email-marketing

The Quick Entrepreneur’s Guide To Email Marketing

Email marketing leverages a set of tactics to build a stronger brand, drive traffic to your products, and build a solid funnel for converting leads into loyal customers. While email marketing isn’t new, it’s still one of the most effective marketing strategies to build a valuable business.

Introduction to email marketing

Email marketing is an underappreciated digital marketing medium that involves the strategic sending of emails from a company to prospective and existing customers. When correctly done, email marketing converts skeptics and prospects into customers and turns one-time buyers into lifelong loyal customers.

One preposterous take from digital marketers, especially those who work with social media, calls Email marketing outdated because it is an old digital marketing method. As old as Email marketing is, it is still one of the most effective digital marketing methods because it directly reaches the audience. Nearly all internet users have an email address, and virtually all persons check their mails daily in the modern age, especially with the growth of technology, which enables all internet activity on mobile just as much as desktop.

A simple notification at the top of a person’s screen shows a preview of the message, just like every other instant messaging apps. Such a person can just check immediately; even when the person doesn’t have time to actively check through social media, they still have a very high (almost impossible) tendency to check their emails. So calling email marketing “dead” is a rather outlandish conclusion, as it is one of the best ways to communicate with an audience, promote your brand, even with a low budget, and consumers like it.

Email marketing helps you directly connect with your leads, just like texting your friends, keeping up with them, and making them attached to your brand, beating your competition. It is also customizable, as you can create several emails for several segments of your list. Because you own your list, you are sure that you can keep total control of it if you lose your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account; however, you can lose communication with your leads.

Like I said earlier, email marketing has been a relatively underappreciated channel, especially with the rise of social media, but you can derive optimal use from it for your business. Generally, for every mail you send, on average, you are likely to get a 20% open rate. It could be more or less, depending on many factors, including your content appeal, your niche, and your cordiality with your audience.

Addressing your potential and existing customers by the first name could make people pay more attention to an email, as it sounds personal (This will be discussed further as we progress).

So if you have 10,000 people on your email list, with a 20% open rate, you should be expecting nothing less than 2,000 website visits, especially when you have a call to response protocol. As I said, it could be more, and it could be less. This guide thoroughly examines the dos and don’ts of email marketing to ensure you get the best value for your marketing.

Building an Email List

An email list typically includes a list of names, email addresses, and perhaps other data (like company name or income level). There is a trendy phrase about email marketing that goes; thus, “the money is in the list,” which means that the better your email list is, the more leads and clicks you are likely to get from it.

Even as a beginner, it is never too early to create an email list; in fact, it is one of the very first things you should consider; your list should grow alongside your website. If you have a brick and mortar store, you can start with the list of people coming around, but if you have an online store, you have to build a list from the very first visits to your website and even from among your offline connections.

One shortcut that many business owners get enticed with is the idea of buying an email list rather than going through the laborious yet rewarding method of organically creating a list. It looks like a way to cut corners and save time, but this is wrong and fallacious; in fact, it is a massive waste of time and money, and you will never get the actual value of email marketing. There are a few reasons I will highlight as to why buying a list is bad, and you should totally avoid it! They include:

Poor Quality Lists

People who sell email lists aren’t obliged to be honest with you, you want a list quickly, and they want money just as quick. Of course, they will make several claims about the authenticity of the list, but you cannot verify it, and it likely has a lot of problems, some of which you may not even discover. For example, inactive email addresses, you definitely do not want to send your mails to ghosts, and these bought lists will give you a high number of “ghosts.” It is also possible that the data is false; the names and other information about people on the list could be wrong, making you address people wrongly. There is no shorter route to abandoning a mail than that. If you receive mail that was wrongly addressed, you will most likely report it as spam for fear of fraudulent activities, and you definitely do not want this to happen to you if you buy Email lists. 

Illegal Collection Of Emails

The Email addresses on a bought list are usually illegally gotten from the internet randomly. Obviously, nobody has chosen to be on your list if you bought them, so it’s going to be worthless because nobody has asked to be on them. You could also face legal charges, as much as tens of thousands of dollars per email you send illegally. Like the CAN-SPAM Act of the United States, several countries and regions have their email policy with different charges and penalties for illegal emails.

You’ll Be Spamming

According to Oxford, Spamming is “sending unsolicited messages indiscriminately to a large number of internet users.” If nobody has chosen to be on that list you have, sending emails to them is tantamount to spamming. I’m sure you personally detest receiving unsolicited emails, almost everyone does anyway, and you probably delete those emails, mark as spam, and probably unsubscribe since you never asked for it. You may believe that your email content is well packaged and catchy with credible information. Still, the recipient only sees another company spamming their way into his/her inbox and will most likely not pay attention to the content. 

Other Companies Use The same List

As mentioned earlier, the individual or organization that sells you a list owe you no loyalty or exclusivity, as they want to make quick money. There is the possibility of selling the list to another company. People typically unsubscribe to emails and even pick the option of “not receiving emails from similar companies,” Your messages will go directly into the spam box. Even if it goes into their inboxes, you have lost the touch of exclusivity and owning your list, and you are now in competition with other companies for the attention of your audience. 

It Is Against the Policy Of Email Service providers

Many Email service providers (the companies that send out your emails) have terms of service that considers buying email list spamming, which is against their terms of service. It could lead to your account‘s closure, you could get fined, and even some email providers may file legal charges against you.

This will be triggered if too many of your messages get marked as spam, and you will quickly get your account flagged. You’ll quickly get on the wrong side of your email service provider. 

Poor Open and Response Rate

Upon several research and data, it has been found that a reasonable open rate is usually not less than 20%, and a response rate of 5-10% is usually considered adequate. Open rate is the number of people that open an email you sent out of everyone who receives it (not everybody will receive the emails you sent), while the response rate judges the number of people that respond to your emails. If you have an email list of 10,000 names and send out an email. An excellent open rate will guarantee you that at least 2,000 people will open your emails, and out of those 2,000 people, 500 to 1,000 people click on your links, you will have about 500 to 1,000 purchases of your new product. A $50 product could fetch you between $25,000 to $50,000, which is an excellent sell rate.

If your list, however, comprises of people who do not want to be there, it’s just as good as shooting yourself in the foot because the majority will not open, not to talk of following the links. You can have an open rate as low as 5% and a click rate even worse; you may as well sell nothing.

It’s Bad For Brand Reputation

brand-pyramid
A brand pyramid is a representational framework that answers fundamental questions about a brand and market positioning. The framework is particularly useful for new brands to enter a market for the first time. It moves from bottom to bottom with these elements: features and attributes, functional benefits, emotional benefits, brand persona/core values, and brand essence.

Apart from the fact that your email service provider can file serious charges against you, getting you in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, even worse repercussions can be encountered from buying email lists. People on your email list can interact with one another on Twitter about how your company violates privacy rights and illegally collecting details to send emails.

These can even appear on Google’s first page when the name of your company is searched for. This is a red flag for potential customers and people who aren’t even on your list. You could also be tagged as fraud by an angry online mob who feels that your offers are unsolicited and could be fraudulent. Reputation is crucial online, and you will need to spend a lot of money and effort to fix a destroyed reputation online because “the internet never forgets.”

Now that you understand the importance of building your list yourself and not just buying any list from a random individual or online body, you must learn how to properly build a list. The first thing to achieve this is knowing who you want to sell to.

Understanding your target audience is essential, as you need to know who you are targeting before you start building an email list. Understanding the buyers’ perspective is usually helpful in delivering content to them. If you understand what a person likes, it will be easy to make attractive offers. You should have a marketing persona – a virtual character representing your ideal customer by having data of the primary characters of a group of your potential customers, to design the best content and user experience for them. A market persona, in short, will help you have an idea of who these people are, helping you understand them and hence improving your services and offers to them. 

How to start building your email list

Having lists is vital, as you already know by now, but having an engaged list of subscribers is more important. This epitomizes the interest of people in your brand and what you have to offer. To grow your email list while ensuring that you get a list of people interested in your service, you need to consider a few things. They are:

The sign-up form

The sign-up form on your website in the dialog box where your visitors submit their email address to subscribe to your emails and get your offers. The most important information is the email address. Still, these forms usually have other information like location, interests, and other details that allow segmentation of the email list (This will be elaborated as we proceed). Sign-up forms typically appear during a session when a visitor is on your website as a pop-up covering the entire screen or takes part from the side or from the top.

A sign-up form is where you must convince your website visitors that your emails are worth signing up for. An alternative to Sign-up forms are landing pages. However, I recommend using them together with information while offering freebies to entice the visitor to submit details, called lead magnets.

Landing Pages

A landing page is a page where a visitor “lands” following an ad or alternative clicks, containing information about your product and what you want to offer. The important thing on the landing page should focus on what you want to offer, possibly painting it as a one-time offer; a “take it or leave it scenario” that probably boxes the visitor into a corner, making them subscribe as they anticipate some value in return. There are many approaches to go about landing pages; in truth, one isn’t better than the other, but depending on your niche, product type, and prospective customers, some approaches are usually more appropriate than others. The simplicity of design (optimizing fonts, images, texts, and colors) and their overall appearance.

A bad landing page will ruin the collection of emails for your list in ways you don’t anticipate. If a visitor lands on your page, and it is poorly designed, there might be hesitation in trying out your lead magnet because the eyes are the most sensitive sense organ, sending signals to the brain more times than any other sense organ. So working on perfect aesthetics is never a waste of time. It should not be overloaded with information as you don’t want to bore out the visitor; you only need to get their details, so use a proper lead magnet and make your landing page have as little information as possible. Some Landing pages work better with specific lead magnet, so you may need to try out different approaches to help you choose the best possible landing to click conversion ratio.

Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are freebies you give away as bait. To get people’s details for your email list, they could be free videos, e-books, coupons, discount offers, and generally things that entice a visitor to make them subscribe. But your lead magnets need to be attractive and offer value to your prospects. Your prospective customers must be able to see that you are giving them something valuable – worth reasonable money for free. In fact, it must be something they will be willing to pay for. Just like a magnet that was built to attract metallic objects in its field, if it is bad, it won’t attract any metal, or metals that even get attracted will not stick. Hence your freebie needs to hold value, otherwise, you risk losing out on potential leads, and even if they have initially subscribed to your email list, poor content can make them stop checking your mails or worse – unsubscribe as they are uninterested in the preview they have gotten.

If your giveaway item, on the other hand, is very attractive, your new subscribers will be on the lookout for more of your mails because they believe in the inherent value. Even paid items will appear to them as a bargain. So you shouldn’t feel you are giving too much as a lead magnet because in the long run, you will definitely make gains from it.

It is possible to integrate a sign-up form into a landing page, Usually signing up isn’t the first thing you’ll see on a website, but with a landing page, you can incorporate sign-up form, especially if your product or service needs more information for email list segmenting. With extra details provided by the sign-up form, you can effectively optimize your email list. 

Types of sign-up forms

There are different types of sign-up forms, based on how they appear on a User’s screen. Some of which include:

Static sign-up form

These are static blocks of form that appear when an internet user visits your website. Usually located anywhere on the page. It can also have a specific dedicated page for users who will follow clicks and backlinks to your page. 

Pop-up form

Pop-up forms appear on a webpage, especially when reading a blog post, often after the internet user has settled in and absorbing information. Usually, a little less than a minute after landing on the page, the pop-up form will show. Usually, the content in the form and the lead magnet will relate directly to the blog post or piece of information being consumed, further enticing visitors to input their details. Pop-ups usually boast of high conversion because the content is directly linked to the form; Internet users are intrigued and probably want to try it out, especially when the lead magnet is almost irresistible. Although it is worthy to note that if the visitor hasn’t consumed enough information, the pop-up may seem like a distraction, and he will just close immediately, thereby ignoring the form. This is why the timing of the pop-up is very important.

Notification bar form

A notification bar form is less intrusive than a pop-up form; it comes from the top of the page, catching some attention while giving the user permission to keep reading. However, because it offers no form of hindrance to the reading of the article or blog post, the visitor may forget to check out the notification. This can be a very common situation as human beings have low attention spans

Slide-in form

A slide-in form is also less intrusive than a pop-up form and can be more effective than the notification bar form. It is also a good way to incorporate sign-up forms into web pages with a lot of content. Because the visitor would have consumed very little information within the first one minute, it is important to wait until a very sizeable part of the information has been gotten. A slide-in form usually “slides in” from the lower corner of a page. Particularly the bottom right, so Users would have almost exhausted the content before getting the slide-in form. Because they have good information and valuable content, they will sign-up if it suits their demands. However, sometimes users aren’t patient, and they may not even get to the end of the post, probably after gaining the needed information from earlier parts of the web content. Making you miss out on some potential leads.

Your form should give the visitors explicit information on what to expect from you; this is important as it will ensure that the people who are signing up to your list are the exact people you want to make the quality of your list very high. Making your emails stay further away from the spam folder. The form should clearly explain what users stand to gain by signing up for your list and how frequently you’ll be sending (i.e., daily, weekly, twice a week, fortnightly); explicit information on all these will mean that the subscribers are fully aware of what they have signed up, increasing the chances of a very good open rate and avoid being in the “spam” discussion. 

Other important things to note about your form are;

The call-to-action command

If you have registered on a website before, you probably would have seen different Call-to-action (CTA) commands. The call-to-action command is usually at the completion or submission stage of the sign-up form. Where after imputing details, you need them to submit. Here, you should get creative rather than using the normal cliché “sign-up” command; you can use more catchy phrases like “Get my free eBook now” or “I want to try out new product offers up to 30% discount”. Get creative and draw your readers in; it’ll really help to get more people to submit their details. It also serves as a reminder of the lead magnet and help the visitor consider the offer. 

The location

Many websites focus their sign-up forms on only their homepage as they believe that it is the first place that visitors will encounter before going anywhere else, forgetting that some people will visit the website via search engines or other backlinks to the website. The sign-up form should not be limited; it should appear on nearly every page that users will get the tiniest bit of information. The aim is to grab attention, and your blog posts are even more likely to get visitors attracted than your homepage. It is also possible that different locations have different types of forms to ensure optimization and the best possible User Experience. User experience is very important as it is a factor considered by Google in ranking websites. In conjunction with other factors, User experience determines your website rankings on search engines.  

The design

Create simple designs that make information easily processed and maybe a color that matches your website or in sync with your brand identity. You can use more than one color to show emphasis on important things, and a very bright, catchy color should be used for the CTA command.

Other Channels to Build Your List

Social Media

Reach out to your social media audience if you have one and encourage them to subscribe to your email list, of course, by using coupons and bonuses or other valuable lead magnets. This will expand your reach and expose you to a potentially higher number of visitors. Share intriguing or even controversial posts from your blog, which will make people get snippets of engaging content, making them interact and follow up on the links. If you have a Facebook business page, you can add a sign-up form to it, and voila! You get email addresses from your own followers. In other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram you should have your bio link, make promotional posts, and direct them to your bio.

Collect subscribers offline

Interact with people from several events, telling them about your products and services, and if you own a physical store, great! Send a Google forms link to your customers; this approach ensures one-on-one interaction, and you can even convince them better, no matter how small the audience is.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which target is to reach over two million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get in touch with Gennaro here