Day 17: Start Planning Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Yes, you started building your email marketing list yesterday. No, we’re not going to take room to pause. We want you to stay on your toes and continuously moving forward. That’s why we’re having you plan your email marketing campaigns today.

When to Send Your First Email

The short answer? Immediately. You want to email new subscribers as soon as they sign up. Establish an instant connection to be at the forefronts of your buyers’ attention spans.

Send your subscribers an e-book or great piece of content. Add value right off the bat, and you’ll instantly grab your audience’s attention.

Keep in mind that you don’t be executing your email campaigns manually. You’ll use automation software like Marketo, Eloqua, InfusionSoft, or MailChimp to reach your prospects.

Think in Terms of Sequences

Plan your email campaigns around specific conversion events. Keep a long-term view of your funnel. When people aren’t buried in emails, they’re not necessarily looking to spend money. They’re looking to relax, feel entertained, and learn something new.

Your email marketing sequence should promote engagement, not direct sales. Conversions will happen — we promise.

Plan out the steps you want your users to take. This process is called sequencing, and you can do it in a spreadsheet.

Think in Terms of Segments

One way to focus your email marketing strategy is to segment your list. Create groupings for customers and prospects. Segments will allow you to tailor your messaging to specific customers and prospects.

Your CRM software can help you organize your segments. Just think about how you want to organize your email list. Here are some grouping ideas:

  • Prospective customers

  • All repeat buyers

  • One-time buyers

  • Place of residence

  • Gender

  • Business type (small business, startup, enterprise)

Know the Law

The FTC is serious about preventing spam. Make sure to follow the CAN-SPAM Act so that you’re not exposed to potential lawsuits. Here are the rules from the FTC:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From”“To”“Reply-To” and routing information — including the originating domain name and email address — must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.

  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.

  3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.

  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.

  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.

  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

Today’s Homework

  1. Study the FTC laws to make sure your emails are compliant.

  2. Create 3 segments in which to group your email list.

  3. Draft a warm, engaging welcoming email based on the guidelines we specified above.

emily anderson / brilliant brand

Day 16: Start Collecting Email Addresses

Your email list is one of the most powerful tools you can have. Even if you don’t know what to do with it. Even if you don’t have a real company. Set up a pre-launch page and start collecting emails.


People are glued to their inboxes. Thanks to mobile, you can reach your target customers, no matter where they are. And if you write compelling copy? People will actually look forward to your messages.

Email marketing is one of the most direct ways to reach buyers 1:1. On social media, you’re sending the same message to your entire community, but with email, you have more opportunity to specialize and custom tailor your message. As we’ve mentioned earlier in this guide, personalized messaging is one of the most powerful strategies for driving conversions.

Why Build Your Own List?

If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably come across opportunities to purchase email lists.

This strategy is ok in some circumstances, but 80% of the time it’s not. People who aren’t expecting your message will find your approach spammy. They’ll be turned off to your brand.

As it is, people get enough junk mail. It’s why we’re all sick of the postal service and why we dread checking our mailboxes every day. Email spam is much, much worse.

Shady email marketers will try to tempt you, promising you a significant ROI from very little effort. You know what? They’re probably lying. As with many things in marketing, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Marketing is hard work. Resist the temptation to take a potentially dubious shortcut.

Think about it. When people opt-into receiving more information from you, it’s a sign that they’re engaged with your brand. They’ll welcome your emails. They’ll read your messages with an open mind and heart. They’ll care about what you have to say.

When you build your own email list, you’ll build a distribution list of people who are genuinely interested in your brand. The process of building an email list isn’t easy. It takes time and energy. But it’s totally worth it.

Treat Email Sign-Ups Like a Conversion Goal

People get a ton of email. On a daily basis, they’re bombarded with spam. They’re incredibly skeptical of (potentially shady marketers) who want to collect their personal information.

You need to convince your audience that signing up is worth the effort — and that you will treat their information with respect.

Clarity does a great job incentivizing sign-ups by offering a free ebook download:

So does Noah Kagan with his blog, OkDork:

Strategies for Collecting E-mail Sign-Ups

Wondering how to get started?

Here are some techniques for generating e-mail list sign-ups:

  1. Set up a landing page with an offer for a free e-book. Request that users sign-up to download the e-book. When a user signs up, send him or her the e-book via email. That way, you can encourage more opt-ins to your e-mail list.

  2. Include a subscribe widget on your blog, next to your best content.

  3. If your website features account sign-ons, require e-mails as part of the sign-up process.

  4. If you’re running an e-commerce business, you can offer an incentive (like a coupon, deal, or promotion) in exchange for your users signing up.

  5. If your company hasn’t launched yet, you can validate your idea by setting up a pre-launch page like the one that PitchBox created:

Today’s Homework

Start collecting e-mail addresses using at least one of the five techniques that we mentioned above. Choose the techniques that best complement your existing marketing strategy. Remember — conversion optimization is about leveraging key brand assets for growth.

If you don’t see an immediate opportunity to start generating e-mail sign-ups, don’t worry. Spend sometime refining your overall marketing strategy instead. Commit to producing an e-book or whitepaper, for instance.

Day 21: Launch User Surveys

Google Analytics is a great way to collect and monitor website trend data. But what are your visitors thinking? To answer that question, you need to ask your users some basic questions.

If you’re like most website owners or marketing managers, you don’t have time to reach out to everybody 1:1. Administer a web survey instead.

Survey Fundamentals

Market research surveys have a bad rap (because they’re annoying). It’s common for companies to spam their customer list with phone calls and really long email surveys.

Stop badgering people. You’ll only scare them away.

But don’t be overly cautious and quiet, either. People want to share feedback about your company. They’re happy to help, and they feel good knowing that you value their opinion.

Just be sure to follow the golden rule of web surveys:

Keep it short.

Don’t worry about being scientifically accurate. Even the most sophisticated survey tools have natural biases in the data. Just make sure you’re focused on the information that matters most for creating the best user experience possible.

Now that you know the golden rule, here are some others:

  1. Make sure your survey has a purpose

    Avoid asking questions out of curiosity. Anything you invest your time, money, or resources into should directly influence revenue. Ask questions related to user experience, usability, and buying decisions. Translate this feedback into revenue-generating initiatives for your website.

  2. Keep the questions simple

    Get right to the point. Don’t use technical jargon. Be direct. Don’t assume that your website visitors know what you’re talking about.

  3. Be consistent throughout the survey

    A rating scale is a great way to capture user sentiment. and to quantify key variables. If you decide to use a rating scale, make sure to stay consistent. If you switch your rating scale around, you’ll end up confusing your respondents.

  4. Keep the order logical

    Begin with an introduction that inspires your website visitors to take your survey. Jump into broad questions and then narrow down your focus. Ask for contact information and demographic details at the end of the survey.

  5. Offer a ‘thank you’

    Reward your users for taking the time to complete your survey. Give them a discount or promotional code. Incentives are a great way to boost response rates. But keep in mind — incentives also create sampling biases in your data. Not everybody will be motivated by the same incentives.

Tools to Use

There are range of tools available for getting started. Choose the option that best supports your implementation, customization, integration, and analytics needs.

  1. SurveyMonkey

    This tool is ideal for website owners who need control over their surveys. Key features include question creation, custom branding, response collection, and robust reporting. Pro plans start at $24 per month.

  2. SurveyGizmo

    SurveyGizmo is ideal for website owners who want to fully customize their surveys. The platform features pre-programmed question types, a custom questions API, advances survey logic, and integration partner support. Customers can also partner with the SurveyGizmo team to get surveys designed, customized, and deployed. Plans begin at $19 a month.

  3. iPerceptions

    This tool allows website owners to collect answers to a range of research questions. The platform immediately captures information including location, IP address, operating system, browser type, and version. You can also listen to customer information in 32 languages. The platform comes with advanced text mining capabilities and the ability to collect information on a secure site through encryption features. Premium plans begin at $399 per year.

  4. Qualaroo

    This tool will help you understand and optimize your website experience. Qualaroo Insights will let you ask focused questions to your website visitors. Qualaroo lets you target the right questions at exactly the right moment you are likely to uncover critical insight. You can serve unique follow-up questions based on previous answers. For instance, when a user answers that a certain feature is important to them, you can ask why.

Today’s Homework

Set up your first online survey. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Decide what level of customization you want. This will help you figure out whether you need to use a tool like SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo or whether your time is better spend using something like Qualaroo.

  2. Go through each platform to try demos. Decide which one complements the look and feel of your website.

  3. Decide what questions you want to ask about your website. These questions should influence decisions about your business. Have your team weigh in with ideas.

  4. Launch!

Whoo hoo! Another week down. Time to jump into the final stretch.


Emily Anderson