With the emergence of tweets, likes, status updates, and shares does not mean Email is an oldfashioned tool. If I could name “email” anything to favor it, it would be that email is the bloodline for your website and business.
Although the days of MSN or AOL is over, it does not mean we can’t thank them for introducing email and our addiction to it!
With so much buzz in the social media world, one could argue that email is the place of solitude amongst the chaos nowadays.
I believe as an entrepreneur, making a successful email marketing campaign and building a good list is more important than it ever was. The problem is, not everyone knows how to do it right! To summarize this in a readable and understandable article; let’s get back to basics and talk about how an email campaign is built from the ground up.
People are irritated by interruptions, pitches, and advertisements they see everywhere they look, as much as you think yours is unique, there is a high possibility that to the reader, it is as repulsive as the rest. Using good manners and adding value to the reader is the most critical mix for good content whether email or other content marketing strategies like blogs.
When sending an email and reaching someone’s inbox it is very similar to being invited in their home for dinner. They have let you in if they ask you to take your shoes off, wouldn’t you do so? It is the same in email marketing. So be in your best behavior at all times and always remember that you are on their turf.
For simplicity, Let’s take email marketing in 3 phases.
There is no doubt that no email campaign was ever built without getting permission to get started. Other than cold emails and as nauseating they are as cold calls, it is still much needed to begin with permission. When that happens, we are focusing on growing a sizeable email list.
No Email list is ever built overnight, just like SEO it takes time, effort and real value.
There are many methods in doing this; you may have noticed some give away freebies, while others stick with a newsletter or product updates.
In whichever way you choose to give value to the reader, there is no right or wrong. What I can tell you is that you need to have a clear purpose when asking for the email or for permission in case you prefer causing nausea (Cold Emails Are Not Recommended).
An active call to action comes into play within your email content and marketing strategy; a strong copywriting skill is super important in that case.
So keep in mind that those are the points you will need to address if you want to be successful in the first phase. If you gather emails through your website and just bluntly asking “Enter your email for updates” isn’t going to cut it! Consider sharing value, or some incentive that would encourage the reader to give you their email address.
What most marketers do when asking for an email is use a freebie and with it an offer, and the latest deal is expected within the permission the user is giving.
How could you be concise and more effective doing business?
When giving your customers an expected newsletter service such as product updates or new releases; try to make it specific into which day it could be expected. For example, you could say that your product release or offers are delivered every Friday. This way you are more specific and practical.
If we look at the most subscribed to methods they are often including one of the below options:
– An email series (i.e., 6 ways to be a better marketer)
– Free Ebooks or Cheatsheets (ie. Marketing 101 PDF
– Free downloads (i.e., Trial, Beta or Free version App download)
– Updates Lists (New Blog Notifications, Product Updates, New Releases)
Social Media giant like facebook and E-commerce giant like Amazon integrate some form of registration to collect emails so they could use the service or shop online as part of the process. Even if they don’t use the service or buy a product right away; they are prospects and it useful to have them in your list to retarget them later with your campaigns.
Most email service providers like mail chip and the like work very hard to make sure your emails go through and don’t get blocked by ISP’s, Although this is what they do, they can’t control whether or not emails reach the reader’s inbox or go right to the spam section. Some of the providers might provide a quality score to determine availability; it is essential to realize that getting whitelisted is by far the most effective way to ensure you land in the right place in an inbox.
Think of being whitelisted is equivalent to being marked as a friend or accepting a friend request on social media. As you may know; the best way to getting anything is adding a call to action accompanied by what you are offering as a friendly gesture to your reader. At the same time make sure there are instructions that if they want to keep getting free advice or whatever you are going to provide them with, the best way to get it is if they put you on their whitelist.
Marketing is all about expectations, and when it goes down to emails; your reader is expecting something more than conventional marketing strategies.
It is up to you to set the expectations and be a boss! If your call to action is powerful and following up consistently, then you can easily create a positive campaign. However, part of expectations is to be concise. If the receiver is expecting one email a week and you keep bugging them with endless emails on a daily basis, you are setting yourself up for failure.
In contrast, if someone is expecting daily updates or critical product updates and you do not deliver it, then they are likely to be disappointed and upset in that case.
Email Services providers give you the option where you could create your follow-up email along with the autoresponder sequences, and it is imperative that you take advantage of its real potential.
Upon sign up, a follow-up is expected immediately. Sending it is the initiative you have taken to introducing yourself to your subscriber; you are also doing it so the readers add you to their whitelist so they could receive your offers and freebies without missing them. It’s essential that you have a long email instead of it being quick and unobtrusive at the same time; if you can get the perfect mix of pulling off a quick, concise and well-organized email then kudos to you.
From that point forward, it is merely living up to the reader’s expectations.
The worst of marketers and companies are the ones who consistently pitch or upsell to their clients. If you could put yourself in the reader’s shoes; ask yourself if you always get an email that includes sales pitches, would you keep them on your email list? At the very least, if you were to pitch them, add a benefit or adjust the email according to the buyer’s behavior so they could get a personalized email with relevant products that they would actually be interested in; Blindly throwing sales pitches are far more likely to keep you on the good side of emails.
Another option to consider is providing value. Value is not only discounts, coupons or freebies. You might have nothing to offer but a newsletter, link to a video or a blog post; if that is the case; at least make sure that your content is quite valuable to them.
Each business has their own needs, and there is no one size fits all type of strategy. Also, keep in mind none of it will be fast to get purchases. Just remember, an email list is a permission asset and is vital to take it cautiously than playing it recklessly.
The Good, Bad and the Ugly!
Let’s talk about what makes an email marketing effort on the dark side then gradually take a look at the good side of emails.
The worst ever method of sending emails is when you can’t seem to recall permitting them to receive it! Typically, this happens with cold emails which are by far the worst thing ever where it involves businesses buying a database off some provider that collects them either manually or businesses that sell their userbase.
A lighter version of this is adding you to a newsletter without asking for it when you send a personal email, or a business card was given to someone, and they manually add you to their list.
The most compelling emails are those that do a great job in asking for permission as it is the sole most important healthy communication between you and the customer. What makes it even prettier is striking a balance between the value in text and updates or pitches. For example, while you may want to sell a product to a prospect; you could balance it out with a personal message or valuable information related to the product (not the specs). For example, if it’s a sunscreen product that you are selling, you could add a personalized message with valuable information about the dangers, skin aging and diseases that they could get. Adding the pitch in the end with a link to the product or if it is a new product would be the perfect combo.
Try to use your newsletter as a way to enhance your relationship with the customer or reader, pitching them should be your last concern. If you have built trust with the reader, taken their permission and added value; you are on the way to stardom. So save your pitches to different updates, offers or announcements.
Some marketers like myself sometimes run into an issue that they forget to talk to their list until they have something to sell or offer. Obviously, this is not ideal. When faced by such complication, this is where an autoresponder can save your life, while you are focusing on your business; you could count on the autoresponder to deliver your messages even when it’s most inaccessible for you to do it manually. Scheduling content to be provided on a consistent basis for a couple of months. For example, you could create a newsletter that will benefit your reader and make it into a series that they would be eager to read and benefit from, This way following-up will be a less tedious job. The only thing you will probably be doing is making sure that there is good content to share.
Whenever you need to announce a new release, sell a service or recommend a product that might be relevant to the reader; you will be doing it with a strong relationship built with the consumer. You have already been in touch, and you are less likely to annoy your readers. Of course, it is essential to schedule an autoresponder sequence but as a rule of thumb, more than one per day is too much.
The first thing to look at when running an email campaign after you have got everything else covered is analytics. Almost every service provider provides complimentary analytics and here are the 3 most important metrics to look at:
This will tell you how far is your relationship is with your readers; if the number is low, that would mean that people are either deleting your emails once arrived, it goes straight to junk or haven’t grasped the reader’s attention. To successfully get your email open, you have to ensure your title is seen, and you are not spamming the user and asking to be added to the whitelist.
If that is low, it probably means your message is not getting through or not targeted enough. Focus on improving your copy!
If the rate is higher than the sign-ups, then you have passed the line where you are building value and writing good content. You’ve got some serious work to do. Have you reached this point, try to examine when people are leaving and take action based on the leakage.
If people are unsubscribing after a specific email sequence, the rework it, are they leaving after hard selling messages, then rework your strategy and how you present offers. If they are not going through your funnel and leaving early, then you need to fix your original call to action, so it feels right when it’s being sent.
If segmentation is not a term you have run across, it merely means that you are splitting up your list of readers into narrower targeted groups.
For example, if you have a big list and need to put it into a more understandable list it could be one of the options below:
Make sure you have those options “tickable” on your website.
While some people are interested in your updates, some are only interested in your email series. Some may want to download what you have to offer and leave right from the beginning (which has a solution). If you don’t give your readers the right to choose, you are risking losing most of them.
You want to make your customers on your email list and keep them hooked and the reason why is because customers are the best buyers.
When you have an audience in segments and have split them into groups that are understandable; you can send messages to those who did not open your last email and for example ask them why they haven’t. Also, those who show interest could be reached quickly and give them another pitch.
It’s not rocket science, it takes an effort to make and automate but it does work, and that is the reason most marketers skip it or don’t do it right. If you do have a good email strategy, you are differentiating yourself from the rest of the herd.
Just remember that your email list is the most valuable resource, and if you can imagine that every email you have is worth let’s say $3 then you could probably understand why losing a several hundred could be dangerous.