Why Email Is Still One of Your Startup’s Most Important Marketing Tools

By Sean Brown | July 19, 2017

Though most of us hate dealing with it, email still makes up a huge part of the world’s daily communication and information retention. Modern chat based communication tools like Slack make email feel obsolete within the context of a startup, but the good ol’ digital post office isn’t going anywhere just yet. When it comes to reaching consumers and getting their attention, a solid email marketing campaign is pretty hard to beat.

In terms of overall usage, nothing comes close to email’s 2.5 billion users creating an average of 1.8 accounts per person. The fact is, just because millennials like posting selfies on Snapchat and Instagram doesn’t mean they’re going to stop checking their email. Actually, the exact opposite is happening. As average open rates continue to rise, more and more businesses are betting big on sending captivating content directly to their customers.

Reach Everyone Regardless of Their Device

Email is one of the only platforms where you can reach the entire world without worrying about what device they’re on. Unlike most of the social media giants, email extends to all devices, both desktop and mobile, regardless of the user’s operating system or web browser.

Email usage definitely isn’t dying, but it is changing—and that’s a good thing. Essentially, everyone’s favorite digital mailbox is going more mobile than ever. With over 53% of all emails sent being opened from a mobile device, it’s important to make sure your content is optimized for users trying to read on the go.

Exclusive Content Makes People Feel Special

Sending an email is a direct line into many people’s primary communication channel. Reaching someone via inbox is a great way to make your message feel more personalized. Services like MailChimp make it easy and free to send beautiful newsletters to thousands of subscribers. With MailChimp’s Forever Free program, you’re allowed to send up to 12,000 emails a month to 2,000 subscribers for absolutely no charge.

MailChimp is the perfect place for startups to dip their feet in the world of email marketing. MailChimp’s gorgeous templates do the heavy lifting when it comes to designing your templates, and since it’s cloud-based, you can access your email campaigns from any device.

When it comes to creating captivating newsletters, you need to focus on the readability of your content, and you can’t go wrong by keeping it simple. The Hustle, one of the world’s most popular newsletters for entrepreneurs and hustlers, reads just like an email from a friend. The newsletter comes out every weekday, and while there are typically a few photos, the majority of The Hustle’s content is just extremely well-written copy.

The Hustle is a great example of taste. Not too many photos, not a massive wall of text, but the perfect amount of copy, headlines, and photos to help you learn a little more about the world each morning and laugh while you do it.

After subscribing for a while, you start to feel like some sort of insider. Creating a newsletter people love to read makes your audience feel like they’re a part of something exclusive. Having an organized layout and tracking system also allows you to better measure the response of your audience, making it easier to optimize your content and CTAs for various demographics within your mailing list.

A Few Tips to Get Started

Get People To Sign Up Naturally

Buying email addresses to quickly increase your subscriber count may sound enticing, but it’s important to remember the purpose of a mailing list in the first place. Whether it’s a weekly collection of items on sale or a few daily advertising tips, most people who sign up for a mailing list subscribed because they’re interested in the content of the emails. Randomly selecting your email addresses may rapidly increase the amount of subscribers you have, but there’s no way to determine whether or not they’re even interested in what you have to say.

Keep a Consistent Publishing Schedule

It’s easy to underestimate the power of consistency. Whether you’re sending monthly, weekly, or daily, always make sure you keep to a schedule people can rely on. When you send something at the same time every day, this builds trust and allows people to add your content into their regular schedules. Most modern email services make staying consistent easy by allowing you to create a backlog of content and schedule future sending times.

Regardless of the method you decide on, creating a schedule people can rely on always comes down to building a solid content calendar. Start by deciding how frequently your emails will go out and what the general content is going to be. If you can, try to craft more than just the next email that goes out. Don’t disappoint early subscribers by having an inconsistent sending schedule; avoid the hassle and use a content calendar to make sure you’re always ahead of schedule.

Cater to a Niche

Having a solid design is important, but your newsletter can only go as far as the quality of your content. You may think to keep your topics broad in hopes of capturing the attention of different types of viewers, but ultimately staying too broad will result in you creating valueless content that captures the attention of no one.

In order to build content that offers true value to the people consuming it, you need to hone in on a niche. Don’t waste your time trying to appeal to everyone; try to become the best source for a very specific topic. Whether it’s the latest in tech news or tips on how to start a startup, staying specific both eliminates competition and makes you easily identifiable. People are more likely to share your content with their friends if they extract some unique form of value from it.

Email is still one of the world’s most used communication tools, and learning how to take advantage of it is vital to your startup’s early marketing tactics. Maintaining a mailing list is extremely cheap, and few marketing tactics come close to the directness of an email sent straight to a potential customer’s inbox.