Like most things, it can be difficult to know where to start. The same goes for building an email program from the ground up. Luckily, we’ve broken out the steps into bite size pieces and made a checklist (we love lists). I hope you enjoy!

Gif Credit: Campaign Monitor

Phase 1:

Email Acquisition:

  • Set up on-site email capture in the footer and work towards adding it during account registration/checkout and as a pop-up once someone has been on your site for a designated amount of time
  • Provide an offer for $x or x% off their first purchase to incentivize people to sign up. If possible, we recommend using unique codes so they can’t be re-used or shared

Welcome Email:

  • Start with one email and eventually create a series over time. The goal is to create an onboarding process; this can include a rewards program, promote social channels, tell the brand’s story, etc.


  • Set a cadence so your subscribers know what to expect (monthly, weekly, etc.)
  • Design emails that are on brand and use templates to create consistency


  • Design for mobile first! Consider the font sizes, CTA/icon sizes, and include the most important information above the fold
  • Incorporate a mix of images and text
  • Pro tip: opt into competitor’s emails to get ideas


  • Ensure your email program is set up for success by implementing deliverability best practices for your sending domain; DKIM, DMARC, SPF, Google Postmaster Tools, etc.
  • Warm your IP according to best practices to ensure your new subscribers receive your emails to their Inbox and not to Junk or SPAM


  • Make sure you are in compliance with industry-specific CAN-SPAM, GDPR and CASL regulations
  • You are required to have an unsubscribe link. Make sure that it’s easily visible, so if people want to unsubscribe, they can easily do so. Otherwise, they will mark your email as spam. You also want to make sure you’re honoring those unsubscribes promptly, some ESPs do this automatically while others must be managed manually


  • Identify the KPI’s or goals for your email program and track the performance of each campaign
  • Adjust and optimize campaigns as needed to meet and exceed those goals

Phase 2:

Email Acquisition:

  • Expand your email acquisition efforts to include social channels and events

Trigger Emails:

  • Start building out other trigger programs like abandon cart, browse abandon, post-purchase, reengagement, etc.

* Note: these types of emails require the skills of an API developer


  • Build a preference center where subscribers can tell you what type of content they want to receive and how often


  • Create responsive emails/templates so that you can control the rendering on all device types
  • If you use live text, increase font sizes on mobile to make the text more legible
  • Drop the navigation below the body of the email on mobile and stack it, this frees up valuable space at the top of the mobile screen and makes the nav more mobile-friendly
  • Increase the size of your social icons on mobile

Audience Segmentation:

  • Depending on the ESP, you can create segments based on email engagement, purchase behavior, demographic behavior, and preferences (if you have a preference center)


  • Continue to monitor performance and adjust as needed

Fun fact: Did you know Blue Moon Digital got its start in email? It was our very first digital channel. If you want to know more, drop us a line. We’d love to help your email program grow!