4 Top Email Marketing Strategies to Skyrocket Leads!
Email list subscribers (ie: potential customers) think about your brand as a whole, and they’re not just thinking about how cool your emails look. In fact, even if it's only subconsciously, with every email you send (automated or not) they’re considering your products and how you communicate with them, as well as your style, tone, and mood.
If you want your email automation to be superior, you've got to think about and plan out the entire experience.
So let’s be real, getting someone to hand over their email address is not easy, it doesn’t matter if you’re a corporation or a small business. People are savvy researchers these days, and I too have had my fair share of “firstname.lastname@example.org” email addresses show up on my list, just to get the free content that I’m giving away.
The pure excitement of clicking “Publish” on your newest blog post still doesn’t take away that sinking feeling of seeing someone opt-in to download your freebie only to unsubscribe instantly.
All that work you put in to creating something educational and beautiful.
It sucks, but it happens.
Here’s the honest truth, you can never prevent that from happening all together, but what you can do is give people a reason to want to soak up everything you have to offer. Your overall email marketing strategy, including the bulk email marketing software that you use to send from are a critical piece of getting it right.
Email Newsletters…Not Vogue!
In the past, and still today, many companies send an email newsletter every week (or every month) because they assume people on their list wanted to know about everything that is going on at their company. Newsflash…that isn’t true!
Think about the last time a company you did business with 2 years ago sent you an email. If you’re even still subscribed to that email list, were you interested enough to open it and read everything in there? Probably not.
But what if that same company sent you an email about one specific topic that was relative to the exact product you purchased? For example “your item was recalled, click here to see what we’re doing about it.” You would be much more likely to keep reading or click through to see what they have to say.
Strategies for Growing Your Email Marketing ROI
The strategies for growing an email list are fairly black and white, but if you want to step up your game, there are some tactics that absolutely work and there are some that don’t.
My biggest mistake when I created my first free opt-in was that it was too complex. It's because I had a background in digital marketing and came from an agency job where day in and day out I spoke to people (and customers) who already understood the language.
Talking about a tactic like “Schema Markup” or “Consideration Stage Lead Magnet” didn't resonate with my blog audience because they weren't marketers.
But that was back in 2011, and I’ve honed in on the art of teaching email marketing ever since, and found a way to teach these tactics that are the absolute cornerstone of list-building. One simple but effective tactic has grown my list and the lists of my clients by leaps and bounds. In fact, I now gain about 600 new organic subscribers each week.
Six-Hundred each week.
I'm not kidding. If you're just starting out with list-building, 600 new subscribers a week sounds like a dream come true, right?
Before I jump in though, lets get clear, these are foundational strategies, not tips and tricks.
Tips and tricks are temporary, while strategies last for the long haul. Email marketing automation can be a huge, powerful, big deal with a lot of complex moving parts.
Luckily, getting started is fairly straightforward if you follow the right advice.
In fact, the only thing you actually need to do to get started is click this one button. (But before you do, please finish reading).
Attraction Marketing: The Foundation of Email Marketing Automation
The best digital marketing practice is to create long-term strategies that have been shown to be effective over and over again. This begins with attracting the right audience.
Here are 4 ways to implement genuine “attraction marketing” in other words…to make people crave your content, look forward to when you publish something new, and thus make them want to be on your list, part of your audience, and follow you on every social channel that you’re on.
1. Use an Interactive Quiz as your Email Opt-In (aka: Lead Magnet)
This one small thing has been wildly successful in terms of attracting new members to my audience, and it's the absolute cornerstone of good segmentation so that you can group your subscribers into the proper email nurturing sequence. At first glance it doesn’t seem to be an “opt-in” but as you guide your audience through a series of questions, it’s a fantastic way to group them into meaningful categories that you can actually nurture.
Not to mention, it’s a super fun way to engage. Don’t let the cost scare you, it’s well worth it. Just divide the annual cost by the amount of true, engaged people on your email list and you’ll see there is no comparison!
To use this quiz effectively, I ask questions such as “what phase of business are you currently in” and let them select answers such as:
“I’m just thinking about starting my online business” or “I’m currently blogging but not seeing much success.”
These are very different in terms of how you would help guide this person through to an eventual offer, even though both are interested in the same general niche of blogging to make money.
If you’re thinking about using a quiz, I would recommend checking out the Interact Quiz Builder. You can use their quiz templates to easily get up and running in a matter of minutes, or you can change the questions to anything you like.
The best part is that they integrate with any email marketing automation that you already use, and their metrics provide a really good overview (even better than Google Analytics) at grouping your audience.
I use tags in my email automation to funnel people into different categories, but even if I didn’t, I could go and download my list (already grouped) directly from Interact. If you are thinking about checking it out, click here for a free trial.
2. Grow your Organic Followers using the “Polite” Popup
Stay with me for a moment, I hate popups too. I’m always met with a lot of resistance when talking about popups because I know they are annoying and disruptive. But I challenge you to think about this in a new way.
As someone is reading through your site, a little while later, a sleek and slow window appears on the side and it’s just a follow request. You’re not hitting them smack in the center of the face asking for their email address. If this sounds interesting to you, use this WordPress plugin. It’s a great way to increase your followers organically on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or even YouTube.
If you want to use great email automation and list segmentation, you’ll need to have greater data. Both of these tools listed above help you segment the answers to the questions so you can really nurture your list. You won’t be able to use the powerful email marketing automation features unless your list is grouped into different segments.
When planning and setting a goal for your email campaign, ask yourself these 6 important questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
Consider demographics, make sure what you’re saying is relevant to those receiving the email.
Clicks and Opens are not an appropriate primary goal. Marketers measure clicks and opens, but they are indicators and metrics of success, they should not be the primary goal of the email. Your primary goal should be “Register for our Webinar” or “Download our Toolkit.”
We’re not talking only about the time of day or the day of the week; consider where the recipients of this email is on their journey to purchase. Some people have just started researching ideas, such as “best time of year to buy a grill” while others have already decided to buy and are researching features & benefits of a gas grill compared to features & benefits a charcoal grill. Sending the right information to the right person at the wrong time is not going to translate to conversions. Thinking through exactly what you’re selling and when your buyer needs it is critical.
Where is your audience going to read your email? At their desktop in the office, on their phone during their lunch hour, or on an ipad while watching TV at night?
Why are you sending this message? Use this as a reality check, why does this campaign benefit the recipient?
How do you know if you’ve met your goals? Web traffic, twitter mentions, and a look at other channels can help you see how your campaign impacts behavior. Don’t forget to read between the lines; open and click-thru-rates may be terrible, but people may be logging into their account or calling customer service in response to your email.
3. Use Paid Ads to give away your Free Content
This sounds crazy. Am I right? Most of the time people create ads when they are selling their product or service, but I actually pay for ads to serve up my free stuff! To be fully transparent, I invest several hundred dollars a month using paid ads, but the ads are promoting my free lead magnets.
It’s a way that works well to invest in your followers in the very beginning, to make sure your audience is made up of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. Then you serve your audience so well so that when the time comes to sell to them, they have already qualified themselves as the perfect candidate to purchase.
If you’re familiar with the sales and nurturing process, you already know that most people aren’t immediately ready to buy anything, especially in this day and age of internet research.
Most of the time, people need to do their research and get warmed up before they are ready to buy anything, so running ads to your paid content is not going to be very successful. I've done it. Unless it's a gorgeous apparel item with a deeply discounted price, it simply does not work.
Would you click on something from a stranger and purchase without context or more information? Probably not! Instead, the best strategy is to place an ad that leads to free content with the goal of getting them on to your email list.
This technique is much more affordable than running ads that point directly to a purchase. The cost to acquire a new subscriber on your email list is a fraction of the cost of an ad that points directly to a sales page. It’s better to invest in serving up content (without the hint of a pitch) until you know the audience is engaged.
This is how you show trust and ultimately position yourself as the expert in what you’re talking about. Then when you have an offer, your audience is inclined to listen to what you have to say because they’ve had time to benefit from the free content that you’ve given to them.
At the end of the day, I will always spend money to acquire new people to my list over trying to run an ad to sell a product. I’m confident in my ability to serve my audience so well, that when the time comes to sell something, they are excited to become a bigger part of my community through the purchase of additional products, courses and services.
I’m just going to give it to your straight…
If learning about online business and email marketing automation feels like it’s draining you faster than your iPhone battery, then you’re not doing it right.
ConvertKit was designed to support your business so you can get on with doing the things you actually want to do.
Imagine…automated selling consistently without you having to spend hours and hours doing it!
Of course this isn’t just anything you’re selling…this is your dream job! What you’ve been dreaming about since you were stuck in that corporate cubicle trading all your time for a paycheck.
4. Exclusivity (Translation: Special Perks for your Email Subscribers)
It’s important to treat your community like insiders or VIPs. The people on your email list should be the first to know about anything new in your business. Not only that, they should be getting content that you don’t publish anywhere else.
Whether that is exclusive sales or other freebies, they will really feel like they are special if you don’t offer the same on your Facebook Ads or Twitter account.
Treat your email subscribers like gold, show them you truly value them, thank them, and let them know how much they mean to you. Too often, I’ve seen bloggers promote a sale all over their private Facebook group, on their email list, and then tweet about it and even run an ad. This doesn’t make subscribers feel like they are an insider at all.
Instead, offer your email subscribers something different, an additional discount code or access before you announce the sale publicly.
Keeping customers engaged with your business is crucial if you want them to remain loyal to your brand; it is also a critical step in helping you convert those leads into fully qualified customers. Having an automation system that literally makes money while you sleep needs to be well thought out.
Start by answering those 5 aforementioned questions. When you create marketing campaigns that intelligently follow up with the right people at the right time based on their actions and behaviors, it will be a true game changer for your business.
Providing great content is just not optional anymore; in fact, digital communications is just as important to your business as customer service. If you want to create and keep loyal customers, giving them great information and solving their problems is the key to your continued growth with email marketing automation.
Whether you're just getting started, or you're a veteran marketer looking to enhance your lead generation strategies, these 4 email marketing strategies are sure to yield big results for you in the year ahead!
For a preview of my favorite email marketing tools in action, watch this video!
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Asking people to opt-in to your email newsletter worked well in 2010, but these days bloggers and small business owners need a more advanced strategy.
Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate partner links. For more information, click here.
So many businesses, both large and small are still sending out email newsletters, and by the way…that is not the same thing as using email automation to grow your revenue, in fact sending newsletters will very rarely, if ever, provide any return on investment for your business. Let me show you the difference.
First things first. We’ve all got way too much email in our inbox right…
It feels like every time you unsubscribe from something, you get 10 more emails in return. Email Marketing Automation is everywhere.
I’ve even changed my email addresses just to get rid of all the noise.
So think about the typical email newsletter…a company shares once a month, or maybe even once a week. Maybe they’ve moved into a new location, or maybe they’re welcoming a new employee. If you make a living as a blogger, you might be sharing an excerpt of your blog posts and then linking to the last 4 or 6 blogs that you wrote.
So now, think about how you feel when you’re busy opening emails and you receive a business newsletter and it’s filled with all kinds of links and different things going on…maybe one thing catches your eye, but the reality is, you’re way too busy to click through on every single link in there, because there are just too many choices and you really don’t have time.
Maybe you’ll come back later, but the data shows that’s not likely. What data? Marketing data from all over the world that is aggregated and published by literally every important marketing company that exists (HubSpot, Salesforce, SEMRush, you get the picture). Anyway…if you do send these kinds of newsletters you’re not going to like this data very much but it’s the truth; most people don’t care about what’s new in your business this week.
What people care about is how you can solve their problem, if they happen to have a problem that you have a solution for.
So how does all this translate into setting up automated campaigns that actually generate revenue for your business?
The key is to set up your email marketing automation using JUST ONE nurturing sequence at a time which corresponds to your audiences exact place in the sales funnel.
Wait, what? What does that mean and how do I know this?
Because so much automated intelligence exists that allows thousands of marketers every day to analyze their data…and it’s all black and white. In other words, nobody has go “guess” anymore.
In the past, a business would market their brand by placing an ad in a magazine or on billboard, and back then, they never had an accurate way to measure how effective their ad was. So all these dollars were spent on traditional marketing, but how did they know what really worked or what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure? They didn’t. If they were smart in 1995, they set up different phone numbers so they could track where people saw their ad based on whether they actually called their business, but that’s old news because now we can accurately track email clicks on both websites and within email marketing campaigns, and that’s how we know that email newsletters are just not effective.
So instead of sending another newsletter, here are the steps you can take TODAY to start turning things around:
Write down the exact problem that your audience has.
Write down the exact solution that you provide, that solves their problem.
Apply your solution to the sales funnel; now if this sounds a little confusing, lets look at a real live example.
In the world of digital marketing, being able to pinpoint a prospective customer's place in the sales cycle and associate it with an appropriate nurturing sequence is called Journey Mapping. You’ll first figure out whether your audience is in the awareness stage, the consideration stage, or the decision stage of the sales funnel. These are 3 markedly different phases of decision making, and will affect your email nurturing sequence depending on what phase they are in.
So how do you know what phase they’re in? Digitally, this is done by segmenting or grouping your website visitors into categories based on the measurable actions they take on your website. For example, you gain some perspective on your audience by paying close attention to what blogs they’re reading on your website. Which of your posts gets the most traffic? To accomplish this in a very early stage (if you are used to sending email newsletters and you’re looking to transition to automating your emails for the purpose of generating revenue) then you’ll need to begin by sending an email for the sole purpose of grouping your audience into different categories.
A segmentation campaign is as simple as sending an email that provides two different options…so say your business or blog is about sustainability, ultimately, you’re selling a digital course that teaches people how to build a bin for composting, so your blog topics are likely all related to gardening and composting.
If you already have subscribers on your email list and it’s just one list, you’ll start by sending an email that offers only two different options: either click here to read about learning the importance of composting for sustainability, or click here for a cost comparison of buying different types of compost bins compared to building your own out of leftover household materials. That differentiation now clearly separates your audience into beginners versus advanced. You’ll know based on who clicked which link where they are in their personal journey. So then ultimately if your goal is to sell that digital course on how to build your own composting bin, then you know how to properly nurture people based on where they are in their educational journey…in other word’s their “buyer’s journey”. Then you can take measures to properly group people when they first sign up for your list. You can do this in a few different ways:
Add a choice to your opt-in form so instead of asking only for their email address, you’ll add an additional question that will give you the answer to what you’ll eventually send them…so it might say “what type of gardener are you” (so they choose: I’m a beginner or I’m advanced).
This can also be accomplished by taking a quick survey on your Facebook page or even emailing your current list and saying that you want to provide content that is relevant so you’re taking a quick survey to see what your readers are most interested in. Then as they click, you’ll again go back and analyze your data to find out more about your audience.
As you can see, talking to your audience about precisely what they’re interested in is a much better way to nurture them through the different stages of their buyer’s journey and toward making a purchase from you.
Email Marketing Automation Platforms
I started off using MailChimp in 2006, just like most small businesses do, because of cost constraints. Now that I have a much better understanding and appreciate efficiency, I would highly recommend ConvertKit; it is the way to go because it's simple and intuitive to use, and it makes segmenting your audience super easy. ConvertKit also has visual automations and a very easy tagging system.
Have an enterprise sized business? The most robust platform for Marketing Automation + Website Builder all in one for Small to Medium Sized Businesses who have revenue between $250,000 and $5 Million in annual revenue is: HubSpot (Click for a 30-Day Free Trial)