If you spend enough time reading blog posts and listen to podcasts from well-known marketers, you will soon realize one thing. They all started with a successful email marketing strategies a long time ago and still swear by it.
I mean why not, email marketing has still the best ROI of all marketing channels.
We might think that email marketing is an ancient way of marketing products and services to your followers but you will be surprised how effective this old dinosaur still can be.
Especially if you compare it to the not so new kids on the block like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like.
Here are some stats for you.
So, don’t think email is dead or even necessary for your new blog or business. It is of the most importance to start capturing emails from the very beginning.
But, oddly enough most people don’t know how to start with email marketing. Well, it might seem simple but it is not as easy to have a successful email marketing strategy that is well-rounded with 100s of engaging subscribers.
Let’s look a couple of steps you are going to need to get started.
7 Best steps to get started with successful email marketing.
Table of Contents
1. Capture email addresses
This part gives new bloggers or business owners nightmares when they think about using new technology to integrate with their current blog/website to capture email addresses.
And I get it, It is in some way but if you use the right ESP (email service provider) like Mailerlite it is an EASY process to set up the perfect sign up form.
You have the option to capture leads with –
- Embedded Forms (Forms embedded in your content)
- Exit intent (When someone tries to exit your page)
- Overlay’s (It covers all or most of the page)
- Slide-In’s (The form slides in from any direction)
We are really spoilt for choice here and Mailerlite can provide you with any style sign-up you wish. The cool thing about the set-up of each, they come with easy to follow videos that will show you exactly how to successfully set it up for maximum performance.
And what is even better, you can join Mailerlite for FREE!
2. Create a Lead Magnets
You have joined an ESP and ready to take sign-ups but, all you hear is crickets. No one signs up and this is because no one wakes up in the morning feeling “I am going to sign up for a newsletter today” No one.
Most people’s inboxes are full of mediocre or promotional content they are not interested in reading.
Same stuff day in and day out.
That is why you need to give your readers a great reason to subscribe to your email list.
Apart from joining an awesome ESP, you need to focus on giving your readers more than just a plain boring old newsletter.
There are tons of ways you can go about creating a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is something you create that’s full of value in exchange for someone’s email address.
Examples of lead magnets are –
- Content upgrades (You add more value to a blog post they are reading)
- E-Books (Create easy to follow PDFs that can help solve problems)
- Email Series (You can do an automated 7-day email series on ……….)
- Video series (Same as above, just with video)
- Cheat sheets and quick guides
The list goes on and on.
If we look at an example of one I currently use, it’s a quick guide to “how to start a blog in South Africa” This quick guide is part of an email sign up on a blog post “how to start a blog in South Africa” The blog post is over 4000 words long and most people simply don’t have the time to read through the whole thing so this is where I offer the quick guide to readers in exchange for their email addresses.
And YES, it works really well!
Most ESP’s and plugins like Bloom not only allow you to create awesome performing sign ups but, they also allow you to set a trigger when the pop up should fire.
This however should be used with caution, if it fires too soon it can feel like spam to your reader and when it fires too late you stand a chance to miss a sign up.
What type of triggers work well?
- Timed triggers (You can set a time limit for when the trigger should fire)
- Scroll triggers (You can set a scroll percentage trigger, the trigger fires if your reader reach a certain percentage on your page. )
- Button triggers (Works well if you have a button for a trigger. Not so in your face)
- Exit Intend. (If the browser feels like you are going to exit the page, a pop will appear as your last attempt to get a sign up.)
All the above triggers work really well if you use them correctly. It’s different for every niche, blogger and audience so testing is a crucial step to work out the best performing email sign up.
Testing is also an important step for a successful email marketing campaign. Do some testing and check your sign up rate per impression. (Later more on that)
3. Sending your first email
Email marketing is all about expectations and you are the only one setting the bar so if you promise blue you provide blue.
Simple as that.
Now, all or most ESP’s like Mailerlite will let you create automations for free and you have to take advantage of this. You can do it the hard way of sending mails manually to each person signing up or you can simply automate the process.
It works like this, you set up an automation in Mailerlite, create a workflow the new subscriber will receive and set it to send upon sign up.
So, when someone signs up, they will immediately receive an email from you welcoming them aboard.
Try signing up with the yellow form above and see the automation in motion
What should your welcome email include?
Glad you ask. Like I mentioned before, this is your time to set expectations for what your subscribers can expect from you but, first let them know who you are and what are your plans with their email address.
A quick introduction will do, no one wants to read about your problems and struggles.
No one got time for that!
Simply let them know who you are and what they can expect from you.
That is it! No selling, no promotion and no asking for donations.
You are a guest in their inbox like Neil Patel likes to say. Keep it real and offer great shareable content and make your subscribers look forward to hearing from you again.
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4. When can you start promoting?
There are no set rules for when someone can start marketing products to your email list but put yourself in their shoes for a minute. How would you feel if you subscribe to an email list for informative content only to get products shoved in your face from day one?
Oh Wait, I am pretty sure it has happened to you before and what did you do about it? You probably unsubscribed, block or even marked as spam?
So, when is a good time? Well, you have to warm up your list first with great informational content and then make them used to you promoting a product or service once in a while so it does not seem out of character when you do.
The trick however is to keep it relevant, by that I mean you should promote what you preach. If you are a pet blogger and start promoting personal loans to your list there might be a good chance you are going to confuse the crap out of them.
With that being said, you are not collecting email addresses for the fun. You want to make sales with your list, do it right from the beginning and you can make a substantial amount from a small list.
5. Send your best content
Like I mentioned already, you are a guess in their inbox and should behave at all times. Put your best effort at work here and send only the best content you can muster.
A mix of informational and promotional is a great start. Mix your content up and keep it fresh. Stick with the expectations you have set in your welcoming email.
The next best thing you can do here is to ask your list if they need any help in a certain area. This will open up a channel to you and create trust in so many ways.
People connect with people and not companies and products.
This will help tremendously with relationship building and the result of that is an audience that trust you. If someone trusts you, they will buy from you.
What if no one replies?
Yup, no one will. Trust me. You can give away a million bucks and no one will reply. It is just the way it is in the beginning. It is easy to lose focus and fall in the “for what trap” You have to remember one thing, and this is from my experience. People only care for themselves and if your content does not make them feel good or add value to their lives, they won’t connect with you.
People are weird in many ways, most will not reply and admit they need help just out of fear of thinking they are the only ones with the problem. Once you make people understand they are not the only ones experiencing the same problem, you will have a much more engaging audience.
Let’s look at an example of what you can do.
My niche is blogging and marketing, I send out a letter asking my list what I can help them with.
Next day I will get 1 or 2 replies maybe. I will then do a follow-up email stating that “most” replies I “received” was that people are struggling with –
- What to blog about
- Confused about what is the best blogging platform
And are you also facing the same issues?
The point is. Your list thinks people are saying what they are struggling with I might as well join the conversation.
This way people find it easier to engage with you if they think they are not alone.
The better you understand the better you can serve.
Off-course it will be different for every niche, it is merely an example of what you can do to get more engagement from your list.
6. Email metrics (How to look and understand them)
To have a successful email marketing campaign, you have to understand the metrics your ESP provides. Most companies like Mailetlite provide them for free and it is also important to note that it will be different from niche to niche. Here is an article you can look at to get an idea for what to aim for.
Let’s look at the first one.
Pretty straight forward, it is the percentage of subscribers who opens an email after you have sent it. If you look at the article I have linked above you can get an idea where your industry is at. My niche is marketing and standing at 19.30%
It may sound low but it actually pretty high considering other things. If you look at the picture above I am doing something right. Most of my open rates are above 19.30% so which means I have a list that wants to hear from me or my subject lines piques enough interest for them to open my mails.
I like to believe it is a little of both.
CTR (Click through Rate)
CTR is the metric ESP’s used to calculate how many subscribers click on a link in your emails if you added any.
If your goal is for people to click on a link in your emails and find your CTR low, that usually means your emails are not focused enough or you are all over the place with all kinds of objections.
In my industry it is 2.60%, so I am still doing pretty good with a small list. The metrics will however change when your list is running in the 1000s but for now, you can focus on creating great content.
People unsubscribe from your list sucks but, it is the nature of the beast. If people can, they will.
However, if your unsubscribe percentage is high against your open rate, then you need to pay a little more attention to the mails going out. Most ESP’s provide this data for free so use it and check your percentage of every mail going out.
Promotional or informative, if you notice people unsubscribe from your mails like it carries some decease then you know you have work to do. Rewrite your mails and try again.
Like I mentioned before, it is about testing to see what works.
The one thing I would like to bring to your attention here is, if you have a high percentage of unsubscribe your account could be flagged as spam! This will result in more email providers like Gmail to add your mails to the spam folder.
So, pay attention to your metrics.
7. Clean your list
This sounds just plain bad, you work your butt of to get email subscribers and now I am telling you to get rid of some?
Yip, email providers like Gmail keep tabs on everything that comes into the primary inbox and if your emails have the consent to land in the primary, that’s great! What a privilege. But, if you get a lot of unsubscribe and or no one opens your emails, Gmail will start degrading your account and eventually you will join the 100’s of others in the spam folder.
You don’t want that.
So cleaning your list has two great benefits. –
You get rid of people who don’t want to read your emails in any way
Mailerlite gives you free access up till a 1000 subscribers.
What this means is, If you have more than a 1000 subscribers you will get charged. Now imagine 300 or 400 of them don’t care about your email in the first place. You can prune your list and make space for people who want to hear from you plus you save money.
A 100 engaging subscribers are more worth than a 1000 unengaged subscribers.
How do you actually clean your list?
Good question, Mailerlite makes it super easy to clean up your list by a click of a button. Every subscriber that’s inactive for 6 months will automatically placed in an inactive zone. You can however unsubscribe by hitting a button.
Before you do, you can make one last effort to keep them on by sending a mail letting them know they are going to be deleted off your list if they don’t reply.
If they don’t, well, SEE YA!
Trust me, it will do your account good.
Wrapping it up
A successful email marketing campaign can be powerful for your business, keep the content great, fresh and engaging. Keep tabs on your metrics and let it guide you to see where you can improve.
Make sure to automate your mails and welcome every subscriber to your list. Remember you have permission to be in their inbox so use it wisely. There is no formula that works for each industry, it is about being real and transparent.
Clean your list every 6 months and make sure to sign up for a great ESP like Mailerlite. You will love them and their amazing ease of use.
Affiliate Disclaimer: In this or most of my post I recommend products or services via links or and banners. If any of these links end up in a sale I get a small commision at no extra cost to you.
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