Welcome to the wonderful world of email marketing. I’ll be your guide.
The use of email to build brands and push sales is one of the oldest digital marketing strategies, yet is still extremely effective. Email marketing has been around for nearly 40 years, in some capacity, but only in the last two decades has it really been able to harness the power of mass communication and marketing on a large scale.
A staggering amount of companies use email marketing technology, yet a surprising amount of them don’t have a solid email marketing plan in place.
Define Your Goals
The first step you must take before moving forward with email marketing is defining tangible easy-to-measure goals. If you want to hit 10,000 visitors a month, you need to specify that. If your goal is to sell $25,000 worth of webinar subscriptions this year through your email list, be sure to note it. Note your key performance indicators (KPI) and work around them.
Email marketing can be used to reach a wide variety of objectives, but, without a focused strategy, your misguided efforts and output will seep into your email messages.
The Almighty Email Marketing List
In order to start using email marketing, you’ve got to first start putting together an email list. Your email marketing strategy must be integrated with a plan to grow your email list and funnel the traffic to ultimately turn into customers.
Your list is your bread and butter. It must be grown and nurtured if you want any shot at having an effective email marketing strategy.
If you go to your inbox right now, you might see that you’re somehow already subscribed to a handful of newsletters. This means that at some point in your internet browsing and shopping, you willingly entered your email address to join an email list (or forgot to uncheck the subscribe box).
Now it’s time to reverse-engineer the process to see how you can harness the power of being able to reach your target audience at any time with any message.
Build and Keep Email List Demand
Think back to the reason you may have subscribed to an email list in the past. You were incentivized to subscribe with the promise of some sort of value, and voila! you started receiving regular or semi-regular emails from blogs and companies.
Whether that was a free eBook, future discounts, regular blog post updates, or a regular newsletter, you perceived the email list worthy of being in your inbox on a regular basis.
Now, think about what pushed you to unsubscribe from an email list. Perhaps it was a series of lackluster newsletters. Whatever it was, they lost your interest, and you dismissed them forever with the click of an unsubscribe link.
Your email marketing strategy should include a way to build up and maintain demand for it, or people will start dropping off faster than people are subscribing.
Your email list must be irresistible enough that people will not only want to sign up but will eagerly expect your next email.
Building the initial demand involves focusing and communicating the main advantage your subscribers get from signing up, which could be anything—discounted products, valuable industry news, or advanced learning tips. Be completely clear about what subscribers can expect, in order to get the highest quality opt-ins.
The next step is simple: Deliver.
Stick to Your Email Marketing Goals and Iterate
An email marketing strategy is two-fold: delivering extremely good and valuable content to your email list, and also meeting the hard, tangible goals you set out in your marketing plan.
The middle-ground between these two strategies is delicate. Never having a call to action will never push the needle toward your ROI goals. Constantly blasting out promotional content will drive unsubscribes.
It takes some creativity, but, once you find the sweet spot in which your email list is continuously growing and traffic from the list is being efficiently driven to your site, you will have a much clearer picture of the best ways to iterate your email marketing plan.
It’s rare that a business owner nails the perfect email marketing strategy on the first try. These first steps are all it takes to start using email marketing, but, in order to optimize your strategy for your audience, goals, and niche, you must continuously iterate and benchmark your results.