You've got email marketing questions? I've got answers! As a small business owner looking for business success, it can be overwhelming to be told you need something and not quite understand why. Perhaps the person sharing the why wasn't approachable, perhaps they didn't understand what you needed to know about, either way, you want to know more about email marketing for your business.
Now, email marketing is not the cure for all your business woes. As with all forms of business marketing, you will need systems and tools in place to get the most from it. That said, the ROI is roughly £32 per £1 spent.
1. Why Do I Need an Email Marketing List?
Email marketing is one of the best ways to build relationships with your target audience and control the flow of information in such a way that the recipient likes, knows, and trusts you enough to become a client.
Emails can be information – an educated customer is a better customer – with links to relevant products, and/or promotional emails which will encourage them to buy a particular product.
As you get to know your audience and they get to know you, they will hit reply and ask you questions about your products services, and add their own thoughts and opinions. You're building a relationship that will last a long time.
For example, last year we lost our beloved Xanthe to kidney failure (labrador/rottweiler cross). I took her to the vets for antibiotics and was told she didn't have long left. I was devastated. I mentioned to my email marketing list that I'd be a little quiet because of this. There were hundreds of replies of sympathy and support. One reader gave me a breakdown of what to expect and his wife recommended a pet crematorium to us.
I truly appreciated the lovely messages and the recommendation (we went with it, and they were superb). Email marketing is two-way communication.
2. How Do I Build an Email Marketing List?
There are a number of tried-and-tested ways to build your email marketing list. For many years, it was the simple email newsletter. You've probably signed up for several of these yourself in the past. However, nowadays, with so many business owners clued to the value of email marketing, it has become more competitive. Therefore, there are now two main approaches to building a list.
- Offer a free item that will have a high perceived value
- Offer an e-course (our highly successful blogging challenge is a type of e-course).
i) A free item
The free item could be a:
- Special report
…and so on.
The free item is always going to be attractive and add value to your subscriber's life. The reason people unsubscribe almost immediately after they download your opt-in incentive is that they didn't get value or feel valued. An e-course, on the other hand, gives you more chance to make a meaningful connection.
ii) An e-course
Build an e-course about a particular topic related to your niche or industry which you know to be an issue for many people. Your course can offer solutions to this problem. You can create a course of five or seven lessons and load them up into your email autoresponder or follow-up email area in your email marketing platform.
3. What Is an Autoresponder?
Using the example above of delivering a free e-course, you would pre-load the lessons and the autoresponder would then deliver each email, one at a time, on the days that you specify.
Autoresponders can take a time to set up, but generally, they only need doing once. They are a hands-free way of running your email marketing to grow your business. Copy and paste your content into the email interface once and it will keep on earning for you over and over again.
Of course, you will need to check the content from time to time to make sure it's still up to date, and the links are still working. Ultimately email automation will free up hours of your time.
4. How Often Should I Send Out Emails?
The short answer is as often as you can without making everyone on your list get annoyed and unsubscribe. A more logical answer might be every day. You need to send enough emails to grow relationships and remain top of mind to your subscribers. So long as you're adding value keep emailing.
If you send 30 days of “buy my shizzle” you will find you've lost them all by day 7. Create a timetable for emails so they hear from you regularly. Balance your informational, educational and buying email sequences.
Your subscriber's inbox is a precious space. Don't abuse the trust you've been given.
One final note… Be wary of your headlines. Timing is everything. If you send an email with “Let's blow up your xxx” (with xxx being the problem your product solves) and there's a national/international bombing… Well, you're going to get a heck of a lot of unsubscribes and some blogger will be writing a case study of how your email stupidity crippled your business.
5. How Do I Keep People on My Email Marketing List?
By being useful to them. Once they have signed up for a free item or e-course, you have the chance to build a relationship with your subscribers by emailing them great content related to the topic they signed up for.
Email useful information they will like and be willing to share with others by forwarding your emails to their friends and family. Write great subject lines that will encourage them to open up, and get to know all that you can do for them.
6. What Metrics Should I Be Measuring When I Send Out My Emails?
Measure your email opens, clicks and sales. These 3 things will indicate how well your email marketing is performing and how you can troubleshoot problems.
Example: If no one opens your emails you may have a delivery issue. If delivery is fine, you have a subject line issue. If you have zero clicks… you're not intriguing the reader enough to click. And if they click but don't buy it could be any number of things from poor sales page copy to bad timing.
If you're not measuring it, you're not managing it.
7. How Can I Avoid Being Labelled as Spam?
Use plain text emails where possible and avoid words like FREE or strange punctuation like !, ? and * in your subject lines. Let your subscribers know why they subscribed (don't add people manually to your list or they will hit the spam button on their email client), and have an unsubscribe link.
Unsubscribers are a part of your email marketing growth. They're not something to be scared of. If someone isn't getting value, they can and should be able to leave your list.
If you behave like a spammer, you will be treated as a spammer.
Bonus Question: What Tools Do I Need to Start and Grow My Email List?
You will need an email marketing service. I recommend
Are all good starting points. Know that the chances are you will change provider at some point. You will not stay with one forever. As your business grows, so will your needs. All three that I mention here provide some analytics so you can measure your impact.
Advanced email marketing providers include
Technically, the above are not email marketing services, but full-funnel services and they make managing the email to sales process easier. Both include the shopping cart aspect, which makes it easier for you to process sales for your business. Both will move buyers to new sequences and follow up for you.
You will need a mechanism to capture the email addresses. I use and love Thrive Leads, it's pretty much compatible with everything. You'll be able to create branded subscription forms.
You will also need an incentive for readers to become subscribers. This can be called a lead magnet, a list magnet, an ethical bribe, and a variety of other names. Initially, this can be hard to create, and you may have to create 4 or 5 before you hit upon the right one for your audience.