So, you have finally set up your website in order to become a master of affiliate marketing, blogging, or online selling and you have noticed numerous references in the ‘how to’ blogs that you consume in massive quantities, to email marketing.
But didn’t you read somewhere else that email marketing was dead as dead and chat bots are the thing now? In this Email Marketing Geginners Guide you will find out why (and how) to get started with email marketing.
This post includes affiliate links – if you buy through my link I may get paid a commission but the price remains the same for you. Thank you for your support.
Does email still work in 2020?
It’s true to say that technology has come a long way since the inception of email marketing but everyone who is at the top of their game in the online world has an email marketing strategy.
Why? Simply because we spend a huge amount of time researching keywords and creating content to attract out ideal prospect who then visits out site – and is never seen again if we don’t have a plan to keep them engaged in the long-term.
They may even love our content, but in these days of an abundance of great online articles, they may never find you again even if they wanted to.
When you capture an email address it enables you to contact that person directly with other interesting content, to build trust and a long-lasting relationship that is mutually beneficial.
According to Hubspot, email marketing currently returns $42 for every $1 spent! Check out their Email Marketing Strategy post to get more interesting stats here.
What about social media?
This is absolutely not to say that you either do social media OR email marketing. In fact the 2 work brilliantly hand in hand. According to nonprofit hub, the click-through rate increases by 158% when social sharing is included in emails.
I can absolutely believe this as only today I received an email from someone I have just subscribed to and I felt compelled to click on the link to his YouTube video which I watch in its entirety for 12 minutes! What a result!
Engagement is the name of the game.
What should I offer?
This is a great question. You want to offer something that inspires a feeling of exclusivity – this is not just something that if they rooted around on your website they could find.
Asking people to subscribe to be notified when you have posted new content or for a newsletter is unlikely to get much interest. You need to think about what your audience struggles with and what solution you can offer in return for their email address.
Think about what would make you sign up. Would you sign up for an Ebook? (If you did, would you read it? Is it valuable?)
What do you know? Could you create a masterclass or webinar of some sort, or create ‘over the shoulder’ training? What about a 5-day (or whatever) course? Or if you have a membership program, you could offer VIP access or so many months free.
Maybe you have some brand new information for your industry or a way to overcome a problem that is common in your niche?
If you have an ecommerce store it could be a discount or free postage.
What will I say in my content?
First of all, you want to acknowledge what it was that your subscriber has signed up for and make sure that you deliver.
Remember that building trust is one of the key reasons that you are engaging with emails – if you get the first email wrong, you are likely to lose that subscriber.
In your second email, ask if they enjoyed what you delivered and invite them to respond to you with feedback.
In your third email, ask if they have taken action with whatever you delivered – at this point it would be appropriate to share your story with them and how you got to where you are today.
Don’t worry if you are only just getting started yourself – share your experience so far. More than anything, people appreciate authenticity. Never pretend to be something you are not.
In your fourth email (or you may wish to keep it to a later email) you could introduce a relevant product that they may be interested in. Do not try to sell anything before this time or you will appear to be more interested in helping yourself than your subscribers.
Bear in mind that it is a privilege and a responsibility to have someone’s email address. Treat it with respect and use it as an opportunity to get to know your subscribers and offer value. Although many will not respond, some will.
What about chat bots?
Chat bots absolutely have their place but cannot replace email marketing. If Facebook decide to close your account you have lost all of your subscribers just like that.
Also, they dictate if you can use promotional content or not depending on when the last response was from your subscriber meaning you are not in control.
I am not saying don’t use them – in fact they can be a great way to build your subscriber list among other things – just don’t use them instead of email.
How do I set up my first campaign?
The first thing to do is sign up for an auto responder to suit your needs. I started with Aweber simply because you seem to get really great functionality with a free account up until you have 500 subscribers. It doesn’t hurt either that they have fantastic support (essential for a non-techie like me!).
Also, many of the top affiliate marketers who are involved in the training platform that I am a member of say it’s hard to beat. If you already have lots of subscribers you can still get your first month free.
However, there are lots out there so be sure to check them out.
There are various options of how to create the actual emails. You can have plain text, HTML or use templates that you can customize and put images in (great for building a brand).
For my first campaign I went for total simplicity with plain text as that is the kind I prefer to read myself, however, you can (and should) split test these to see which provides the best results.
You can also split test headlines. It only makes sense to do this, however, once you are getting a reasonable number of visitors to your website.
What about sign-up forms?
Your auto responder company will normally have sign up form templates that you customize and add to your website. I use Hello Bar simply because I found it before I found Aweber and also it was very simple to install. I say it’s simple, but I have used their chat service a few times – they have been brilliant.
(I later discovered that one of Neil Patel’s companies owns it which doesn’t hurt – everything he produces is top quality.)
I chose the free platform as it gives me everything I need at present including a really nice looking pop-up (I think! – Let me know if it drives you crazy lol.)
Another good reason for signing up for auto responders (I’m sure you weren’t thinking of going it alone!) is that they will keep you right where compliance is concerned.
Subscribers need to genuinely want to opt in and receive your emails and in the EU, the ever more complex GDPR laws could land you in hot water if you don’t understand them. All you have to do is tick a box with your auto responder and you are good to go.
Once you have your initial campaign lined up, look at what other content you are producing that will be of interest to your audience.
You may drop back in frequency – for example at the start you may opt for a daily email – you could change to bi-weekly or weekly.
Every now and then you can promote a product that you have but don’t make it every time.
When your business is more mature you can get more interested in segmenting your audience depending on what they respond to most.
Analyzing what emails do better both in terms of engagement and sales, and take a more strategic view going forward.
From time to time, offer your subscribers the option to unsubscribe. You could target only at people who have not engaged in say, 6 months.
Once you have a significant number of subscribers it can cost a considerable amount of money so you really only want to send emails to people who are interested.
When you are just getting started with email marketing, keep it simple, deliver what you say you are offering and aim to capture the subscriber’s attention every time with interesting, helpful content.
You are only one click away from losing a subscriber!
If you have been avoiding getting started (like I was until recently..), just decide you are going to do it and take an hour or so every day to work on it. You will be so glad you did.
Have you got started in email marketing yet? Have you had some results already? Or are you still wondering when is the right time to start? I would love to hear your own thoughts in the comments below.