How to Do Email Marketing for $0 – A Step-by-Step Guide

This month, HubSpot celebrated reaching a new milestone: 1 million active users. To mark this occasion, the company is giving away a free domain and hosting for life for new customers. Not sure how to execute email marketing for cheap? We got you covered.

Set Up Your Free Email Account

The first thing you need to do to get started is set up your email marketing account. You can do this with a free Gmail account, which you can set up in just a few minutes.

That’s it! Now that you have a dedicated email account, you can bounce ideas off one another and stay organized.

Find a Lead Magnet to Attract And Engage Potential Customers

Having a lead magnet is essential for any business, and even more so if you’re trying to do email marketing for cheap. A lead magnet is simply something that interests potential customers and keeps them coming back for more.

When someone discovers a lead magnet that is relevant to their existing interest, they’re more likely to visit the company’s website and take the desired action (e.g., subscribe to a blog, fill out a form, etc.).

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to lead magnets, a few examples of popular lead magnets include:

  • Free trials or discounted products
  • A free white paper on a topic of interest
  • A fantastic blog post with tips and tricks
  • A webinar on an emerging trend
  • A cheat sheet or guide to doing X
  • A case study or example of someone doing Y
  • And the list goes on

Whatever you think might be the best lead magnet for your business, find something that will genuinely interest your audience.

Find Your Niche

One of the best things about email marketing is that you have complete control over the content that you send to your subscribers. You don’t have to worry about being deceptive or misleading, because everyone’s an expert at email marketing on different platforms.

If you’ve been operating under the misconception that you need to target a broad audience to get the most out of email marketing, you’re mistaken. You can still engage, motivate, and educate your audience while being highly specific.

For example, let’s say that you’re the founder of a digital marketing agency that specializes in inbound marketing. You specialize in helping B2C (Business to Consumer) companies get started on social media, create engaging content, and figurehead blogs for their websites. (Inbound marketing is all about helping people find value and solving pain points, without ever having to leave the platform.)

You might decide to send an email to your subscribers with the subject line: “What is Inbound Marketing and How can it help my business?” Once your subscribers click on the link, you can explain what inbound marketing is and how it can benefit their business.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing, try to find a niche which you can master. You can then apply that master skill to other parts of your business, whether you’re marketing, sales, or content creation. Mastering something new is always a challenge, but it’s also the source of great growth and opportunity.

Use Personalized Subject Lines

The second crucial step in crafting an effective email campaign is to personalize the subject line. You don’t want to use a pre-written subject line, as this will appear robotic and unengaging.

Instead, you can look at each individual email you’re going to send and choose a subject line that is relevant to that particular email. This ensures that your emails will be perceived as coming from an individual with a personalized connection to that email – even if the content is the same.

For example, if you’re promoting a website that sells kids’ clothing, but you’ve got an email list which is primarily made up of adults, you might want to modify the subject line of your email to:

“How to Buy Beautiful Baby Clothing that Your Baby Will Actually Use”

This is a fantastic example of a personalized subject line, as it relates to the content of the email (e.g., tips on buying the best baby clothes for your baby) while also being relevant to the recipient (e.g., someone who is on the receiving end of an email about buying baby clothes).

When crafting your subject line, it’s important to keep things brief and straight to the point. Long, complicated subject lines with lots of fancy words and phrases can make up for a bland message in the body of the email.

Make Each Email Count

Another golden rule of email marketing is to make each email count. This means that you should give your subscribers value for value, and try to provide something new each time you contact them.

If you’re just sending regular newsletters, you’re wasting your time and hurting your cause. Your subscribers already have enough information, and you should try to provide some sort of useful information (e.g., an article that will teach them something new) or a unique angle (e.g., an entertaining story accompanied by a compelling call-to-action) to draw them in.

For example, suppose that you’re the founder of a digital marketing agency that specializes in inbound marketing. You decide to send an email about your services to potential clients. You could use the subject line: “A Quick Note About My Services”, and then follow up with:

“As the founder of a digital marketing agency that specializes in inbound marketing, I’m always looking for ways to improve my services and provide more value to my clients. One of the best ways to do this is through informative blog posts like this one. With each new blog post, I’m able to showcase a different aspect of inbound marketing, which makes my job as a content creator much easier. It also means that I can continually provide my readers with new and unique information, which is one of the primary goals of an inbound marketing agency.”

This is a perfect example of a short and sweet subject line that provides value and interest to the subscriber. It also shows that you’ve gone the extra mile by personalizing the email and putting in the extra work to make it interesting, encouraging them to click on the link and read the rest of the email.

Use A/B Testing

Last but not least, we have A/B testing. A/B testing is a process of randomly allocating participants (A) in a test group or group (B) to a control group, and then comparing key performance indicators (e.g., click-through rate, open-rate, etc.) between the two groups. The goal is to identify the best performing version of the product (e.g., email, landing page, etc.) and use it for the whole customer base.

In marketing, we typically compare the results of A/B testing to determine the most effective approach. However, you don’t necessarily need to follow this route. You can simply compare the results of multiple tests to choose the version of the product which performs best for your audience.

For example, you’re the founder of a digital marketing agency which only serves B2C companies. You need to choose an email template for your campaigns, but you don’t want to send an email that looks exactly the same as every other email you send out. Instead, you can use A/B testing to see which email template drives the best results.

You can use a service like HubSpot to easily split test subjects and products. For example, you can set up a new landing page and test the format, URL, copy, call-to-action (CTA), and more. To make it even easier, HubSpot offers a free A/B testing tool for new customers. Simply get in touch with their support and ask them to set up a free account for you.

Follow These Steps and Your Email Marketing will Be Effective

Now that you have your Gmail account set up and personal subject lines, it’s time to get to work. The steps are simple, but you must follow them in order to successfully do email marketing for $0.

First, send an email to yourself to make sure that you can send future emails without any trouble. Then, send a test email to a small slice of your audience, just to check the format and see if it looks okay. Once you’re happy with the results, expand the test group and start gradually adding more and more subscribers to the list.

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