Email marketing best practices
Email marketing can be one of the most effective marketing techniques available. You just need to have a strategic plan in place and start building a loyal following.
It’s never a good idea to just start sending cold emails to random people that didn’t opt in to your email campaign. If you try to sell products or services this way, you’re not going to have much success. You’ll most likely just waste valuable time and create a bad name for yourself.
Before anyone is willing to buy from you, they need to know a few things:
- Who are you?
- What is your reputation like?
- What products and services do you offer?
- How can you help me?
Building a positive reputation takes some time and multiple memorable contacts. How many contacts? On average, it takes about 7 before anyone is willing to buy from you. Obviously it depends on the niche, the price of your product or service, your reputation, your competition, etc.
How to start marketing with email
You’re going to need to look into an email marketing software program such as MailChimp, AWeber, or ConvertKit. There are others too and lots of them offer free trials or free services up to a certain number of subscribers, so shop around.
You can connect to most of them easily with your WordPress dashboard by installing their plugin and entering an API key that you will be provided with upon sign up.
The software I use is ConvertKit. You can easily set up multiple different email marketing campaigns and automate your email sequence. Then keep track of your analytics such as CTR (click through rate), open rate and unsubscribe rate. It’s great if you’re just starting out. You can request a free demo in the top right corner of convertkit.com. The downside is that it starts at $29 / month.
If you’re on a tight budget, check out mailchimp.com. It’s one of the most popular software programs available for email marketing and they actually offer a free account for beginners. This gives you up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails / month.
What is your main goal?
When putting together an email campaign, you want to start with the end in mind. What is your end goal? To gain a valuable returning customer that you can continue advertising your products or services to? Let’s say your ultimate goal is to sell a product for $197. Not a huge investment but still a tough sell if nobody knows who you are.
Even if you can get people to your landing page with the help of SEO, Adwords, Facebook marketing, etc., if you directly offer them your product for sale, you’re conversion rate will most likely be extremely poor. Almost everyone will just exit your site to never return again.
A better method is to advertise a product that you’re willing to give away for free in exchange for their email address. It could be an ebook or PDF or maybe even a physical product. It has to be something they’re not able to easily find anywhere for free. They need to be receiving something of value before they’ll be willing to give their email away to anyone. With a plan like this, you can be looking at a conversion rate of 20-50% (depending on the offer).
Before posting your ad
With your email marketing software, you can set everything up so that it is automated from start to finish. You should first write a thank you email to automatically be sent to new subscribers along with anything else you promised them.
Next you’ll be able to write out all your emails and have them ready to go. They’ll be automatically sent out to all of your subscribers in a designated sequence. Each time you send an email, you want to be providing some value. Don’t just email them to count it as a contact point and think you’re one step closer to pitching a sales offer. You’ll just annoy them and end up with a high unsubscribe rate. Also, don’t pitch your new subscribers a sales offer immediately after you send them your free offer. This won’t produce high conversions.
Once you have everything set up, including automated emails and your landing page with your free offer and email opt-in form, then you can create and post your ad.
Focus on Open rate, CTR and Unsubscribe rate
Your open rate is the percentage of people who have bothered opening your email. It will tell you how well you have established your relationship with your subscribers. If the number is low, you need to work harder on providing value and now is not the time to send a sales pitch. I’m a subscriber to a lot of email lists, some of which I open and read all the time and some that make me wonder why I haven’t yet unsubscribed. I have to hand it to Neil Patel and Brian Dean. I always open and read their emails and read the majority of the content that they link to. They do a great job at building relationships by always providing amazing value.
Although your CTR will be much lower than your open rate, if it’s too low, your messages are most likely not targeted enough. Are you wondering what sort or open rate and CTR you should be aiming for? Once again, it will depend on a few things such as company size, niche and competition. Hubspot has a great article on the average open rate and CTR based on company size and number of monthly emails. It will give you a good idea of what sort of goals you can set for yourself.
If your unsubscribe rate is high in comparison to your opt in rate, you aren’t doing a good job of providing value or are trying too hard to sell. Whether you’re using ConvertKit, AWeber, or MailChimp, you’ll be able to see your analytics for every individual email. Find out where you’re losing your subscribers and make some changes.
Segment your email subscribers
Segmentation is the process of splitting up your email lists into more targeted groups. Maybe you want an email campaign targeting your leads. Maybe you want a different campaign to be sent to existing customers. Some of your subscribers might only want to be receiving your weekly newsletter while others want your latest and greatest product updates. These are all things you can do with email marketing and the help of a professional software program.
It takes a bit of work getting all set up for the highest converting email campaigns and a lot of people don’t spend the time to do so. If you dedicate some time to do the grunt work and continue to test different approaches, in the end, a lot of the process will be automated and you’ll see the returns.
Keep reading for more marketing strategies. Next, I give an overview of Google Adwords and why it may be worth looking into.