How to Start Your First Email Marketing Campaign

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In order for any site to succeed, it needs a steady flow of traffic. Email marketing campaigns are a solid strategy for encouraging visitors to return to your site, but knowing how to get started can be tricky. In this guide, we'll teach you how to build your subscriber list, create emails that drive traffic, and track key data to analyze before your next campaign. Read on to learn how to start your first email marketing campaign!
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Recurring users are key to a website’s success. Whether you run a business site, a blog, an online store, or another type of site completely, you need regular traffic to continue to bring in revenue and promote loyalty to your brand.

Email marketing campaigns are a proven method for engaging and converting users. With a little work, you can start your WordPress site’s first email marketing campaign and convince users to return to your site again and again.

This post will explain why email marketing is a tried and true strategy for securing conversions. Then we’ll walk you through how to launch your first email marketing campaign. Let’s get started!

The Benefits of Utilizing Email Marketing Campaigns

When it comes to marketing, email campaigns have proven to be a highly effective strategy. Statistics show that email marketing delivers a high return on investment, and produces strong conversion rates. On average, marketing emails have an over 21 percent open rate, and a click-through rate of over 2.5 percent.

Starting your first email marketing campaign is fairly low risk, and not only because statistics show that they work. Email is also a very cost-effective marketing strategy. It requires relatively little money to set up marketing emails, and they efficiently reach a large number of customers at one time.

Additionally, email is a very widely used method of communication. While it can be tricky to target leads with social media marketing and other strategies, billions of people use email every single day. It’s highly likely that your leads will have email addresses and check their inboxes daily.

Finally, email marketing campaigns are useful for building brand recognition. Particularly if you design your emails to feature your name and logo, email campaigns provide regular exposure to your brand. This can improve the chances of leads remembering you when they need a product or service you provide.

How to Start Your First Email Marketing Campaign (In 4 Steps)

Setting up your first email marketing campaign for your WordPress site can be quite simple when you invest in the right tools. The steps below will walk you through how to set your campaign up, and suggest some helpful plugins and services along the way.

Step 1: Build Your Email Subscriber List to Collect Leads

Before you can send marketing emails, you have to have leads to receive them. There are many ways of collecting email addresses from potential users and customers. One of the easiest is adding a subscription form to your website where visitors can sign up to receive emails:

The WPMayor email subscription form.

Plugins such as Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, and WPForms make it easy to generate custom forms and add them to your site. Creating a subscription form with only a few basic fields – such as the visitor’s name and email – will make it easy for people to quickly sign up to receive emails from you.

Of course, not every visitor to your site will sign up for emails on their own. Some may need clearer direction or additional incentives. Setting up features such as Call to Action (CTA) buttons and landing pages on your site can help catch visitors’ attention and increase the chances they’ll subscribe.

If you want to be even more forward, you can add popups with subscription opportunities for your visitors as well.

Finally, it never hurts to give your visitors a reward for subscribing to your email list. For example, you might consider offering a discount on your products to first-time subscribers. While visitors might sign up for the discount, they could return in response to your marketing emails.

Step 2: Choose an Email Marketing Platform to Streamline Creation and Distribution

There’s a lot that goes into creating an email campaign. Each message has to be written, branded, and sent to everyone your email list. If you decide to incorporate regular newsletters or triggered emails such as abandoned cart notifications, sending them in a timely manner is almost impossible without automation.

Fortunately, there are several email marketing platforms that integrate with WordPress, including MailChimp, Drip, and Constant Contact. They’re highly useful for creating, distributing, automating, and tracking your marketing emails. Plus, your emails are less likely to be marked as spam when they’re sent via a known Email Service Provider (ESP).


MailChimp includes a drag-and-drop email builder that helps you add your custom branding to the messages in your campaign. Instead of fighting with your email platform’s composer to add images and letterheads, you can simply drop them into MailChimp to create consistent, visually appealing campaigns:

The MailChimp Homepage.

With MailChimp, you can also automate emails for new subscribers, abandoned carts, and other events. Plus, you can track data from your campaigns to learn how to improve future efforts. These features will save you time and help you take full advantage of a variety of opportunities to reach out to customers.


Drip also includes a custom email builder and a variety of integrations with other apps. Like MailChimp, it enables you to automate emails for certain situations. This E-commerce Customer Relationship Management Platform (ECRM) is especially useful for online retailers:

The Drip Homepage.

By collecting data on your customers from your website, Drip provides useful information you can put to work to develop even more effective campaigns. This will enable you to take email personalization to a whole new level, which will help you deliver more relevant ads and emails to your leads.

Constant Contact

Finally, Constant Contact includes easy-to-use templates for creating branded emails, much like MailChimp and Drip. It also includes analytics tracking and automated emails. If you’re willing to pay for their Email Plus plan, you’ll also be able to accept donations, offer coupons, and run polls and surveys from one platform:

The Constant Contact Homepage.

These are just a few of the email marketing platforms available to WordPress users. Which solution is best for you ultimately depends on the needs of your site. It’s up to you to make the final decision.

Step 3: Plan an Email Marketing Campaign That’s Ideal for Your Site

Once you have an email marketing platform and a healthy subscriber list, it’s time to start creating your campaign. First, you’ll need to determine what you hope your emails will accomplish. Perhaps you want to increase sales, or drive readers to your blog posts.

After you know your goals, you can figure out the best type of emails to fulfill them. For example, if you’re trying to build your blog’s readership, a weekly newsletter rounding up your most recent posts might be useful:

An example of a newsletter theme from MailChimp.

For e-commerce sites, automated abandoned cart emails and product recommendations could be more useful. These types of emails have been shown to have high conversion rates, so implementing them for your own online store would be wise:

An example of an e-commerce theme from MailChimp.

On the other hand, you may want to run a special campaign, such as for a holiday sale or event updates. If that’s the case, you’ll want to plan out how many emails the campaign will include, what deals you’re going to offer, and how frequently your emails will go out.

Regardless of which type or types of emails you choose to send your subscribers, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. First, remember that you don’t want to pester subscribers with too many emails. Chances are your leads already have a lot of email coming to their inboxes – you don’t want them to unsubscribe because they find yours annoying.

The second is keeping your emails relevant to your subscribers. Even if you send emails with some frequency, subscribers may be more willing to open and read them if the information inside is relevant to them. This is why tracking data to help personalize your campaigns is so important.

Step 4: Track Your Campaign Data to Improve Future Results

We’ve already mentioned the idea of collecting and using subscriber data a couple of times in this article. However, it’s vital to the longterm success of your email marketing strategy, as it can provide you with key information on how to improve your future campaigns.

MailChimp, Drip, Constant Contact, and other email marketing platforms can easily provide you with campaign data without requiring much extra work from you. Reports generated by these solutions can show you information including how many of your emails were opened, clicked through, and led to conversions:

An example fo data collected by Constant Contact.

Measuring your campaigns’ success this way can help you determine what types of emails are most effective for your users. For example, say your weekly newsletter has a sky-high click-through rate, but your latest holiday promotion went unopened by most of your subscribers.

The next time you want to run a promotion, you might consider adding a link to the deal’s landing page to your newsletter, instead of sending separate emails about it. This way your subscribers are more likely to see and participate in your promotion.

You may also want to gather information on other ways users interact with your brand. Tracking data related to users’ behavior on your site –such as recent articles they’ve read or items they’ve purchased – can help you create and send emails your subscribers actually want to read.

For example, you could use segmentation to send unique emails to subscribers who’ve signed up for your list in the last 30 days. Or, you can send personalized emails sharing articles or products related to ones your subscribers have viewed or purchased recently.


Whether your site is selling products or producing content for readers, you need users to make it a success. Holding email marketing campaigns can help get visitors’ attention, draw them in, and convince them to become returning users.

To start your first email marketing campaign, remember these four steps:

  1. Build your email subscriber list to collect leads.
  2. Choose an email marketing platform to streamline creation and distribution.
  3. Plan an email marketing campaign that’s ideal for your subscribers.
  4. Track your campaign data to improve future results.

Do you have questions about how to launch your first email marketing campaign? Leave them in the comments section below!

Will Morris

Will Morris is a staff writer at WordCandy. When he’s not writing about WordPress, he likes to gig his stand-up comedy routine on the local circuit.

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3 Responses

  1. I wanted to add my own experience — I did not want to make the whole subscribing thing too complicated. Gathering the data in one place, then moving it to other and sending it via some other site.
    I was so relieved to find that some email marketing providers offer to do it all for you. (I’m not too tech savvy). After quite a lot of research I found my service AND they have a terrific blog and knowledge section that keep on adding to my happiness and efficiency of my email skills!
    I’m not saying it’s for everyone (there are a whole bunch of great services out there), but my eye-opener blog post was this: . My subscription rates have increased significantly after I read this article and experimented a little. So that’s my bragging. Sorry for that.
    And with the whole internet on our side, we’re unstoppable! Thanks for the article. 🙂

  2. Hi Will, It’s a great read. Among all the other marketing tricks, Email Marketing is ever green and is the only platform where you can connect with the audience personally. Every Business can adopt it. The steps you mentioned here are very helpful to set-up the first email marketing campaign. Also, make sure you keep a record of your entire campaign.

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