Getting started with email marketing

Content From: HIV.govPublished: January 16, 20184 min read


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man holding green cell phone checking his email
When it comes to digital channels, email marketing still rules: At, we’ve found that incorporating email marketing as part of our daily and weekly digital calendar helps reach audiences we may not reach through other channels. 

Maybe email marketing is one of your 2018 resolutions, or maybe you’re curious and would like to learn more. Either way, follow along as we share our tips for getting started. 

Getting started
Our team recommends getting started by considering how email marketing will fit into your digital strategy. How will this tool help you accomplish your goals? If you don’t have a digital strategy, never fear! We’d be happy to help you set up a strategy during our Virtual Office Hours.

Once you and your team have decided how you’ll use email marketing, the next step is to consider using an email marketing platform. Platforms can help you manage your contact subscriptions, design email templates, and measure your effort. There are many platforms to choose from. Choosing a platform depends on your budget, the number of subscribers your organization will have, and how comfortable your team feels designing and sending emails in the platform. Many platforms offer free trials, which are a great opportunity to test them out!

After selecting a platform, customize your email template to fit your needs. We recommend including your organization’s logo and branding, which will help your subscribers recognize your organization.

It might be tempting to begin sending your newly created template out to your audience, but you will need to have them opt in to receiving emails from your platform. Our team recommends including a link to your platform’s subscription center on your website. You can also cross-promote the subscription center on social media, at in-person events, and by word of mouth.

There are a few other best practices you’ll want to follow as you set up your email marketing. You can learn more by:
Sending your first email
When it’s time to send your first email, you’ll want to include:
  • Subject line and preheader: Craft an attention-grabbing subject line and preheader text. This is the first content your audience will see, and you’ll want to pique their interest so they’ll read more. Experts recommend keeping your subject line short: under 50 characters!Exit Disclaimer
  • Graphics: Don’t shy away from including graphics, like a header image, in your emails to engage your audience and complement your content. 
  • Call to action: What do you want your audience to do as a result of receiving the email? Contact their health professional? Get an HIV test? Make sure to feature your call to action prominently in the email!
  • Contact information: include contact information and a link to your website so your audience can reach out if they have questions or would like to get in touch. Most emails sent through a marketing platform don’t allow recipients to send a reply to you, so you’ll want to let your audience know how to reach you.
Now, go off and create awesome emails! 

Be sure to subscribe to’s emails so you’ll never miss a blog post or announcement. We recently switched our email platform, so if you’ve previously subscribed to our emails but haven’t received any emails this week, check your subscription. Stay tuned for new initiatives from, including weekly email digests, and check back next week when we cover 2018 email marketing trends.