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3 Best Beginner’s Tips for Email Marketing

Why put much thought into using email in today’s digital marketing world when you hear so much about social media and video? Actually, email is still listed first among marketers’ preferences for what digital marketing techniques work best—just ahead of social media, search engine optimization—or SEO, and paid advertising (or pay-per-click, like Google Ads).

And email is most powerful when you team it up with other marketing tools, such as landing pages on your website, blog posts, and video.

Hi, I’m Perry Alexander, and today, I’m going to share with you my three best beginner’s email marketing strategy tips for small businesses and non-profits.

But, before I dive in, make sure you subscribe to this channel—and hit the bell icon, so you’ll be notified when I share more videos about digital marketing.

So, tell me: are you already using email marketing? If so, leave a comment that says “Yes.” If not, leave a comment that says “No” and mention what’s holding you back, so I can make future videos that address your needs.

Tip 1: Basic Email Best Practices

Generally, email marketing works best with “warm” leads—that is, sending to people already on your list, who know—or know of—you. Paying for an email list of a targeted audience isn’t likely to get you much “bang for your buck.” And, you run the risk of violating spam regulations. It’s better to build your own list, over time, of people who are truly interested in what you have to say.

But, how do you build your email list, if you’re just starting out?

First, you publish helpful content about topics you know well—on a blog or in a video, and on social media. But, on your social media accounts, post only a short “teaser” sentence or two that link back to your full blog posts. And use a free tool like BuzzSumo to research who else has blogged about your topic. Then, email them with a compliment about their post, and ask if they’d be willing to read yours, and possibly link to it from their post. That can increase your exposure. Once people are on your site, offer them something in exchange for their email address—such as a free report or ebook, or offer to notify them about future interesting content, product updates, or special discount offers.

Be thoughtful about how you word your “ask” for their email address. Pop-ups or forms that say “Enter your email address for updates” or “Sign up for our free newsletter” just aren’t exciting. Would that make you sign up? So, be specific—what will they get in return for leaving their email address?

Once you’ve sent your email out, be sure to resend it, after a few days, to just those who didn’t open your first one. Those recipients may have intended to look at it later, or they may have missed it completely. Most people won’t be irritated, and probably won’t ever remember getting the first one. It’s almost foolproof, if you resend to the “unopens,” you’ll get more “opens” on that second round.

But, how do you keep track and manage all those details? Use a service such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact. These have free plans to store your email addresses, segment lists into sub-groups, such as customers, newsletter subscribers, or those who have requested your free offer. And, customize your message to each segment.

These services can also remove undeliverable emails from your list, let you compose and design your emails online, optimize them for readability on desktop and mobile devices, automatically send thank-you emails to new sign-ups, and track the performance of each email campaign. You can’t easily manage all that without someone like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, and both let you use their service for free for either a few thousand emails per month or a trial period. I’ve posted a link to a report comparing these top two email providers.

If you’re trying to grow your list of leads, focus your email content on tips, insights, new information on a subject, or how-to advice—and leave the sales pitch for later. The time to sell is after they have watched your video, or read your blog, or had a chance to look around your website. Ask readers to pass along your email, using a simple forwarding form they can quickly fill in and then hit “send.”

And, when they’ve submitted their email address, that’s your permission to send future emails. As long as you keep providing helpful, interesting, and relevant content, they’ll, at the very least, scan the subject line of your next email, and won’t be tempted to unsubscribe. You build even more trust and authority over time, and a willingness to consider products or services you’re selling or promoting on your website.

Tip 2: Leveraging Email with Other Digital Marketing

Each time you create a video, a blog post, or an ebook on a topic you know well, and you’ve begun to build your email list, send out an email that alerts your readers to the fact that you’ve posted something new.

Don’t try to tell the whole story in a long-winded email. The purpose of your email should be to drive readers to your website or YouTube channel. Write a short sentence or two that’s so tempting, they have to click through for more. Include obvious links to your blog or website for the whole story. Once there, many will explore your other blog posts, special offers, and more about your company or non-profit, and perhaps be moved to contact you.

And, you can’t actually include a video in your email. When you have uploaded a new video to YouTube, your email includes links to it. Post an image from your video in your email. And make sure your image includes a prominent play button, so it’s obvious, at a glance, that it is a video. Make that entire image is clickable to get to the video, and include another link to the video in the text of your email. Make it very easy on the reader. And, always include the word “video” in the subject line of your email like, “New Video: 3 Best Beginner’s Tips for Email Marketing.”

Drive your email readers to your website or blog post to view the video, or link directly to YouTube. The more viewers, subscribers, and commenters you have on YouTube, the higher your videos will rank when others search on those topics.

If your blog or video says everything you want to say about the topic, then links from your email should be directly to those pages. However, if you intend to offer a product or service that’s associated with the email topic, you’re better off linking to a dedicated landing page, rather than just your home page.

A landing page is a page of your website that you’ve created specifically for readers of that email. It should lead off with your content or video, then introduce what you’re selling at least partway through, and close with an even more direct sales message. Include a prominent button that encourages people to take the next step toward purchase—your “Call to Action.”

And be specific in the button—don’t just say “Buy Now” or “Learn More.” Say something like, “Save $10 Today” or “Download your Free Ebook Instantly.”

Tip 3:  Measuring and Improving Email Success

You’ll want to know how your email performed, and over time, how the performance of one email compares to others. There are a few metrics to pay close attention to. Most basic are the delivery rate, the clickthrough rate—or click rate, and the conversion rate. The delivery rate is the percentage of emails actually delivered, compared with how many were sent. A good goal would be a 95% delivery rate. If it’s much lower, your list is probably outdated and needs cleanup.

The click rate is the percentage of emails where someone clicked a link in your email compared with the number of emails successfully sent. If you get 15-to-20 percent, you’re doing well.

The conversion rate is the percentage of recipients who completed a desired action, such as exchanging their email address for a free report or purchasing a product. Even a 1-to-2 percent conversion rate is good.

And, you’ve probably heard that the open rate is also important. That’s the percentage of recipients who open your email, compared with the number you sent. But it’s not always accurate. If you’ve included images in your email, and the recipient has set their email program to block images—which many have, it’s not counted as opened, even if they’ve read it. A decent open rate is 30-to-40 percent, depending on your industry.

I’ve posted a link to an article from Hubspot that gets more into email metrics, and another from Marketing Insider.

Of course, there is so much more to email marketing: A/B testing of subject lines, how and where to use graphics, the wording or specifics of your offer, auto-responders that “drip” out follow-up messages, depending on how far and how fast a recipient has gone through the process toward purchase, sending a general “thank you” email out to every new contact who signs up, and so on. And, this can all be automated, so you can keep your focus on doing your business.

Clearly, this is a numbers game. But, build your list and make smart decisions about content, your offers, and timing, and you’ll win.

To review: these are my 3 basic beginner’s tips for email marketing:

Tip 1: Email Basic Best Practices.

Who to mail to. How to get the most from email marketing. Using an email marketing service to manage and automate the process.

Tip 2: Leveraging Email with Other Digital Marketing

Teaming your email up with YouTube videos, blog posts, and landing pages to really improve your chances of converting more people to buying from your company or donating to your non-profit.

Tip 3: Measuring and Improving Email Success

Using an email marketing service to help you evaluate how well you’re doing and identify particularly strong—or weak—topics or offers.

So, if you’re convinced it’s time for you to jump into email marketing, but all the all the ins-and-outs and details give you pause, I’ve helped companies and non-profits across the country for years. Let’s talk about how we might work together to get email marketing working for you.

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