Is email marketing dead?
With all the talk of video, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and chatbots, it sometimes seems like email is long past its prime.
But if you think email is dead, you’re missing out on the real metrics. The truth? Email marketing is still going strong today, and is possibly the best possible strategy for your business.
Based on 2018 data, email marketing is still ranked as the most effective marketing channel, beating out social media, SEO, and affiliate marketing.
Why is that? With all the hype over new channels, why is decades-old technology still one of the most effective marketing strategies?
I think the answer has something to do with the fact that people use email more than other platforms. After all, what’s the good of marketing to someone if they’re not there?
Data from 2017 shows that most people are on email—85% of adult internet users in the US.
That beats out search engines by 15% and social media by 22%—not small numbers in an industry that gets excited over single-digit conversion rate improvements.
That’s why building a successful email marketing campaign is more important than ever for entrepreneurs. But there’s a problem—most people don’t know how to do it right.
Today, you’ll learn exactly how to start an email marketing campaign from scratch.
Remember—you’re a guest in their inbox
People are inundated with interruptions, pitches, and advertisements everywhere they look.
Though you might think your email is special, there’s a high probability that to the reader, it looks the same as the rest.
This is why it’s important to remember where you are, and use your good manners as a result.
Getting into someone’s inbox is like being invited to their home for dinner. If they ask you to take your shoes off, you respectfully do so.
It’s the same with email marketing, so before we begin I’d simply like to remind you to be on your best behavior at all times and remember… you’re a guest in their inbox.
Phase I: Get permission
Of course, no email campaign was ever built without getting permission to get started, so first, we’ll need to focus on building a sizable email list.
There are many ways you can do this, of course. Some prefer to give something away for free while others simply offer a newsletter or product updates.
For example, business newsletter Morning Brew offers readers a simple benefit—their fun, interesting updates every morning.
I can’t tell you which is the right or wrong answer for your incentive, but I can tell you that it’s important to have a clear purpose when asking for an address.
This is where a strong call to action comes into play, and copywriting is super important.
Establish your credibility, explain what the emails are for, and get people interested in receiving them.
Simply posting “enter your email for updates” isn’t going to get anyone excited. Instead, consider sharing specifics.
By sharing a specific call to action or benefit to giving your email address, you can get more people to subscribe.
Some common ways to entice people to sign up include:
- Email series
- Free downloads
- Free white papers or eBooks
- Update lists, like new releases and product updates
Whatever that incentive is, make it clear and enticing, and don’t be afraid to promote it.
Phase II: Follow through with great content
Email marketing is all about expectations, and it’s up to you to set them.
If your call to action is strong, and your follow-up is consistent, then you can count on a positive campaign.
However, if you promise to send one email per week and instead send them daily, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.
On the contrary, if someone is expecting daily updates or critical product updates and you don’t’ deliver, then they are likely to be just as upset in that case too.
This is why the first follow-up email is so crucial to the success of your email marketing efforts.
For example, here’s a basic welcome email from Airbnb to a new host. It explains the basics of the process and what you can expect to receive from Airbnb.
Almost all email service providers give you the option to create an autoresponder sequence, and it’s imperative that you take advantage of it.
The initial follow-up email should be sent immediately as a way to introduce yourself and detail what you plan on doing with your new subscriber’s email address.
It’s better to be long-winded and detailed than it is to be quick and unobtrusive, but if you can pull off quick and concise, then more power to you.
From here, it’s simply a matter of living up to their expectations.
When to pitch a product
You’re not running an email list just for the fun of it—you’re there to engage customers and make sales.
But transitioning from an email list that provides tons of free value into a list that pitches a product for money can be a tricky switch to make.
To do it effectively, it’s a good idea to think in advance about your pitching. You don’t want to surprise everyone with a pitch all of the sudden.
You’ll have a much more successful campaign if people expect sales pitches every once in a while.
If you’re going to get in the habit of selling often, try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes.
Ask yourself if your messaging is consistent with the expectations you’ve set. If possible, understand what the customer has shown interest in before, and send similar offers down the line.
Those that send blind offers are far more likely to lose permission to keep doing so.
Again, each business has different needs, and there aren’t any hard and fast rules as to how often you can pitch or provide content.
Just remember that an email list is a permission asset and it’s better to err on the side of caution than to play it loose and reckless.
How to write a great email newsletter
While we’re on the topic of content, let’s talk about the difference between a good newsletter and a bad newsletter.
The first sign that you’ve received a bad newsletter is that you don’t recall ever asking to receive it.
Typically, this happens when a business either fails to maintain a regular email routine or uses poor form and manually adds someone to their list after receiving a business card or personal email.
Make sure everyone remembers you—the best way to do this is not to let your emails lapse for too long. Try to send at least one a month, with one a week being closer to ideal.
I find that the most compelling newsletters are those that do a great job of mixing messaging and updates.
For example, while the email might contain a list of product updates and images, it’s balanced by a personal message or friendly memo.
As a rule of thumb, try to use your newsletter as a way to further your relationship with the reader/customer rather than to pitch them.
Save the pitch for unique updates, offers, and announcements.