Every successful online entrepreneur I know has an email list. But like most tasks new online business owners are told they need to do, often there is little information on how to do it. You’re tweeting and pinning and emailing, but are you doing it right?
In this week’s “From the WAH Experts,” I ask successful online entrepreneurs how to use their email list to make money. What are they emailing? How often? What are their tips for successful email marketing. You’ll notice a few themes that include emailing value over offers and send information your subscribers want to know about.
Doyle Buehler, The Digital Delusion
As you know, email marketing is a huge part of successful businesses online. Email can be used in many ways, but should be focused on the following key points:
1. Always deliver “value” – most businesses only send out a newsletter, filled with a lot of irrelevant information, how awesome you are, blah, blah, etc. Look at what the person receiving can actually DO with what you send. Are you delivering education and tips for how to solve your customer’s pain?
2. Life is not a perpetual promotion. While sales are important, not every email should be a discount. Give them something that is beyond “just another promotion”.
In general, the following rules apply:
a) Quality over quantity! Only send an email, when you have interesting content to offer. Once a customer has been “disappointed” by two or three emails with mediocre or run-of-the-mill content, he’ll learn to ignore your emails or, on a bad day, even unsubscribe.
b) Greet your subscribers and finish with a polite and friendly ending salutation! Getting to the point is great but leaving out these two elements is a mistake; greeting and ending salutation are expressions of respect.
c) Don’t write more than a screen-ful! Firstly, you want to “teach” your recipients that you offer short, intelligent, interesting information bytes, that your emails don’t drag on forever. Secondly, today many people read their emails on their smart phones, on their commute to work. Nobody appreciates reading long emails on a smart phone. If need be: Split the content in two or more emails or end on a call to action: “To learn more please call me at …”
Nick Brennan, Founder & CEO of Watch Social Media
I’m a huge believer in high-quality, educational content, not sales material. Showcase your expertise by providing valuable information (blog entries, white papers, e-books, etc.) the people on your list are looking for and the sales inqueries will come in. I promise. Never email your list more than once in a 7 day window. That is a recipe for spam complaints and unsubscribes. Instead email biweekly with the kind of content mentioned above and you’ll remain top of mind when your email hits their inbox without being an annoyance.
As for scheduling, favor the Central and Eastern time zones as 80% of the U.S. population resides there.
Javed S. Khan, EMpression: A Marketing Services Company
The first and most importantly exercise anyone must engage is prior to executing any campaigns with their list is to establish segments. The stronger the segmentation of your list, the more effective and targeted your email marketing program will be. Over 38% of consumers have stated that they remove themselves from email lists because they find the communication irrelevant and annoying. Why? They are receiving content that is not relevant to THEM. Segmentation will solve this issue and help with how you can maximize the usage of your lists.
One of the best ways to maximize your list is to treat it as a “sounding board” or “advisory team”. It will save on guessing and focusing your efforts on what people want to see and hear.
Communicate weekly, bi-weekly or monthly social media activity reports with your list. Encourage them to join your social media community as part of your call to
What do you send?
Speaking Engagement Announcements, Webinar Invitations, Networking Opportunities,
Curate Content – 3rd party
Social Media Integration
How often do you email?
At least 1-3x per month
Nicole Royer, Start-Up with Nicole
The biggest problem most newsletters have is that they don’t know what their audience wants. Most don’t want a weekly newsletter – they want a tangible solution to a problem they have. In order to do that for my audience, I constantly interact with them, check various sites for questions that people have about my area of expertise, and create resources based on problems my clients actually have. Every Friday morning, my mailing list receives a new business resource, workbook, downloadable, podcast, or blog post. Another thing many businesses forget is that an email list is part of your sales pipeline – you have to ask to make a sale in order to make one, and a mailing list allows you to do this for people who actually trust you and your brand.
Nicole Krug, Social Light
Perhaps the reason why email marketing can be so daunting is because it’s very flexible – you can use it to show of new products, drive up videos views, or even get your community engaged with a new social media campaign. While each brand will have different needs, goals and content to share, what’s consistent for everyone is that email is a great way to stay connected and top of mind with your list.
If you’re new to email marketing, my advice is to start with a monthly mailer so that you can create regular content without anyone feeling overwhelmed (including you). Try including a few elements such as a featured product or service, an upcoming event or links to your latest blogs. After you’ve sent your campaign use the analytics to see what people clicked on, this is a great way to learn what people on your list are interested in (and what they’re not) so that you can build better content to keep your audience engaged over the long term.
Carrie Aulenbacher, Romance author/freelance writer for Fridge Magazine.
My favorite way to use my email list is to include an author video in each month’s edition. This is exclusive to subscribers a month before it goes live on my YouTube channel. Instead of sending a long newsletter with a huge block of text, I give them an easy to watch video with small sidebars of other tidbits instead. I try to send the last Monday of every month, although depending on holidays, that’s not set in stone.
Dean Levitt, Chief of Culture at Mad Mimi Email Marketing and Director of Online Support for GoDaddy Email Marketing
*1. How to use an email list:*
The most obvious way to use an email list is to simply stay in touch with your customers, readers and subscribers. A monthly newsletter, even if it is short and contains a simple update about your business or blog or service is a fantastic way to keep these people engaged.
Other ways you can use your email list are for:
- Automated Follow-ups – using email platform tools like auto-responders, you can automate a welcome email or a follow-up 1 week after purchase.
- Serialized Emails – In keeping with auto-responders, you can create a series of emails that can be used to onboard new customers, share chapters of a book or share a “greatest hits” of your blog.
- Surveys – Sure, you may need to add in a form or work with a survey tool like Survey Monkey but email is the best way to do customer research.
- RSS to Email – If you’re a blogger, using RSS to Email features in your email platform make it super easy to send blog updates automatically!
*2. What do you send?*
Every email should have an over-arching goal like “I want readers to visit my website” or “I’d like to sell this red shirt.” Once you’ve decided on the goal, keeping your email short, and focused on getting readers to take an action that achieves that goal is vital. A strong call to action, near the top of the email and a brief description of why the goal is of value to your readers will net you a strong response.
*3. How often to do you email?*
The ideal frequency depends on your content and what your subscribers prefer but if you’re unsure, some experimentation is needed.
Most businesses should send a monthly newsletter and then possibly increase frequency from there. With increased frequency you’ll notice an increase in unsubscribes and
lowered view rates but don’t panic. Add up your open rates over the entire month and if you’re reaching more people by increasing your frequency then that may be the right tactic for you.
Ed Brancheau, Goozleology SEO
Email is still the most affordable and effective method to contact current and potential clients (especially when it comes to B2B). One method that I
like to implement is tracking social media to see what people are talking about (I use BuzzSumo) and then I simply send an email about it. And I like to send emails randomly every 3-10 days to keep my readers on their toes.
Lauren Pawell, owner of Bixa Media a digital marketing agencythat helps entrepreneurs turn their WordPress & Shopify websites into revenue-generating powerhouses.
1) Email autoresponder: This is a MUST for anyone who is engaging in email marketing. Why? It is automated, think “set it and forget it” and can increase your prospect customers knowledge about your brand and your product, encouraging them to buy. Think educational and go for 3-5 emails in this series. Focus on offering value to your new email subscriber.
2) Weekly campaigns: We send emails once per week, on Monday mornings. Any more than that and it would turn off our subscribers. We focus on providing useful and educational content that contains action items our readers can implement right away, without our help. We focus on this type of content approximately 80% of the time. 20% of the time we promote our services. Why? We believe if we can provide value to our email list, at no charge, and they know, like and trust us, when they do need help, we will be top of mind.
3) Tip: Not sure what content to send to your email list? Write down the 10 most frequently asked questions you get from your customers and turn each one into an email campaign. You’ll have 10!
Work-At-Home Success says…
Currently at Work-At-Home Success, emails go out on Tuesday and Fridays with information about current posts subscribers will want to read, notification of newsletter posting, and links to events and other great resources on the site. The thing I notice about emailing is that traffic goes up on the days I send an email. With increased traffic comes increased income, even if the the email doesn’t specifically make an offer. But of course, there is a balance. Too much email, and readers unsubscribe, especially if you email to many “buy me” offers.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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