Welcome to the first blog post in our series that will guide you through setting up MarketingPlatform and increasing your online presence. This post will serve as the ultimate guide on setting up MarketingPlatform, and you will also be learning some of the best practices in email marketing to help you achieve the best possible commitment from your customers without having to spend the time. Reading time: 10 minutes.
In this post you will learn:
- Why your website absolutely needs an email list
- How to set up email lists with MarketingPlatform
- How to set up autoresponder messages, and what an autoresponder is
- How to add email subscribe forms on your website that actually work
- Some awesome tips to start getting your first email subscribers
Why your website needs an email list
You might have come across some forms on websites that ask you to enter your email address to subscribe to their newsletter, or offer something free in return. All of these little boxes gather email addresses so you can deliver your content – even when you’re sleeping!
Gathering email addresses is one of the most important practices you should do and one of the first things you should do to grow your website and online presence. We wanted to make this guide for you to walk you through setting up your first newsletter, email opt-in, and give you some awesome tips on how you can get people to subscribe.
MarketingPlatform is feature rich, such as an intuitive builder, a flexible integration system, powerful trigger rules, beautiful automated emails, and a whole lot more. With the builder, you can upload and scale images, change colours and fonts, define links, add merge fields, surveys and intelligent content. You can also add buttons for social sharing, and anyone can create fully responsive, beautiful newsletters that can be read and look perfect on any platform, be it PC, Mac, tablets and smartphones.
MarketingPlatform also makes it easy for you to understand how your campaigns perform. At a glance you are able to see how many recipients open and click on your campaigns, who they are and when it happens. Furthermore, should you wish to do so, you can create your own filters and data cubes to ensure the content you serve up is even more relevant to your subscribers.
Most of all, we have support staff standing by around the clock waiting to help you, and we also offer free weekly webinars that help you leverage our platform to drastically grow your business and email marketing.
How to set up email lists in MarketingPlatform
MarketingPlatform is always working for you 24/7, so let’s learn how to set it up. The first thing you want to do is sign up for your account. You can also sign up for a 14 day trial. Fill in the required information, and our support team will be in touch with you within the next 24 hours.
Once you have received your username and password, simply log in to MarketingPlatform, and you will be on the dashboard.
To do this, first click on Contact Lists in the left hand menu to expand the section submenu, and then click on Add Contact Lists. This opens the details required for you to create a new Contact List.
List Name – your new list needs a name. When devising one always give a list a name that will make it easy to find when you need.
List Descriptive Name – add a little more information here to briefly describe what this list is for. This will help you be sure that you (and others) easily understand the purpose of this particular list. This name is for your reference purposes only and will not be seen by email recipients.
Send From Name – this is the default “From” name and is what will be seen by your subscribers when you send a campaign email to them.
Send From Email – this is the default “From” email address used when you send a campaign to this contact list. Make sure your recipients can clearly see that the email is from you. It is also the address to which notifications will be sent whenever someone subscribes or unsubscribes from this Contact List (if you check Notify the List Owner just below this section). You must choose a valid email address as your sender and send out from your own domain.
Default Reply-to Email – this is the email address that your recipients can use if they want to reply to your email. We strongly recommend against using emails like no-reply, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Not only does this increase the chance of your email being viewed as spam, it also sends the wrong message to your customers.
- Think about it for a moment – you want to encourage a genuine dialogue with your recipients, and you are communicating with them. Do you really want to discourage them from doing the same with you?
Default form language – this sets the default language for any forms you create for this contact list.
SMS Country Prefix – for this section, you will need to select the correct country code for the list recipients. This will ensure that any SMS Campaigns you create will be sent automatically with the correct country code.
Creating a contact list: Company Details
In order to comply with the CAN-SPAM and CASL acts, it is vital that you enter valid company details in this section, including your Company Name, Company Address, Company Email, your Company Phone Number and Company Domain. Doing this ensures that where these Contact Fields appear in your campaigns (for instance in your unsubscribe link, campaign headers or footers etc) consistent and correct information will always appear. Please note that your Company Domain must always include “www”.
Creating a contact list: Social Linking
Should you then wish to, you can now Connect this Contact List with Social Sites.
Click on the relevant social media icon to open a dialogue box to connect the list to your chosen social media accounts. This will mean that whenever a campaign is sent out to this Contact List, a relevant post can be made on your social media account(s). This is an excellent way to not only extend the reach of your campaigns, but to secure even more high-quality sign-ups to your Contact List. This step is not obligatory, but we thoroughly recommend it as being a highly effective way of engaging your audience.
Creating a contact list: Contact Fields
The next step is to chose the Contact Fields you wish to be used with this Contact List.
If it is not already selected, click on the Standard Contact Fields button. This will display an array of fields to choose from. Simply drag and drop the fields you wish included in this Contact List from the left column into the All Selected Contact Fields section on the right. You do not need to use them all, but the more fields you make available, the more information you can potentially gather from your subscribers.
After you have filled out the relevant details, scroll to the top and click “Save”. Great, you now have your first list. Now it’s time to set up an autoresponder and welcome email – and get an email opt-in form on your website!
How to set up autoresponder messages – and what an autoresponder is
Have you ever received those emails, straight after you have signed up for something? That is an autoresponder. Autoresponders make it so you don’t have to manually send out emails to each subscriber that joins your list. You just set everything up, and let it run. Autoresponders are only sent when specific actions happen.
For instance, you might set up a series of autoresponders that goes out in a sequence. You can send out your Thank You email, and then send out the invitation to, say, a free webinar, only when the subscriber has opened the Thank You email. Or you can set it up to send X number of days after a subscriber joins your list. There are endless possibilities, but that goes beyond the scope of this post.
Here is how a standard email signup process works:
Jens enters email to opt-in box. He then receives an email asking to confirm his subscription. This is called a double opt-in. After he confirms his subscription, he is taken to a thank you page.
How to add email subscribe forms on your website that actually work
Now let’s walk through the process of setting this form up.
Start by locating Forms in the menu on the left side of the screen. Then, click on Create a Form and pick the Contact List you want the form to pertain to.
Select Form Type – pick which type of form you would like to use. For this demonstration, we will be using the form type called Subscription.
Contact Fields – now rearrange the order in which the fields appear in the form. These fields are the ones you selected when you first created your Contact List.
Subscription Form Properties – here you choose the button text size, as well as the background color for the button.
Select Language – this sets the default language for any forms you create for this contact list.
Properties – here you have the option of having your subscribers double opt-in, and while this is technically optional, it helps to keep the number of unsubscribes down because the person is confirming that they actually meant to sign up for your list.
Communication – here you have the option of sending the contact a “Thank you” email, and whether you want to receive an email whenever someone new joins your list.
The message that you put on your opt-in confirmation email will depend on what you offer when you initially got them to sign up. The thank you page is the place where people go after they click “Yes, subscribe me to this list”. It should therefore be the page where people can get whatever it is you’re giving away. There are many other options. You can for example offer a free ebook, a cheatsheet, access to a members-only discussion board, or perhaps members-only specials. The choice is yours.
Next, you will build the form, and preview as you go along:
Thank You Page Options – lets you easily customize what the page looks like.
Thank You Email Options – lets you change the Send From Name, Email Subject, and your Thank You email. We have created a standard email for your convenience.
Confirm Page Options – lets you easily customize what your double opt-in page looks like.
Confirm Email Options – lets you easily customize what your double opt-in email looks like.
Error Page Options – should an error occur, you have the option of taking your subscriber to an existing web page instead.
Form Preview – lets you preview your form before putting it on your website.
When you are satisfied with how your form looks and act, you simply copy the HTML code and paste it onto your website:
Building a campaign
Now that we’ve set up our list and subscribe form, the next part of email marketing is crafting the email message itself. There are lots of names for your email: mass email, bulk email, email newsletter, eblast, but MarketingPlatform calls each email message a campaign. Let’s have a quick look at how to create a campaign and how to send campaigns to your subscribers. Locate Email Campaigns in the menu, and click on Create New Campaign.
Start by choosing which list of subscribers you want to send the email to, then you fill out some information about the campaign. Next, choose a template for your email, and now you have the option of choosing how it looks. This is where you get creative.
On the right, you have lots of different elements you can add to your campaign such as text, image, social share buttons, you also have access to over 1 million free stock photos. All you do is drag it over to your campaign to where you want it to go – EASY. Now you can edit it by clicking it. So if I want to add an image, I drag it over, and the menu opens that allows me to search for the image I want. Choose the image I want to use, and it’s embedded to the email.
You also have the option to edit the header and the footer of your campaign, edit body text that your subscribers will see before they open your email, you can change global settings such as background colour and size, text colour, font, and lots more.
You have so many options to make your campaign unique and engaging to your subscribers. The possibilities are endless.
When you are ready to send out your campaign, save it and click next. Now you will get the option to track your campaign using Google Analytics, to send it to your social media pages, whether you want to schedule the message for later, and lots of other options.
Using MarketingPlatform can be a powerful way to leverage your website and build your online presence. It is also easy and intuitive to use.
Tip: How to get your first subscribers
First of all, you have to give people a reason to want to subscribe to your list. “Subscribe to my latest blog posts” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Tell people what they’re going to get out of joining your email list, whether they’re getting a free guide, a discount code at checkout, or a free consultation. You have to give your audience some type of value to make it worth their while.
Our suggestion is to create some kind of free guide, guides are great because they are not difficult to make. You now have everything you need to set up your email list, put it on your website, and start getting subscribers.
Gathering email addresses is one of the most important practices you should do and one of the first things you should do to grow your website and online presence. Once you have created your first list, you should set up an autoresponder and welcome email – and get an email opt-in form on your website. This is all done within the same module in MarketingPlatform. Always remember to give your subscribers some sort of value to get them to subscribe to your list, such as a free ebook, a cheatsheet, access to a members-only discussion board, or perhaps members-only specials. The choice is yours.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.