Get Your Ass In Gear With Email Marketing

May 7th, 2013          No Comments
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If you’re not doing email marketing yet, what the heck are you waiting for?

Look at some of the top internet marketers and successful online companies out there. For example look at Neil Patel’s blog Quicksprout, or Corbett Barr’s blog ThinkTraffic, or even a non-marketer brand like Velaro Live Chat Services. What do all these sites have in common? Duh! They all have a hyper focus on grabbing that email address.

So if all these big shots are putting focus on email marketing, there has to be a reason right? Of course there is.

Drum roll please….it’s because it works. The DMA reports a return on investment of $40 for every $1 spent on email marketing. I’ll take those odds any day. Here’s another fact while I’m dishing ’em out: a survey conducted in 2012 of consumer preferences and channel habits showed 77% preferred to receive permission-based promotions via email.

I won’t bore you with any more numbers, but I’ll tell you one thing, it’s a hell of a lot better than social media or any of these other tactics the “gurus” are preaching these days.

But Wait, Email Marketing Is Hard, Right?

My dear friend, you could not be any more wrong. Email is probably the simplest, cheapest and most effective marketing medium on the web. No keyword tactics, no link building, no infographics, no likes, no tweets…

The best thing about email marketing is there are essentially only two activities to it: get people to sign up for your list, and have something to say.

Now that all sounds like cupcakes and roses but really if you think about it, that’s all there is to it. The only two activities of email marketing that require any type of strategy are coming up with a reason for people to hand over their address, and sending something that not only meets your needs as a business, but also provides value to your subscribers.

That’s not so hard is it? Okay, okay, before you start jumping off the bandwagon and head for the hills, let’s take a closer look at each of these activities, shall we?

Give ‘Em Something They Can’t Live Without

Let’s face it, no one is going to subscribe to your email list just for the hell of it. Trust me, I’ve tried it. It doesn’t work. Your would be subscribers are risking a lot in this day in age handing over their sacred email address, shouldn’t they expect something in return? Wouldn’t you?

Once that didn’t work, people started turning to discounts and giveaways. And while I’m not one to say this won’t work, you can be sure it won’t be as effective and I think it’s the cowards way out of it. What really gets the pot stirring is simply this: create valuable, exclusive content available for download in return for an email address.

Whether you’re a blogger, small business owner or online retailer, there are endless possibilities on what you could offer your subscribers. Whether you’re a niche expert offering a free ebook download, or a small town service professional offering a free maintenance calendar, there’s something for everybody out there. And guess what, you don’t even have to think of one yourself!

Here’s a fun activity: go check out some of your competitors’ sites. See what they’re doing. Hell, look outside of your industry, and just take a look at what others are offering their subscribers. Better yet, what has caused you to hit that subscribe button in the past. After all, you’re a consumer as well, right?

Some of my favorite types of subscriber content are:

  • Email series that provide information or teach something
  • Ebook downloads
  • Access to a webinar or video series
  • Free trials

Let’s not make as big a deal out of this than is necessary. The great thing is, you can always switch up your offer as time goes on. The important thing is to get something up and get started. You won’t know how well an idea works until you test it.

Start Slingin’ Some Emails

So now you’ve got your list rolling, it’s time to start letting it fly. But before you start stuffing those inboxes, let’s talk about what you’ll be sending to your list.

To start with, here are three golden rules to keep in mind before you hit that send button:

  1. Your email should be anticipated: Clearly, if someone has given you there email address, they should be expecting mail from you. However, we want to be clear on the front end what will happen if the user subscribes. Let them know what they will be receiving if they’re added to your list. Believe it or not this may even help with your subscribe rate!
  2. Your email should be relevant: I’m sure you’ve seen this mistake before. Somehow a site you subscribe to for one reason starts sending you either spammy messages, or emails not related to the reason you subscribed. These can sometimes be characterized as overly zealous sales pitches, so be careful there too. This rule will have a major impact on your unsubscribe rate, either good or bad one way or the other.
  3. Your email should provide value: Ultimately if you want to have any success with email marketing, and build a lasting relationship with your list, it is imperative to provide value in your email content. Much like blogging or web content in general, posting just to post makes little sense. Be timely, but have some value to provide. Don’t send just to send.

Now that your off and running with your email campaign, it is crucial to monitor that puppy closely. Take a close look at which emails have the highest open rates and make note of what subject lines you are using. Look at which had the highest click through rate if applicable and remember what type of content you were sharing in those emails. Monitor your unsubscribe rate or god forbid spam rate, and try and diagnose the cause.

Let me tell you this sounds like a lot of work starting out, but trust me, it’s not as much as you’d think and believe me it becomes smooth sailing after a few go-rounds.

The real important thing is creating something valuable that others will not just tolerate receiving but actually look forward to. From top to bottom, subscriptions to clicks, if you are providing value to your subscribers, everything else should will fall in line. Happy hunting email warriors!

About Josh Patterson

Josh is a young entrepreneur & inbound marketer from Baltimore, has an unhealthy obsession with tacos, a love of craft beer and is known to occasionally grow a pretty mean mustache. Founder @Steamloft.   

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