How-To Guide

Signed, Sealed, & Delivered: Email marketing basics

So, exactly what is email marketing? If your email list is your biggest asset, you need to know how to grow it, keep it healthy, and make sure it delivers. From lists and forms to optimization and deliverability we're covering the concepts and how-tos that make email marketing the glue of your online business in this issue.

    Part 1
    What is email marketing? Here's how to make it work for you
    2 min read


    Fundamentals are the building blocks of any complicated endeavor. Fundamentals are how the baseball player hits home runs with consistency. Fundamentals are how the magician makes us believe he’s doing the impossible. Fundamentals are how a runner learns to run for distance without injury. Fundamentals are how smart investors ensure they’re ready for retirement.

    Fundamentals aren’t hard because they’re complicated. They’re hard because we all know we should be doing them, but they take discipline. And discipline is hard.

    The fundamentals of online business are no different. They’re the building blocks necessary for any online entrepreneur to make it, whatever that might mean to them.

    Building websites. Blogging, vlogging, and podcasting. Building products. Selling. Building relationships with customers. These are the fundamentals.

    But everything falls apart without the cornerstone: email marketing.

    Email is the glue that holds online business together. Sure, every once in a while, a shortcut comes along. Facebook natives discover the power of targeted ads. Instagrammers discover Youtubers make money directly from native ads.

    These feel like a way around the fundamentals when we discover them. “Maybe I won’t have to have to work so hard and have so much discipline after all,” we think to ourselves.

    But eventually the rules of the game change. Ads get more competitive (and therefore more expensive). Instagram outlaws affiliate links. YouTube changes the payout model. The shortcut breaks.

    That can feel like one of two things:

    1. A devastating blow to your business that leaves you reeling and with no way to recover
    2. An unfortunate event that sets you back a few dollars but that you’ve been prepared for

    The difference between the two is being in control of your audience. As much as we might vilify it and wish it would go away, email is the thing that gives you control of your audience.

    Email marketing is the quintessential fundamental of online business. You really can’t (or at least shouldn’t) live without it if you want to make a full-time living from your blog, vlog or podcast.

    In this month’s issue, we cover everything from the eight ways you can get someone to join your list, to small but fun ways to delight your email subscribers, to writing CSS to customize your opt-in forms, to tagging and segmenting subscribers, to free eBook templates to help you design an opt-in incentive, to making sure you land in your subscribers inboxes instead of their spam folders. In other words, this month’s issue is a playbook on doing email marketing well from the start of your online business.

    Email marketing is how you connect your craft and your ability to make money. It’s how you get one of your die-hard fans to take action on a new thing you’ve made. It’s how you run a successful online business.

    So don’t delay a second longer. Use this issue of Tradecraft to step your email game up a notch (or get started on the right foot).

    And if you have questions, email us. Email marketing is how we make a living and we’re here for you.

    – Barrett and the ConvertKit Team

    Create a free landing page that converts

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    Nathan Barry

    In previous careers Nathan has been a designer, author, and blogger. After learning the power of email marketing he gave up a successful blogging career to build ConvertKit. Outside of work Nathan spends his time playing soccer, woodworking, and chasing after his two little boys.