Looking to gain more profits from your email list? Columnist Daniel Faggella walks you through some best practices to help you increase your open rates and customer lifetime value.
Email marketing has been tested and proven to garner the highest return on investment of any medium on the web; however, building a responsive list of subscribers isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Gone are the days when everyone was infatuated with the concept of email and the phrase, “You’ve got mail” had you frantically checking your inbox. As the web continues to evolve, so has the general response rate for emails.
Creating compelling content that resonates with your target audience is of primary importance in today’s crowded email marketplace. Marketers need to take the initiative to promote content through social media channels and blogs.
Once you develop a relationship of trust with your audience, you can start converting your hard-earned visitors into actual leads.
The average email open rate ranges anywhere between 14 percent and 28 percent. While these numbers aren’t out-and-out depressing, they certainly add a stark perspective.
Today, I give you some simple but powerful email strategies for doubling the sales from your email list. In this article, you’ll learn:
- how to create emails that your subscribers want to open;
- proven strategies to increase the customer lifetime value of your customers; and
- best practices for leveraging newsletters to get more sales.
Email is still an ideal platform for cultivating trustworthy relationships with your prospects. It’s a place where you can interact with your audience on a more intimate basis and provide value that moves them closer to their desired goals.
Strategy #1: Setting up autoresponders
Email autoresponders are the most integral part of any marketing campaign, and the beauty is that you write these messages once, and you’re done. Autoresponders work on autopilot for your business 24 hours a day, freeing up your time and allowing you to spend your time in more productive ways.
Autoresponders also allow you to consistently communicate with your prospects, and when properly utilized, they can be a reliable source of revenue for your business.
As a tool for your marketing campaigns, your autoresponder messages should be crafted around the core needs of your audience to yield maximum profit from your email campaigns.
You want to educate your prospects about the core value proposition of your brand. Your first six emails should focus on your back story, describing specific obstacles that you had to overcome to achieve results or success with your service or product.
You should give your subscribers unique and concrete benefits that you deliver better than anyone else in your niche.
Remember, too, that although subscribers might like your content, this doesn’t automatically translate to a consistent, profitable customer relationship. If you want your subscribers to take the next step in the buyer’s journey, you need to provide your best content up front and leave a positive impression.
Strategy #2: “Push the free line”
The initial content that you provide your prospects should leave them wanting more. Unfortunately, most marketers are apprehensive about giving away their best content for free. This “scarcity level” of thinking impedes many email marketers from capturing the full attention of their audience.
Again, content is the driving force of any profitable sales funnel. If you overdeliver in your opening emails, you’ll inevitably reap the fruits of your labor.
As counterintuitive as it may sound, you should give away your most valuable content for free. This will increase the response levels of your prospects and leave them wanting more.
If your prospects know that your free content is top-quality, they’re much more likely to want to try out your paid products.
Strategy #3: Lower the barrier for your prospects
Once you have garnered the trust of your subscribers, you can gradually present them with offers that are targeted toward their specific end goals. There are myriad ways to sell products to your email list.
In general, you want to lower the barrier of entry if it’s their first time buying from you. Although each business and market is different, in e-commerce, front-end digital products are typically priced within the $7 to $47 range.
Once you convert your email prospects into customers, you can begin offering them higher-ticket products. Optimize your email campaigns by testing different subject lines and calls to action and seeing which ones work best with various segments of your list. Your autoresponder sequences can last days, weeks, or even months at a time.
But what happens if your prospects aren’t “biting?”
The harsh reality is that the majority of subscribers won’t be ready to purchase your products, even after your first few emails. In the second half of this article, I’ll discuss how to encourage slower converters by leveraging broadcast emails to increase engagement and get more sales out of your existing list.
Broadcast emails are messages written to your prospects at a specific time each week. The upside to broadcast messages is that you can interact with your prospects more personally and entice them to take the next logical step in your marketing sequence.
The “one-size-fits-all” approach to avoid
A common email marketing mistake is to rely on autoresponder campaigns to sell products. Too often, if prospects decide not to buy, marketers will sit idle on their email list for months at a time without giving those non-buyers a good second look.
Every so often, a prospect might receive a newsletter that lets them know that the company is still operating, but this “one-size-fits-all” approach isn’t viable to yielding a higher ROI in your business.
The “bucket” list
When a prospect has received all of your autoresponder messages, they are grouped into the “bucket” list — i.e., they are moved to a different tier and receive a different set of emails.
Chances are the majority of your prospects have read only a handful of your messages. Those who are still subscribed to your list after this point are usually still interested in what you have to offer.
Some niches have an easier time getting customers to like them more quickly than others. If you’re in the fitness or fashion niches, for instance, subscribers will often tolerate a higher volume of emails sent to their inbox each week. If you’re in professional industries such as accounting and insurance, using fewer broadcast messages will often go farther towards earning your subscribers’ trust and interest.
Broadcast email segmentation
The primary objective of all broadcasts should be sales, and a surefire way to get your audience to respond is to offer educational content combined with offers that are aligned with your prospects’ core desires; however, if your emails aren’t addressing your prospects’ goals and frustrations, then you aren’t going to have a responsive list.
The simplest, most effective way to more directly address customers’ individual needs is through segmentation. You can employ a multitude of different email segmentation strategies with your list, but understanding the core desires and frustrations of your prospects is key before you can develop segments or categories.
There are also various ways to find out what your customers really want, from surveys to old-fashioned cold calls; regardless, having this foundational understanding allows you to create tailored broadcast messages that meet the goals of your customers.
Fortunately, this customization process is not as cumbersome as it sounds. Simply modifying the subject line and opening sentences of your broadcast emails can do a lot to address the unique benefits relevant to each customer on your list, which in turn can make a significant impact on your response rates and sales conversions.
The last step is to determine the frequency of your broadcast emails. In general, broadcast messages are sent out less often than traditional autoresponder campaigns. A good benchmark for an e-commerce business in most industries (though there are exceptions) is to send out a minimum of two broadcast messages each week.
Your broadcast messages can include direct sales or other promotional content. You always want to “leave the buyer’s door open” when creating educational content for your list.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by positioning your educational content on top of a high-converting sales page. When your prospects are done watching the educational video, a portion of them will inevitably scroll down to the sales page. Always provide your prospects with an opportunity to purchase your products.
Once you have figured out your broadcast frequency, create a step-by-step email regimen that will hold you accountable over the long term. Always be willing to test different days and times, and look for particular trends that seem to resonate with your list.
Being aware of what does and doesn’t appeal to your customers will help you maximize the ROI of each broadcast message that you send out.
Broadcast messages can go a long way toward increasing customer lifetime value and garnering more profits from your email list. Take the time to research and understand the wants and needs of your audience so that you don’t waste you or your customers’ time.
Refrain from using “broadcast blasts” that send out one generic message to all subscribers, and instead, segment your customer list into categories based on their identified needs.
Analyze the response rates of each segment on a monthly basis, and continue to test different message content and frequencies to determine what works best for your email list.
What other broadcast strategies do you use in your business?
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)