You sure could use some help in the email department right?
It’s one of those things people say you have to do on top of everything else on your plate.
But all these pesky questions on your mind!
They seem simple enough but you just can’t seem to find a straight forward answer.
I’ve been there.
When I first started getting my hands on everything email marketing, I couldn’t find answers to the most basic questions.
And I didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone because it just seemed so ‘obvious’. Maybe I was the only one with those questions.
But it’s these very questions that cause the inertia…
…that weigh you down and breed self doubt.
They cause you to not take any action. To not send emails or even start an email list.
Every blogger has had these questions at one stage or the other.
If that’s you, I hope this post helps you get your burning questions answered.
Click on any question that calls out to you first.
- What the heck is email marketing?
- When should I start my email list?
- When should I send my first email?
- I have a very tiny email list. How does email marketing matter to me?
- I have few subscribers. Should I go for a free email service provider like Mailchimp or a paid one?
- How do I pick the right email template?
- How often should I email?
- How do I prevent people from unsubscribing from my emails?
- What should I send? I don’t have enough original content on top of blog posts
- What’s an email newsletter? Do I need one?
- What do open rates and clickthrough rates mean?
- What are the usual standards for opens and click-throughs?
- How do I make sure I don’t land in the junk folder?
Email marketing is nothing but the marketing of your ideas, thoughts, messages or strategies.
Just as a blog is a medium for the marketing of your business, email is another platform.
Email Marketing is simply using email to distribute your marketing messages.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a product or service to sell. Every message that you put across to an audience is a marketing message.
Maybe you want them to try a new strategy…
…or you’re offering an alternative perspective…
…or you want to persuade them to click on a link to read something…that’s a marketing message right there!
If you have already launched your blog, start an email list immediately.
We all know an email list is important. But if you’re clueless as to how it really is important, here are some reasons as to why you need to start one today:The social conversation has to shift from 'why you need an email list' to 'what to do with it'Click To Tweet
You own your email list
You’re not building your community or tribe on someone else’s platform (i.e. Facebook, pinterest or instagram)Don't build your community on someone else's platformClick To Tweet
Social media is important but an email subscriber is more valuable than a social media follower. You won’t be scrambling whenever Facebook or Instagram changes its algorithm or see unusual plummets in traffic when Pinterest changes theirs.
In this post at Smart Passive Income, Pat Flynn talks about this one time when his site went down for a week but he was able to let his readers know what was going on through email.
This is why the email list is important – not just for pushing emails with offers and not just for driving traffic, but for staying connected – truly connect – to a group of people through an email list that you actually own. – Pat Flynn, SPI
There’s less competition
You’re not a status update that disappears within minutes, buried within people’s feeds. You are in their inbox and email is what people check every day.
Everyone’s inbox is overflowing–no doubt about that. But if your name resonates with value and you always over deliver on your emails, your emails will get opened and read.
It builds trust if you do it right
Trust is what you need to build a business. People don’t usually buy from a person immediately.
It takes several touch points before they recognize your name and what you can do for them. It’s just like coming in touch with a new brand. You need to see it a couple of times before you notice it.
Email helps you move your readers from one stage to the next.
From no awareness, to knowing who you are to recognizing what you do and how you can help them.
Yes, you can do this on social media through Facebook live but who decides what gets shown on your feeds? You have very little authority over this.
It’s the algorithm that trumps every single time.
And email is the one that lets you follow up with people, not social.Email allows you to follow up with people, not social.Click To Tweet
Your email list feeds your content
When you open a 2-way conversation with your subscribers, you gain tonnes of insight about what they are struggling with and what they need you to create for them.
You create products that are sold. Content that gets shared. And never have to wonder what to write again.
But to do this, you need to be open to responding to each of your subscribers personally.
You can’t expect input when you’re not willing to participate in the discussion.
Here’s what Kirsten Oliphant with Create if Writing says about responding personally to emails and I love that she says this:
I like to say in some of my signup email sequences that until I’m Taylor Swift, I will respond if they reply to my emails
Because till you reach a point where you’re too ‘big’ to respond personally to each of them, you have no excuse not to.Until you're too 'big' to respond personally to your subscribers, you have no excuse not toClick To Tweet
It helps you sell
Here are some quick stats that show you how effective email is in selling.
Email marketing was the biggest driver of Black Friday transactions, with 25.1% of sales originating from the marketing channel. Custora
For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25, Emailexpert
When you build trust with your subscribers, they are more inclined to buy from you. But you have to earn that trust and that takes time. No, email isn’t for purely selling. If you have a promotion in the email, ask yourself if the email still provides value if your subscriber doesn’t buy your productDoes your email still provide value if the subscriber doesn't buy your product?Click To Tweet
There’s so much pressure on this ‘first’ email.
If you set up a system even before you get subscribers on to your list, you won’t have the ‘first email’ jitters.
There are two emails that you need to have even before you start promoting your lead magnet/opt-in freebie or email list.
- An email that is sent out immediately after they sign up for your opt-in freebie
- A welcome email (in the very least) but if you want to roll-out the red carpet for subscribers, I would suggest doing a welcome email series via a sequence or autoresponder
Once you have these set-up, you already have emails going out to your subscribers. You’ll be more confident and it gets easier every single time after.
Do those people know that you have a small list?
They probably think they are part of a list of thousands.
If you treat your subscribers well and are generous with your time, they’ll become your ‘first 100 true fans’, a term I first came across in this article on Quick Sprout.
They’ll spread the word about your blog and share your content. They will become your promoters and get more people on to your list.
So a tiny email list is an opportunity.
We all start from zero. It’s knowing how to scale from there.
There are plenty of case studies from people who have had successful launches with a small email list. The most popular being John Meese who generated $10,000 dollars in only 7 days with just 250 subscribers.A tiny email list is a ripe opportunity, if only you take it.Click To Tweet
#5 I have few subscribers. Should I go for a free email service provider like Mailchimp or a paid one?
That’s entirely up to you and what plans you have for your blog and business.
You could always switch when you feel you have outgrown your email service provider.
I, personally started off on Convertkit from Day 1 because I had a certain direction for how I wanted to run my blog and Mailchimp didn’t provide the features that I was looking for. I could also see how Convertkit would help me scale and grow.
I’ve written about why I decided to invest in Convertkit vs Mailchimp when I was earning $0 on my blog here
The last thing you want is to be slowed down because of an external service provider or tool.
You don’t need a template.
Plain text emails have a better chance at displaying the way you want them to across different devices.
You simply can’t ignore mobile. According to a 2016 Litmus Email Report, these are the top email clients based on a study of worldwide email opens.
You don’t know which platform or device your subscribers will use to check their emails.
And if you want your emails to render the way you want them to, plain text is the way to go. You can’t guarantee that image based template emails will display correctly.
Contrary to what you believe, plain text emails also have a higher open rate than emails with images. That’s because they don’t scream ‘promotion’ from miles away.
Do mum and best friend Jen use flashy headers and graphic laden sidebars in their emails?
I didn’t think so. So don’t complicate your emails with images.
You want to email them as you would email your friend.
The simpler your emails, the lesser the distance between your subscriber and you.
Read this post on why Michael Hyatt changed his email strategy and now sends only plain text emails with a click-through to his blog. It reflects the sentiments I’ve raised in this point.The simpler your emails, the lesser the distance between your subscriber and you.Click To Tweet
Send email as often as people want to hear from you.
Not a straight forward answer, I know.
Receiving too many emails is the number one reason why people choose to unsubscribe from an email list.
But it’s all about being relevant. I have weeks where I’ve sent out 2 emails and people didn’t leave my list in waves. So it depends on the people on your list
Once a week is good for a start.
I’ll also say this: If you don’t have a good reason to send an email, don’t.If you don’t have a good reason to email your subscribers, don’tClick To Tweet
Not all unsubscribes are bad.
You should welcome the unsubscribe if you know you are consistently providing value to your list.
You’d rather have that person leave your list than stay unengaged or mark you as spam.
Here are a couple of reasons why people unsubscribe:
- They receive too many emails
What you should do: Set expectations from day 1 on how often you’ll email them. If you’re going to change your email frequency, let them know beforehand.
- Their direction or focus has changed
- Your emails are not relevant to them any more
- They are at a different experience level from your target audience
- They can’t remember how they got on your list in the first place
What you should do: Have a double opt-in. This is when subscribers have to confirm usually through a click that they are opting in to your list. It’s a micro-commitment on their part that they want to hear from you. Here’s an example:
Get them to raise their hands and say what they want from you.
Here’s an example of an email sent by Kirsten Thompson of Sweet Tea LLC. She gives her subscribers the choice of picking how often they want to hear from her.
Give them the choice to unsubscribe from a particular promotion or updates thread.
I always include the option to unsubscribe from my email course or blog post updates but still give them the choice to remain on my list.
Not everyone would have read every single piece of content on your blog.
If you have an archive of old posts, pick out pieces that are important for your subscribers to read.
If you’ve trouble figuring out what these pieces could be, ask yourself this question: If you have a Start Here page, what posts will you include in there?
These are the posts that you want to email to subscribers.
Write a teaser and link to your post in your email. There are several types of emails you can send and I list 16 archetypes in this post.
If you still have problems in this area, think of your emails as a thread. They have to nudge your subscribers along a journey. What do they have to know first? What do they need to know next? Your emails should help connect the dots in what you’re trying to help them achieve.Your emails should help subscribers connect the dots with what you're helping them achieve Click To Tweet
There are different types of emails you can send and an email newsletter is one type.
An email newsletter is a curated email containing links and resources to your own posts or external material you think your subscribers will be interested in.
If you send one on a weekly basis, it could be an update from the week. You could also answer questions your readers have in the email. There are several different ways to structure your newsletter.
And no, you don’t need to send newsletters if you don’t want to. You could send emails focused on a micro-lesson or a single goal – to read a blog post or download a lesson or watch a video.
It depends on your style and what your audience prefers.
An open rate is the percentage of people who opened your email from the total that received it.
Your clickthrough rate is the percentage of people who clicked on a link in your email from the total number of people that opened it.
I found a couple of varying sources on average numbers and it very much depends on industry.
According to an Unbounce research report, average open rate is about 32% and click-through rate about 8% (see diagram below)
This is how they have classified emails:
- Editorial: Emails which include content that provides value to the reader
- Marketing: Promotional emails to drive a purchase or lead
- Other: Emails which don’t into the other categories
- Research: Emails sent to gather opinions via surveys
So if your opens and click-throughs are are within this range or higher, that’s a good start.
If you start to incorporate some of the quick hacks I’ve mentioned in the bonus PDF download, you’ll probably start to see higher opens and click-through over time.
It’s a bit of technical jargon but every email sender has a sender score given by the mailbox providers.
The more engaged your list is and the higher your opens are, the better your chances of landing in your subscribers primary email tab and not in the junk or promotions folder.
The more unsubscribes, unopens and email bounces you get from your recipients, the lower your score will be.
This is why it’s so important to clean your email lists.
Sidekick, removed a whopping 38k subscribers who were not engaging with their content.
Annum Hussein who leads the growth team at Sidekick says , “We believe having a healthy list of engaged readers is far more important than having a large list of inactive readers. This also ensures our strategy is directed by those who care about us most.”
Another example is from Sarah Morgan. See how she cleans her list with this email. Anyone who doesn’t click her link, gets the boot.
When it can be hard to stomach an unsubscribe, willingly deleting people off your list may seem crazy. But it’s about wrapping your head around the idea that an engaged list is what you need, not a bigger one.
You also need to get a name@yourdomain email address
According to a recent Gmail DMARC Policy, even if you use an email service provider such as Convertkit , Getresponse or Mailchimp….
….the from address (a.k.a sender’s email address) should not be from a @gmail.com, @aol.com, @yahoo.com.
Emails from these sender email addresses will go to spam.
You can easily get a personalised email through Googleapps and they even walk you through the set-up over phone.
Learning the email marketing ropes
No one’s gets email marketing right the first time, or even the second time.
Email is very much about testing and tweaking what works.
The sooner you start, the easier it will be. These questions are a bid to ease your fears and get you closer to sending regular emails to your email list.
Your subscribers want to hear from you.
Be it 10 or 100 or 1000 people. So don’t wait till they forget about you.