So you’ve built an email list and chosen a software like Active Campaign. Now what? It can be scary getting started with your first email campaign. But it’s not as hard as you think! By following a few steps and suggestions, you will be able to craft your first marketing email.
— Give your audience every way they can contact you: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, your website, etc. Start developing the voice you will consistently use in your emails.
Craft a welcome email.
— Let subscribers know what they can expect by being on your email list. Sell yourself as an expert in your field. Save this email as a template for future welcome emails. You’ll want to update it as things change within your business.
Give them an offer.
— If your readers joined through an opt-in, make sure they receive it. Remember to give more than sell.
Write a stellar subject line.
— Subject lines are more important than you might think. They’re the cover of your book that informs a reader whether or not they want to open your email. You want to entice them to open, and follow through with great email content.Read more about the importance of subject lines.
Be aware of the preview text
— The first sentence of your email will show up in most inboxes next to the subject line. Make sure the first few words you use are powerful.
— Keep your paragraph lengths short, follow a sensible structure, and include one main idea in each paragraph. Subheads and bullets can break up your email and make it more scannable.
Get to know your audience
— If you haven’t defined your ideal customer, stop everything and do that right now. Seriously, you need to know who you are talking to before you start talking to them. Once you know your target customer, imagine you are speaking directly to them. Be personable and consistent.
— Promote action by asking for it. You’ll only get conversions when you are requesting them. What is it you want from your readers? Tell them. Be clear and don’t use all caps or too many exclamation points.
Don’t overload with too much content
— You want to provide good content, but you don’t want to overwhelm your readers. Be careful about how many topics you are covering in your email. It shouldn’t be too sparse, either. Finding the balance of just-enough content will do wonders for your open-rate and continued readership.
Subject lines are so important. People decide whether they will open an email based on the subject line. The content of your emails is important, but the subject line is the ice breaker to start the conversation.
Email Subject Line Essentials:
Whenever possible, try addressing each subscriber by name. This can be achieved through your email marketing software (like Active Campaign). A person is more likely to open an email when they see their name. Cater the content for each type of subscriber.
This essential must be balanced carefully. You can get email opens by expressing urgency. For instance, when a sale is ending you can communicate to your subscribers that time is running out. Be cautious not to overuse these types of email subjects or their effectiveness quickly lessens.
Whether it’s a discount or a freebie, your subscribers will be interested in what you can offer them. Create valuable offers, freebies and discounts for your email list subscribers.
If someone subscribes to your email list, they want updates on your industry. Be the expert in your field and keep your audience up to date on what is new and changing in your genre.
Intrigue your readers. Get them thinking, “I wonder what this email is about?” These are the subject lines like, “You wouldn’t believe what this business owner learned on the road.” There are many creative ways to instill this essential in your subject lines.
Keep it simple, sister
Short, sweet, and to the point is what you need in a subject line. Firstly, long subject lines get cut off, completely defeating their purpose. Secondly, you don’t want readers losing interest before they even open your message. Think about what is most important to convey, and what words are not necessary.
Tell interesting stories
Use your email subject line to intrigue subscribers into reading your email. Work to convey your message as a storyteller with a beginning, climax, and ending.
Use the same email sender name
It’s confusing to readers when they get emails from several different addresses within the same company. Have a master email address and stick with it.
Segment your email list
This will help with personalization. Organize your email list based on what the subscriber is getting from your business. Not every reader wants the same material and segmenting will help refine the content you send out.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep
No matter how badly you want your emails opened, you can’t resort to empty promises. This will guarantee you lose subscribers who are disaffected by mistrust.
Don’t overuse exclamation points and caps
NOBODY WANTS TO SEE THIS!!!!! in their inbox. We’ve got enough noise in the marketplace, don’t virtually yell at your audience. An occasional exclamation point can be useful, but when overused they very ineffective.
Don’t use a donotreply address
Nothing feels more spammy than an email that immediately informs you nobody is listening. Our inboxes are filled with donotreply’s and I bet your eyes gloss over when you see them.
Now that you know some of the email subject headline basics, tell us some of your best ideas or subject lines you’ve seen that draw attention. As you are building your email list and learning how to communicate with your audience, you will understand more about the importance of these subject lines.
You’ll have hits and misses, learn from them both. When you don’t get a lot of opens, look into how you could have worded the subject better. It’s a work in progress and they won’t all be winners. But the more you try, the more you’ll learn, and the better your email subject lines will become.
In case you missed it, find our previous blogs about Email Marketing. We have set this up in a progression so that it will take you step-by-step through all things email marketing.
Spoiler, it’s a LOT! But that is why we are here to help you!
If you’ve been following our blog lately (which you definitely should!), you know how important we stress having an email list. In order to gather your list, you need to create and utilize a landing or lead page, create an opt-in or freebie, share that opt-in/freebie, give people a reason to stay on your list, and utilize email marketing software to easily plan your strategies.
“Out of all the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them,” —Neil Patel, Crazy Egg and QuickSprout founder
Create an Opt-In
We talked about opt-ins in our recent Email Marketing blog, but let’s go over the basics. Along with opt-ins, you can also use what is called a freebie or a freemium. This is something you are offering of a $250+ value in exchange for a person’s email address. This could be a PDF full of valuable information, a webinar, a video, a training, or a coupon.
To create an opt-in, you need a landing page or a lead page where people can sign up for your email list. Once someone signs up, you want to immediately provide them with the free item.
You can create ads, Facebook ads, and other social media ads out of the opt-in you created. This is another great way to get people on your email list. You don’t see an immediate Return on Investment (ROI) from gathering your email list. But once someone is on your list, they’re that much closer to becoming a paying customer. Remember it’s a long game you are playing with your email marketing strategy.
A landing page is a focused page that invites people to sign up to learn more. They’re great for promoting with a clear call-to-action to get people on your email list. There are several landing page builders you can use including Google Sites, Unbounce, Wix, and Instapage. We often use Leadpages, which is great for advertising and selling products/services.
Grow your List Further — Give People a Reason to Join your Email List
We recommend starting out with one opt-in to figure out how it works and what you want from it. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you should try coming up with three opt-ins or freebies you can rotate to meet the needs of your ideal customer.
When someone is considering submitting their email address, they’re thinking, “What am I going to get from this?” You want to make sure the answer is very clear for your ideal customer. We’ve all got spam emails filling our inboxes to the brim. Often you think you need the information you’re signing up for, but end up with countless messages you’ll never read.
To avoid becoming an annoyance to inboxes everywhere, make sure you are actually providing relevant, valuable information and material. Give people a reason to stay on your list. Once a person has received their opt-in or freebie, you want them to stay active. Engage them with attention grabbing headlines and emails full of great material. Give them a reason to keep opening your emails!
Of course you’ll want to sell through your email list, but you have to consciously find a balance. We recommend the give, give, give, sell model. You can offer coupons, tips, exclusive perks, and more.
There are a lot of marketing technologies you can use to maximize your email list’s potential. After using several, we have stuck with ActiveCampaign for years now. It has flexibility, making it easy for businesses of all types to use its features for their own unique needs.
A step-by-step walkthrough of what you need to set up your account and get ready to send emails
Navigating your account, adding addresses in compliance with email laws, and how to get site tracking set up for your website
Organizing your contacts, adding new contacts, sorting them into segments based on tags
Sending your first campaign and learning about the six types of campaigns you can use
Creating automations and figuring out what you can automate
How to create and automate your sales pipelines
Email is personal, targeted, and purposeful. You have permission to show up in a user’s inbox and communicate with them one-one-one. It really doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in. If you have a website and want visitors to come back as returning customers, then you need to get them on your email list. Mastering the art of email will pay huge dividends for your business in the long run. It is a slow game, but very worth it in the end.
There is a lot to say about what email marketing is and how you can utilize it as a business owner. We went over what email marketing is and why you need it just last week. But what exactly can email marketing do for your business in the long haul?
We’re going to go over some of the many benefits your business will see when effectively running email marketing campaigns. Email marketing is the most reliable and efficient way to reach your audience. Here’s why:
Email Marketing Benefits
Strengthen Customer Relationships
Good quality email marketing that is consistent, relevant, and valuable helps you gain the trust of your audience. Your target market wants to hear from you and know you are thinking about them. Email is the best way to update them and communicate news about your business.
Overtime, your audience will develop a kinship with you. They’ll look forward to seeing you in their inboxes because they want to be in the loop and see what new value you are providing. You want your audience to think of you when a problem arises that you have the solution for.
Expertise and Education
Chances are your audience wants what you have to offer. They want to learn more from you as a trusted authority. Continue to position yourself as an expert through the content you create and share.
Along with updating your customers about company news, promotions, and incoming product, you should also provide some valuable education. Whether you have blogs, videos, podcasts, pamphlets, or exclusive email-only content, your audience will appreciate well-crafted information. When people love your content, they’ll want to see more of it. When they have a question about your area of expertise, they’ll think about you.
Time and Cost Effective
How you spend your time and money as a small business owner is critical. It can be hard knowing where to invest yourself. We want you putting your efforts in the right outlets, and email is one of the best.
Purchasing advertisements can break your budget. Although there are a lot of places you can put your excess funds, as a young business you must be cautious. The time and cost involved in direct mailing campaigns, newspaper ads, online ads, and more continues to increase.
Creating an email marketing campaign isn’t very complicated. Once you get the hang of it, it doesn’t take much time, either. You are able to reach a large group of people in an instant through email.
Increase Brand Recognition
The more your audience sees your name and appreciates your content, the bigger your brand becomes. Make sure your emails have your brand image and name. Keep your color palette and logo consistent in the template of your emails. You will build credibility as your name continues to be seen while you provide quality content.
Reach and Grow Your Target Market
Not only are you able to stay in touch with your audience regularly, but you can also reach an even larger group of people through your website opt-ins. You can promote your opt-ins through social media and on your website, on your products and email signature.
We could go on and on about the benefits of email marketing for your business. Make sure you read about what email marketing is and why you need it. You should have all the tools you need to build your email list and start seeing the benefits of email marketing.
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I talk about the importance of email marketing all the time. But what exactly is email marketing? Put simply, it is the process of promoting your business through email. It is a direct marketing strategy that is similar to postal mail, minus the cost of stamps.
Entrepreneurs use email marketing to reach their audience about updates, promotions, and most importantly: to build trust. Ideally, your email list wants to hear from you. The emails might deter a few, but they probably weren’t your ideal customer anyway.
Remember to repel as many as you attract. You won’t win everyone’s hearts. Email marketing is a route to discover dedicated customers and weed out the wishy-washy crowd.
If anyone tells you email marketing is an old, tired method, they probably aren’t utilizing it effectively. When done right, you will see the benefits of this time-proven marketing strategy. Through email marketing, you can reach a larger audience and strengthen your relationship with current customers.
Email is reliable
There have been several recent Facebook and Instagram blackouts. You probably know what I’m talking about. Suddenly this tool we always have on hand wasn’t working, and it was incredibly frustrating! Users couldn’t post new content or see images that had been posted.
(Comment below on this blog post about how the recent blackouts affected you).
These blackouts are a great reminder that social media platforms don’t stand the test of time. They could be gone in an instant. Email, on the other hand, has been around since practically the beginning of the internet. As long as we have the internet, we have email. The same can’t be said about Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
If you only have a Facebook business page, it’s not enough. You could have 10K followers on Facebook, but if Facebook goes down how will you reach them?
Email marketing is the topmost effective resource for eCommerce businesses, driving traffic and communicating with existing and prospective customers. You have the opportunity to engage with your audience, build brand loyalty, and increase sales. Ultimately, email marketing grows your bottom line.
Using email to market is fairly inexpensive and easy to track compared to other traditional marketing approaches. People on your email list want more information on your business because they purposefully allowed you to send them correspondence.
Getting started: Build an Email List
The first step in email marketing is to build an email list. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, and again, and again. Email marketing is crucial no matter what business you are in. You need to have an email list.
Before you start inviting all your email contacts, you should know that you can’t add anyone to your business’s email list who doesn’t opt-in. You have to use an email marketing program like Active Campaign and have an opt-in plan.
Active Campaign and other programs allow you to monitor the emails you send out. You can observe how your subscribers respond and interact with your sent emails. This software tracks analytics like open and bounce rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
Aptly titled “opt-ins” are forms of consent given by web users to acknowledge they are interested in your services or products. When users opt-in, they are allowing a business to contact them with more information.
Opt-ins aren’t merely a means of being polite, they are required by law. You also must make it simple for people to opt-out — or unsubscribe — if they want off the list.
You have probably seen a lot of opt-ins. These are the little boxes you can check saying you agree to receive emails. Most websites use them, so if you’ve been online, you’ve likely opted into a lot of email lists. There are more unique ways than just checking a box to get potential customers on your lists.
Opt-in forms come in different shapes and sizes. They can be pop-ups on a homepage or landing pages. It’s much easier to build your list when you are offering something valuable. Your landing pages need to have great copy and conversion that will convert followers into email subscribers.
Take a look at our Email Marketing opt-in where we offer free lead magnet ideas and email subjects. Email marketing is great, but you have to get people to open the emails you send. This opt-in offers ideas for email subjects and headlines. We really want you to have all the tools you need to build an email list and effectively use email marketing strategies.
Once you have designed and activated your opt-ins, you can share them on your social media platforms. Although social media isn’t as secure as email, it is an incredible tool when it’s working. Give people as many opportunities as possible to opt-in.
Create an Email Marketing Campaign
Once you have your email list, it’s now time to use it. With your email marketing software (like Active Campaign), you can customize the content of your email with the subscriber’s name. You can even send out birthday emails and other personalized content. You have the ability to keep separate lists to send out different promotions and offers based on the audience.
For example, our audience ranges from long-time rural agriculturalists to budding side hustlers. Of course, there can be overlap occasionally. But most often a message we want to communicate to our ag-oriented clients is going to be very different from what we send to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Each email you write isn’t going to resonate with every single subscriber. Break down your list into segments and create different sets of emails for the different groups in your audience.
Once you’ve honed in on who you’re speaking to, you can create sales funnels to guide your followers into purchasing from you.
Give, Give, Give, Sell
When someone agrees to be on your email list, you should be providing them with value from the very start. Opt-ins can be useful and educational. Once you have an email list you should continue to provide your audience with more value. For every selling email, there should be about three giving emails that benefit readers.
Answers to FAQs, quotes from blog posts, and creative surveys can add value for subscribers.
In every communication with your audience — from emails to Facebook posts to in-person seminars — tell them what you want. You can use CTAs to ask people to attend an event, purchase a product, read an email, or subscribe to your social media platforms. It’s OK to be repetitive since most people aren’t paying very close attention to every email headline or the content within. It takes at least seven times for an internet user to catch the message you’re putting out.
It sounds simple enough, yet is often forgotten. Every final draft of your emails and posts needs to be checked for CTAs. First, do you have them? Second, are they effective?
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We all know how important social media is for our businesses, but it’s also crucial to remember what these platforms are for: being social.
It’s easy to get caught up in how many posts you need to schedule and the content of those posts, but you also need to take time to actively engage with your followers and those you follow. This is a fine line to walk, and I recommend scheduling out time to be social. Scrolling your newsfeed for hours doesn’t count. Take dedicated time to see what is being shared, comment on posts that spark an interest, react to your friends and followers, and share content that you enjoy. If you’re having a hard time getting started, make a little bullet point list of how many likes, comments, and shares you are going to complete in your set time frame.
Think about Facebook like it’s a person. What is important to Facebook? They want users to stay on the platform for a long time. They want us liking, commenting, sharing, messaging, which of course causes us to stay on the platform while we engage and socialize.
We all know I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I spend about 10-15 hours a week researching and figuring out what is and isn’t working. I’ve told you about the ever-changing algorithm. The scary word that really isn’t that scary once you understand it. Facebook is prioritizing what you see in your newsfeed. If we are going to successfully socialize on the platform, we might as well be tailoring our own newsfeeds to show us content that is engaging for us as people, not just business owners.
Once you’ve gotten in a good socializing rhythm, I can guarantee you will start to develop a better understanding of what you need to be posting to encourage engagement and cultivate community.
What always catches your eye? Let me guess, Live Video and Video. We are a generation of visual learners. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped my newsfeed scrolling to watch a video. The action catches your eye and the content keeps you watching. Facebook also loves Live video. I know it’s hard to get started, but once you’ve done three live videos, those nerves are going to wash away. You might even surprise yourself and start looking forward to it!
You don’t have to have perfect hair and makeup and a flawless script to go live. You don’t even have to show your face at first. If you have a trade by hand, you could film your hands. You could go live and show your studio or your office. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Your followers like to see real life, and real life isn’t perfect. Be your true, natural self and engage in a way that you would with a close friend.
If you feel like you are doing everything right and still not getting engagement, let me ask you, are you asking for engagement? As often as you possibly can,, you should be asking for responses. Instead of posting, “Look at my cool new office set up,” ask “What makes your workflow better? For me, I set up my office like this.” If you are just showing and not asking, you’re far less likely to get engagement.
I get it, Facebook can be overwhelming in many ways. But it is an incredible gift we must take advantage of. I have friends across the country whose children I’m watching grow up. I wouldn’t have that opportunity without Facebook. As business owners, Facebook is invaluable. You might have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, too. Try to find what you love and focus on that. Remember why you are posting and develop a system that allows you to enjoy your time on the platform.
Facebook could disappear tomorrow, it’s rented space. Seize the opportunity while we still have it to be social and utilize the great power and tools at our disposal. When you serve your audience well, they will want to engage with you.
Let’s get social on social media in 2019.
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