Email marketing is strategically using email to stay in touch with prospective and existing clients as a way of educating them and also selling your products and services. However, before you look to do this it’s important to know that the very reason you use email marketing is to build deep and meaningful relationships with your clients.
Constructing an email list isn’t really that difficult if you have things like lead magnets, social media posts, blog posts, side widgets, pop-ups etc online.
In essence, email marketing isn’t really that different from the old-school direct mail system. The only difference is your mail isn’t dropping through your clients letterbox, it is dropping into their email inbox.
There are plenty of different ways to build relationships with your clients such as customer relationship management systems (CRM’s) and newsletters. All of those strategies pale in significance when comparing it to email marketing.
Not only is it incredibly cheap to do, it’s still an effective way to communicate your message and promote your products and services today.
Before you can start building an email marketing campaign you must first get permission to do so. For this to be effective it’s really important that you build a sizable email list.
There are several different ways to do this but we found the best way is to offer something in return for your prospects email address such as a lead magnet.
You also need to be really clear why you’re collecting email addresses in the first place. This is where really good copywriting comes into play because when a prospect arrives on your landing page they’re going to be asking themselves a few questions, such as:
* What exactly do I get if I give them my email address?
* Are these guys going to spam the hell out of me
* Great, now I’m probably going to get a million emails a day
* I wonder if they’re going to provide me with discounts?
* I hope they’ll look at me first when they produce a new product or service
* I wonder if they will send me relevant emails or just more junk in my inbox?
These questions are great examples of the internal dialogue going on in your prospects mind and as a marketer you need to address them as soon as possible. Otherwise, you going to find it really hard to build a relevant and sizeable email list for your business.
Using a genuine and professional email service will make a world of difference when it comes to getting whitelisted by email service providers such as Gmail, Yahoo etc. Unfortunately, this is one of the things out of our control and it makes this marketing strategy even more difficult when your emails keep going to somebody’s spam folder. That’s why it’s really important to use professional email autoresponder services.
This is the main reason why we recommend getting whitelisted by your prospect. Essentially, your prospect is marking you as a friend in the email client and will probably only do this if you give them clear instructions to do so.
Here are instructions from some of the more popular online providers:
Believe it or not, getting someone to sign up to your email list it’s quite easy. Getting them to stay there isn’t. That’s why you need to craft a comprehensive follow up sequence to manage their expectations.
What do I mean by this?
If you have a several strong call to actions dotted throughout your website and on your landing pages then you need to make sure that your follow up emails are consistent with those call to action buttons and statements. If upon sign up you promise to send them an email a day, week or month then you need to deliver on this and be consistent because your new email sign up will be expecting this.
If you don’t you’re just setting yourself up for failure and all of your efforts and money would have been wasted.
The very first to follow email is crucial to building a solid foundation with your prospect.
Remember all of those questions I listed above regarding that internal dialogue? Well, this is where you dispel all those myths in one single email.
As soon as your prospects signs up, always send out a follow-up email immediately so you can introduce yourself and explain exactly what your prospect should expect from you. Even though it only took them a few seconds to add their name and email address on one of your forms, it took a lot of commitment and trust on their part.
Don’t be afraid to write a really long email to cover all of the points to address their questions. Where possible try to make it straight to the point and concise but the important thing is you must address those points.
After the initial email, it’s literally just a case of managing their expectations and doing what you said you were going to do from the off.
Have it in mind to provide real value first before even thinking of promoting any of your products or services. If you do this right, then there’s no reason for them to unsubscribe from your list (remove themselves from your list by clicking a link at the bottom of your email).
So you’re probably asking yourself the question when is the best time to pitch my product or service? To be honest, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question because that all depends on your prospect, you, your niche or marketplace, your content and the tone of your emails.
As long as you’re providing really great content and better still, content they can take action with, then look at it from your prospect point of you and be there trusted advisor not only showing them your own content, but also showing them content from other websites that can help them achieve their goal or solve their problem.
One of the easiest ways to pitch without coming across as to pushy is to produce a newsletter for your readers. There’s no better way of providing value, educating and building a relationship than producing a regular newsletter for them to consume.
Not only will they get used to receiving regular emails from you. By the time you’re ready to pitch specific products and services it won’t come as any shock to them when you do.
The only drawback with this strategy is each edition of your newsletter needs to be fresh, entertaining and full of great content. That’s no easy feat!
All of this on top of running and managing your business can be quite a lot work.
Your autoresponder is the best way to keep in contact with your prospect via email because it makes it easier for you to automate this task.
An Autoresponder allows you to schedule content emails in advance and allows you to remain consistent. It also allows you to segment your list so you’re only sending relevant content to those that are interested in reading it.
This is pretty powerful because if you have been consistent with your emails, by the time you’re ready to pick a new product or service to your prospect you would have already been in touch with them previously. So then, this email will come as no surprise to them.
This can only be achieved by building a really strong relationship with them over a number of weeks and months.
You also have the ability to send out a broadcast using the same service. Broadcasts a little different and are generally used when you have something to say on topic or is relevant to a current issue. In fact, I encourage every marketer to broadcast as often as possible because you’ll then come across as authentic and real and the bond you have with your prospect will be a lot stronger.
It’s a good idea to ask your prospects from time to time if the number of emails they are receiving is too much. Maybe you can run a poll to gauge their opinion. This isn’t something you need to do regularly. Maybe a couple of times a year.
You looked at getting permission and playing the numbers game. The thing that really glues everything together is analysing your list and segmenting them.
The three most important factors we look at are the Open Rate, Click Through Rate (CTR) and Unsubscribes.
Your open rate is a good indication of how well you have built up your relationship with your lists.
If the open rate is very low it means that people don’t find your content that interesting to open and may even be deleting it as soon as it arrives. If this is the case you’ll have to work a lot harder to provide value and manage their expectations.
If your CTR is low, this means people are opening up your messages but not clicking on the links within those messages. This can be for a variety of reasons. Either your content isn’t targeted enough, or the copy isn’t great within the email. You may even have the wrong people off on the wrong lists.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s say you have 100 people on your list you are interested in your products and services. It is actually better to have 10 different list that are specific to them and what they’re interested in. That way you can send a specific messages to specific groups of people. This is called a segmenting.
If you have high unsubscribed rates it could mean a number of things like:
* You’re not sending enough emails, so people forget who you are and don’t remember signing up.
* People no longer find your content interesting
* Your copy isn’t driving action
* You’re not being personal enough with the people on that list (people like to deal with people, not robots)
The best way to tackle unsubscribe rates is to continually ask your list what it is they want, what it is they like, the things that they don’t like and how you can improve things.
Depending on your email marketing provider, you should be able to get a detailed analysis of when in the sequence people are unsubscribing. This will give you an indication of which particular email within the sequence needs to be rewritten or even deleted.
Studying your analytics should improve your overall performance with email marketing and it should be able to give you clues of where you’re going wrong.
I mentioned segmenting earlier. This is the process of dividing your list into more targeted groups. The more targeted the group, the more ability you have to write copy that resonates with them which leads to higher engagement.
Here are a few examples of how you could segment to your list:
* Some clients simply just wants a newsletter each month (so ask them if that’s what they want)
* Some clients just want updates of new products and services
* Depending on your niche you can segment your list by geography (town, city, country)
* By age, gender and even buyer persona
* If you’re in the B2B space then you can segment your list by industry
* Past purchases
* Buyer history
You get the idea…..
By segmenting your list in this way all of the analytics that we spoke about earlier such as open rate, click through rate and unsubscribes should be quite healthy because your list is receiving what it has asked for and you’re essentially providing it.
This also works really well when you’re looking to broadcast a message that is not in an automation sequence.
Depending on your skill level, you also have the ability to split test different subject lines, copy etc. Improving these over time means each new prospect that signs up for one of your lists is better served. You also have the ability to resend to people that didn’t open your last email.
With the sheer amount of email that people receive these days, the fact that they didn’t open it is it necessarily because they didn’t want to. You often find that they just don’t have the time or were planning to return to breed it and never did.
Segmentation isn’t rocket science but it does take a lot of work and is where you can really excel in your niche or marketplace since most small businesses don’t look at their lists in this way.
There are quite a few more advanced techniques we can show you such as measuring the cost of lead acquisition (which is an important metric), but for now, just know that your list is probably your greatest asset.
Even if you had to shut your business down and start again. Ask most business owners what the most valuable asset is and it will almost certainly be their email list as well as clients on their customer relationship management system (CRM).
If you look after this list the time and money you spent developing it will pay you back in spades over time.