Email Marketing 101 Course

Lesson 5: How much work is it, and how much does it cost?

Investing in email marketing will cost time and money.

Before we look at the questions specifically, there’s one very specific thing I would like to highlight.

Email marketing is not something “extra” you have to do

When we first look at email marketing, one of the first things we think is:

“Where am I going to find the time to do this?”

And this is a very real concern. We’re already busy (even overwhelmed), so how do we make the time to add something new?

This is, at least partially, a myth. Here’s what’s really going to happen:

  • Learning anything new is time you have to spend in addition to what you’re doing now. This is unavoidable.
  • Once you’ve learnt the basics and your email marketing is up and running, it replaces some of, and supplements, the time you spend marketing already.

The one thing I’ve learnt after 5+ years of email marketing is:

The end result of email marketing, in terms of where you spend your time, is that you end up having more time - not less.

We will talk about this more in the wrap-up to the course. Now on to the questions.

How much work is it?

The amount of time I spend on email marketing can be divided into two categories:

  • Weekly newsletter
  • New product or service setup

Weekly newsletter

I spend about 1-2 hours per week on email marketing (specifically). This consists of:

  • Crafting my weekly newsletter (the actual writing)
  • Creating and scheduling a ConvertKit broadcast (one-off email) to send the newsletter to my subscribers
  • Adding the newsletter to my website
  • Syndicating the newsletter on Medium and LinkedIn

For this 1-2 hours worth of work, the newsletter gets exposure to (rough estimate) 4,000+ people across my subscriber list, LinkedIn followers and Medium readers. Not a bad investment of time.

New product setup

Creating a new product can take a long time - anywhere from weeks to months. But the product is just the product - once it’s created, I have to set up the lead magnet, email marketing sequences (like this one), the sales page and product purchase pages, thank-you email sequences and so on.

Depending on the size and cost of the product, the email marketing setup part can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days. For example, I estimate that it took me 15 to 20 hours to write the five emails that make up this email course. The remainder of the time is setting up automations to drive all of this, product pages, downloads and so on.

Once this is set up, it runs forever (or until I decide to refresh it).

Then I can focus all my time and effort on marketing the new product - to the world at large and to my email list.

How much does it cost?

The only real money cost is a subscription to an email service provider.

I use (and recommend) ConvertKit, and their prices start at US$15 per month for up to 300 subscribers, $29 for up to 1,000 subscribers and scale up from there. Their latest pricing is here (there are discounts for annual subscriptions). Other providers have similar costs.

The time investment

Of course there’s an intangible cost - your time.

As a solopreneur your time is your most valuable resource, so you have to be careful where you invest it. As you saw above, the amount of time I spend on email marketing is relatively small, so I can focus on “pure” marketing to grow my subscriber list.

There’s a caveat though.

It takes time to get proficient at anything. When you start with email marketing, things will take longer. But the more you do it, the faster it gets.

This is of course true for anything new. In the case of email marketing, your learning curve is not huge - and it pays off for as long as you’re in business.

Here’s what you’ve learnt

When you look at how much work email marketing requires, and how much it costs, you've learnt:

  1. Email marketing is not something new you have to add to your workload. It is a large part of your marketing.
  2. Email marketing is a small monetary investment. Costs generally start at around $20 per month and scales with the size of your email list.
  3. Expect to spend 1-2 hours on email marketing per week. This includes creating and sending a weekly newsletter.
  4. Setting up email marketing for a new product or service only needs to be done once. Then it runs for as long as you want it to.