If you’ve searched even slightly to learn email marketing to any degree, you’ve no doubt heard the rumors. “Email marketing is dead.” “Email is a dinosaur.” “It just doesn’t work.”
The truth is, nothing could be further from the truth.
These days, it’s true most of the focus is on social media — and there’s plenty of traffic there for sure — but what you’re after is returns…conversions on your marketing investment.
And there’s little reason to spend most of your focus on your smorgasbord of social media outlets when you can learn email marketing and get literally 12 times the clicks from an email than from a Twitter or Facebook post. (Not kidding.)
That being said, there’s still “bad” email marketing just like there’s “bad” forms of everything else (even parfaits. And everybody likes parfait.)
So how do you learn email marketing in an efficient, effective way, that will generate more leads, more clicks, and ultimately sales for your business?
First thing’s first…
1. Build a list of targeted, quality leads
Notice the “targeted” and “quality”. This is important. Building a list is not a simple matter of collecting every email address you can think of and putting it in your contacts folder. Why would someone who is allergic to cats be interested in your litter box business? Is your brand of windshield ice-scraper really useful to someone in Miami, Florida?
In practice, random recipients is almost as useless as no recipients. The success of your email marketing campaign is largely dependent upon the people you’re contacting.
What you want are people who:
1) Have given you permission to contact them
2) Are interested in your product
3) Are likely to make a buying decision
In that order. Each one is essentially no good without the one before it.
Learn Email Marketing List Building Methodology
There are many ways to build such a list. (See Top 15 Ways to Build a Mass Email List) And of course the most common tool for collecting the necessary info is the online opt-in form.
Opt-in forms generally appear in one of two places…directly on the website itself, or on a separate page the viewer is shown before they reach their main destination. These separate pages (commonly called “squeeze pages”) can be a huge asset in converting casual viewers into dedicated subscribers.
An attractive, well-presented squeeze page can generate a very high percentage of opt-ins, giving you a great vehicle for building your list of potential clients. There is a lot that goes into creating a high-capturing squeeze page, which I go into in my training, but here is a sneak peek:
You need to give the viewer a reason to opt-in. Sure you might get a few subscribers from “Join our company newsletter!”…but who really wants to join a company newsletter? Could there be anything that sounds more boring?
The sometimes harsh reality is: people don’t really care about you or your company. What they want is solutions to their problems. They want to be entertained. They want their life to be made easier or more enjoyable (even if just the slightest bit).
And it’s your job as an entrepreneur to provide that for them. Learn email marketing the right way, and you’ll have one more tool in your utility belt to accomplish that task.
Tell the visitors to your site what they’re going to get from you if they opt-in. Show them why exactly you deserve their time and attention. What problem of theirs are you going to solve? How exactly are you going to provide value to them?
Maybe you’re going to show them a better way to protect their private information online. Perhaps you’ll tell them more about a product that will help them cook small meals more efficiently. Whatever it is, it needs to be something that is understandably useful or enjoyable to the viewer.
You might even make your initial offer an actual free product they’ll receive just for subscribing to your list. A free e-book focused on some specific aspect of your overall industry, a free audio of an expert explaining some tips they can start using today…something immediately beneficial. This not only gives the visitor a reason to want to hear more from you, but also establishes your credibility as a useful resource to them. When you begin to think outside the box in these terms, you’ll learn email marketing can easily be one of your top business drivers.
2. Manage your list
As you learn email marketing and build a list of quality prospects interested in what you do, you need to have a way to organize, manage, and utilize that list.
This is where your email services provider comes in. No, I’m not talking about Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail. You may love your personal email, but they’re just not designed to handle list management.
You’re looking for a way to stay connected with up to tens or even hundreds of thousands of people…to provide them with content-rich messages that offer useful or entertaining information they are interested in…to test different offerings and find out what your people want most from you, with a method of tracking those results…and a way to do all this without making it into a full time job.
Email marketing software is specifically designed for these tasks and more. It can provide endless tools for:
- Composing attractive, professional messages
- Designing effective opt-in forms
- Automating followups
- Scheduling messages for specific future times and dates
- Split-testing different messages and forms to see which is most effective
- Tracking opens, clicks, subscriber rates, and more
There are certainly more than a baker’s dozen companies that provide such software, ranging from high monthly fees, to completely free.
However, don’t expect to find all the same features in the lower-priced options. Prices are also largely determined by the size of your list. You can usually get a quality free service if you have less than a couple hundred subscribers. However, as your list grows, you’ll tend to need higher capacity and more options.
For help deciding which service might best fit for your current stage of business, do a search for reviews outlining the different software packages, such as this one comparing two of the more popular service providers: Email Marketing Reviews: AWeber vs. GetResponse.
3. Nurture Your List
After you have a list of subscribers and some email marketing software at your disposal, the next step is to use them! But use them wisely. You’ll quickly learn email marketing is not about stuffing your subscribers’ inboxes with as much advertising as you possibly can. You need to nurture that list. These are all potential clients or customers. If you don’t treat them right, or provide value to them at least a high percentage of the time, they’ll unsubscribe, or worse, they may just stop opening your emails.
Just as when you were asking for their permission to contact them, every time you send a message you are asking for their attention. You’re asking for them to take time out of their busy schedule and their crowded inbox to read what you have to say. Don’t make them regret it!
Any time you compose a message you should be asking: “Will this appeal to my subscribers?” “Will they get something out of this?”
You need to be able to answer “yes” to those questions, or you should probably be rethinking the email. See The Key to Successful Email Marketing for details on how to make sure you properly engage your list members.
As your business grows, the effort you spent pays off quite rewardingly. It won’t take long to learn email marketing is actually one of the most valuable aspects of not only growing your customer base, but maintaining customer relationships and loyalty.
About the Author
Craig James is an internet marketer and real estate investor based out of Los Angeles California, teaching entrepreneurs how to automate their business and explode their presence online using SEO-optimized Webpages, Viral Blogging Techniques, Pre-Tested Landing Pages, and Custom Sales Funnels. If you are interested in learning more about how to make money online with Craig James, contact him today on his website at