15 Secrets of successful email marketing
Every year I hear someone screaming that email marketing is dead. Hardly so. But there are businesses that don’t experience fabulous results using email. That is probably down to how they use it, rather than email not being effective.
When done right, email is one of the most cost-effective ways to connect with your audience, increase sales, improve customer loyalty and grow your profits.
Stats apart, you will easily find thousands of articles talking about how profitable email marketing can be. Yet, many small businesses don’t use it or don’t use it to its full potential.
Before we dive right in, let’s get one question (or two) out of the way.
Why use email marketing?
What are the benefits of email marketing?
1- Low cost
You don’t need expensive software to produce great sales results or email your list. Usually, email software companies charge according to your email list size. So, if your list isn’t big you shouldn’t pay much for it. And as it grows, so should your sales and profits.
2- It's easy to use
I honestly can’t think of an easier way to communicate with your audience than writing an email. Surely creating attractive graphics for social media, videos or paid advertising takes much more effort.
Although one of the most common objections I hear is “I don’t know what to email my list”. We’ll address this questions later.
3- It helps you build long-term relationships
It helps you build a long-term relationship with your audience, especially if you email them often, send high-quality content and engaging stories.
Your audience is much more likely to hang around and read your emails if they know something valuable is in it for them.
4- It can be an effective sales tool
Email is one the best ways to convert a web visitor into a buyer. Few things convert at the same rate as email.
5- You own your e-mail list
The biggest advantage of all, your e-mail list is owned by you. We can't say the same about social media platforms.
So, now that we established why email marketing is great for business, let’s look at what contributes to highly successful email marketing campaigns.
15 secrets of successful email marketing
1- Build an email list from opt-ins
Never buy email lists and absolutely never subscribe people to your list who haven’t voluntarily done so. It’s illegal and just wrong.
People who willingly subscribe to your email list have already shown interest in what you have to offer. They obviously have a “pain” or desire that you can help solve. So they’re more likely to open and read your emails and take up your offers.
The “secret sauce” here is to offer something truly appealing in exchange for their email address – known as a lead magnet, or opt-in gift or freebie.
Make sure your lead magnet is directly related to your products or service.
If you don't know how to get started with email marketing you can read my previous blog here.
2- Personalize and Segment
Dear friend, when I read emails addressing me by “friends”, or some general term, drives me nuts. Gone are the days that you have to send generalized emails.
Even the most basic email software allows you to personalize your emails using the person’s first name. If you have more information about the people on your list, by all means, use it to segment your emails.
For example, you can keep your lists segmented by interests, location, customer journey (buyers, premium buyers, etc).
Another way you can personalize your emails is by asking questions to your subscribers.
You can ask what they are interested in receiving from you. You may have different products, services, and content, and they will most likely open your emails if you send them stuff they’re actually interested in.
There are other benefits of asking questions to your subscribers:
· They will feel that you really care about them, respect them and treat them individually, which will help them connect with you even more.
· By replying to you, some email providers like Google might place your emails in the “primary” folder, rather than in the "promo" folder or junk mail. Yey to that!!
· It will help you understand what your subscribers want from you, so you can send them what they want.
3- Create a welcome email sequence
The most important emails you will send your potential clients are the first ones.
Your subscribers are the most interested in you and what you offer when they first subscribe.
The best thing to do is to send them a welcome sequence introducing them to you, your brand and why not, an offer.
You should automate this initial sequence to make sure they all receive the same sequence, on time, without delay.
Automating will also help you assess whether your sequence is effective in making the first sale. You can change and tweak till you’re happy with the results.
Creating an automated sequence will also help you connect with your subscribers. It will help you establish a relationship with them and get them to read your future emails.
Another advantage of automating your initial sequence is that it will help you make sales right away. Once someone buys from you (given they’re happy with their purchase), they’re more likely to buy again and refer you to others. Win-win!
There are several types of email sequences that can be used, and several ways to maximize your profit at this point. But that’s a topic for another day.
If you want help with creating campaigns, automated sequences or funnels, feel free to contact me, I’ll be happy to help.
You can also download my FREE sales funnel map here, to help you create this initial sequence.
4 Your Subject Line
This is potentially the most important part of your email.
If your email doesn’t captivate enough to even get opened, it won’t be read, and that's not what you want.
I suggest going through your own email inbox and see which subject lines you find most attractive.
Check women’s magazines. Those editors are masters of headlines that grab your attention even if you are like me... NOT interested in celebrity gossip at all.
Just make sure your subject line is honest and true to your email content.
Test different subject lines. You can split test and see which ones have the best open rates. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
Hot tip: resend your emails a few days later to the people who didn’t open the original one using a different subject line and see what happens. That’s a great way to test subject lines and increase your open rates.
Also, try to send emails on different days and times at first, to test what works best for your audience.
5 – Write the most enticing parts of your email in the preview text.
If your emails don’t get opened in the first place, all your work in writing, designing, segmenting goes to waste.
Most of us scan the snippet that appears in the inbox after the subject line before deciding whether to open an email or not.
So make sure you put the most important, enticing information in your email preview. This will increase your chances of getting your emails opened and read.
6- High-quality content
While it’s totally ok to write to your audience as if you’re writing to your friends and telling a bit about your life or what’s happening in your business, you can’t constantly email them about nothing. Or worse yet, email only about offers.
You need to send out high-quality content that provides value to your subscribers and make them want to receive your emails.
Think about blog posts, videos, photos, reports, guides, interviews, resources, audios, etc.
If you struggle to consistently produce content that drives traffic to your website and engages with your audience, download my fab content planner here.
Have you opened emails, rolled your eyes and thought “again?
Sending same old same old, all the time will kill your audience’s curiosity and probably your relationship with them too.
While it’s nice to have a “signature style” and content topics, it’s also good to add some variety. Try to mix a bit what you’re sending out to keep things interesting
The last thing you want to be known for is “boring”.
8- Optimize for mobile
On average, 47% of emails are now opened on mobile devices (Email Monday*).
Your email may look great on a big screen, but if people have to scroll to the sides with their fingers, forget it! They’ll give up and move on.
Everything you do online, website, emails, landing pages need to be optimized for mobile phones or you’ll leave money on the table.
Your email software should have this option, otherwise, choose another provider. They’re old school if they don’t.
9- Improve your email readability
You’re not writing a novel, and your subscribers probably have 100s of emails to go through, so make sure your emails are easy to read.
Some things you can do to improve their readability are:
- Include bullet points - you can convey a lot of information quickly using them.
- Short punchy paragraphs are better than long, wordy never-ending paragraphs.
- You want to convey your message fast and clear. Use some white space between paragraphs too.
Before sending your emails out, read them again and cut out all the fluff. If a sentence makes sense without some extra words, take them out.
Send your emails to yourself to test links, layout, and everything else.
10 Test image emails against plain text
The advice here is contradicting. I’ve read both, I’ve tried both, I receive both from successful companies.
You need to determine what works best for you and your audience.
If you’re sending an email that looks like a newsletter, with different sessions and topics, you should include images and color. Otherwise, it will look way too boring and clogged.
On the other hand, if you send out shorter emails about one particular topic or maybe two, you can write a plain text email. Many people report that plain text emails make their way to people’s primary inbox and get more readers for not looking like spam or promotions.
Consider your industry. If you’re in a visual industry (interiors, fashion, travel, etc), your readers will expect images. Include them.
11- Never send from a no-reply email
No one likes to receive emails from “no-replys”. Seriously, it feels so impersonal. Nothing makes your audience feel more like a number than “no-reply” senders.
In fact, you want exactly the opposite, you want your subscribers to reply, ask questions, give you feedback, and start a conversation.
Use your business email address as the sender email and encourage them to reply to you.
12- Clean your list
Here’s what you want: a group of engaged subscribers who look forward to your next email, and read the majority of your emails, take action and eventually buy from you.
Here’s what you don’t want: people who are on your list but might as well be dead. Never open, never read, never reply, never buy.
They are costing you money in a couple of ways:
1- you pay your email software based on the number of subscribers you have.
2– when many people don’t open your emails or don’t recognize you anymore, you may be labeled as spam, which you don’t want.
Give your subscribers who haven’t opened your emails the chance to choose to stay on your list or unsubscribe.
Delete those who absolutely don’t respond in any way. It will keep your costs low, and you won’t be seen as a spammer.
13- Include clear calls to action (CTA)
Preferably, you want to include at least one, and maximum two calls to action in each email.
It’s super important that you always include CTAs in your marketing, so your audience knows what to do next.
Our brain is wired to do what we’re asked to do, even if out of curiosity (most of the times in fact). Create curiosity around your CTA.
This can be a link to read your blog post, or watch your video, book a call or a session with you, purchase something, etc.
If people have nothing to click on, they’ll either do nothing or worse yet, click on the only link available, the unsubscribe link.
If you struggle to promote your products and services through content, download the Ultimate Content Planner here.
14- Create an automated buyers list
This comes down to customization.
The aim here is to segment your list so you don’t send irrelevant offers to people who already bought that particular offer.
Or if you sell something that could be purchased again, like a year planner, for example, you may want to send a more personalized email to those who bought it previously.
You’ll also want to move your buyers up your value ladder and offer the next product or service. While offering entry-level or mid-level offers to people who haven’t bought from you yet.
I’ll cover this topic in more detail on another blog post about sales funnels and value ladders, stay tuned. Meanwhile, if you want to map out your first sales funnel and value ladder, download my FREE sales funnel map here.
15- Include a hook
Here’s where it pays off to plan ahead (for those who cringe at the thought of a marketing plan, content plan or any plan).
Do you watch soap opera? Or a TV series perhaps?
Have you noticed they always end an episode with some mystery, fight, intrigue, jaw-dropping moment, some kind of hook? Then you HAVE to watch the next episode.
What does all of this have to do with email marketing? Everything!
Want your readers to be waiting for your next email? End the previous one with a hook!
Keep an eye out for my next blog post about what to write in your emails. This is a question I hear over and over again.
If you’re not using emails because you don’t know what to write, you won’t want to miss this blog post jam-packed with ideas on what to send to your subscribers.
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