— February 7, 2018
So I hear this all the time: Email marketing is dead. Email is dead. Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s far from the truth. Why is that? Well, first and foremost let’s look at corporate America. We all know our millennials — our kids or ourselves — we want to text. That’s what we like. We like that instant gratification of forwarding them and sending them back-and-forth and not having to work on email. But, corporations need some kind of paper trail and until somebody comes out with a way to archive texts like you do email, it’s not going to be a useful tool for them.
So, email marketing is far from dead. As a matter of fact, it’s alive and well and doing fine. Should you have it as part of your business? The answer that I have for you is yes, and what I want to talk today is about the five parts that you really need to think about.
Let’s start off with the first one, and that is creating email lists. A list is a group of people that have signed up for a particular email. Yes, you’re going to have subscribers and emails and all this other stuff, but I want to get into the philosophy of lists. Now, I had like 25, 30 lists. I know people that have hundreds of lists. The thing you need to question is if you can take the subscribers and consolidate them into a unified group, into a congregation, so to speak.
I had too many, and so when I was sending out emails, I’d have to check all of these but there was a group that had certain things in common. People I gave free things away to, whether they were lead magnets or giveaways at speeches or conferences. There was another group where I did affiliate webinars. There’s another group where I do webinars. There’s another group where I do live presentation speeches. So I took a whole bunch of those individual lists and I combined them into just that, groups that had something in common that I would want to communicate with a different way.
The people who got the freebies are not the same as the people that are my customers. And even though I might send the same email to both of them, not necessarily every email is going to be the same. So, you could have too many lists. Maybe you have too few. I had one customer who had 5,000 people all in one list. They had no idea whether they were current customers, potential customers, past customers, whatever.
So you really have to think about that, and take a look at your email lists and see if maybe now is the time to start consolidating. It’s not easy to do and I don’t have enough time today to get into it, but there are ways of tagging. There are ways of exporting and re-importing. It depends on the platform that you’re on.
I happen to use AWeber. I’ve looked at Drip. I’ve worked with MailChimp, Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, GetResponse, all of those kinds of things. There are tons of them out there. The key thing you have to do is use the tool that you can afford where you’re at right now and make the most of it.
The second thing is autoresponders, which is where your lists are maintained and where you manage the emails you send. So, when somebody signs up for a list, you have a sequence of emails that are set to go out based on what they purchased or what they did, or what you want them to do. So, it could be a sequence of one, 10, five. I’ve seen as many as 300 or more emails all sequenced out to somebody who joined a list. The key question is with this particular list, what is the goal that you want? Somebody who purchased a product? Maybe you want to get them to purchase another one. Somebody who came to a webinar and maybe you want to get them on a phone call or a mastermind. Maybe presentations, I want to get another opportunity to speak. You have to think about the sequence of emails that you’re going to send to those people.
The next thing is, now we have to start attracting subscribers to these lists. Now you can export, for example, all of your customers out of QuickBooks and import them into an email list because you’ve gotten their information, you’ve done business with them and they can be set, customers. But in most cases, your website is going to have a form or a pop-up form that’s going to integrate with your email program.
Maybe somebody signs up for a webinar; you can take those people and import them automatically. Maybe somebody signs up for a meeting, you can do that automatically with some type of integration, like for example, Acuity Scheduling integrates with AWeber so when somebody schedules something, I can add them to a list of coaching clients because they booked a coaching session.
So, there are lots of different ways to do that. The key thing you want to do is make sure you’re getting the right person subscribed to the right list so that you can communicate with them the way they want to be communicated to.
The next thing is the actual email. So there are lots of different ways to do emails. First and foremost, you can use templates that are built-in, but a lot of the fluffy graphics and things like that tend to distract from the message. One of the things that I have found and I have heard is that, believe it or not, plain text messages that look more like an email coming out of an email program, have better open rates, better click-through rates, than these big fluffy graphics, but I still use both. It just depends on what I’m trying to do.
For example, if I’m doing an email sequence, I’m keeping them as plain text graphic. I may add a header at the top that just says it’s coming from Brian Basilico the Bacon Guy, but sometimes it’s just plain text.
When I’m sending out my weekly digest — and please don’t use the word ‘newsletter’ — it’s a digest of all the content I’ve created this week. (Newsletters are very old school.) This is very simple, clickable content to get to my blogs and my podcasts, and maybe click on information about speeches or classes that I’m giving. Those will tend to have a little bit more graphic content because the graphics from the podcast and the blogs, or maybe a picture of me speaking, may add a little bit to the opening rate of those particular links.
So, when we talk about the call-to-action when you put together an email, you want somebody to do something. Yes, you want them to read it, but more often than not you’re going to want them to click and go somewhere.
Now, in the case of most emails, you want one call-to-action in the email at least three times. So it’s the same call-to-action with three opportunities to click the link. In the case of my email digest, I have multiple links but people have been trained to expect that there is a link to a podcast, an expert interview, and a blog, and there are links to my presentations, speeches, what have you, even classes. They’ve been trained that there’s a little bit more in there, but in general when you’re putting together your autoresponders, when you’re putting together any kind of email out to your list, you want to make sure that there’s one call-to-action, and you want to have that call to action in there three times.
Here are a few other best practices. Sometimes I found that if you add https to your website links, it can actually stop the program from tracking clicks, so I’ll change it to http. The other thing that you cannot do is use a URL shortener. So if you use bit.ly or ow.ly or something like that, those tend to get spammed, which means the servers receiving them are less likely to deliver them because there’s the higher possibility that there is a bogus spam link or some kind of virus behind it. So make sure you’re using full, legitimate links.
That’s it. Those are the five things you’ve got to think about. Your lists, setting up autoresponders, getting people to subscribe to your lists, what kind of emails you’re going to send out, and what is the call to action in each one of those emails.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on your challenges with communicating about your business in this new online environment. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?