You’ve heard it over and over again: You need an email list to make money online. Well, you don’t *have* to have one, but it will certainly make getting new clients a lot easier. We haven’t met one website owner yet who regrets building an email list but we know plenty who moan about not having one. In fact, we were in this last category for a long time.
Think of it this way: if you catch someone’s attention, but they are not quite ready to buy or your product or service is not yet perfect for them, how will they find you again?
The answer is they probably won’t without a little planning on your part.
Building an email list of interested people is the first step down the funnel to making a sale. Offering a low-cost or no-cost product to gain access to a prospect’s email address will let you know who is interested in your higher-level products and services and give you an opportunity to reach out to them in a deeper way over the long-term, which increases the chance they will become your customer over the one-shot opportunity you have otherwise.
Doesn’t that sound like a better set of odds?
Tips on building an email list
- Have something of value to offer: a white paper, recording, how-to, free chapter, video, etc., in exchange for a signup to your email list
- Over-deliver on your free or low-cost item. If you skimp here, people will assume you skimp everywhere
- Create a friendly welcome message and a dedicated followup program of 2-3 engaging, interesting emails over the course of the next month before your next email marketing campaign
Email marketing programs
- MailChimp. So easy a monkey could do it. (The one we use. Coincidentally, we also like bananas.)
- aWeber (start out with the Cadillac of email marketing programs because you are confident in your coming success)
- Constant Contact. This is probably the best known, but we find it the hardest to use. If you plan to send a lot of emails you might find this a better option because of the one-rate option for unlimited emails per month.
Best practices in email marketing
- Don’t get too fancy. Brand it with your logo and colors, but don’t go crazy after that. People want information more than they want animated graphics.
- Send your emails on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. According to industry-wide research, these get the best responses in general. Whichever one you pick, be consistent and use it every week/month. (That being said, we know a lifestyle blogger who sends out a “Sunday morning coffee” newsletter that does very, very well. It pays to know your audience’s habits.)
- Use a catchy subject line without spammy words (like “free”) or exclamation marks. These will flag the spam filter of your recipient.
- Deliver great content every week/month, not just a rehash of your blog (though you can reference that). Remember that these are your potential customers. Remind them why they need to buy from you. Set up an editorial calendar to help you with content if necessary.
- Follow the best practices guidelines in your email marketing program, like one-click unsubscribe and autoresponders for signup confirmation and followup. Make a new subscriber feel welcome and an old subscriber always feel like they can leave when they want. You don’t want to force a prospect who is no longer interested to stay. Spend your energy more productively.
- Always do the recommended link and spam checks offered by your email service before sending. And always do a test email to yourself to several test accounts you set up on various email platforms. You want to see what your prospect will see.
- Put the most compelling info at the top. Don’t hide your good stuff at the bottom. Chances are most people will not read every line of your email.
- Include a “call to action” in each email, either a coupon, an interesting article to click through to, or a product or service to buy. Get your clients used to seeing offers from you so they won’t think it is weird when you finally try to sell to them.
- Review your email marketing analytics to see what is most interesting to your subscribers. Learn from this to make your emails more compelling over time. There is always a lesson to learn from your audience.
- Be friendly, for goodness sake. Every program will offer you the ability to use your subscriber’s name, and you should always do this. We all dismiss those “Dear Subscriber” emails.
Let us help you set up an email list and campaign strategy
Do you need help setting up an email marketing program for your business? The good news is that the time you spend on the setup will pay off for months and years to come. Contact us to set up your email marketing program for you – design and all. We can match your website to your email marketing design. Then you just have to come up with the message every month. Piece of cake! (um, we can help with that, too)