How To Get Started With Small-Scale Email Marketing
Email marketing is fantastic. Your return on investment can be huge with email marketing.
That’s because of two things; minimal investment (email marketing is cheap) and big returns… if you do it right.
A lot of people tend to make email marketing very complicated. It can be; you can automate and segment and run multiple concurrent offers with different opt-ins and cross your lists and all kinds of overly complicated stuff. It’s enough to make you feel overwhelmed.
You don’t have to.
At its core, email marketing is effective because of its simplicity. This is in all respects;
- You don’t need massive sophisticated technology
- You don’t need to write thousands of words
- Nor do you need to spend thousands of dollars
- Managing your email list is simple
In this article, I’ll tell you how to get started with simple email marketing. Whilst what I’m about to suggest isn’t going to be all that useful for seven-figure business owners, if you’re a blogger, bootstrapping pirate-entrepreneur or otherwise have a small budget, these tips will save you time, money and headaches as you stop needing to read about this subject and just get on with it.
First of all, get automation.
A lot of people suggest using Mailchimp to start your email marketing journey. I disagree and can only assume they’ve got a decent affiliate program, which is the reason for the recommendation.
Unless they’ve changed up their pricing structure recently, you can’t set up an autoresponder.
An autoresponder is basically email scheduling, for those that don’t know. So I can write a set of emails today and have them be released at pre-set intervals.
When you pick your email marketing service (and you need one) make sure that you can use autoresponders. This is the bare minimum and basically all you really need.
The alternative is sending only broadcast emails. This is not a good solution, because you can only write an email and then hit send at that same time. This means you either have to pick the right time to write the email and set your schedule around it (not a great idea) or you have to deal with keeping draft emails around or sending your emails at less-than optimal times.
It’s better to spend a few pounds a month and get an email service that uses autoresponders.
Writing Emails In General
I signed up for an email list the other day. I’m not exaggerating when I say this, I got 13 emails from that marketer on the first day plus two from “a friend” of his who “had an offer” I “might be interested in.”
Often, I’ll get emails that are variations on, “Hey, Buy My Stuff!” or “Hey, here’s my latest blog post.”
All of those things are bad.
All of the above, by the way, are sent to me by people with big lists, big followings and big price tags on their products. We’re not talking Sketchy McSketchface’s email list here.
Big mistakes all around.
Here’s the problem; people want value from their emails, and they don’t want to be annoyed when they get them.
Follow those rules… because only one thing matters with email marketing especially when you’re a beginner at it.
There’s no point in sending a million emails which nobody reads. It’s a waste of your time and money. There’s no point in spending hundreds of dollars on getting sign-ups for your list if you bleed subscribers with every email.
The key metric for your emails is engagement. This comes in two forms:
- How many people open your emails
- If you ask them to do something, do they do it?
People ask, “What’s a good beginner email campaign?”
Here’s the answer: Look at those two things above. A good first email campaign ascertains whether the subscribers you have do those things.
You don’t need fancy opt-ins and most advice you get about “writing a catchy headline” is putting the cart before the horse.
I don’t do any of that. I’ll create a little opt-in for each list and then write straight emails with not much trickery:
- Simple headline e.g. “Here’s how to write a good email”
- 400-500 words
- Answer a single question or make a single point
- Solicit for feedback or thoughts
- Simple call to action in plain terms
Where I run email lists for my sites, I get massive engagement rates when compared to industry standards.
When I ran a list for this site, I literally had to stop it because my autoresponder sequence for the sign-up said, “Feel free to ask me anything” and I was spending more time answering email questions than actually writing emails.
Now… having too much engagement is a great problem to have. If people go out of their way to interact with you, they’ll have no problem buying your products, liking your Tweets or any of that other stuff.
The method above will give you that and so it’s a million times better than most guru email marketing products.
Now, you might ask, “But Jamie… how do I use email marketing for sales?”
Follow the blueprint above.
It doesn’t matter what niche you’re in. Your emails are part of a body of work just like any other media; a blog, a Twitter, a FB page or whatever. Emails demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.
Don’t email with “Buy my stuff” constantly. Concentrate on giving value and creating a high engagement list. Then worry about selling stuff.
When you do, make it really simple. Somebody who has engaged with you via email has basically let you in to their personal space, more so than on Twitter or a website or whatever. That means that they are interested in your business, your product and you.
You don’t need to give someone a hard sell if they are at the stage above. You just need to say “By the way… here’s this thing I’m selling. You might enjoy it.”
That’s it. Ten words or so out of five emails is all you need.
The job of your email marketing isn’t to sell. It’s to build your relationship with the reader to the point where you don’t really have to sell. It’s ethical, clean and effective.
Finally, once you’ve mastered the above, scaling your marketing efforts becomes that much easier because you know what works on a small scale and you won’t need to worry about losing effectiveness when you do scale.