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An In-depth Guide: Get The Most Out of Email Marketing

Today, email marketing is something that every business and marketer use as the most important part of an online marketing strategy.

Since all of us check our emails at least once a day, email marketing is considered one of the best ways of promoting a product and making money online.

So in this guide, you will learn how to integrate email marketing into your online business to build long-term relationships and monetize it effectively. 

Are you ready? 

Awesome! Let’s get started...

What is email marketing?

how_is_email_marketing_working

Email marketing is a way of communicating through email with your audience to grow your business. It's absolutely an essential activity to develop relationships, build an audience and sell products.

We can say that it’s the number one way when it comes to building and reaching a massive number of people.

It allows you to build a database or so-called email list and reach established and prospective customers. Whether you sell, inform or educate through emails is up to you.

This way, you can have direct access to your audience and complete control over your marketing message and that's incredibly powerful. What's more, this is one of the key elements of managing a sales funnel.

Why is it so effective?

Email marketing is usually handled by an autoresponder which can manage list building, email signups, scheduling, segmenting and lots of other functions.

Some examples of autoresponders:

active campaign
getresponse

Here are some of the advantages of using an autoresponder for your business:

Quite cheap

It's cheaper compared to any other advertising strategy. Once you built an email list, sending your prospects emails regularly doesn't cost you anything. Indeed, using an advanced autoresponder has monthly costs but most of them allow you to use their free plan which is more than enough at the beginning. 

Automated

Once you've set everything up properly, your mailing list will build itself. Additionally, scheduling and sending campaigns require relatively little work on your part while still yielding incredible results.

Let's say you've set up the scheduling of a 12-week campaign and as a result, you have no additional work with it.

automatic followup

Direct

Messages go directly to the inbox of your audience. These days, people carry mobile phones on them constantly which means you can reach them any time you want.

Control over your audience

By having a database with a list of email addresses, you have direct access to your audience without relying on a third-party platform. You own your list which can also be imported or exported.

On the contrary, imagine the following situation: You have a large Facebook page or group but after some time Facebook decides to delete it or bans your account. Or, Facebook simply changes the rules.

These things can happen at any time and you have no control over it. By building an email list, the contacts belong only to you. 

Analyze and measure the results

It allows you to track and analyze how your campaigns performed.

You will know who subscribed and unsubscribed, how many people opened your emails, how many clicked on your links and so on.

Furthermore, by split testing different campaigns, you’ll be able to decide which one to use.

Analyzing the different statistics can help you decide what changes to make to increase conversions.

drip marketing

What is list building?

List building means collecting email addresses of targeted subscribers into a database.

People visit your website who are interested in your business and you acquire their email addresses with some kind of marketing strategy. If you do it right, they'll willingly give you their email addresses and thus you'll be able to develop a relationship with them, build trust to the point where they are eager to buy from you.

That’s why list building is one of the best methods available to grow your business.

Apart from this, you can also perform email marketing through solo ads and cold emailing. In my opinion, these methods are not so effective because that kind of audience is not targeted enough and hasn't given you permission to email them.

Consequently, they don't know who you are, and the conversion rates will be much lower. So using proper list building techniques is by far the preferable scenario.

marketing automation process

Sign up for an autoresponder

An autoresponder is the most important thing to build and manage an email list.

This is usually an advanced tool capable of many different functions such as sending e-mails out to large groups of people, building opt-in forms, storing and managing information, analyzing different statistics and many more. You need to protect yourself against spam, make sure that people confirm their subscription and you need to give people the opportunity to unsubscribe.

An autoresponder will handle all these different jobs automatically. It allows you to create your opt-in form and this is where your visitors will enter their names and their email addresses to subscribe.

Additionally, autoresponders also provide you with lots of information regarding your emails including what percentage of them were opened, how many links were clicked and so on.

For all these reasons, using this tool is a crucial step and not something you can do business without. If you want to sign up for an autoresponder, there are many options you can choose from. The most popular ones are Aweber, ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, and MailChimp. These are not free services but most of them have a free plan to help you get started.

Example:

active campaign free trial

Luckily, if you find out that your current provider isn't working the way you expected, it's possible to export your email list and move to another provider by importing it.

Create your opt-ins

An opt-in form is a form where people type their email addresses and other related information. In other words, this is the place where they can sign up, so you want it to look professional and enticing.

Example of an opt-in form:

optin form

All advanced autoresponders and drag and drop website builders let you create opt-in forms.

The question is where you're going to put them and how you're going to get people to see them.

Where to place them

Now let’s look at more options of placing the opt-in forms on your website:

  • ​on a separate opt-in page
  • ​on your home page
  • at the bottom of each post
  • on the sidebar or header of a blog
  • on a popup
  • on the footer
blog post promotion places

An opt-in page or so-called squeeze page is an entirely dedicated place to getting people to sign up for your list. Likewise, you can also use your opt-in forms on your blog or website where they're surrounded with content.

Let me give you an example of an opt-in page:

optin page example

With regards to a blog, it's quite an effective technique to use specific opt-in boxes to each blog page. You can even embed them directly into your content.

Quality content

Remember, your readers will judge you based on the quality of your content. If they're impressed with the value you offer, they'll want to know more by signing up for your mailing list.

content-marketing-formats

At the same time, always encourage your readers to sign up by including appropriate call to actions and more sign-up forms.

Remind them about your mailing list where they can get much more similar information.

Likewise, the lead magnet your audience gets by signing up should have at least equally valuable content.

Popups are one of the best ways of capturing leads because they appear in front of your visitors and grab their attention immediately. Keep in mind, you don't want to over-do this because it prevents your visitors from seeing the content they came to enjoy and it might damage your conversions.

For further information about how to optimize your website, I suggest you go through my on-page SEO lecture.

Type of popups

I’d like to mention you now 5 types of popups you can use on your site:

Click popups work by activating when a visitor clicks on a button or an image.

​Timed popups work by appearing after a visitor has remained on your site for a certain amount of time.

​Scroll popups appear when a visitor has scrolled down a certain percentage of your page.

​Entry popups show up immediately when someone enters your site.

​Exit popups work by appearing when a visitor is planning to leave your site.

Entry popup example:

Scroll popup example encouraging to share the page:

scroll popup example

​Offer a lead magnet

The easiest way to build your email list is to offer an attractive lead magnet. It’s a free gift you offer to prospects that will encourage them to want to sign up.

In other words, it’s an incentive in exchange for their email addresses.

Therefore, the gift you give away should be something free that won't cost you any money. Giveaways are usually digital products, so you can create one yourself.

lead generation process

You also have to make sure it's relevant to your industry and it's so valuable that motivates your prospects to sign up.

So what kind of incentives can you give away? We'll take a look at the most popular choices:

  • ebook
  • checklist
  • report
  • video course
  • webinar
  • ready-made template
  • white paper collection
  • mini course
  • audio course
  • skype coaching
  • cheatsheet
  • membership
  • email course, etc.

Lead magnets are excellent tools for generating more subscribers and they can be created in a relatively short time.

Ebooks tend to be one of the most popular types of incentives. They are cheaper and easier to create.

Free reports are usually much shorter than ebooks and they offer a lot of value quickly.

On the contrary, videos are interactive and most people are visual learners. In my opinion, templates are even more irresistible because they are usually ready-made things. All you have to do is to copy, paste and customize a little bit.

Offering a membership can also be an excellent method to get your audience keep coming back. By calling it a VIP program, you can make it sound more appealing and exciting. It makes your subscribers feel important, especially if it's an exclusive deal. Since people love being part of something, they'll be more likely to read your emails and buy your products.

By the way, there are more plugins and platforms out there that can manage and control membership functions.

How to handle freebie seekers

The drawback to using gifts is that you might end up with a lot of subscribers who are hunting for freebies. Or, they might just grab the freebie then unsubscribe from your list. You can’t completely prevent this but setting up some rules what to do with the inactive subscribers is a good idea.

Driving the right audience to your website also increases the chance of having quality subscribers. What I’m saying is having a mailing list of 100 people who are your biggest fans is better than having 1000 freebie seekers.

right audience wrong audience

Apart from asking to sign up, another thing you can do is to ask your prospects to do some action such as sharing your page on Facebook, tweeting it on Twitter and so on. This way, only those people will act who really need your offer. Many plugins and programs are available these days that can manage content locking and share functions.

Another tip: If you offer a free consultation or mini training and you attract lots of freebie seekers, then in some cases, it might be a more effective method to make it at least a $1 offer. This way, your prospects have to make a micro-commitment eliminating those people who are really not serious.

Using the right language also helps a lot. Refer to your prospects as your “exclusive members” and make sure to keep offering them extra bonuses and benefits. Make it sound exclusive, exciting and important to be a subscriber and therefore a member!

How to monetize your email list

Once you've built a highly targeted list, the next step is to monetize it and convert leads into loyal customers. For this, you need to carefully plan every little step, how to establish a relationship and a rapport with them. A well-written email sequence is crucial that gradually builds trust instead of trying to sell immediately.

Remember what your product means to your audience and try to sell a lifestyle or a future by using compelling copy that paints a picture.

Let your subscribers feel like "exclusive members" by giving them news, special offers and discounts before you announce them publicly through other channels.

Think about what incentive you could give them to buy immediately.

purchase process

When it comes to monetizing your mailing list, there are several options:

  • ​selling your own products
  • ​selling other people’ products
  • ​reselling products
  • running a solo ads business 

The number one way to do this is by promoting your products and services regularly. Again, most people will ignore a promotion the first and second time but as they come to know you and respect your opinion, they’ll more likely to become customers after some time. The good news is that once someone has bought from you once, there is a high chance he’ll do so again in the future.

Besides selling products and promoting affiliate products, one great way to earn money is to sell solo ads.

By the way, if you want to get an in-depth guide about affiliate marketing, check out this lecture.

Another option is to sell your mailing list. Of course, there are better ways to make money from a list but this can also be a viable option when you sell your whole business. Thus, selling your mailing list along with your business will increase its value and is a great "exit strategy." You'll be surprised how much money another company might be willing to pay for one.

How to use the AIDA formula in sales emails

Incorporating AIDA into your emails is also a fundamental technique you shouldn't miss. It means gradually introducing your subscribers to your product so that they badly want whatever it is. Of course, it's a slow transition and your job is to lead them through the process.

AIDA

When it comes to emailing, you have space and flexibility to handle each step in a different email.

In your first emails, don't forget to provide exceptional value and make them aware of your new product by mentioning that you have something new and exciting. This will warm them up to the next stage.

The next email is about raising interest. Explain what your new product does but don't give away everything, yet. At the same time, make sure they get enough information to be interested and to look forward to the next message.

Then comes desire. Focus on your value proposition. Basically, it’s the benefit they get by buying your product. Get them to imagine how their lives will change by using it such as having freedom, control over life and so on.

features benefits

At the same time, you should also try to tell a story to get your audience to listen to you. People love stories because they automatically imagine themselves in the shoes of the person they're reading about. This way, you can really sell that emotional hook and value proposition.

The last part is action. This email should include a clear call to action and provide a quick and easy way to buy your product. Obviously, your only goal here is to get the readers to click on the link in your email. The rest will be handled by your sales page and checkout process.

call to action

By creating an autoresponder sequence, you can automatically send out messages with the right amount of time in between them. For instance:

Send out a series of emails to provide value and build trust and then follow this up immediately with the AIDA technique that will convince your audience to buy.

And remember, it’s much easier to sell to someone again who has just bought a product from you. That’ why you should take advantage of upselling.

Create a follow-up sequence

Putting together a follow-up sequence is a base feature of any email marketing software. It means creating your emails in advance and scheduling them to go out at certain times.

As I stated in the last chapter, you don’t want to jump right away into a sales pitch. Instead, build trust and authority by providing value in the first few e-mails and showing that you’re an expert in your field.

What's more, knowing the right timing between your emails is also important.

Most of the time, your first message will be a welcome email. It will welcome the people who sign up to your list and thank them for joining. Introduce yourself, talk about how excited you’re and your recent experiences.

lead follow up

In your next emails, demonstrate you’re an expert and give some powerful tips, an interesting blog post or a video. You might also mention here your related product without diving into the details.

Later, focus more on the product and talk about how it works, what it does, teach something valuable regarding that.

When it comes to your real sales emails, there is no rule saying how much you can send out. I recommend you to send as much as you need to be able to sell that quantity you anticipated. As you increase the regularity of your messages, remind your prospects that they're running out of time and also teach something new regarding your product. Of course, I also recommend you to use soft sell more often instead of hard sell. 

Types of follow-ups

There are a number of different ways to create and put together an email sequence. Let’s see now what type of messages you can deliver to your audience:

  • ​valuable blog post
  • video
  • tips
  • free offer like an e-book
  • webinar invitation or replay
  • product review
  • updates from you or your business
  • breaking news about your industry
  • promotional offer

Putting together a follow-up sequence is a base feature of any email marketing software. It means creating your emails in advance and scheduling them to go out at certain times.

​Write high-converting emails

Creating quality emails is just the same as writing any good content but there are also some unique things you need to take into account. You want your prospects to keep opening and reading your emails, right? The key is to focus on delivering fascinating, unique and valuable content.

email marketing

(source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/danardvincente/2690611419)

Value

The goals of your emails should be the same as the goals of your blog posts. It means you need to make sure that you’re consistently delivering real value that builds trust. When you do it right, people might even start recommending their friends to sign up.

Timing

There is no right answer for timing, either. The information about your target market can help you decide when to send out emails. What's for sure you should avoid sending them while they're sleeping. Some statistics say:

weekends usually have low open rates

​Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days

​people tend to open their emails in the mornings between 8 and 10 am

Tone

Depending on your business, choose the right tone for your emails.

What I can suggest you is to use a language as though you're talking to a friend, especially if you have a personal brand. Emails should be more personal than simple blog posts. This is how they build trust.

Here, you're speaking directly to your audience and as a result, you should use plenty of "I" and "you" throughout the message.

Length

Emails should generally much shorter than blog posts due to the restricted time people have. While people usually read blog posts on desktop computers, they often read emails on phones. Aim for a few hundred words at most, depending on the format of your email.

Get to the point

Take into account that people can be anywhere when reading your emails. So get to the point quickly, avoid fluff. If your email is longer, tease the value early.

Frequency

Frequency is also an essential factor and keeping consistency is a key here. In other words, you need to decide how often you're going to send out your emails and keep that timeframe constantly.

Don’t annoy people by sending messages too often and at the same time, don’t abandon your list.

There is no perfect solution for that but I think sending an email about once or twice a week might be a good choice. Depending on the email formats and campaigns you're running, you might need to increase or decrease this frequency.

For example, increasing the regularity of your messages might be beneficial, as you get closer to a product launch date. Remind your subscribers that they're running out of time and also teach something new regarding your product.

Uniqueness

Offer something new that no one else is offering. If your content is not original, try to add your own opinion and make it unique. Turn it into other formats, include case studies, provide exclusive information and in-depth guides to make it different. Or, conveying that information in an entirely new way might boost it up significantly.

Subject line

One of the most critical parts of an email is the subject line. Lots of people decide based on the subject line alone whether or not to read an email.

email subject unique

https://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_irish/957300577/

Therefore, you need to make sure your subject line stands out by using compelling titles that describe the value of the content within. This can also include asking a question, asking for feedback or anything developing the curiosity of your audience.

It should explain what you're offering and why they should listen to you. In other words, always ensure the content in the email reflects the subject line.

Don't use words that trick people to open your emails. It will perhaps work for the first time but you'll damage any trust you've built and your audience may unsubscribe.

Some people advise using the word "Re:" in the subject line so that people think they're responses to previous e-mails. This is not a strategy that will work in the long term. On the contrary, it's quite disappointing and desperate.

Consequently, choosing the right subject line for an email is similar to choosing a headline for a blog post. If the readers are genuinely interested in the subject, then they will want to read more.

As you might know, people are bombarded with marketing messages these days, so it’s crucial to set yourself apart from that marketing world. With this in mind, I give you a pro tip:

​Instead of trying to sell directly in your emails, create a great article or case study providing value and send that to your subscribers.

lead nurturing process

Obviously, you should promote your products on the website but the top priority is giving value by teaching something new, informing or entertaining.

In addition to the content, remember that you only have 50-60 characters for the subject lines. As more and more users read their emails on mobiles, less than 50 characters might be even better.

Model the best email sequences

Setting up high-converting email sequences is not as easy as it sounds first. Your emails should engage your customers and encourage them to take a specific action.

EmailDrips website collected the best emails used by top companies. Those emails are proven to work, so it's a great way to model them and get ideas of your own.

Visit the site and choose from different email campaigns like product launches, webinars, free trials, live events and more.

​How to avoid spam and reach the inbox

With regards to email marketing, one of the most important things is that emails are able to get past the spam filters. If they aren't, then people will never even get the chance to open your emails. Successful inbox delivery rates depend on a lot of factors and you also need to understand how spam filters work.

email spam feeadback

(source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Feedback_loop_(email).svg)

Spam filters scan through the content in all incoming emails and also check other different data. For instance:

​If they find some spammy words in the content of an email, they send it to the spam folder.

Additionally, spam filters handle much more than that. They look at a wide range of factors to determine whether each email should be sent to spam or inbox folder. Let’s see some of them:

  • ​the domain and IP address of the sender
  • ​the reputation of the sender
  • engagement
  • the content of the email

As you can see now, spam filtering works with quite sophisticated algorithms.

For example, the reputation is calculated based on many other factors including user complaints, blacklists, the age of IP address, etc.

Engagement includes open rates, replying, click through rates and so on.

When it comes to content, spam filters look at the ratio of images to text, the length of the content, spammy words and much more.

So, what is the best strategy to avoid spam? It's quite simple. Creating high-quality content is the key.

Furthermore, it’s essential to keep the standard email marketing rules.

If you deliver quality information, then people will engage and as a result, you become a trustworthy source hitting the inbox all the time. Your audience will be excited to see the next valuable email you send.

Another thing you can do though is just to ask your subscribers to whitelist you. The best if you apply this strategy on the thank you page, right after when your subscribers signed up.

Example: 

whitelist instructions

Whitelisting instructions can be found on this link which you can even link for your subscribers on the thank you page.

Now let’s see some email marketing best practices to develop a good sender reputation and avoid spam filters:

  • include clearly visible unsubscribe buttons in your emails
  • ​avoid spammy words
  • ​offer incentives to your readers
  • sound like a friend instead of a marketer
  • address your readers by their first name
  • write attention-grabbing subject lines
  • make your emails mobile friendly
  • use recognizable “from” names
  • use double opt-in if needed
  • send relevant content only
  • include your physical address in your emails
  • ask your subscribers to whitelist you

​How to keep a healthy email list

Maintaining a good sender reputation is also a factor that plays a vital role in email marketing. Luckily, some autoresponders have email hygiene tools and other advanced features to help solve these issues, or you might use external online software for this purpose.

Double opt-in

This is a feature with which you can prevent fake, invalid or spam emails in the first place.

Double opt-in means that the reader needs to confirm their subscription via an email with an embedded link. This way, you can also avoid that robots and scripts sign up automatically filling in forms.

Example:

double optin example

At the same time, it blocks people from signing up who never check their inboxes meaning they aren’t really interested in your product.

On the other hand, the drawback of using this feature is that you make it harder for the real subscribers to join. So, it’s up to you to decide whether single or double opt-in is more suitable for your business.

Invalid emails

People make typos sometimes during signing up.

Email hygiene tools can check whether an email seems to be invalid or not. These tools usually look for common typos and suggest a fix for each of them. You can also use an external tool for this purpose or just go through the database manually. 

An example of this tool is Neverbounce.

list cleanup neverbounce

Bounces

To more quickly filter out potential email issues, you can also look for bounces.

A bounced email is an email that fails to deliver and there are two types of these. Soft bounces are temporary bounces that can be due to a range of factors, whereas hard bounces are delivery failures that are unlikely to be resolved. These emails have never existed in the first place, or the email account was deleted for instance.

Take a close look at the analytics tab and delete emails that are consistently failing to be delivered. What’s more, autoresponders are usually able to decide and automatically suppress bounced email addresses.

Inactive subscribers

Keep your list always clean by removing inactive subscribers.

A targeted list is always better than a big list. You only need a list of subscribers who are engaged and interested in your offers. It’s no use sending emails to someone who never opens them. Check quite often the engagement, click through rates and open rates. There are more ways to handle inactive subscribers automatically.

Break-up emails

Break-up emails are emails with notification to people that this is your last email and their last chance because they didn't show any interest. You usually send break-up emails to people who haven’t opened your emails recently or haven’t clicked any links in them.

Let me give you a break-up email I received some time ago:

breakup email

And finally as a reminder:

email marketing process

​Conclusion

That's it! You made it to the end of this lecture!

You have now all the knowledge and skills to start using email marketing and getting sales from it. Of course, the first step will be to build an email list which will take a little time and effort and it can take even longer to start making sales as a result.

Obviously, other forms of digital marketing can be used to drive traffic to your
opt-in page and increase your subscriptions that way. Keep in mind, this guide didn’t jump into the different methods of how to promote your list and drive traffic to your site. But don’t worry. I have other lectures about that.

What effective techniques have you implemented to build your list? Do you struggle with something when it comes to email marketing? If you’ve found this guide useful, please leave a comment or share this post on social media. Furthermore, should you want to talk to me in private just connect with me on Facebook.

We've covered here a ton of strategies and tips, and I hope you'll be able to implement them in your business. I'll see you next time!

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About the Author

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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