The Influential Executive's Guide to Email Marketing For all the glitz attached to social media, email has remained the more direct and personal way to communicate with your audience.

By Josh Steimle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Inti St Clair | Getty Images

Even as social media floods our devices with new methods of communication, email is here to stay. Statista projects 244.5 million email users in the U.S. by the end of this year, with an additional 10 million users by 2020. To business owners, these figures represent a huge potential market.

Email marketing is undeniably a valuable tool for reaching potential customers, especially when you and your company are just starting to get the ball rolling in building influence.

Related: How to Write Better Emails (Infographic)

The key is to take advantage of email in the most efficient way to increase the ROI for your company. Fortunately, there are numerous marketing tools available to make the process cheaper and easier while generating the maximum number of conversions.

For any freshly minted executive looking to start an email marketing campaign off right, follow these steps to transition from the address collection stage to maximum conversions.

1. Choose an email marketing service.

When you start the email marketing process, you don't have to do it all on your own. Providers such as MailChimp, Hatchbuck, and Constant Contact offer everything from design templates to support staff to help you along the way. If you want to keep things simple my favorite is ConvertKit. Every service provides different pricing plans so you can incorporate the service into a marketing budget of any size.

2. Assemble a database.

Email marketing is useless unless you have a database of email addresses that can receive your newsletters and updates. To get these addresses, have subscription options located in several places around your website -- including your homepage.

Related: Building Your Email List

Also, have a like to your blog, "About Us" page, and "Contact Us" page -- and use incentives such as product giveaways or special offers to encourage users to sign-ups.

3. Use an email validation service.

As you gather email addresses, you'll inevitably hit some dead ends. In fact, a third of consumers will respond to queries with false email addresses.

Related: Email Validation: A Critical Success Factor in Email

To prevent these results from corrupting the rest of your valuable data, use a service such as Email Checker to verify that the addresses in your list go to actual human beings who can make use of your emails.

4. Design your email newsletter.

Once you have your database of validated email addresses, it's time to design your newsletter. Make sure your email newsletters are clutter-free and visually appealing.

Your viewers need to be engaged quickly, either with compelling graphics or compelling written content (some of the most successful email lists use no graphics at all). Always have a clear call to action.

5. Create a call to action.

Imagine your readers have engaged with your message and are convinced they need your product or service -- but you left out any sort of link or button. That's like selling someone on a juicy hamburger and then instead of giving them one, or telling them where to get it, just saying "Yeah, wouldn't that be great?"

Related: Five Elements of an Irresistible Call to Action

Try different variations of your call to action to see which one is the most successful. Small details can sometimes make a huge difference -- providing a button instead of a text link, for instance, has been shown to prompt a 28 percent increase in conversions.

Also, if you're doing your newsletter design in-house and need low-budget options, sites like can help you design a professional-looking newsletter at a fraction of the cost.

6. Automate your system.

In 2014, about 70 percent of businesses were either already using an automated marketing platform or were in the process of implementing one. This means your competitors are likely utilizing automated campaigns already, and if you're not, you're falling behind before you even begin.

Related: 15 Tools to Create Automation in Your Small Business

Tools like HubSpot provide marketing software to improve SEO, generate more web traffic, and easily leverage social media content. They can also provide analytics tools and help with lead nurturing, which results in more conversions.

7. Measure your results, and optimize wherever possible.

Measuring your results may be even more important than automating your system because viewing metrics regularly is the best way to improve conversion rates over time.

Without measuring your effectiveness, you'll just be crossing your fingers every time you send out an email. So do yourself a favor -- A/B test your way to a successful email marketing campaign and maximized ROI.

Related: How to Calculate the Success of a Direct Mail Campaign

Even if you're just starting out on your influencer's journey, it's possible to create an effective email marketing campaign. These campaigns cost time, but with the right tools, you can make the most of your efforts.

To be as efficient as possible in formulating and executing your strategy, follow the above steps to watch your investment grow.

Wavy Line
Josh Steimle

Speaker, writer and entrepreneur

Josh Steimle is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of "60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery" and the host of "The Published Author Podcast," which teaches entrepreneurs how to write books they can leverage to grow their businesses.

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