Today, I’m going to dive into something that I consider a “must-do” for online business owners. Yes, you guessed it right – I’m talking about email marketing.
Now, let me take you back a few years. I was sitting in front of my fireplace with a stack of notebooks, brainstorming and creating plans for my new business. All the different strategies I might want to implement. SEO, social media, paid ads – you name it, all options were on the table.
But there was one that was a no-brainer for me. And that was email marketing.
Email marketing is like having a direct line to your audience right from the comfort of your home. It’s more than just sending newsletters or promotional emails.
It’s about building relationships, fostering trust, and creating a loyal community of people who love your content and brand – well, maybe not as much as YOU do – but a lot. 😄
In this post, I’ll share the ins and outs of email marketing, including how it can simplify and streamline your business operations. No more feeling like a circus performer juggling dozens of different platforms!
And guess what! I’ve got some handy email marketing resources and cool tips up my sleeve to help you unlock the true potential of this channel.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link. For more information, see my full disclaimer here.
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Why Email Marketing Matters
So, why is email marketing so crucial for your business?
To answer that, let’s back up a bit.
Remember the days when you could post something on Facebook or Instagram, and ALL your followers would see it? Yeah. That’s a memory that’s fading fast, right?
Today, posting on social media is like trying to be heard in a crowded room where everyone’s shouting at once. Social media platforms have become saturated, and new ones are popping up every day (hello, Threads, I’m talking about you). That makes it harder than ever to reach potential customers organically.
Now, imagine having a direct line to your audience. No algorithms. No pay-to-play. Just you and your subscribers. That’s what you get with email marketing. It’s like being invited into their living room for a chat. And that, my friends, is priceless.
The Incredible ROI of Email Marketing
But here’s the real kicker. Did you know that email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment? In fact, here’s a quote: “For every dollar spent on email marketing, marketers can expect an estimated $46 ROI.” (ROI stands for return on investment.)
That quote comes from the book The Truth About Email Marketing.
Think about that for a minute. One dollar becomes $46. Yes, please!
And to add to the value of email, let’s look at a few email usage stats. According to Statista, “In 2022, the number of global email users amounted to 4.26 billion.”
And MailButler tells us that “99% of email users check their inbox every day.”
It’s safe to say that email marketing is not going away.
And here are a few more email marketing stats for you, especially if you’re wondering, “How many businesses use email marketing?”
- According to Snov.io, “89% of marketers use email as the primary channel for generating leads.”
- And Campaign Monitor reports that 71.8% of small businesses surveyed communicate with their customers via email.
So, if you’re sitting there thinking, “Well, I don’t have an email list,” or maybe, “I have a list, but I’ve neglected it,” don’t worry. There’s no time like the present to start building or nurturing your list.
Remember, these people have given you permission to show up in their inbox. They’re interested in what you have to say. And that is so powerful.
Now, I won’t sugarcoat it. Email marketing isn’t a walk in the park. It requires strategy, consistency, and a bit of creativity. But don’t fret because I have something that will help make your journey a lot easier.
And that’s my Email Marketing Toolkit. It’s an all-in-one resource packed with video lessons, worksheets, spreadsheets, and more to organize your strategy and make email marketing a breeze. It takes you through everything from building an email list to crafting compelling content and tracking your success, kind of like email marketing 101.
And the best part is that you can go at your own pace, implementing strategies as they fit into your schedule.
Can I start email marketing for free?
At this point, you may be wondering if you can get started for free.
Absolutely! First, you’ll need an email marketing platform. I recommend ConvertKit. They offer a free plan that allows you to manage up to 1,000 subscribers and send unlimited email broadcasts each month.
Plus, in my opinion, ConvertKit has the most intuitive email builder, which you get access to with the free plan. I share a bit more information about ConvertKit later on.
Getting Started with Email List Building
Okay, let’s move on and start getting into building your email list.
Now, if you’re like me when I first started, the idea of building an email list can be daunting. You might be thinking, “How do I even begin?” or “I’ve been trying, but my list is growing at a snail’s pace.” Trust me, I feel your pain.
One of the things I’ve often said is that the first 100 subscribers will be the hardest to get. And then the first thousand. But once you pass the 1,000 mark, it gets easier. So hang in there.
And I’ve got some practical tips that will help you along the way.
First up, lead magnets. These are essentially gifts you give to people in exchange for their email addresses. It could be anything from a handy checklist to a workbook to a short video training. The key is to make sure it’s something your audience finds valuable.
The biggest mistake I see people making is overthinking their lead magnet.
What’s something quick and easy that you can create that your audience can use to take the next step? Not something to take the next three steps, but to take the one next step.
Next is content upgrades. These are a type of lead magnet that’s closely tied to a piece of core content, like a blog post, video, or podcast episode.
For example, if you’ve written a blog post about healthy recipes, you could offer a downloadable meal plan as a content upgrade because those are closely related, right?
I use content upgrades a lot because I think they are such a great way to add value to your free content. If you want to see this in action, here’s a list of a few articles that have content upgrades included:
- How to Use a Spreadsheet to Organize Your Content Ideas
- 3 Easy Ways to Get Started Repurposing Your Content
- Easy Advice on How to Identify Your Target Market
And, of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a content upgrade of its own, would it?
Crafting Compelling Opt-In Forms
And then there’s the good old opt-in form. This is where visitors to your website can sign up to join your email list. It seems straightforward, right?
But here’s the trick: make sure your opt-in form is visible and enticing. An opt-in form that blends into the background or is uninteresting is like a book with an uninspiring cover. Nobody’s going to pick it up!
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “This sounds great, but I don’t know how to create compelling opt-in forms.” Well, that’s okay. There are lots of tools that can help you. My favorite is Convertbox (and I’ve tried a lot of different tools!).
Convertbox makes creating all kinds of opt-in forms super easy – from classic inline forms to popups to announcement bars.
It has plenty of templates that you can use to get started, and it integrates well with most email service providers. And one of my favorite features is that it’s so easy to A/B test your forms. It really is one of the best email marketing resources out there.
Just remember this. Growing an email list takes time. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Just keep moving forward, one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have an email list full of engaged and excited subscribers.
Writing Engaging Emails
Now that we’ve got our list-building strategies underway let’s talk about the art of crafting effective emails.
Think about your own inbox for a minute. Which emails do you open? I bet it’s the ones with subject lines that spark your interest or promise something you need.
Writing compelling email subject lines is like penning a headline for a newspaper article. It needs to grab attention, stir curiosity, and make the reader want to know more.
But what happens after they open the email? That’s where the real magic happens. Your emails should be like a good conversation over coffee – personal, engaging, and leaving them wanting more.
One key to achieving this is personalization. And I’m not just talking about using their name in the salutation. I mean tailoring content to their interests and needs.
And let’s not forget the all-important call to action. This is your “ask.” It should be clear, concise, and compelling. Whether you want them to check out your latest blog post, buy your new product, or sign up for a webinar, make sure your call-to-action stands out.
Now, if your open rates and engagement are lower than you’d like, then it’s time to start experimenting. Try different subject lines, email formats, send times, etc. Track what works and what doesn’t.
Remember, every audience is different. What works for someone else might not work for you.
That’s why it’s not such a great idea to ask people in Facebook groups what works for them with their emails. Find out what works for them, but then test it and see if it works for you.
Here’s a little tip from my own experience. Create a swipe file of good emails. Anytime you come across something that stands out, add it to your file. I do this right inside Gmail. I have labels set up for various things like subject lines, calls-to-action, etc.
Swipe files can be a great source of inspiration when you’re feeling stuck, and you can also learn a lot by studying the emails that you save.
Learning to craft great emails is definitely a skill. And while you will learn from experience, you don’t have to go it alone.
One of my favorite email resources is Liz Wilcox’s Email Marketing Membership, and it’s all about writing. Liz is an email expert who really has cracked the code for creating emails that people can’t wait to open.
Each week, she sends out a template to help you write your email newsletter in a way that connects to your audience. And she includes a video tutorial walking through the purpose of the email and gives examples of how to customize it for different niches. Best of all, it’s super affordable – as in only $9 a month.
Segmentation and Personalization
Now that we’ve talked about crafting compelling emails let’s move on to segmentation and personalization.
So, I’m going to give you a scenario. I do genealogy in my spare time, so I’ll use that as an example.
Let’s say you’re at a party, and I come up to you, and I start talking all about my latest family history find. But here’s the catch. You have zero interest in genealogy. So your eyes start glazing over. I’m laughing as I write this because genealogists are famous for this. We love to talk about our research to anyone who will stand still.
But see, that’s exactly how your subscribers feel when they receive generic emails that aren’t relevant to their interests.
So, what’s the solution? Two words. Segmentation and personalization.
Segmentation is organizing your subscribers into different groups or segments based on their interests, behaviors, or demographics.
Imagine having different guest lists for a family dinner, a friends’ get-together, and a business meeting. You wouldn’t combine those lists for one event, would you?
Segmentation works the same way. It allows you to tailor your emails to each group’s specific needs and interests.
Many email service providers allow you to tag subscribers based on things like purchase history, website browsing patterns, and interaction with your emails. You can use those tags to create all different kinds of segments. And in fact, this is one of the reasons I use ConvertKit. It’s so easy to tag subscribers and create customized segments.
And let me mention that when I first started using ConvertKit (seven years ago), it was known for its simple email design and ease of use. But over the years, it has added really robust features, like visual automations, a wide variety of design templates, and more.
Back to segmentation. . . it ensures that your emails are relevant and valuable to each subscriber. And that increases the likelihood that they’ll engage with your content and take the desired action.
Then comes personalization. It’s like adding a special touch to each email, making your subscribers feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
One way to do this is as simple as addressing them by their first name. Most everybody does this in the email salutation, and honestly, I think most subscribers don’t even notice that anymore.
But you can also add their name in other places – like the subject line, in the body of the email. Or even in the P. S. Those areas pack a little more punch because it’s not something that everybody does in every email.
You can even send personalized emails acknowledging special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. Big brands do this kind of thing all the time. But we can do it, too. You may have to do a little digging to figure out how to make it work with your email service provider. But if you do, it can make your subscribers feel special and appreciated.
Just remember that the key to successful email marketing is treating your subscribers not just as numbers on a list but as real people with unique interests and needs.
Developing an Email Marketing Strategy
So, we’ve talked about crafting emails, segmentation, and personalization. Now, let’s talk a bit about strategy and campaigns.
Having an email marketing strategy is like having a roadmap for your journey. Without it, you’re likely to get lost, waste time, and miss out on opportunities. But with a solid strategy, you’ll know exactly where you’re going, how to get there, and what to do along the way.
And campaigns are the building blocks of your strategy. Creating effective email marketing campaigns isn’t just about sending emails. It’s about sending the right emails to the right people at the right time.
So how do you do that? By planning your email campaigns around your subscribers’ behaviors and needs. For example:
- If someone just signed up for your mailing list, send them a welcome email or even a series of welcome emails (aka a welcome sequence).
- If they haven’t opened your emails in a while, put them in a re-engagement campaign.
- If they sign up for a freebie that’s related to one of your products and they haven’t bought that product, then put them in an evergreen funnel.
It’s all about being responsive to your audience’s actions.
But I hear you saying, “That sounds like a lot of work!” And it can be. But marketing automation can take a lot of the load off of you.
Automated workflows allow you to set up a series of emails that are triggered by specific actions or events. It’s like having a team of robots who send out your emails for you.
So you put in the work on the front end setting up the automations and then let the robots do their thing in the background.
ConvertKit has some great guides on using email automation and sequences in their help documentation. Of course, they are specific to the ConvertKit platform. So, if you use a different email marketing platform, just look up automations in their help docs.
It’s Time to Take Action
Like I said at the beginning. . . email marketing is a must-do for online business owners. It’s a way to connect directly with your audience and build trust. Plus, your email marketing efforts just have an amazing return on investment.
Now it’s time for action. That’s where the real power lies. So, I encourage you to start implementing these strategies in your own business.
Start small. Pick one thing that you’re not doing today and add it to your to-do list.
Maybe it’s setting up a swipe file for great emails that come through your inbox. Maybe it’s signing up for Liz Wilcox’s Email Marketing Membership. Maybe it’s setting up your first email automation.
Whatever it is, take action. Don’t put this off for someday. Take a small step today.
And don’t forget to grab your free Email Marketing Checklist & Worksheet Set below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Email marketing is a tool businesses use to connect with their audience. It’s like having a friendly chat directly in their inbox, delivering valuable content, promoting products or services, and nurturing relationships.
With its ability to personalize messages and track metrics, it’s an effective strategy for driving conversions and growing your business.
Whether you’re sharing a blog post, announcing a sale, or offering a comprehensive guide, email marketing creates opportunities for engagement and growth. It’s more than just sending emails; it’s about building relationships and achieving business goals.
To collect emails, a great tool to use is ConvertBox. It allows you to easily create opt-in forms that engage visitors and encourage them to subscribe.
Simply install ConvertBox on your site (there’s a WordPress plug-in that makes it super easy), customize your message, and set the conditions for when and where it appears. With its user-friendly interface and effective targeting features, collecting emails becomes a breeze.
And the best part? It has a one-time price, so you don’t have to worry about monthly subscription fees.
Growing your email list requires a strategic approach. Start by offering valuable, exclusive content that motivates visitors to subscribe, such as step-by-step guides, video tutorials, or expert insights. Use tools like ConvertBox to create simple but effective opt-in forms and calls to action.
To write engaging and persuasive emails, start with a compelling subject line that grabs attention and sparks curiosity. Use a conversational and relatable tone to create a connection with the reader.
If your email marketing platform allows, you can also use dynamic content to personalize your message based on the reader’s interests or previous interactions. Be sure to include a clear, strong call to action that motivates readers to take the next step.
And in today’s environment, responsive emails are super important so that they look great on any device.