15 Easy Ways to Start Email Marketing

Once the clients that you worked so hard to attract have found you, give them a reason to stick around and really get them to know how valuable you will be to them.

How? Create a relationship with email marketing.

For freelancers, creative entrepreneurs, mom-bosses, girl-bosses, whatever you call yourself, you have a genius set of skills that are unique to you. There are lots of people doing what you do, but one way to stand out from the crowd is to ask for permission to continue the conversation in their inbox.

I know. I know! Don't shoot the messenger, but I reformed my own non-email-marketing ways!

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When I would read other blog posts about the power of email marketing and how EVERYONE NEEDS A LIST, I would yell at the computer screen something like: "Not EVERYONE needs one! Especially not a graphic designer! Leave me alone!" Something like that.

But, I noticed that nobody came to my website. It was a trampoline for crickets.

I had a nice portfolio, content, a contact page, an about page, but no helpful printable or download that would encourage and entice my audience to happily hand over their precious email address.

I didn't want to go down a rabbit hole that I knew took commitment. The dreaded C word!

However, against the advice of my negative inner voice that wanted me to just give up, I signed up with MailChimp. To be honest, I had that account for a while before I actually started collecting emails...like for 3-5 years. I am not really sure. 

I am a firm believer in baby steps, but when it came to blogging and email marketing, I didn't even get out of the crib until 2 years ago. That was after 13 years of being a freelance graphic designer, with a website! This is how I did it.

What I learned, in the order you should do things

  1. Don't be a perfectionist. Just start!
  2. Open a ConvertKit account instead of MailChimp, it will save you a lot of headaches if you want to grow into using sales funnels. You usually don't know in advance, you may, but I didn't, that you will want to graduate to that someday. So better safe than sorry!
  3. Create a simple, but effective, checklist, cheatsheet or worksheet that will take away a frustration that your perfect-for-you audience is having. So, they have a problem getting from point A to point B and you present them with an immediate, FREE solution. In exchange for that printable, they have the option to give you their email address. Check out my blog post about Opt-In Freebies. This will give you a deeper dive into what is also called a content upgrade.
  4. Create a welcome email that all new subscribers will see. Use your own voice. Be authentic and helpful. 
  5. Fill out a super simple content calendar and schedule when you want to send emails that keep your followers in the loop with your business and engaged with your helpful tips. 
  6. Having a blog is a major piece of the puzzle! Create short and sweet blog posts to start. It is like riding a bike and takes getting used to. Don't be hard on yourself! Write about what comes so easy to you, that you can't believe others don't know how to do it. Break all of your expert knowledge into teachable bits. 
  7. Grab a template from Canva or Creative Market and create a Pinterest graphic that goes at the top of your blog post. This will get pinned on Pinterest (which is a search engine) and will lead potential clients to your website. That is where you want them!
  8. Include a content upgrade or freebie and link the image to your ConvertKit email thread for that particular freebie. Each freebie will have their own thread. When they click your image, the sign-up box will appear for them to take action.
  9. A little planning makes the entire process easier. Don't keep it all in your head and wallow in the overwhelm.
  10. Write down your first goal and each step that goes into accomplishing that.
  11. Set a timer for 25 minutes and conquer that first step. Then the second step, Then the third and so on until that first goal is accomplished. After 25 minutes. Take a break for 5 minutes. Get a drink, use the bathroom, stretch. Whatever you need at the end of those 25 minutes. Then reset the times and go to the first step of the number 2 goal...and so on and so on.
  12. Give value instead of just waiting for business to come knocking because you are a good person and with strong creative skills. Share successes, failures and insider tips. If you don't have them personally, research some.
  13. Everyone can freelance, but to make money doing what you love, you need to treat it like a business with 4 walls and a door. Adding email marketing is a layer that your freelance business needs to grow stronger, because your connections will be stronger. Join a successful freelancer's email list and take note of the process. This helps you see what different freelancers do from start to finish. Once you have these notes, you can model your email marketing after theirs. DON'T COPY! Learn. Pay attention to the language they use, the types of emails they send, what is included, what their welcome email looks like and how often they send an email asking for the sale.
  14. Email marketing creates and encourages a team atmosphere in a virtual way. This is necessary because you don't have a door and 4 walls. 
  15. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was my own resistance to the things I didn't want to do, but knew would help with my growth. And it did! I have over 200 subscribers with the most growth happening in the last nine months.

Do you struggle with email marketing? Have you been putting it off? Let me know in the comments below!

Jean Coelho