If you run an e-commerce business that sells services and products, you need to consider starting an email list. First, some basics:

An email list: A list of subscribers who opt-in with their email addresses to receive direct messaging and email marketing from you. It’s a personal avenue for your audience to receive information, updates, sales, discounts, giveaways and other details of your business.

Email marketing: Any time you’re promoting a service or product, sale, or giveaway/contest via email is considered marketing. As a business owner, marketing is everything.

Email service provider (ESP): Online programs like Flodesk, ConvertKit, MailerLite that will help you grow your small business via email marketing and email services.

Why email marketing? I’ll be telling you that in this blog post 😉

In the following listicle, I’ll be listing 5 reasons to start your email list for your business today, and the top 3 email marketing platforms that I recommend to try out for your needs.

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why every entrepreneur needs an email list and how they can get started. #emailmarketing #emaillist #bloggingtips #emailtips #entrepreneurtips #biztip

1 | People check their emails every day & they’re more likely to know what’s happening with your business.

Have an important update to let your audience know? New products or services launching? Sales? A holiday promotion? If you post it on social media, people might miss it.

If you email them, however, they’re more likely to be in the loop.

Social media is great and all, and while people use it often, it’s also tricky for businesses because of ever-changing, pesky algorithms. Sometimes, people don’t even see your posts.

Email on the other hand? Higher visibility and open rate by loyal subscribers.

Email, on the other hand, is hard to miss. People check their email often. Although emails can make their way into the wrong folders (ex. Promotions, Socials, Junk), it’s easy to retrieve.

Pro Tip: Afraid of your emails going unseen because they’re in the wrong folder? You can always tell your subscribers when they sign up for your list to mark you as whitelisted (a safe sender) and drag your emails to their main inbox so that they’ll never miss an update.

2 | You can build rapport with your audience.

As a small business owner, email is your opportunity to do more than marketing but also get a little personal too. Feel free to share behind-the-business stories and facts about yourself.

People love stories, and they love connection. With email, people are welcome to shoot you a message back and you can connect with them much more than you can over social media.

They’re more likely to support your small business if they support the person behind it.

Over email, you can:

  • Show personal care to your audience
  • Open yourself up to questions
  • Share valuable tips every week
  • Show more of your personality
  • Make Internet pen pals

How to build rapport and trust with your audience? Share your business tips and your anecdotes. Show your humanity. Email your subscribers like you’re messaging a friend. Make them feel seen and heard in their needs. Learn how you can serve them by asking them.

3 | You can save time and energy by setting up automated emails that send out information and messages to your subscribers. You can do this through your email service provider (ESP).

If you’re a fan of efficiency like I am, something you can try is setting up an automated welcome email for your new subscribers through your email service provider (ESP). The first email can welcome them to your list and let them know what to expect. This way, anytime you get a new subscriber, you don’t have to do write out welcome every time, it’ll be done for you!

Automated email campaigns are set up by “triggered” actions in your software, which can be great for sales funnels and email courses in which you’ll send out emails once a day/week.

There are also options for filling out first name code in the ESPs so that each email is addressed to your subscriber, so it still looks personal when they are receiving your emails.

Ideas for your welcome email: 

  1. Welcome/warm message to say hello to new subs!
  2. Who you are, what to expect, how often you’ll email them
  3. Tell them to whitelist your address so your emails are safe
  4. Tell them to drag your emails to the main inbox so they’re visible
  5. Where they can find you on social media (if you have a closed Facebook group, this is a perfect place to open up that personal community to your subscribers)

Ideas for automated emails:

  1. Welcome emails
  2. Email courses (ideal for bloggers & infopreneurs)
  3. Sales/discount notifications
  4. Sales funnel

4 | You can grow your revenue/income through email marketing. You can even do so with a “tiny” list.

If you’re launching a new product or service, let your subscribers know by offering it to them first. Let them get first dibs on beta pricing, or the limited quantity of the program or merchandise you’re offering. If a sale or discount is going on, you can email people to tell them.

Let’s bust a myth! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a big list to make money doing email marketing… A tiny list that is targeted and engaged is better than a big one with unengaged subscribers. But what is a tiny list, exactly?

A tiny list is anything under a thousand subscribers, hence why it’s considered the “lowest pricing tier” on email marketing platforms. Going from a point of reference, every email with a sales pitch converts at a minimum of 2%… Let’s say you have 200 subscribers and selling a $249 course — that’s at least 4 buyers, so your income from that single product can be: $996. You should have at least 200-250+ subscribers on your email list before doing any sort of sales because anything under won’t convert well if you want better sales.

Need lead magnet ideas? Check out my blog post here!

At the end of the day, it’s not about big numbers, it’s about the people and the relationships you form with your audience. Win them over and the sales will come easier.

How to create “gotta-have-it” sales pitches in your email marketing:

  1. Create limited edition products… People love the idea of rare, unique scores.
  2. Use the “scarcity tactic” — hold flash sales or holiday discounts (ex. Black Friday) — when things are on sale for a limited time, people experience urgency.
  3. Win people over with gifts or incentives. E.g.: Let’s say you create or sell day planners, and the first 10 people to buy from you get a complimentary pen set.

While your entire email list may not buy from you, but there’s a solid chance that a small bunch (at least) will buy from you. For instance, let’s say you’re running a promotion or sale, so your regular products are on a 30% discount. Since people love deals, they buy and tell their friends. Even though the products or services will sell at a discounted rate, there’ll be a big buzz around it for a time. Or, let’s say you’re doing a beta launch of a course and the first 10 students to enroll get access to bonuses. People love those, and will latch onto offers like that.

The money you spend on a professional email service provider (ESP) on a monthly basis can be easily earned back if you have a few high-ticket items that will earn it back and more.

5 | Track your leads. Analytics and data, friend.

Email marketing is great because you can see how many times your links are clicked and where people are clicking. If you get a new sale, you can see if they came through your email. Most of the time, they do. Analytics is a bit of a “nerdy” reason, but analytics are important.

Tracking where sales and clients/customers are coming from is important. Chances are, many of those sales or new business clients signed will come through your emailing efforts.

Bonus: My top 3 email service providers for email marketing, why, and who they’re best suited for

1 | Flodesk

My #1 and favourite of all time. Flodesk has beautiful templates (drag-and-drop) that create visually stunning emails. It’s easy to use, even for non-tech savvy people. No coding experience required. It has capabilities for automated, tagging, segments, A/B testing and good open rates.

It’s loved and used by creatives such as Jenna Kutcher and Natalie Franke.

The best part? The price! For $38 USD a month, you can get all the features at unlimited use and the price stays the same no matter how big your email list grows over time. Pretty much every other email service provider will charge you higher when your subscriber list grows.

Ideal for: Wedpreneurs (planners, florists, stationery artists, photographers), creative business owners, lifestyle bloggers, infopreneurs for those who use lots of visuals

For 50% off for life, you can lock in the rate of $19 USD/month using my invite!

An alternative that’s similar: Nothing at the moment is quite the same

** Amongst this list, Flodesk is my favourite 🙂

2 | ConvertKit

Next to Flodesk, ConvertKit has been a long-time standing “best” email service provider for bloggers and online business owners for its clean, minimalist interface. It offers no-fuss use capabilities that allow you to do things like tag, segment, set up automated emails, and track leads. Unlike Flodesk or other platforms, it doesn’t offer drag-and-drop platforms. ConverKit is the email provider to use if you want totally minimal emails with no images, while Flodesk is better for visual marketing. Infopreneurs might like ConvertKit more.

As of current, ConvertKit is most robust in functionality.

Ideal for: Infopreneurs, coaches/educators, bloggers who like bare-bones layouts

Pricing: Starts at $0 USD/month for 0-1000 subscribers, pricing plan starts at $29/month

An alternative that’s similar: ActiveCampaign

3 | MailerLite

MailerLite is the best email marketing platform for total beginners on a budget because it allows you to build your list to 1000 people for free! It doesn’t have the same capabilities that Flodesk or ConvertKit, but it does enough that you can still tag people, track leads, and send automated sequences. The platform has more of a learning curve and it’s a bit clunky and slow on the user front, but if you have grace and gumption, MailerLite is a great option.

Ideal for: Those new to blogging or business who don’t want to spend a lot of email marketing yet, until they build their list more, but still want to have a list started up

Pricing: Starts at $15 USD/month after 1000 subscribers

An alternative that’s similar: MailChimp

** A downside to Mailchimp is that it counts the same subscriber twice or more times if someone opts into your email list at different times, especially if you have multiple opt-in free lead magnets enticing subscribers to your list. This is not ideal. A remedy to this is creating a resource library, and they can opt-in once and receive access to all your resources altogether.

Are you currently doing email marketing? Share what you’re using in the comments below, or feel free to ask me any questions and I’ll address it! 

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Ariette Hung