Email marketing can be a very intimidating aspect of becoming an online entrepreneur. It is a process where you are asking permission to take someone’s name and email address, something very personal to many people, and contact them on a regular basis.
You may have many different questions and concerns about integrating email marketing as a part of your overall strategy for success. If you are new to this process, you will want to learn a variety of things such as the basic technical steps, the strategic options you have, and the etiquette that needs to be considered when communicating with your list.
Below, you will find the answers to ten of the most common questions about email marketing. This will provide you with a solid foundation to get started so that you can stop wasting time and build a list that is eager to hear your expertise and insight.
The longer you put this task off, which is a common obstacle for many, the more you are delaying profits and branding that could elevate you to the next level of success as an online marketer.
- What Is Email Marketing?
- How Do I Build a List of Subscribers?
- What Email Autoresponder System Should I Use?
- What Kinds of Emails Should I Send to Subscribers?
- How Often Should I Be Emailing My List?
- How Do I Create a Template to Use in My Email Marketing Campaigns?
- How Do I Segment My List?
- What Are Some Things to Avoid with Email Marketing?
- How Do I Re-Engage with a List That's Grown Cold?
- How Do I Split Test and Analyze the Results of My Email Campaigns?
What Is Email Marketing?
For those who are brand new to the concept and don’t know what email marketing is, it’s a strategy of communicating with your target audience directly in their inbox rather than waiting for them to approach you on your blog or on social media platforms.
Many marketers use email marketing to showcase their expertise as a niche leader, to promote products and services (either as a vendor or affiliate), and to serve the needs of their audience.
You can drive traffic to your blog, to sales pages or to your social media accounts. Ideally, you’ll be doing a combination of informing, educating and entertaining your audience through your email autoresponders.
This is one of the best ways to level up your business because it’s a cost-effective strategy that builds momentum over time. It lets you build a strong rapport with your subscribers and most systems give you a plethora of analytical data so that you can improve your conversions over time.
How Do I Build a List of Subscribers?
Before you start sending out emails, you have to have someone to send them to, right? In order to build a list of subscribers, you have to go through a process that begins with narrowing down your target audience.
Not everyone in the world is going to want to be on your list. So think of who your demographic is. Are they men – or women? What age group are they? What interests do they have?
Once you know more about them, you can create a lead magnet that will be of use to them. This can either eliminate a pain point or obstacle – or it can be used to elevate their life to the next level, helping them achieve a goal they’ve set for themselves.
Your lead magnet offer can be a report or video course. It might be a series of emails that are drip-fed to subscribers over the course of a week or more. Try not to rely on the simple, stale statement of, “Sign up for updates,” because you need a stronger incentive to convince people to hand over their contact details.
You need to make it easy for people to sign up. A first name and email address will suffice. Don’t start asking for their mailing address and phone number (or even their last name) because you will lose many subscribers if you do.
Put your opt in form on its own landing page where you can drive traffic to it strategically. But also include it below each blog post, so that if someone enjoys your content, they can immediately sign up to your list.
You also want to have the opt in form in the sidebar of your blog so that people can see it on every page of your site when they are navigating around. There are some platforms that allow you to build a list from your profile, such as a Facebook page, so be sure to integrate that there.
Sometimes, there will be a niche giveaway event that you can take part in. Numerous marketers all find something they want to give as a free gift and everyone drives traffic to the site.
Your listing can send people to your opt in page where the leads can sign up as subscribers and download their gift. You also want to make sure that if you sell a product on a platform like Warrior Plus, that you have your autoresponder system connected so that buyers are sent a confirmation email to get on your list.
What Email Autoresponder System Should I Use?
Your email autoresponder is the system you’ll be using to gather the contact information of your subscribers and then queue up emails to be send out to them. You want to choose the best one that’s right for you.
They all have individual pricing plans, but the great news is – most have a free option for newbies to begin building momentum with their list before they pay anything. MailChimp, Aweber and GetResponse are three of the most popular autoresponders that are perfect for newbies.
With Aweber and GetResponse, you can use their system free for up to 500 subscribers. MailChimp lets you have up to 2,500 email sends per month at no cost, but the emails will be branded.
They each have their own type of system that can include templates you can customize, landing page builders, segmentation and data analysis provided, and more. If you know you want to integrate your autoresponder somewhere specific, make sure that the platform you’re considering will work with that.
Some people primarily base their first choice for an email autoresponder system on how much it costs them. But you have to think long-term. It’s not a fun or easy process to migrate an entire list over to a new platform, so you want to choose something you’ll be happy with as you grow your list.
What Kinds of Emails Should I Send to Subscribers?
There are different types of emails you can send, along with different styles (like longer or shorter emails). You will find the best way to communicate with your target audience, and it needs to be genuine for you – not a spammy, false persona.
Authenticity is important. But you can also control the types of emails you send out to people. This is something that stumps many individuals. They build a list and then have no idea what to say to them.
The very email you’re going to create is a welcome email. This not only tells them that you’re happy to have them as a new subscriber, but it provides them with the access link to the free gift they were promised when they signed up.
After that email is written, you need some marketers go with a simple newsletter. This can include a variety of items where you discuss trends and news in your niche, offer insight or tips about how to do something, share updates or progress on products, and so on.
You can also send emails where you only do one of those things, rather than having multiple items in the email. Promotional emails are where some marketers get intimidated.
You want to make sales and commissions, but you don’t know how to sell in an email. Promote products that you feel are truly worthy to your subscribers – and protect their interests at all costs.
Your email should cover briefly the benefits they’ll enjoy, the reason you feel it’s a good fit for them, and what your specific thoughts are if you reviewed it. Make sure you abide by all rules for emailing out about a product as an affiliate.
You also might want to occasionally survey your subscribers. This is especially helpful if you are creating info products and want to tailor it to their needs. Use a tool like SurveyMonkey for this purpose.
If you have any type of event, like an upcoming online webinar or in-person meet up, you can make an announcement in your email letting people know so they can attend that.
How Often Should I Be Emailing My List?
Email frequency will depend on your niche and what you want to achieve with your email marketing. No two marketers have to engage with their subscribers on the same timeline.
Some marketers send out multiple times per day, and some only once a month. For most, there’s a happy mix – such as sending an email out about three times per week or so.
You’re going to have people complain no matter what. Some will hate daily emails, and others will email you if you fail to email them every day because they miss the email. Some hate hearing less frequently, and some prefer it.
You can always give people an option of how often they want to hear from you, such as having a daily list and a weekly digest of everything you’ve emailed out previously in the week.
The types of emails that you send might make a difference in their frequency, too. For example, you’re not going to want to survey people every day. They will grow tired of this task.
An event email will also probably be less frequent. But things like informative emails, promo emails and newsletters can be sent more often. Test the waters to see how your subscribers react whenever you increase or decrease the amount of emails you’re sending out.
You might not have anyone reach out with an opinions about it. Instead, you might just look at your analytical data and see a high number of people unsubscribing when you start to email more often, which will tell you that it may be a good idea to lighten up.
How Do I Create a Template to Use in My Email Marketing Campaigns?
Sometimes, having a template to work from can make your email marketing process go smoother and faster. This works if you have a certain type of email that you will routinely be sending to your target audience.
Check to see what the specific process is for creating a template for your email autoresponder system. Generally, you’ll want to have a specific style or purpose for your email, such as a newsletter template.
Then you can work to design something suitable for that, including the graphics and layout of the email template. Some systems have premade templates, or they allow you to design one from scratch.
If there are certain areas where you can go ahead and pre-fill the text that will be used again and again, do that. This shortcuts the process even more. At the very least, you can choose some placeholder text and go ahead and format it so that it’s ready to go next time.
If there are images or graphics you plan to use repeatedly, upload those into your template. Make sure you’re branding your business consistently so that they begin to recognize your emails immediately.
You can save your template once you’re finished designing it and use it in the future. Make sure you give it a test run to ensure it delivers as you wanted it to in terms of appearance and layout.
How Do I Segment My List?
Did you know that no matter how large your list gets, you can still email only a portion of the people who are signed up to it? This is known as segmenting your list, and it can come in handy for a variety of reasons.
You may want to separate your list based on specific circumstances, such as those who have bought a particular product or those who have opened a certain email and clicked on a link.
In order to segment your list, look at the instructions for whatever email autoresponder platform you are using. The first thing you want to do is have a specific reason why you want to segment your list, such as whatever behavior or action they have taken in the past.
Find the built in tool within your email autoresponder system that will allow you to create a new segmented list. You will be able to send a message out just to these individuals that the rest of your list will not receive.
For example, if you want to send an email out to people who have purchased a specific product, because you know that they will also like another one, you can tailor an email just for that group.
Whenever you segment your list, it allows you to improve your conversion rates. This can improve your overall email marketing effectiveness, and help you manage the subscribers on your list better so that each one of them feels as if you have a finger on the pulse of their needs.
What Are Some Things to Avoid with Email Marketing?
Right now, you are concerned with how to do things right when it comes to email marketing. While learning what to do, you also need to learn what not to do. For example, you want to make sure that when you begin sending out emails to your list, that you are testing each email before it goes out to the rest of your list.
Another thing you want to avoid is spamming your subscribers to the point where they no longer want to hear from you. This is often known as churn and burn, when a marketer throws every promotion they know of at a subscriber until they either purchase or leave their list.
Another thing you want to avoid is copying or stealing someone else’s emails to users your own. You may find swipe files of emails that people are giving others permission to use.
Even if you find a swipe file that seems suitable for your list, you want to change things up and use it as a springboard for an idea only. You don’t want these subscribers to feel as if you are a cookie cutter replica of another marketer.
Another thing you want to avoid with email marketing is buying or selling lists. Buying a list of subscribers who have not given you express permission to send them any communications will result in you developing a bad reputation.
Selling your own subscribers off to someone without their permission is also a bad business move. People are trusting one individual to have access to their name and email address, and they do not want their information transferred to others.
Not only does this simply reflect poorly on you, but it can also cause your account to be flagged for spam, and you would eventually lose your entire subscriber base, including the ones who did give you permission to contact them.
Another thing you don’t want to do is failed to ensure that your emails are mobile friendly. Many people no longer use a PC to access their emails. Instead, they are on their smartphone or other gadgets such as an iPad.
How Do I Re-Engage with a List That’s Grown Cold?
When a list has grown cold, it means one of two things – the first being that you have collected the name and email addresses of individuals and the either never emailed them, or gradually stopped emailing them to the point where they no longer know who you are or why you have their contact information.
The second reason a list grows cold is if they list subscribers themselves stop engaging with you. This has happened to many successful marketers. They start off with momentum, wanting to build a list.
But then, something happens in life or their nerves get the best of them and they never communicate with their prospective customers. Before you simply delete your list and start over, know that there is a way you can re-engage with these people that you have been inactive with for a long period of time.
You will have people who unsubscribe when they hear from you again, but you will also have people who are happy that you are now in communication with them again. You want to start by writing a re-engagement email.
Depending on how you have communicated with them in the past, you may want to make this personal and explain what happened and where you have been. For some people, they simply create an email that provides a gentle reminder and offers something special (like a new freebie) to get back in the swing of things.
If your list has grown cold because they are simply no longer responding to you, even though you have been in communication with them, you may need to reevaluate your efforts as an email marketer and make improvements that will generate a better response.
Besides segmenting your list to help your emails perform better, you can also re-engage your subscribers by sending different types of content to see what they respond better to.
They may have grown disinterested in the style that you have been using. For example, if you are using long, informative emails, you might want to try something different such as short form video that you link out to that they can consume much easier.
There are other things you can do besides changing the media format. For example, you might try to email out at a different time or on a different day than you previously did to see if they respond better to that.
You may need to reintroduce yourself and emphasize the reason they signed up to your list in the first place. Providing them with a survey to let them know you’re stepping up to serve their needs is also a welcomed email from those who have ghosted you (or who you disappeared on).
To prevent a list from growing cold again in the future, make sure that you are consistent with your email marketing communications that go out to your subscribers. You also want to make sure you are paying attention to your analytical data so that you can see when they begin to no longer respond to you, so that you can repair the damage immediately rather than waiting until an entire list has grown cold.
How Do I Split Test and Analyze the Results of My Email Campaigns?
To get the most out of your email marketing, you want to make sure that you are doing two things strategically. The first is split testing your email messages that go out so that you know what elements are performing better than others.
The second is analyzing the data that is returned as a result of these split test and as a result of your ordinary emails that go out, even if they are not part of a split testing campaign.
You can split test different aspects of your email campaigns. For example, you might test two different subject lines against one another. You might test the length of the email, long versus short, to see which one gets the best response.
If you want the email recipient to click on a link, then you may want to split test the call to action so that you can see which one has more of an impact on your overall results. You can even split test the layout of your messages, or even just the personality or tone that you use.
Going through this process is useless if you fail to look at the data afterwards. You can set up a split test within your email autoresponder system easily, and once the campaign has run its course, you will be able to gather information to see what worked and what didn’t.
For example, you will get to see which email had a higher open rate based on the subject matter. You can see which email provided you with a better click through rate and conversion rate.
Getting this information back quickly can give you some insight into how your next email should unfold. Split testing is a continual strategy that you should be using on a regular basis, making note of the results and using them in upcoming campaigns.
Email marketing is a wonderful tool that online marketers have at their disposal. It’s not expensive to get started with it, it allows you to tailor it to your own style, and it’s an effective way to build interest in your brand and ultimately, help you increase your profits.
There’s no perfect email marketing strategy that will suit everyone. But you will learn, over time, what your subscribers do and don’t respond to – and you’ll be able to make the privilege of having their contact information work in your favor, as long as you treat them well.