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Email Marketing Tips: What is Email Marketing?

email marketing for bloggers

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.

Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss anything :)

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:

  1. Low Cost – Communicating via email has many of the advantages of traditional direct mail but with much lower costs
  2. Speed – If you need to you can get a message out to your entire list very fast
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. Viral – It’s so easy for people to forward your message on to others, spreading further than you could alone.
  7. 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
  8. Testing – Along with tracking, you can test different subject lines, calls to action, use of images, and so on, to further improve your results
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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Comments

  1. Great idea Chris and absolutly brilliant timing as I have just launched my weekly newsletter and I am trying to look at how I can increase subscriber numbers.

    The style I have gone with is updating subscibers on the last 7 day posts, plus add in some links to other travel content that they might find useful.

    Looking forward to read the rest of the series.

  2. Great idea Chris and absolutly brilliant timing as I have just launched my weekly newsletter and I am trying to look at how I can increase subscriber numbers.

    The style I have gone with is updating subscibers on the last 7 day posts, plus add in some links to other travel content that they might find useful.

    Looking forward to read the rest of the series.

  3. I’m glad you shared this post with us and I can’t wait yo read the next in the series.

    My biggest fear f starting a campaign is that I would have my domain labelled as spam, I’m sure this is a worry for everyone looking to start out.

    How do you know people like your emails, do you ever get a reply to these emails so you can have like a conversation with the readers?

  4. I’m glad you shared this post with us and I can’t wait yo read the next in the series.

    My biggest fear f starting a campaign is that I would have my domain labelled as spam, I’m sure this is a worry for everyone looking to start out.

    How do you know people like your emails, do you ever get a reply to these emails so you can have like a conversation with the readers?

  5. There’s definitely a balance to be struck there. If you come of as relentless or needy, it’s a turnoff. If you come across as intelligent, and wise, well that’s another story.

  6. There’s definitely a balance to be struck there. If you come of as relentless or needy, it’s a turnoff. If you come across as intelligent, and wise, well that’s another story.

  7. Great article Chris!

    I especially like your description of push vs. pull. That’s a question I get a lot – “should I have an e-zine or a blog and why should I have both?”

    I feel that having an e-zine is more like having a 1 on 1 conversation with someone – it’s more personal. And my blog is more like I’m talking to a room full of people.

    Both great venues, but each offers something just slightly different. And these days, I think it’s essential to have the ability to have those 1 on 1 conversations ;)

  8. Great article Chris!

    I especially like your description of push vs. pull. That’s a question I get a lot – “should I have an e-zine or a blog and why should I have both?”

    I feel that having an e-zine is more like having a 1 on 1 conversation with someone – it’s more personal. And my blog is more like I’m talking to a room full of people.

    Both great venues, but each offers something just slightly different. And these days, I think it’s essential to have the ability to have those 1 on 1 conversations ;)

  9. Chris,

    What a great coincidence. I just published a post about the way people have redefined spam. Apparently, Internet users are slowly redefining the word and I think it’s going to pose a big problem for email marketing in the future.

    All in all I think email marketing is great and you make some excellent points. But like you said, we have to be very careful not to burn out our list.

  10. Chris,

    What a great coincidence. I just published a post about the way people have redefined spam. Apparently, Internet users are slowly redefining the word and I think it’s going to pose a big problem for email marketing in the future.

    All in all I think email marketing is great and you make some excellent points. But like you said, we have to be very careful not to burn out our list.

  11. This is one of the best post I have read!! I have bought several
    copies of Pro Blogger so I have it at work,home,car,briefcase,computer-friends gifts. It is even next to my bed!! Thank you, Chris for helping people out there like myself-to do it the right way.

  12. This is one of the best post I have read!! I have bought several
    copies of Pro Blogger so I have it at work,home,car,briefcase,computer-friends gifts. It is even next to my bed!! Thank you, Chris for helping people out there like myself-to do it the right way.

  13. Hi Chris,

    Timing is perfect. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Is there any difference in how you write your blog and how you write your emails?

    For example, do you think blog article titles should lead with keywords, and email subject lines need to be more appealing?

    Cindy

  14. Hi Chris,

    Timing is perfect. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Is there any difference in how you write your blog and how you write your emails?

    For example, do you think blog article titles should lead with keywords, and email subject lines need to be more appealing?

    Cindy

  15. Awesome post Chris, me so like it!

    Btw I am writing an article Blog from A to Z , that means from how to chose blog niche to social networking and more.. I just think that I should buy domain name for that one post only lol.

  16. Awesome post Chris, me so like it!

    Btw I am writing an article Blog from A to Z , that means from how to chose blog niche to social networking and more.. I just think that I should buy domain name for that one post only lol.

  17. Awesome post Chris :), I myself build opt-in lists in a variety of niches (need-based ones) and have found that personalization mostly does the trick to convert as people LOVE to be addressed as if it’s a one-on-one session :D

  18. Awesome post Chris :), I myself build opt-in lists in a variety of niches (need-based ones) and have found that personalization mostly does the trick to convert as people LOVE to be addressed as if it’s a one-on-one session :D

  19. I’m gearing up to provide my own sustained campaign and appreciated the spam knowledge sharing. I hadn’t thought about the ramifications of such, but now know to consider such risk factors.

  20. I’m gearing up to provide my own sustained campaign and appreciated the spam knowledge sharing. I hadn’t thought about the ramifications of such, but now know to consider such risk factors.

  21. Leonard Waks says:

    Hi, Chris:

    I have asked this before, but no one has answered yet.

    Is there a way to collect email subscribers on the blogger platform?

    There is a way to list 100 names for email, but I have not found a way that potential email subscribers can sign up. Can you help?

  22. Leonard Waks says:

    Hi, Chris:

    I have asked this before, but no one has answered yet.

    Is there a way to collect email subscribers on the blogger platform?

    There is a way to list 100 names for email, but I have not found a way that potential email subscribers can sign up. Can you help?