While I’ve always been really good at consistently creating content for my online brand, email marketing has never been my strong suit.
The good news is I have gotten better at it over time. The more I learn about online marketing, and the more I learn how to apply it to my own brand as a millennial finance and business expert, the more clear I’ve gotten about what works and what doesn’t in email marketing.
Here are five email marketing lessons I’ve learned over the years. This includes the good, the bad and the ugly.
You get what you pay for.
Like most bloggers, I certainly didn’t start off with a budget that allowed me to spend any significant amount of money on email marketing.
However, as the years have progressed and my business earns more revenue, I’ve learned that when it comes to email marketing you certainly get what you pay for.
For example, that free email marketing service may have several restrictions on what you’re actually allowed to do. Furthermore, the lower cost one may not have great deliverability rates and require too many third party apps to really work in conjunction with other parts of your business.
The all-in-one systems – though far more expensive – give you the space, the email deliverability rates and several other functions that don’t require you to hack the system. For example, I can run my email marketing, e-commerce and CRM from the same platform.
My platform also allows me to systematize parts of my business without having to use a ton of third party apps. Even if I did need to use a third party app, my email marketing software has been around long enough where every third party app connects to it with ease. I found that this was sometimes an issue with the newer lower cost services.
With that being said, I’m not saying new small business owners should go find the most expensive email marketing software they can find. What I am saying is that as your business grows, so do your requirements for what you consider a good email marketing system.
Email marketing is only one part of the equation.
Email marketing is only one piece of the all-encompassing pie that is online marketing. You have to know how it’s going to work in conjunction with things like Facebook ads, sales funnels, product promotions, lead nurturing and more.
This stuff takes some time to figure out, especially as you get to know your audience better, so try not to feel too overwhelmed by it all. If I’ve noticed anything when it comes to email marketing is that slow and steady wins the race.
You can’t just throw everyone into one massive list.
One mistake a lot of people make (myself included at one point) when it comes to email marketing is that people tend to dump all their leads into one giant list and then proceed to send the same emails to everyone on that list.
That’s a big no-no and it’s going to lead to lack luster results. The reason for this is that some leads may be into one topic (like business) while others may be into another (like personal finance).
The key to getting better results with email marketing is to segment your list based on the different interests of your leads. From there, you start becoming more deliberate with the content you send them
For example, maybe you’re giving away a free worksheet that teaches people how to do better sales. When they opt-in to get the worksheet (more on that later) you can tag them as a “business” interest. From that point forward, you would only send that lead emails and content having to do with business and sales.
Now, let’s say the lead opted into a budgeting spreadsheet. Then you would tag them as “money” and only send them personal finance content based on their interest.
There are lots of different ways you can slice this depending on your business and I’m personally still learning about it. For now, I’m just keeping it simple with my two main topics.
You need a good opt-in offer to build your list.
List building is still probably the most important component of email marketing. Now, in order to build your list, you need to have a really good free offer.
I’ve experimented with lots of free offers throughout the years and I have found a few types of offers to be the most effective in converting people into leads.
- A free worksheet that helps them solve a problem quickly. An example of this would be my free “Write a Killer Pitch” worksheet which shows you the exact formula I use to pitch editors and get paid writing gigs.
- A webinar. Webinars are a great way to build your email marketing list. The best part is you no longer have to actually do them live. Instead, you record the webinar ahead of time and then run it as an evergreem webinar that plays whenever someone registers. I have found that making them seem like they are live and time sensitive is most effective so I’ll be experimenting with this more in the future.
- A free challenge. A free challenge or class is a great way to get people to opt in to your list. Here is a list of top money related online challenges as an example.
Once they’ve opted into the free offer then it should set off a series of emails to keep the leads nurtured. Your email marketing system should also set a tag so you know why they opted in and what kind of information they are looking for.
Keep it simple.
The most effective email marketing strategy I’ve learned is to always keep it simple. Marketing really isn’t that difficult. Neither is trying to convey a message or trying to get people to take action.
In fact, the more complicated you make your subject lines and your emails, the more you’re going to lose people. CopyBlogger has some great content on this subject so I highly recommend checking them out.
Email marketing is an extremely important part of running a business whether your business is online or brick and mortar. By using these tips you’ll be able to get more ROI for your efforts.