Did you know that for every $1 spent, email marketing generates a return on investment of $38? And that email has been found to be 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. Oh and, those email subscribers of yours? They are 3 times more likely to share your content via social media than visitors from other sources.
If that doesn’t tell you that email marketing should still have a place in your overall client acquisition/care strategy, I’m not sure what will ☺ Like everything else though, you gotta do it right so let’s start with the basics:
Choose the Right Email Service Provider
Choosing an email service provider should involve finding a solution that meets your business needs right now and has the capacity to grow with you.
As you start to compare the different options out there, ask yourself:
- What is the scope of your needs?
- How easy is it to use?
- Do you need it to integrate with your website, landing pages, eCommerce and CRM systems?
- Will you have access to campaign performance data in a format that you can make sense of?
- What do others say? Are you in a Facebook group with other business owners with similar needs? What do they say about the different options out there?
Understand the Single vs. Double Opt-in Process and Decide Where You Stand
Before you start your email marketing efforts, you need to decide if you want subscribers to single or double opt-in to your email list. The key difference between the two is that the latter requires subscribers to go through the added step of confirming their subscription before being added to your list.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. Single opt-ins are easy on the subscriber and great for fast list growth – but list quality tends to drop with typos, spam complaints and that sort of thing. Double opt-ins offer a better quality list and email open rates – but that added step can cost you subscribers.
Ultimately, there isn’t a right or wrong answer here. You need to do what sits well with you taking into account all variables including any country specific anti-spam laws that you might have to adhere to. In the long run though, I’d tend to value a process that protects the quality of my email list and my reputation.
Tip #1: It’s good practice to include an obvious unsubscribe link in every email and to remind subscribers how they ended up on your list.
Today’s consumer landscape is such that the path to purchase is no longer a simple, straight line but a complex web of touch points. It’s been said that it takes 6 to 8 touches to move a person from cold to hot lead.
And this is where the autoresponder series comes in.
For those of you who are wondering, this is a series of emails that you write, and then set up to send at pre-set intervals to those who prequalify/ask for it. The beauty of it all is you put the hard work of crafting your sequence and setting it up once, and then you let it go. Each time someone invites you into their inbox, your email series is automatically triggered to start.
An autoresponder could simply be the welcome message someone receives from you after signing up for a free PDF download from your website. It could be a five-part series of tips and strategies to take an online course from idea to reality. It could also be a 10-day email course that teaches people how to use Pinterest to grow their business effectively.
Tip #2: Autoresponders work just as well for online and offline businesses.
Tip #3: Plan the entire sequence before you start – know how many messages you want to include, what the triggers are, how long between emails, and what your big objective is.
Tip #4: Offer subscribers other ways of connecting with you. Anyone who joins your email list has more than likely done so because they appreciate the value your content offers. Why not create other touchpoints?
Tip #5: Treat your autoresponder series like you treat your blogs; a living document that will need to be updated over time.
Maximize Your Subject Lines
Email subject lines are your first (and most times, only) chance to make your reader want to stop, click and read.
Throw into the mix Microsoft’s finding that 50% of the typical inbox is newsletters, while another 20% is social network updates – and your competition isn’t necessarily your competitor but everyone else in that inbox! Take the time to craft great headlines.
Tip #6: Aim for succinct, create a sense of urgency, and for the love of God, let there be no misrepresentation! Your subject line needs to match your content.
Personalize Your Emails for Better Conversions
A report I came across indicated that across almost every industry studied, including the recipient’s name in the email subject line increased open rates by as much as 42%. It was also cited that only 35% of marketers are leveraging personalized subject lines.
The awesome thing is most email tech today enables you to personalize your emails based on the information you’ve gathered from your audience at the very start of your process (the opt-in form). At the most basic level, this allows you to address the reader by name.
Tip #7: Always preview your email and send a test version to yourself to see how it looks in your inbox… make sure it’s accurate… and avoid any embarrassing mistakes.
Don’t Forget the Call to Action
Your call-to-action is one of the most important components of your email, because the endgame is almost always to get your readers to take action (examples: download a report, sign up for a course, upgrade to a paid course, trial a template you’ve created, respond to a survey, follow you on social media, hit reply, click through to your website.)
Tip #8: A call to action doesn’t live in isolation from the rest of your content. Your readers are likely to click only after reading your email, so make your content scannable and position the ‘ask’ appropriately.
Tip #9: Amplify the value of the click. Within the context of your next email sequence, put yourself in your reader’s shoes, finish the sentence “I want to ….” and use what you come up with as your button copy.
Tip #10: Use visual elements, like arrows, to guide the reader’s eye to your call to action.
Be Prepared to Play the A/B Testing Game
There is something called the A/B test feature which will offer you a way to send two variations of an email to your audience so that you can then track your results and monitor which one your audience responds to.
The underlying premise is that with each variation, you are trying to establish the best combination of variables to optimize your results in terms of open rates, links clicked, conversion to sales etc.
Examples of A/B test possibilities:
- Call to action (e.g. “Book Now!” vs. “See Packages”)
- Subject line (e.g. “Are you dreaming big enough?” vs. “Why you must dream bigger”)
- The email layout (e.g. 1 Column vs. 1:2 Column)
- Personalization (e.g. “Dear Farrah” vs. “Dear Ms. Smith”)
- The specific offer (e.g. “Save 20%” vs. “Get 1 hour of support free!”)