to do a review and in some cases actually having a conversation with them to see what’s going on.

They’re your customer or they’re your potential customer. See what kind of questions they might have over a product and they might be able to provide you with ideas for content to create to help them and other customers in the future.

It’s a great way, especially in this digital world, to have a list that you control. If you have a Facebook page with 50,000 likes and Facebook stopped showing your messages to most of those people (which happens all the time) you’re SOL. Suddenly your impressions and engagement go from 60% to 6% and there’s nothing you can do about it…unless you spend money.

So this is something that you can hold in your hands. Unless you do some incredibly ignorant shit, you shouldn’t have a problem as far as a third party controlling what your deliverability looks like.

It’s something that’s in your hands. That you control. It’s yours regardless of what happens. You own it.

How to Start Building Your Email List

So to start building your email list there are three good ways you can get email subscribers. I’ll touch on real briefly on the three.


If you’re an e-commerce store, people are going to have to create an account with an email address when they place an order. They’re going to need to get a confirmation, tracking, the link to the download, etc. Whatever the case is you’re going to have their email because they’re your customer.

If they trusted you enough to give you money, they’ll probably be opening up your emails.

If it’s a content type website, they may need to register in order to leave a comment. In this case, they like your content or news pieces so much they’re willing to give you their email to engage with the community.

Opt-in with or without a bribe

Next is some kind of opt-in either with some kind of bribe or not. You give them an e-book. They give you an email address. There is some kind of exchange there.

Or, without the bribe in a strictly “subscribe to our newsletter” and then when you have a product if you don’t have one now, then you can sell them on it.

A contest, giveaway, or sweepstakes

These will get you a lot of new email addresses for your list, but you’re probably not going to get a lot of engagement from these kinds of subscribers, just because they’re not subscribing to receive promotional messages from you. They were subscribing to win a calculator or a boat or whatever you’re giving away.

So that’s how you get started. After that, it’s incredibly easy to set up sequences, automation, algorithms, all that.

If I’m your customer, I create an account on your website and I go look at a product. Two days later, just by me having an account on your eCommerce store and me looking at that specific product, you can send me an email pitching it to me. You can set up things like that.

And that’s very cool.

You can set up an email sequence that if I buy a product, 14 days later an email is sent that asks for a review and if everything working properly.

If I buy a product, two days later you can give me tips and tricks on it and then a week after that another article.

There are so many emails you can send.

But if you just stick to sales promotions and marketing emails people are going to get fatigued by your name in their inbox. They’re going to see it. They’re going to go “oh, that’s so-and-so’s store. They’re just trying to sell me a new product.”

No one wants to see that all the time. Once in awhile, yes. It’s totally okay to send promotional and sales emails. But if that’s all you’re sending your gonna have a bad time.

That’s basically email marketing.

It can be complex, especially your first time around. But after you figure the basic emails to have set up, you can start experimenting a bit. Those basics being

  • Abandoned cart
  • Welcome campaign
  • Upsells
  • Cross sells
  • Information drop

After those are set up you can experiment a little bit and say “hmm, what if we sent an email where 45 days after the purchase we send a random article and see if anybody responds?”

There’s some very cool things that you can do. If you want to experiment a little bit you can, but the bare-bones basics are always going to be the same.

It’s sales via email and really kind of a hands-off approach once everything is up and running.

You can work on something else while that continues to work for you, and o that’s email marketing in a nutshell.

Leave a Comment