Not Just Email Marketing Tips, This is Strategy!
Some marketers call it the most powerful asset in your business toolbox. Others will tell you it’s dead and that no one ever reads their emails anymore. So what is the reality of Email marketing in today’s business world? And is it right fit for your business?
Many entrepreneurs hail lead capture as the most important call to action that you can have on your website, higher in rank in fact than the sale itself!
Do you know why?
Stephan Hovnanian is an expert with email marketing and has proven track record with helping his clients increase their leads, nurture client relations, and retain valuable subscribers.
Because so many resources and marketing dollars are spent on list building, the worst thing to happen is get someone to subscribe and either they never open the email, or they unsubscribe and leave.
This is part 1 of a two part interview.
In this episode, Stephan discusses:
What is Permission Based Marketing?
Permission based marketing is relationship marketing. This happens when subscribers ‘opt-in’ to your messaging.
Subscribers are added to an email list (or permission list). [Note] The rules regarding permission-lists are quite different across the world. For e.g., in Canada, you need double opt-in, the benefit of which is to make sure that nobody gets caught in spam filters. And while this extra step can make the whole process clunky, it does ensure an extra layer of spam safety.
In a nutshell, permission based marketing gives you – the content creator – the permission to enter a subscriber’s space with your message.Permission based marketing helps you enter a subscriber’s space with your message.Click To Tweet
Stephan talked about building your email list through other means, say because of some prior interaction at a trade show or a business conference. In such cases, it is not technically ‘permission based marketing’, but there IS some context that ‘allows’ you to include someone in your email list.
Is Email Dead?
Stephan’s instantaneous response to this question made me smile. To quote him, “BULL! It is NOT!”
Elaborating, he stated that multiple studies have emphatically indicated email marketing’s effectiveness:
- It delivers the highest Return-On-Investment or ROI, partly because Email is an inexpensive marketing channel with a low amount of investment (i.e. the denominator in the ROI calculation is low)
- When done right, you can have long, intimate relationships with somebody in their Inbox, leading to high conversion rates and loyal followers.
Which businesses should use Email Marketing?
One of the primary benefits of Email Marketing is the long life span of its messages. Compared to the ephemeral quality of content on other channels – like social media – you can choose to save email messages in your Inbox for a much longer time. Leverage this advantage
- Retail or E-commerce: Anybody who sells online can use their Email list to create and maintain a loyal set of customers through reward programs, discounts, coupons or other announcements
- Bloggers: Writers produce a fair amount of content and your loyal readers might want to ‘recap’ your posts. Email lists are perfect to help anyone read your content at their convenience. RSS newsletters are common way to automate, but use this very carefully. Automation can bore your readers quickly because it is very impersonal.
- Fundraising: Non-profits, churches and other fund-raising organizations will highly benefit from having an email list in order to update their donors and other audience about their progress or promote any events
- Basically, every business can benefit from a well managed email list
Your LIST is your most valuable asset
Ask any successful online business or internet marketer, and they will all agree across the board.
- Stephan explained to us how it is portable and versatile.
- You can take an email list and move it from platform to platform. The entire ‘change and adapt’ process amounts to “…just an Excel dump” with email lists.
- This ability to re-purpose an email list across multiple marketing campaigns makes it a hugely valuable asset.
- You can use it time and time again to connect with a targeted audience.
- You can monitor data and metrics like open rates, click through rates, and most active readers.
- You can segment your audience.
So take your time and build your email lists. This is an eternally available channel that is organic and grows with your business.
Social Media vs. Email List
With social media, we can only HOPE to reach people; with email, we have a relative guarantee, more so than on any other channel, to reach them
Even though there are ways to utilize social media tools to create marketing channels and lists, they cannot compare to email list in terms of direct communication.
Stephan wrote a fantastic article on how to use Google Plus circles to curate invite lists. Basically he talked about how we can use circles to create invite lists but noted that you can only reach up to a 100 people per circle and it’s a ‘really good chance’ that they will get your message, if they are watching their notifications. But who would you rather trust your marketing to, Mr. Jingles or to G-mail?
Also, when you are sending emails, your delivery rate is much higher – well over 97% – especially if you use service provider (instead of blank copying everybody on Gmail or Outlook, i.e.) . You couldn’t possible hope to get that kind of reach on ANY social network.
I added that the other problem with social lists is that there is no way of effectively measuring metrics, except by a manual analysis by counting the likes, comments, shares and plusses. With email marketing, I can learn about my email lists in much greater detail – including WHEN my email is opened – making it a more granular, specific and targeted technique to send out your message.
Different Email Providers, AWeber, Mail Chimp, Active Campaign, and more
We briefly compared some popular Email systems, AWeber , Mail Chimp, and Active Campaign.
AWeber has a great reputation and is commonly know as ‘an auto response service’. Many reviews hail them as the preferred service among internet marketers, bloggers and coaches – but they might not be the best solution for image heavy newsletters or E-commerce styled mailings. Aweber has a great trial offer starting at just $1 and it has a very popular affiliate program. (That is an affiliate link)
I use Aweber for our Newsletter system, and it works great for On Track Tips.
The advantage of Mail Chimp is that it has a really nice User Interface (UI) and you can send up to 1200 emails up to 2000 people for free.
Stephan is most familiar with Active Campaign which he uses. He says it is, “another do-it-yourself program, much like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact.” It has great analytic and offers ‘slick’ tools for marketing automation. For example, you can customize your email based on several options, such as whether it was opened or not opened, which link was opened. With this program, marketing automation can even extend to your website, helping businesses understand whether a visitor completed a transaction or whether a certain page interested them. Armed with such in-depth information, your next email can then be customized and personalized based on your subscriber’s needs and interests.
Text only vs. Images
Stephan made a very good point about understanding your vision and goals before choosing a suitable format for your email. In his words, ask the question: “What do I need to accomplish?”
However, he was slightly partial towards plain text because it LOOKS like an email and hence will more likely be opened. (which is why I use Aweber)
Image-heavy emails might seem more like ‘advertising’, thereby turning off people. Heavily designed emails look cool and might seem to grab attention, but your email is NOT getting any attention unless somebody opens it. So ask yourself whether there is a benefit to doing something that LOOKS like a regular email or that is designed more attractively.
Getting access to somebody’s Inbox is, in Stephan’s words, “like getting keys to the front door”. So don’t mess it up.Getting access to somebody’s Inbox is like getting keys to the front door.Click To Tweet
Hit on a personal level, be relevant and TEST. Try both the formats and find out which one works better for YOU.
Have a purpose for your Email
Much like any other marketing strategy, Email Marketing is all about INTENT. Whether its a social media post or an email campaign, you have very limited amount of time to grab somebody’s attention. Think about how you are going to use that time. Look at it as being in a crowded party. How will you differentiate yourself among a group of people?
In case of Emails, you have access to somebody’s Inbox, implying that you are given that extra step to have a one-on-one communication. Respect your subscribers. Don’t send anything that YOU wouldn’t want to receive! Make sure that you provide value to your audience.
Know what you want your reader to do, and drive traffic to a specific landing page. Never just to the home page.Know what you want your reader to do, and drive traffic to a specific landing page.Click To Tweet
Best converting calls to action
While choosing your Call to Action or CTA, ask yourself: “Do all roads lead to where you want them to go?”
The number of links or pages included in your email depends on your goals.
More links are actually better for tracking the analytic of your email marketing campaign. You can measure which landing page or links worked the best, and incorporate this information into your future emails. However, do not let your subscribers get lost!
But at the same time, too many choices will have your readers all over the place. I usually will choose only one landing page, and make all links go there.
For instance, if you want somebody to buy something, you can send people to a ‘bunch of a different places’, that’s OK, but if your email about an event or webinar, only give them one option.
Make sure that all roads lead back to the Registration page because that is your ultimate goal.Make sure that all roads lead back to the Registration page.Click To Tweet
Bottom lines, know your goal, test and utilize the format or CTA that is the most effective option for you.
That was it for Part I of our Email Marketing Strategy episode with Stephan Hovnanian. Tune in for Part 2 where you will receive more tips, goodies and some ‘ninja’ tricks that will help you get started in the right direction in terms of Email Marketing.