by Kayla 

How to start an email list


email marketing

Should I be using email marketing in 2021?

Short answer. Yes!

Email marketing is still one of the first things I ask potential clients about. Do you have an email list? Are you using it? Do you use segments or tags? I like to know if they know their open rate and more importantly their click-through rate. Why? Because all of their answers help me to make informed decisions about how to manage their email list moving forward and how much work I need to put into their list. 

Having a high open rate is amazing, but it is useless if you have a low click-through rate. Having thousands of subscribers is great but a list with no segments means you are not personalizing your content enough and you may have higher rates of unsubscribes, unengaged audiences, or worse SPAM complaints. But alas, I could talk about how to optimize your email list and get a better return on the time you spend writing emails but today’s blog post is about how to start an email list. 

how to start an email list

How do I start building my email list?

The very first thing I advise new businesses is to start with an email list. To get started you need to sign up with an email service provider. There are many email service providers out there and I have used so many of them. There are only four that I recommend though, I will go into more detail about that in a little bit. Once you have created your account you can build your first opt-in form. The great thing about creating an opt-in form is that you can do this without having a website. Most email service providers also have landing pages you can customize to accept email subscriptions. 

How do I get people to opt-in to my email list?

This is a question I hear a lot, and it is a good one! You need to offer them something in return for their email address and it needs to be relevant to the types of emails they can expect from you. Here are a few examples that I personally offer:

  1. Want to know what the Top 5 most profitable niche categories are? 
    1. This is a two-page PDF guide that is quick and easy to digest.
  2. Maximize your efficiency while using Google Chrome
    1. This is a much longer PDF file that has 15 of my favorite Chrome extensions!

I help my clients to create profit and maximize efficiency so these emails are perfect for my target audience! You could also set up a welcome series containing tips, tricks, and guides and offer an email guide to your new subscribers. This will be a series of three to five emails that gives them new information automatically upon sign up, one email per day.

how to start an email list

What kind of emails do I send and how often should I send them?

In the beginning, I would start small. Meaning one email every two weeks. Give yourself a few months to get used to it and then up your frequency to one email per week. I have some clients that email once per week and some that email twice a day every day. Both work. There is not a single answer that applies to all businesses in all verticals. You have to first get used to being consistent and second, begin to notice patterns. For example, when your email frequency changes from twice a month to four times a month are you getting a lot more unsubscribes? If the answer is no you should stick with the weekly frequency for a few months and then decide if you want to increase your frequency again. 

The types of emails you send to your audience will be based on the type of business that you are running. If you are selling physical products your emails will likely be featuring products and giving customers coupons that they only have access to through emails. If you are a content creator your emails would be directing your subscribers either to a single blog, video, podcast, or one email would point subscribers to several different pieces of content you have made, both old and new content can be used here. Again I have seen both work very well! 

Think of your entire email like one big call to action. What are you asking your subscriber to do? Are you updating them on your life and building connections, hoping that they click one of your links to drive traffic to a blog post, or selling them a product or service? Every email should have a purpose. I like to work with my clients to plan email content the same way we would plan blog, video, or podcast content.

The last tip I have for someone who is starting their first email list is to sit down once a month and schedule emails for the entire month. Just take this to-do item off your plate and be done with it.

If you want help with this part of the process I would be happy to talk to you about an email management service, just click here to schedule a discovery call with me and I will take this task off of your plate!


Flodesk vs. Klaviyo vs. Mail Chimp vs. ConvertKit

So the four email service providers I would recommend are Flodesk, ConvertKit, Mail Chimp, and Klaviyo. Yes, I have used each one extensively. And no, I do not have a favorite. Here’s the deal it really depends on the product or service my client creates as to which email service provider I would recommend. Here are a few pros and cons of each along with why I would recommend each.

Should I use Flodesk?

I would suggest you start an email list using Flodesk if you are a content creator who does not sell many of your own products. 

Things I like about Flodesk

  • Price is set in stone. Does not change based on subscriber count.
  • Very easy to use.
  • Very simple to create a beautiful email.
  • Very easy to create opt-in forms and automations.
  • Women-owned business.

Things I dislike about Flodesk

  • Opt-in forms are hard to install and often do not work properly.
  • Email send issues.
  • Hard to see reporting at a glance. There is not a heavy focus on comparing more than one email and that is very important in my opinion.

Should I use ConvertKit?

I would suggest ConvertKit if you are a content creator and you want access to in-depth reporting, and basic testing features.

Thinks I like about ConvertKit

  • Easy enough to navigate.
  • Easy to use reporting.
  • Easy to use opt-in form builder.
  • Easy to add forms to websites.

Things I dislike about ConvertKit

  • Their email designer is glitchy and sensitive for both email templates and email creation in general.
  • Their opt-in forms are not easy to customize and do not scale well on mobile.
  • Only a few design options as it related to email layouts.
  • Price increases as you add more subscribers. 

how to start an email list

Should I use Klaviyo?

I would suggest Klaviyo if you own an eCommerce store, sell courses, or you want to utilize complex reporting to inform decisions.

Things I like about Klaviyo

  • Very easy to use form builder.
  • Very easy to use drag and drop email design tool.
  • Amazing automation capabilities. 
  • Ability to perform complex tasks based on customer behavior.

Things I dislike about Klaviyo

  • Overall dashboard and menus can be hard to navigate until you learn the platform.
  • Only a few design options as it relates to fonts and layouts.
  • Price increases as you add more subscribers.

Should I use Mail Chimp?

I would suggest Mail Chimp for a small eCommerce website or starter small businesses. I say this because the price is right, at free until you reach 2000 subscribers, and you can learn about your email sending preferences before investing in another email service provider. Years ago if you signed up for a free Mail Chimp account you had access to many features that paid accounts have but as Mail Chimp gains more and more customers those options are quickly fading. For example, you can no longer schedule emails or automate a welcome email on the free version of Mail Chimp. Let’s look at some pro’s and con’s.

Things I like about Mail Chimp

  • Email design options are great.
  • Easy for a beginner to learn how to send emails.
  • Free for beginners.

Things I dislike about Mail Chimp

  • When manipulating text the text box often glitches causing spacing and sizing issues.
  • New free accounts have very limited options. Smart business decisions on their part but not great for new users.
  • Reporting could be better. 
  • Price increases as you add more subscribers.

Alright. I hope that answers your questions about starting an email list as a beginner. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any more questions! If you decide to create an account with Flodesk, don’t forget to use my affiliate link here to get 50% off your monthly rate for the first year! 


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