WHY do email marketing at all?
The answer, of course, depends on what it can do for your business.
If you're not already doing email marketing, you'll come to love it and rely on it, like no other marketing source.
Bonus: Join this FREE email marketing course where I'll teach you all you need to know about email marketing.
What is Email Marketing?
Email Marketing (when done correctly), is simply obtaining your subscriber's permission to email them, and then send them relevant emails that would interest them.
Wait... Email Marketing is BORING? Who Reads Emails?
That's often the question that I'm asked, and frankly, one that I asked myself when starting out.
Well, look at this email below from Starbucks.
Do you think it got my attention? In the midst of a tough day at work, what other better way to reward myself with a well deserved Starbucks Frappuccino from Starbucks.
Quite frankly, if email marketing didn't work, companies would not spend their time on them.
So this is only for Ecommerce? How about a blog or content site?
If you think Email Marketing works great for Ecommerce stores, then it's even more important and impactful if you're running a blog or content site.
See the examples below.
How about Facebook?
Look, social media have their place. If you do it well, social is great at spreading the word to people inside and outside of your network, and grow buzz over time.
But in terms of talking about engaging your audience and converting your audience into customers, email have a much higher place than social.
Let's talk about "Open Rates".
Do you know that the average Facebook page post reaches less than 3% of your fans? This percentage changes as Facebook's algorithm changes, but you can expect it to stay low as Facebook wants advertisers to pay to promote their posts.
As contrast with emails, even "boring" industries can average 20-30% open rates (source: Mailchimp). That's almost 8-10x the reach of Facebook!
If you craft great, relevant emails, you can even achieve a much higher open rate!
Email is your best channel to reach out to your most ardent fans, customers and prospects.
The One-Two Punch of Email
So I've been using Ecommerce examples. And you may think because you run a blog or content site, it doesn't apply to you.
Well stay tuned, because the following examples will show you how email marketing is critical for blogs, and should be the main weapon of choice in your arsenal.
Automated Sequences - The Holy Grail of Marketing
Sequences (or Automation, or Autoresponders) is the holy grail of online marketing. You'll be better able to understand what this is with the image below from Convertkit.
This means that when a subscriber opts into your list, you deliver several emails to them, 1 immediately on sign up, 2nd email perhaps 1 day later, and 3rd email 2 days later, and so on....
Sequences are the key element to much online marketing success.
Because when a subscriber opts into your email list, they are the most engaged at that moment, and most eager to hear from you.
And by having a well constructed sequence catered to each new subscriber, they feel that you are talking to them directly. And you only build the sequence once and it runs automatically!
Broadcast messages are simply one-time messages that you send out to your list.
This means everyone gets the same message from you at the same time.
This can be helpful to share a new blog post, share a new product, provide a limited time promotion, or more...
What Email Marketing Allows You To Do
The one thing you can be certain of website visitors visiting your site is, that they will leave. It's just a matter of time.
If you don't have a way to convert them, you'll lose all the effort (and dollars) that you spend attracting them.
Email Marketing gives you the "voice" to speak to them, long after they have left your website.
Let People Know Your New Idea is Coming Soon...
If you're starting a new idea, business, product, blog or anything really, you NEED a "Coming Soon" page.
This allows you to get your initial seed of people interested in your new idea, who you can engage through email over time while you're building your product.
This is invaluable, and no startup should start without a "Coming Soon" page to get seed interest.
Prochurch Tools does a great job onboarding a new subscriber.
First, Brady introduces who he is.
Next (and more importantly), he tells me what to expect from him going forward. In doing so, he starts building the relationship and trust with his subscriber.
The very next day, he engages me with a further introduction (a goofy image). He also includes a useful article link in his email (which builds trust).
On the 3rd day, he reminds me of his earlier emails, and also sends me another useful article about video cameras.
By now, he has established himself as a helpful person, and also as an authority figure who knows what he is talking about.
Do you see how powerful an onboarding sequence can be?
Education - Teach People Something
Email is often used to "educate" your audience.
Jeff Cavaliere of AthleanX sends me regular emails about bodybuilding and weight lifting (which I am interested in).
I mean, which guy who works out isn't interested in abs! (and abs happens to be one of the most coverted but hardest to achieve)
And of course, we all want big arms, right? Well, at least I do.
Launch a New Product / Idea
Email is also the best tool to launch a new product.
So I purchased Thrive Content Builder in the past, a WordPress plugin made by this awesome guy named Shane Melaugh.
Guess what, when Thrive Leads is launched, I received the following email from Shane.
Guess who was more likely to buy the product - a new person who stumbled on his site, or someone like me, who has used his product, became a raving fan?
When he emailed about his new plugin, I took a good hard look at it.
And yes, of course I purchased Thrive Leads (you should too if you're serious about email list-building).
Get Repeat Sales From Your Customers
Email is also great for extending the lifetime value of your customer. Or in simple terms - have your customer buy more from you over time.
Just look at the below email from Apple. I wonder how many mums got a shiny new iPad Pro or another Apple product for their Mother's day present?
Salvage sales from Abandoned Carts!
Abandoned carts are simply a situation when a potential customer adds items to the shopping cart (signalling buying intent), but never completes the purchase.
These people WANT to buy from you, but may have stopped at the purchase stage for various including these:
- Distracted by other activities online (e.g. Facebook)
- Distracted by other people (e.g. wife asking to go to dinner)
- Checkout process was too long and complicated
- Website crashed
- ..... and many other reasons
The first email you can send them is simply a reminder email.
This email was sent to me a couple of hours after I added something to cart but needed some time to think about it.
The next day when I still haven't made the purchase, Zalora really followed up with me by giving a discount code for 15% off (really aggressive)!
After all, they will rather make the sale at a smaller profit than losing the sale altogether!
But you protest.
It's only the "Big Boys" that do something like that. As a solopreneur/small business, there is surely no way I can do email marketing effectively.
Or can you?
Just look at this email from Orchard Florist.
I've purchased flowers from several florists over the years. When it came to valentine's day this year, who do you think got my business?
Ok, now you see the value of email marketing. So how does one get started?
First, You Need an Email List
First things first, you'll need an Email Service Provider (ESP).
This is basically a company that offers you the tools to manage your email subscribers, and you send out emails on their platform.
1. You cannot send email out from your personal email.
If you're sending large volumes of emails from your personal email over time, your email address will be marked as spam by email providers like Gmail, Outlook etc.
2. You need a system to manage your subscribers.
You'll want to have an automated method of managing your subscribers - letting them join your email list automatically voluntarily. You do not want to spend your time on admin matters, rather than on your business.
3. You need allow your subscribers to opt out.
Firstly, this is just good behavior. People should always have an option to leave your list if they are no longer interested in your material. In addition, this is a legal requirement in the CAN-SPAM Act, so you do need to provide an "unsubscribe" button in each of your emails.
4. You need multiple lists.
If you do not need this directly when you start out, you eventually do because you minimally need to segregate your subscribers from your customers.
Fortunately, most ESP out there are really affordable. Below are my 2 most recommended ESP.
Mailchimp is a great option for Ecommerce Stores. That's because they have beautiful templates that you can use to create your emails.
ConvertKit is the ideal option for bloggers and content sites. It allows easy creation of on-boarding emails as a sequence.
If you're starting out, Mailchimp is free to use up to 2,000 subscribers. (the free tier DOES NOT include automation). Otherwise, Mailchimp costs at $15/month for 1,000 subscribers.
Convertkit starts at $29/mth for 1,000 subscribers.
So I should go with Mailchimp because it is cheaper?
Firstly, Mailchimp is NOT cheaper. This image below explains why.
When most people start out, they think that they're just going to have ONE list. In reality, however, over time, you'll want to segment your list subscribers into several buckets, including "Main List", "Purchased Product A", "Purchased Product B", "Interested in X", "Interested in Y".
The below table shows you your cost if you use automation (yes, automation is key for most bloggers).
Number of Subscribers ("Real People")
(what you pay if you have only 1 list)
(what you'll actually pay, assuming each person is on 2 lists)
(what you'll actually pay, assuming each person is on 3 lists)
You do the math if you need more than 3 lists. (hint: ConvertKit wins)
So How Do You Choose?
I would advise you to choose your provider based on what it does, rather than price alone.
Mailchimp is really strong on having a drag and drop visual newsletter. That means that if you're running an ecommerce store, Mailchimp will be a good choice for you for sending nice looking emails.
Mailchimp, however, DOES NOT do a good job for email automation for content. Worse still, once you find the need to have multiple lists and automation, you'll realize how difficult and often impossible to manage your automations.
I've used it, it works somewhat, but it's mightily difficult and limiting, and you're far off better with ConvertKit if you need segmentation and email automation.
ConvertKit is really catered towards bloggers and content sites. It simplifies a surprisingly complex task of carrying out an email automation sequence.
It's also insanely simple to run automation rules based on your subscriber behavior. For instance, if they click a link, or purchase a product, you can trigger an automation. This is really important!
If email automation sequences are important for you, spare yourself all the wasted time, headache and frustration, and just start with ConvertKit.
Look, your choice of email service provider could possibly be the most impactful decision that you're going to make in your online business.
And switching from one provider to another is just messy. It is far better off to make the commitment to one provider and stick with it.
Email Marketing is going to be the best money that you spend on your business.
Encouraging Email Sign Ups
It's all well and good that you have a list and build an automated sequence, but you need people in your list that you can write to!
Getting Email Signups for an Ecommerce Store
If you're an ecommerce store, what you'll want to do is have all your customers added to your email list.
When your customer checks out of your Shopify store, they can be immediately added to your "Customer" list!
You can also entice your prospects to join your mailing list by offering a discount coupon, or free shipping!
Getting Email Signups for a WordPress Site
If you manage a WordPress based content site instead, you can also encourage people to join your mailing list by offering something that is free that is of high value. For example...
A Free Download
Prochurchtools does it really well with an offer to get a free church graphics toolkit.
Bonus: Learn how to create and deliver free downloads to your subscribers by joining this 7 day FREE email marketing course.
A Free Course
A free course lends easily into growing your email list, because your website visitors understand that in order for them to consume the content that you provide, they'll have to let you know where to email them.
Wes Wages has a great example of an email course to learn about videos online.
7 Day Email Marketing Course
I hope this gives you a good idea about why Email Marketing should be an integral part of your marketing strategy.
Also, the purpose of Email Marketing is a 2-way exchange - to provide tremendous value to your subscribers and build a strong relationship with them.
If you'll like to learn more about the email marketing process, including how to set up email opt ins, how to create enticing sign up offers and deliver this content, click the button below to get more in depth training on this subject.