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Email Marketing Tips: What to Write About

Email Marketing Tutorial

The most common question I have been sent lately about this series has been

I know I need a list but what do I send? What should I write about? How can I get people to buy?

An email list is just a delivery mechanism. What you send to people is up to you. That is both a liberating and scary thing, because it is a blank canvas, but a very public one.

Put yourself in the role of the subscriber. What do they expect from you? Why did they enter their email address? When you put your subscription form up there you are making a promise, so deliver on that promise!

First, Content

Above all else you should provide useful, valuable content. It stands to reason that if people are not gaining by being on your list then they will leave it.

Should it be unique and different to your blog content? In my case subscribers get the same content as my feed readers, but with additional downloads or emails that don’t appear anywhere else.

There is no rule that you have to follow that route necessarily, you could use your blog content but packaged differently. For example you can do a weekly roundup, or highlight the best articles from the week.

Random alerts are another solution. Michael is sending very short emails about links he has discovered.

Another popular choice is the email course or sequence, where you sign up and get several pre-written emails in a row about a certain topic, delivered by your auto responder software. Sonia has a 10 part marketing course, but you could write one on anything, how about “Ten Tasty Tips About Broccoli“?

Sell Stuff With Email

The key to selling stuff with your email list is to make what you offer also content.

Take the role of an editor, or connoisseur, you are providing your list subscribers the choicest, best, ideal selections. Even better, make the email worthwhile even should someone not buy, so everyone gains. You can introduce products as part of a tip, solution or piece of advice, or as further reading.

In general you want to be following the 80-20% rule, where 4 out of 5 emails should be pure content, and only one promotional. You can still often get away with a “footer” that links to your products and services though.

Summary

The golden rule of email marketing is to TEST – watch the reaction to everything you do:

  1. Incentives
  2. List building efforts
  3. Frequency
  4. Subject lines
  5. Content
  6. Offers
  7. Click throughs
  8. Unsubscribe reasons
  9. … everything else!

Your subscribers will tell you what you get right and wrong, listen to them!

That’s the end of this series but look out for more email marketing tips right here in future.

Got any questions about email marketing? Let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer 🙂

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Comments

  1. This particular post is highly valuable to me. This blog is written amazingly and I am thankful to the writer.
    Regards,

  2. This particular post is highly valuable to me. This blog is written amazingly and I am thankful to the writer.
    Regards,

  3. I’ve set up a mailing list, but I have been putting it off while trying to decide what to include in it.

    I think for now, I’ll simply list my recent 10-15 blog entries, with a couple of sponsor ads at the bottom until I get something else going.

    I definitely don’t want to lose readers because I’m not putting something out there.

  4. I’ve set up a mailing list, but I have been putting it off while trying to decide what to include in it.

    I think for now, I’ll simply list my recent 10-15 blog entries, with a couple of sponsor ads at the bottom until I get something else going.

    I definitely don’t want to lose readers because I’m not putting something out there.

  5. Short and sweet. Easy to understand what you are trying to tell us about email marketing. I like this post because it provides the juiciest no-joke article about what to write for our list. I had just twitter your post about it.

    When there’s someone who created a new product to sell online, I often get to see different marketers promoting that same product to me at the same time because I am on their list. Sometimes, I can feel how competitive email promotion marketing is. Some marketers turned to give away their own product or service as an incentive if you buy through their links.
    My question is: How can the minority of us compete to get our list to buy from us instead of other people?

  6. Short and sweet. Easy to understand what you are trying to tell us about email marketing. I like this post because it provides the juiciest no-joke article about what to write for our list. I had just twitter your post about it.

    When there’s someone who created a new product to sell online, I often get to see different marketers promoting that same product to me at the same time because I am on their list. Sometimes, I can feel how competitive email promotion marketing is. Some marketers turned to give away their own product or service as an incentive if you buy through their links.
    My question is: How can the minority of us compete to get our list to buy from us instead of other people?

  7. @Muhammad – Thanks 🙂

    @Steven – Yup, you have to keep your list “warm”, even if it is once a month, send them something useful but do NOT aplogise for not sending anything 🙂

    @Charles – You can sell even when in deep competition by knowing the customer best, and by creating a bond with readers. Check out this article on using customer sales objections to sell more for more information

  8. @Muhammad – Thanks 🙂

    @Steven – Yup, you have to keep your list “warm”, even if it is once a month, send them something useful but do NOT aplogise for not sending anything 🙂

    @Charles – You can sell even when in deep competition by knowing the customer best, and by creating a bond with readers. Check out this article on using customer sales objections to sell more for more information

  9. Thanks for the link! I am a big fan of the 10-part e-course, they make for nice “subscription bait.” I love autoresponders, as you can do a really nice job with the first 10-12 messages, and that puts you in a good light for everything you do later. (Not that your later should be bad, but you don’t have to kill yourself the way you did with those first 10.) Very much in line with your advice about Flagship content, it’s the same principle.

    @Charles, if your list loves you because you consistently send them great stuff, they’ll prefer to buy from you over your competitors. Not easy, but you can do it.

    @ChrisG, I find that email newsletters and blog content share a lot of the same best practices. Do you agree? The audiences can be different, but I think the same basic principles apply–quality content, build a relationship, promote trust & interaction.

  10. Thanks for the link! I am a big fan of the 10-part e-course, they make for nice “subscription bait.” I love autoresponders, as you can do a really nice job with the first 10-12 messages, and that puts you in a good light for everything you do later. (Not that your later should be bad, but you don’t have to kill yourself the way you did with those first 10.) Very much in line with your advice about Flagship content, it’s the same principle.

    @Charles, if your list loves you because you consistently send them great stuff, they’ll prefer to buy from you over your competitors. Not easy, but you can do it.

    @ChrisG, I find that email newsletters and blog content share a lot of the same best practices. Do you agree? The audiences can be different, but I think the same basic principles apply–quality content, build a relationship, promote trust & interaction.

  11. chris g,

    coolin my problem is I try not to ‘promote’ too much to my list. I mean I have a small list probably compared to you but I was able to grow it with my super plugin I created (optincomments). but do you think readers that are subscribe are different from the users that read daily on your blog?

  12. chris g,

    coolin my problem is I try not to ‘promote’ too much to my list. I mean I have a small list probably compared to you but I was able to grow it with my super plugin I created (optincomments). but do you think readers that are subscribe are different from the users that read daily on your blog?