Email Marketing seems to be a topic many bloggers want to know about. While promoting my recent prize draw I was asked to expand on my article explaining the benefits of providing blog email subscriptions into more email marketing tips.
I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do the subject justice in just one post, so here is the first in a series all about email marketing and how to do it well.
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First, let’s clear up what exactly we are talking about …
What is Email Marketing?
Email Marketing is using email to distribute your marketing messages.
Most popular is growing your own list, for example a newsletter, and sending emails to the list containing tips along with things subscribers might be interested in buying.
As well as your own list of tip-readers and potential customers, Email Marketing can also cover advertising on email newsletters or follow-up emails to your own customers.
While you could include these other wider definitions, most people when talking about Email Marketing are mainly using the term to describe building a list with a view to growing reader loyalty and making sales.
What are the Advantages of Email Marketing?
As just mentioned, a good email list, well run, can grow your reader loyalty. Hearing from you again and again with good content reminds readers of your value, especially if they take your advice and find it works for them. That said, the obvious reason why most people try email marketing is because it is profitable. This is because of the following attributes:
- Low Cost – Communicating via email has many of the advantages of traditional direct mail but with much lower costs
- Speed – If you need to you can get a message out to your entire list very fast
- Ease (both for you and the reader) – For your marketing to be a success it has to be easy for the recipient, but it helps that email marketing is easy for you too as it means you can do it yourself
- Push – While websites and RSS are “pull”, in that the visitor has to come to you, with email you can send your messages out, reminding and re-engaging readers
- Personalized – The more information you collect, the more messages can be tailored and personalized. Email also has the particularly special ability to segment, meaning you can split people off into smaller, more focused lists.
- Viral – It’s so easy for people to forward your message on to others, spreading further than you could alone.
- Tracking – Everything from how many emails were opened, through to each individual link click can be tracked, meaning you can hone your techniques and improve performance
- Testing – Along with tracking, you can test different subject lines, calls to action, use of images, and so on, to further improve your results
- Complimentary – Email, while an excellent tactic, does not replace your other marketing activities but compliments them extremely well. Combining multiple tactics can build very profitable marketing campaigns.
- Opt-In – Perhaps most important, the best email lists are always opt-in, meaning you have permission to contact the person. This permission is very powerful and should not be underestimated.
Email Marketing Risks
Doing email right can be a fantastic addition to your marketing mix, but do it wrong and you might be better off not doing it at all.
The main risks are:
- Branded a spammer – Without singling out any particular instance, even the best lists will get marked as spam occasionally because some people can’t be bothered to use the unsubscribe links. Also some people have a … strange … definition of what spam is. Darren and I were called spammers for sending messages about our book … to our ProBloggerBook.com list. So a small amount of this is to be expected. What you have to be careful of though is an accusation that sticks. Always make sure people know what they are signing up for and that they confirm their subscription so you can point to clear and fair opt-in.
- Burning out your list – A certain amount of churn is to be expected. People leave lists all the time through no fault of yours. Too many messages, too often, or bad content to sales ratio and you could find your email list becoming used up and burned out. Be careful to always make your list valuable to your readers, not an irritation.
- Breaking the law – Be aware that due to nasty spammers there are very strict laws around the world and it is easy to break them. For example, collecting email addresses without the owners consent, even not including your postal address in emails to USA residents. Using a reputable email service provider like Aweber will help you through most of these issues.
- Alienating readers – It never ceases to surprise me how many people get carried away with email marketing and go way over the top. Your messages do not have to read like snake oil, and every email does not have to carry a “absolutely must buy now before ____” urgency call to action. Remember your list members are human beings and all should go well though.
- Delivery issues – As people become more and more sensitive to spam there are more and more innocent messages landing in junk mail folders. There are techniques to help your message get through, but the main way is as mentioned above, use a reliable email provider like Aweber.
Coming Up in this Series
Hopefully this has shown that there are several advantages to email marketing and while there are risks, they are avoidable if you manage your email marketing well.
Coming up in this series I will show you:
- How to build your list, without falling into the common traps that doom you to spam hell
- Where to find more list subscribers and the best way to further grow your list, fast
- Testing and tracking email so each mail out is incrementally more successful
- … and more
Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single article, and let me know in email, comments or contact form if there is anything in particular you would like me to cover.
Table of contents for Email Marketing Tips
- Email Marketing Tips: What is Email Marketing?
- Email Marketing Tips: List Building
- Email Marketing Tips: Getting More Email Subscribers
- Email Marketing Tips: Email Tracking
- Email Marketing Tips: Email Testing
- Email Marketing Tips: Introduction to Email Copywriting
- Email Marketing Tips: Writing Effective Email Subject Lines
- Email Marketing Tips: What to Write About