An effective email marketing strategy begins with list building; that is, getting more subscribers to your email list. Of course, doing this is not as easy as it sounds (as you may have noticed already!).
In fact, according to the experts at HubSpot, even if you have a solid subscriber list, it’s likely to degrade (lose subscribers) by 20%-25% per year. This means that you not only have to work hard to get subscribers, you have to work just as hard to keep them.
As they explain: “An email list is a collection of email addresses that a business can create by engaging with potential customers through lead-generating campaigns. Email lists can shrink as members opt out of email subscriptions, and grow as the business solicits contact information from website visitors.” (emphasis added)
First, let’s review some of the reasons HubSpot gives for beginning your email marketing strategy:
- On average, email generates $38 for every dollar spent, which is a 3,800% return on investment.
- Two thirds of customers have made a purchase as a direct result of an email marketing message.
- Only 20% of leads that are sent directly to sales are qualified, meaning they need to be nurtured via email and great content.
- When it comes to customer acquisition, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.
- Perhaps the best reason to use email marketing is that you own the channel. Outside of compliance regulations, there is no external entity that can impact how, when, or why you reach out to your subscribers.
If you need them, there are quite a few more reasons that we offer in a previous post, No, Email Marketing is Not Dead (Though you may be trying to kill it!).
So, now that we’ve explored the “Why to”, let’s look at the “When to”.
When Should You Send Emails to Your List?
The easiest answer to this questions is… it depends. The type of communication you’re sending will normally determine the frequency, length, and content.
- Simple email communications, just “keeping in touch” can be sent weekly.
- Newsletters once or twice a month.
- Promotions for products or services, less often.
Also, keep in mind that few of your subscribers are going to be available during normal commute periods. While there are no hard and fast rules to success, mid-morning or mid-afternoon/evening are the best times to schedule your emails. The best advice is to test your list by trying different days of the week and different times. Once you have a trend in responses, stay with the results.
The key here is to remember that your subscribers will NOT appreciate receiving a hard sell from you every time they open your emails. In fact, that’s about the quickest way to make them unsubscribe!
The most important component to any email campaign is to offer value. High quality content is what your subscribers are looking for and, if you fail to supply it, you’re going to lose them.
How To Start List Building
As the saying goes, real estate is all about location, location, location. Similarly, email list building and marketing are all about content, content, content.
Truly, the worst thing you can do to your subscribers is to waste their time with meaningless drivel, platitudes, or hard sell marketing. These all show a lack of respect for their time and effort – costing you the very subscribers you’ve worked so hard to acquire.
With that in mind, the best (the only?) way to gain email subscribers is to offer visitors to your website some high-value information in exchange for their email address. That is, the tried and true opt-in gift that is ubiquitous at websites across the globe.
Again, we offer valuable guidance from HubSpot that says:
- Create a valuable lead-generation offer – Develop a free eBook, article or whitepaper and host it on a landing page that asks visitors to provide their email address in order to download it. This is called a “gated offer”. (Click here for 20 ways to create lead-generation content.)
- Create a free online tool or resource – Free online tools make your users’ lives easier, and all they have to do is sign up with their email address. (For example, we’ve created quite a few free tools, like our Product Launch Checklist, to gather email addresses.)
- Create “Bonus” Content – Not all gated content is worth it to a website visitor. In order to gain their interest, you need to give them free content first. Start with a blog post that offers beginner advice on a subject, then offer “bonus” content with more advanced tips that they can access by submitting their email address via a landing page.
There is a word that is particularly important to remember in all of these because, for most potential subscribers, “high-value content” is free content – free content that offers an answer to a Big Question or a solution to a Pain Point.
*If you’re not convinced about this, take a minute and think of the lists to which you’ve subscribed over the years. It won’t take long for you to realize that you gave away your email address for a freebie, right? So…
There is much more to say about why, when, and how to implement an email marketing strategy but, the limits of space and time (yours) prohibit an all-in-one approach. So, stay tuned for more high-value information in upcoming posts! (See what we did there?)
Looking for more tips on email marketing, help with your online marketing strategy, or other marketing ideas? Get in touch with the YOMT Team today.