There’s something to be said for the benefit of turn-by-turn directions when you’re heading to a new place.

Sure, there are bound to be a dozen routes you could use to get to your destination, but to be shown the most direct one for your first time can make the process a lot less stressful.

The same principle applies when it comes to creating your first email.

Just starting out? Fear not, my friends, here are the roads you’ll want to take along the way:

Bring up the GPS

As you start heading out on your first email, take a moment to pull up Constant Contact’s Resource Center. That way, if you hit a speed bump help is waiting right at your fingertips. This is where you’ll find everything you need in the form of:

Load up your passengers

There are tons of ways to get your contacts into your account. Based on whether you already have them in a spreadsheet, have a few that you want to paste in by hand, or whether you already have a CRM system with all your info, you’ll choose a different method.

Find what’s easiest for you and go for it. You can even upload from your Gmail address book.

Start driving

Now it’s time to put together all of the information you want to send out to those contacts. To create your first email:

  1. Jump in and choose a template. The first thing you’ll do when you start creating is choose the template that works best for you. Think about things like how many columns you’d like, since colors and fonts are things you’ll be able to change later.
  2. Put in your content and format as needed. Your email is made up of different blocks that you can edit to add your text, formatting and images.
  3. Once you’re  done, make sure you preview and send out a test email.

Plan for the arrival

Once you’ve finished your email, just click Continue to schedule it for delivery. While you are doing that, you can also use the options to share the email with your fans or followers on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Park safely

Once your email has been sent, you’ll want to keep an eye on your reporting to see how well it’s done. Your open rates help you decide whether your subject line was compelling enough and your click-throughs tell you about your content. Checking bounced emails is a good indicator of whether or not you have some faulty email addresses.

Congratulations! That’s all it takes to arrive at your destination. And no matter what roads you take to get here again in the future, you’ve got all the elements in place for a smooth ride.

Now that you’ve got your first email under your belt, want to learn more about designing your next one? Check out some of our great webinars on branding your email or creating interesting content with images.