Create an Email Marketing Plan for Your Startup With Few Resources


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More than 300 billion emails are sent every day. That’s 300 billion emails for a global population of more than 7 billion humans.

If you haven’t thought about email marketing for your new business yet, you should start now. One of the most positive aspects of email marketing is that it does not require hiring a large and expensive communication team to design and implement an effective email strategy. So how do we do that?

Tight email stacks

To get started, you need to create an email marketing stack before you can send emails efficiently. This may seem daunting, but at first, there aren’t too many tools to set up.

To get started, just connect the email subscriptions you receive to an email marketing platform. The most likely sites where emails are ingested from the beginning include:

If emails are ingested on a Google spreadsheet, Zapier can easily connect those emails to your email marketing platform. CDPs (i.e., Segment) have the ability to connect and play to send emails to hundreds of integrations. CRMs (i.e., Hubspot) will typically have email marketing built into the platform, which makes it quick to get started.

Related: Effective Email Strategies for Startup Marketing with a Budget

Types of key email to consider

Now that the email stack is set up, it’s time to start thinking about the content of the emails potential or current customers will receive. While not an exhaustive list, the following items include some key topics:

  • Informative

  • Social test

  • Feeling well

  • Discounts

For startups that have long flows, the informative The email field is a great way to push users through the funnel. While working at Postmates on the Fleet Acquisition Team (driver), we had emails dedicated to every step of the funnel into which potential drivers were stuck. This ranged from loading a valid driver’s license to consenting to a background check. We focused our attention on the conversion funnel steps that had the biggest drop and tried different ways to alleviate any issues with various messaging styles.

Social test is a perfect example of a message that can dramatically help improve a customer’s willingness to buy. Imagine being on the fence buying a skin care product and then receiving a series of three emails showing testimonials and success stories, with different types of people being successful with the product. You would probably be much less skeptical and more willing to try it for yourself.

While not necessary when trying to convert new customers, the feeling well The segment can help increase retention by validating a customer’s usage. A good example of this segment in action is the launch of grocery delivery, Instacart, and its smart use of a time-saving timer after ordering groceries.

Not surprisingly, discounts they are a great way to win, retain and even reclaim customers. It is the ultimate trifecta. These discounts must be methodically tested to fully understand the propensity through messages and amount of discount. During my stay at Uber, the amount of testing we did would probably make everyone’s head spin, but it was necessary to move the conversion rate needle as far as possible.

Related: 3 Email Marketing Tactics You Need Most

Segmentation is gold

Ensuring that emails are sent to the right user segments is perhaps even more important than the type of messaging being sent. To continue with the example of Uber, the following are the types of expired user segments we would reach:

  • There is no activity of motorcyclists more than 7 days

  • No motor activity for more than 30 days

  • No activity of motorcyclists from the Covid

  • Application open, but without travel

Hundreds of other user segments have been tested, but this helps to show the level of granularity we have used.

While this may seem extreme to a startup, it should help get creative juices flowing about how to target users for your unique product or service. If you need additional guidance on segmentation, recentness, frequency, and currency (RFM) is a great model to consider. The three questions to answer with this model are:

  1. Recently: How many years has a user bought?

  2. Frequency: How often does this user buy?

  3. Monetary: How much does this user spend?

Related: 5 Tips for Better Email Marketing Performance

Determining success

There are three key metrics to consider for successful email marketing: clickthrough rate (CTR), conversion rate (CVR), and unsubscribe rates. It’s tempting to build the perfect email marketing machine from the start, but I would accept an imperfect campaign that has been deployed before.

Launch and iterate. This is the name of the game with email marketing. As your email marketing progresses, you can start to be smarter with segments and start measuring incremental increase, regression, and other data points.

One last thought: by the time it took you to read this, you’ll probably have received a few additional emails. There’s a reason for this: companies know they work. You can also make it work.



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