Email Marketing Marketing Basics

So you’ve got an email sign-up button on your site, now what?

Pretty much every company has a “sign-up for more information!” button on their site these days that leads to a Gravity Forms or Ninja Forms repository that nobody remembers to check or, even better, a free MailChimp account that nobody remembers to check.

And then pretty much every company neglects to actually email people who opt in for more information. People have come to the site, said “please give me more information!” and then never received any follow-up.

Then when the company actually needs to send out a message (maybe they’re ready to announce a new game or new product line), there’s no process in place. No emails have been sent before to replicate, lists haven’t been segmented so there’s no telling who you’re actually emailing, or the email is sent and everyone either ignores it or marks the message as spam because they’ve forgotten about signing up in the first place.

Here are a few tips to get your company to send emails on a regular basis, even if you’re on the fence about doing so, so that when you need to email people they’re a) used to getting messages from you and b) you’ve already got a system in place to get your message out to people who want to hear it.

Email Marketing Marketing Basics

A/B testing email subject lines

A/B testing sounds a lot more fancy than it is. In reality, several tools make testing your marketing techniques very simple and very, very useful these days.

One of the things we highly recommend testing as soon as possible are your email marketing subject lines. Email marketing is one of our favorite (and most effective) digital marketing channels for both B2B and B2C organizations.

So why not constantly be improving it?

Email Marketing Marketing Basics Marketing We Love

Tool Review: MailChimp

When it comes to email marketing, we’ve helped businesses use a ton of different tools at Exothermic. Depending on your company means you may have different priorities and needs. Fishbowl, for example, is one of the main email marketing programs for restaurant and food-chains. Bronto and Listrak, on the other hand, works more with larger e-commerce corporations.

But if you’re a small business getting started or even a larger one doing your first email marketing push – MailChimp is currently our go-to recommendation.

Forever Free

MailChimp was one of the first email marketing providers who created a free plan and then stuck with it. To date, they still have a “Forever Free” account tier where you can have up to 2,000 subscribers and send those subscribers up to 12,000 emails per month.


They don’t require a credit card, a contract or anything other hassles.


If you’re using WordPress or another common content management system (CMS), any of the top e-commerce tools (Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce or BigCommerce), Salesforce or other notable customer relationship management (CRM) tools – the list of compatible integrations with MailChimp goes on and on.

Integrations are important for tools in your “marketing stack” so they can play nicely together. You wouldn’t want an email marketing tool that can’t connect with your website, for example, because then you’d have a really hard time providing an easy way for people to sign-up. Speaking of…

Sign-up Forms

MailChimp does a really, really great job of making it easy for you to add people to your system. A lot of systems we’ve used before have very convoluted sign-up processes or data migration processes if you’re taking names from one system and adding them to another.

Sign-up forms and other methods for getting contacts actually into your database are key to growing your email marketing efforts. MailChimp does well at holding your hand through this process and making it easy for nontechnical people to set these components up.

Continuous Improvements

They’ve also come a long way. MailChimp used to be the go-to for start-ups and more technical people because although they had a free plan, it used to be ideal only for teams that were able to upload their own HTML into the system to send it off. Which meant you had to have someone savvy with HTML to make good use of it.

Now, they’ve made continuous improvements to make the user interface (UI) more intuitive and enabled people with no technical skills to get up and running.

It’s still not the most intuitive but with some guidance (and actually taking the time to read their really excellent support materials), just about anyone can get by.

It’s easy to move on

If you outgrow MailChimp’s free plan, they make it very easy to upgrade but also to move on to another system. MailChimp used to be a stepping-stone service but they are doing more and more lately to keep users within their system – and being very transparent about it, too. They even opened their own business and used MailChimp in their “What’s in Store” series to walk people through their own experiences.

All in all, it’s our go-to for getting brands new to email marketing onto a system over other tools like Constant Contact, AWeber, MadMimi, MyEmma and Hatchbuck.

That being said – if you’re new to email marketing and you have the money to invest (rather than opt for free), you may also want to check out Hatchbuck, a relatively new player in this scene that we’ve come to really like.

Email Marketing Marketing Basics Marketing We Love

Getting started with email marketing

Email marketing may seem passe by 2017, but it’s still one of the most effective digital marketing channels to date.

Nearly everyone has an email address, whereas social channels are scattered across different demographics. There are hard, trackable numbers you can associate with email marketing and a ton of different ways to use them, regardless of your business’ focus point.

Here’s a quick overview on using email marketing for a small to medium-sized business.

Email Marketing Learnings

The legal basics of email marketing in the US

In the US, the primary law you want to familiarize yourself with if you’re doing email marketing is the CAN SPAM Act of 2003.

Each and every separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $40,654.

For the most part, the law is in line with common sense and helps your relationship with your customers in the long-run. But here’s a breakdown of the main components.