How we started our own Email Marketing strategy

In this blog/case study, I am going to walk you through how I got our own email marketing strategy in place, what we did and why!

Choosing an ESP

I decided to use Mailchimp as my email service provider due to a number of factors: not just the cutting edge tracking technology or it’s low pricing, but also the features the system contains, such as auto-responders, goal tracking, WordPress integration, Facebook integration as well as feeding traffic information to your Google Analytics account.

I decided to go for the Pay as you go account, great for new start up businesses. You can buy a small number of credits (£5.36 for 300 credits) to start of with while you focus on growing your list. By having a paid account I was able to customise my opt-in email process as well as create a bespoke auto responder email from the template I created.


Email Template Design

As I set the Mailchimp account up I created a responsive email template in Dreamweaver and started editing it – adding some Mailchimp merge tags such as view online links and social share links too for use in Mailchimp. I also made sure my logo was the correct size and links were placed correctly, testing every step along the way. EDI-Case-Study4 I created a smaller copy of my new template to use as my auto responder, customised this too and added it to Mailchimp, again testing this before taking it live.

SPF Record Setup

Using Mailchimps guide – I added their IP addresses to my SPF record. SPF stands for sender policy framework, this is setup to authorise Mailchimp to send email on my domain’s behalf. The emails are authenticated and have been shown to improve delivery to your subscribers when sending campaigns out.

Signup Boxes & Facebook Integration

I added two boxes to my homepage using the Mailchimp WordPress Plugin: one in the top right hand side bar, the other in the footer of the website, both would show up on nearly every page or blog post of my website.

I also added a subscribe page too, another way to try to increase email signups without the use of a pop up box, which some people can find annoying. I also used the Mailchimp Facebook Plugin to add a tab to my Facebook Page for anyone to subscribe to my email newsletter list.

Growing my list

I mainly used Twitter to encourage subscribers to my email newsletter, I used Hootsuite to schedule posts at different times, 10am and 8/9pm UK GM, this would hopefully catch American and other users across varied time zones. I also gave a few shout-out reminder Tweets in the 5 days prior to sending, this did get me a few more subscribers before sending it out. As you can see below, most of my subscribers came in July, this was when I was promoting it the most via Twitter. EDI-Case-Study6Sorry. Shameless plug…

Monthly Email Inspiration!

Welcome Email setup

As I mentioned earlier, I had created my welcome email and uploaded this into the Mailchimp system. I tested this to myself on 3 different email accounts, and tested links, subject, as well as design. I then made this live and set it to trigger to any new signups within 1 hour of confirming their subscription, using a confirmed opt-in method before they were added to my list.

Sending the first monthly newsletter

As I was starting to get more numbers on my list during June, I decided to send the first email campaign out on the 25th of July. I had a date in mind, so over the last week of June and the first week of July, I slowly added content to my campaign as well as wrote a new blog post and created an email battle to publish the days before I sent my campaign. I had my email ready by the 12th of July, so with time to spare, I started to think subject lines and ran a few tests to myself, again testing the email thoroughly.

Tracking the first monthly newsletter

For the first 12 hours after sending (I had the Friday off work for a family meal) so I was checking this every few hours to see how it was going.

24 hours after sending:

Just 24 hours after sending, my stats were up to 62% emails opened and 27.6% clicked. Granted, I only had sent this to 29 subscribers, but this was showing most of my emails had been opened within the first 24 hours of sending. I also noticed that most of my subscribers were either from the UK or the USA, so I have learnt for next time to use the TimeWarp service, where the email is delivered to each recipient at the same time across different time zones

1 week after sending:

So now 1 week after sending I could see that the email had a further 2 emails opened as well as a further 3 clicks, jumping my stats to 69% open rate and 37.9% click through rate. I also took note that some people were opening the email more than once, and using a different email client, this could be that they wanted to view the email at a more convenient time that at 11am in the morning.Send2

2 weeks after sending:

Two weeks after sending I could see the campaign report had improved again. I now had a total of 22 opens and 12 clicks, so my open rate was 75.9% and my click through rate was up to 41.4%!

I now also had a total of 70 opens, showing me that more subscribers had opened it more than just once, this is great to know for future campaigns I run.


Summary & Lessons Learned

  • Use the Timewarp service for next time to send the emails out at the same time across multiple time-zones to see if this improves any of my open and click through rates.
  • Image buttons have now been changed to bulletproof buttons, not just for display purposes but also for ease of changing the text on the buttons without having to edit an image, save it, upload it and change the image link. See the screenshot below to the new look button 🙂


I am always open for new ideas and suggestions too, so if subscribers tell me something I am all ears! I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post 🙂

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