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  • Writer's pictureKayla Droog Consulting

Easy DIY email marketing setup

Whether you are new to email marketing or just switching to a new platform, getting everything set up and running can feel like a daunting task.

But today we're going to walk through the exact steps that you can take to do an easy DIY setup of an email marketing platform in just an afternoon, and you don't need to be a tech person to figure it all out.

Whether you have never set up an email marketing platform before, or you're just switching everything over to a new one, you are going to be starting from the same place.

There are some essential building blocks that you are going to need to get things up and running, but the setup doesn't have to be complicated.

I'm going to walk you through the steps that you need to get started.

Step 1: Import your contacts

If you have absolutely no email list whatsoever, you can skip this first step.

However, I bet that you probably have at least some contacts that you are going to want to import into your email marketing platform.

If you're switching over from a different platform, you're going to go into your subscribers and you're going to export all of your contacts as a CSV file.

If you have a CRM, a client relations management software, you can also export all of those contacts as a CSV file.

Or you can always pull contacts from your email account's contact list or other places that you may have a list of people that you would like to add to your subscriber list. (Note: You only have permission to add people to your email marketing list who have signed up for emails, signed up for a freebie, made a purchase from you, or are a current client).

Now, one thing that I would recommend if you are exporting your email list from an old email marketing platform, you may want to clean it up before you export it. If your email marketing platform allows you to get rid of subscribers who have not been active in six months or more, I would just delete those people and not bother moving them over to your new platform, because clearly they're not engaging with your content. Make sure that you're not exporting people who have already unsubscribed, because you actually don't have the right to continue contacting them.

If you're exporting contacts from another platform like your CRM platform, make sure you're going through and you're not importing anyone who's a former client that you don't want to talk to again or a contact that doesn't need to be on your email list.

One thing that you may want to Google if you are importing a CSV file to your new email marketing platform is the order that the columns need to be in. For some platforms, the email address needs to be first, but for other platforms it needs to be the name or something like that. See what you need for your specific platform and rearrange the columns in your CSV spreadsheet before you import it.

You can also delete anything in there that you don't need. You probably just need the name and the email address, and maybe tags or groups if that's something that you're able to import into your new platform.

Step 2: Create groups

Speaking of tags or groups, you are going to want to set these up in your new platform so that you can organize all of your contacts.

Depending on the platform that you're using, sometimes this is going to be called tags, sometimes it's groups, sometimes it's segments, they all kind of mean the same thing depending on which platform you're on.

Basically, this is a way of organizing your subscribers into different groups so you can email just that group or you can exclude a group from your bigger list if there's a reason why they don't need to get a particular email. For example, you might be doing some sort of promotional campaign for your services, but maybe you want to exclude the list of people who have already bought that service or who are already a client because they don't need that promotion.

Now, there are lots of reasons why you may want to create a new tag or a new group. Maybe there is some sort of event that you're doing that people are signing up for, or there's a particular freebie or download that people are signing up for, those things may all get separate tags or be a separate group or segment.

But for today's setup purposes, you just need two. One for the group that is getting your general newsletter and a second group for your freebie or your welcome sequence. You want these two things to be separate and I will explain why later.

Step 3: Create a sign up form

The next thing that you're going to do is to go into the forms section of your platform and create a new sign up form.

This is a sign up form that is going to go on your website, or you can link to it on social media or wherever else you would like to put it to get people to sign up to be on your email list.

Now, typically you would be offering them some sort of freebie or incentive to sign up, something that they're maybe going to download, or a video, a blog post, a podcast link. Give them something that they're going to get as a benefit of signing up. If you just say, "Hey, put your information here to get my newsletter," that's not really going to entice people.

I recommend that this form either describes the types of tips and information that they're going to get from you or offer them some sort of specific freebie that they can sign up for.

When you're setting up this form, you can change the fonts and colors and everything to fit your brand, because remember, this is probably going to go on your website.

Also make sure that you are adding some sort of success message. Usually the system message is something like "Thanks for subscribing!" and you'll probably want to change that to something like "Thanks so much! Check your inbox for..." whatever it was you promised them.

You'll want to make sure that this form is going to add people to that freebie or that welcome sequence group that you just created. The idea is that these people are going to be enticed by this thing that you are offering them, they're going to sign up to be on your email list, and then they're going to get added to this specific tag or group or segment, which is going to start an automation to send them a welcome nurture sequence of emails.

We're not just going to dump them on your email list and just send them your regular newsletters. We're going to nurture them a little bit first, give them a taste of who you are and what you do and what you're all about, and then we're going to put them on your regular newsletter list.

That's why I had you create those two separate groups or tags, so we can control what happens to these people when they first sign up.

Note: I like to turn off double opt-in for my sign up forms. Double opt-in means that subscribers get an initial email where they have to agree to receive emails from you before your welcome sequence will start. A lot of people will skip this step and miss out on your emails. I prefer to add an opt-in check box, disclaimer, or Captcha verification to the sign up form.

Step 4: Create your email marketing welcome sequence

The next step is to create this welcome sequence of emails. This is often where people get stuck, because they don't know what to say or they think it's going to be a lot of work to create these emails.

But really, you only need four or five emails and a few of them are going to be pretty easy. So let's walk through things that you can include.

This is not necessarily an exhaustive list of what you could include, but it's an example of an easy sequence. Feel free to switch things out and change things and make it your own wherever you want to. These are just my suggestions.

If you don't already have some sort of freebie or lead magnet, you can find a step-by-step walk through here. You can go and work on that later.

Email 1:

The first email in your welcome sequence - this is an email that they are going to get right away - is going to give them that freebie or video or blog post or podcast episode or whatever it was that you promised them that they were signing up for.

It doesn't have to be a very long email:

"Hey, thanks for signing up. Here's that thing I promised you.

Click this button to download it or get it.

I will chat with you soon. Keep an eye on your inbox."

Email 2:

A few days later - I would say somewhere in the two to five day range, no more than seven days - you're going to send a follow-up email.

This email is going to say something like,

"Hey, I hope you enjoyed this thing that I sent you in the last email. If you haven't checked it out yet, here's the link to do so."

And then put in another button to download it or to link to whatever it is you're sending them to.

You can also offer them something else that would be helpful to them. If you gave them a PDF to download in the last email, maybe now you're going to direct them to a blog post or a video of something that is related and helpful to them.

We want these first two emails, these freebies, these helpful things providing them value, to be things that your ideal client is going to be interested in, that they're really going to need, something that's going to hit their common pain points.

It should also be something that's going to be a decent introduction to who you are and what you're all about and what you do. You don't want to send them something that's only kind of related to your paid offers. It should be something that's going to directly lead into your paid offers, something that's directly related to what you do.

Email 3:

By email 3, we want to be nurturing those people who maybe haven't really heard of you before, who don't religiously follow you on social media or other places, and may not know much about you. This next email is going to tell them some things about you, who you are, what you do.

You can make this as fun as you want. Maybe these are some fun facts about you. Maybe these are some things that you've learned.

Again, we want those things to be related to your ideal client and who they are and what they want to achieve.

This email is really designed to create some of that know, like, and trust factor between you and your subscribers.

Email 4:

For your 4th email, you've got some options. By this point, you can definitely make some sort of offer.

I would keep this offer on the low to medium side. If you have some sort of digital product or maybe like a one-time call that you offer, something that is a smaller ticket item, this is where you could promote that. It allows them to get a taste of working with you in a more low-risk way.

This is also where you could offer a free consultation or discovery call if you would like. Again, you're making some sort of offer, but it's small, it's an easy buy-in.

Or if you don't feel like you want to make an offer in this email, or you feel like you want to give them a bit more value before you get to the offer, then I would lean into that with this email, give them more tips, or direct them to other resources to support them.

Or feel free to do both. Start with an offer, but also offer some free resources or start with free resources and put the offer at the bottom.

Do what feels right for you.

Email 5:

The final email in your welcome sequence should remind them of the offer that you made last time (if you made an offer in email four) and it should let them know what to expect from you going forward.

How often they can expect to hear from you? And add in a sentence or two about what kinds of things they can expect from you.

It's up to you when you're creating this email sequence how often you would like these emails to go out. I would say for these five initial emails you could spread them out over a range of one to two weeks to over a month.

Decide how often you want a new email to go out. The first email is going to go out right away. For the next email, I would wait at least 24 to 48 hours, no more than a week.

And then you can decide after that. I usually tend to space my emails out with three to five days in between, but you could send out these emails once a week if you wanted to.

It also depends on the frequency of your newsletter. If you're only sending a newsletter once a month, you may want to space this welcome sequence out a little bit more, because if you are sending all five of these emails within the span of a week or so, that's going to feel like a lot and then all of a sudden they may not hear from you for a month.

Find a spacing that makes sense for these first five emails. It's probably going to be more often than they're going to hear from you generally, but you can decide how much you want to space it out and then let them know in this final email.

"From now on, you're probably going to hear from me about once a week, or a few times a week, or once a month," whatever it's going to be from now on, so that they know what to expect, and they can choose whether or not they want to stay on your email list at that point.

Step 5: Set up the automation

Depending on which platform you are using, you are either going to be writing and setting these emails up right in the automation part of your platform or if you're using a platform like ConvertKit, you set the sequence up in one part of the platform and the automation up in another.

Either way, you're going to go into the automation part of your platform and you're going to create a new automation. The trigger for your automation is when someone is added to the freebie or welcome sequence group or tag or segment that you set up earlier. Then you're going to put your emails in there with whatever length of time you decided between each email.

Once they're finished all the emails in the welcome sequence, you're going to put in a one day delay in the automation and then you are going to have them copied to your newsletter tag or group or segment.

I advise the one day delay just in case they happen to finish that welcome sequence on the same day that you send out your newsletters. You don't want them to be bombarded by emails from you, so if you put in that one day delay, then it means that they're not going to immediately start getting newsletters as soon as they're done that sequence.

We want them copied to your regular newsletter group after they have finished that welcome sequence, because as I mentioned, it's probably a higher frequency of emails than your regular newsletter is going to be, so they're already getting several emails. You don't also want them to be getting your regular newsletters at the same time because that's too many emails.

Have them go through that four or five email welcome sequence and then get copied to your newsletter and they can get your general newsletters going forward.

Step 6: Final setup details

At this point in your email marketing platform setup, there's only a few things left to do.

Make sure that you have set up your name and e-mail address the way you want them to appear in your outgoing emails, you've imported your branding and your logo to the platform, and you've set up an email template for your ongoing newsletters.

Maybe you want your logo or your business name at the top, maybe you want your photo and your signature. Make sure that you've added your brand colors. Update the footer of the email with your address and social media links.

Your newsletter template doesn't have to be complicated. All of these platforms offer templates that you can use if you just want to use one of their templates, or start from scratch and create whatever design you'd like.

Email domain tips

Now, one thing that I do want to mention, as email marketing platforms are getting stricter with their rules for the types of email addresses you can use, they're trying to get away from using Gmail and Yahoo and those types of email addresses, they want you to have an email address that's directly connected to your website domain.

This is for the safety of the recipients. They want people not to be spammed as much because we all get so much email.

It's optional to use an email address with your website domain, but it's highly encouraged. If you don't, it means your emails have a higher likelihood of going to spam.

If you're setting up an email address with your website domain in your email marketing platform, there might be some back end things that you have to do with your website domain in order to connect them, and it can be a bit complicated and confusing.

There are lots of YouTube videos and articles out there to help you do it. But if you have any questions or you are looking for email marketing setup support, that is something that I assist with. Please leave your questions down in the comments or feel free to reach out to me.

Email marketing setup can be easy!

I hope that this easy email marketing platform setup tutorial has been helpful to you.

Other than writing these welcome emails, (which as I said, is usually where people get a little bit stuck), this really is a quick and easy setup that can be done in a few hours.

I encourage you not to be intimidated by it and to keep things simple. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be.

You really just need the welcome sequence set up and a form connected to that sequence that you can embed on your website or link to with the click of a button. You can also add the signup form to your website as a popup that people see as they're scrolling.

You can get started with just a handful of emails, a couple of tags and a form, and get people that nurturing and connection that they are looking for from you so that they can buy into whatever you are sending to them later.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or feel free to reach out to me.



Kayla Droog Consulting supports heart-centered small business owners with the back-end systems setup and updates they don't have time to do, so they can focus on serving their clients and growing their businesses!

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