Learn Proven Email Marketing & List Building Best Practices
If you're looking to get started with email marketing - or to find out the email marketing best practices used by the most successful email marketers - you've come to the right place. Keep reading to find out how to do email marketing the right way. Learn about proven list building strategy, email marketing tools, email segmentation, and a goldmine of email list building tips!
SPECIAL NOTE: It took me years of trial & error to discover which strategies, training, & services work well for email marketing - and which ones don't. I spent tens of thousands of dollars on email marketing training and products. Some of it was really good, but most of it was a complete waste of money & time. On this site, I promise to present the strategies, training courses, & services proven to be solid for creating a growing, responsive email subscriber list.
What Is Email Marketing?
First things first, Wikipedia defines email marketing as "the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email". It's one of the main marketing channels used by businesses and affiliate marketers. It basically consists of building up a list of email subscribers over time, communicating with them regularly, and earning sales or affiliate revenue.
When using email marketing best practices & proven email marketing tools, the sky can be the limit as to how much money can be made.
Many new email marketers make the mistake of sending too many emails in a short period of time and typically compound that mistake with too many sales solicitations - either for selling their own products & services or pitching other Internet marketers' offers.
While other prolific email marketers may disagree, in my book it's a proven recipe for wearing-out and annoying new subscribers - who will typically unsubscribe soon thereafter.
Smart Email Marketing Strategy
The most successful email marketers - who typically build large lists of subscribers over time, know to space-out individual email deliveries and limit sales pitches to about one out of every three to four emails.
Just think about how you feel being on the receiving end of someone else's list. How do you feel when you get pounded with promotions every day - or every other day? I don't know about you, but when I opt-in to someones list, and they begin a continuous pitch-fest of promotions for the affiliate-offer-of-the-day, I'll unsubscribe right away because the heart of the relationship is them focusing on making money off of me - not providing value to me.
Successful email marketers build a relationship with their subscribers over time. They provide topically-related, useful information on the bulk of the emails they send. They're helping their subscribers get better at their game. That helps to keep the subscribers subscribed to the email list. And, that's because the subscribers are learning helpful tips along the way - without constantly being pitched to. When pitches for paid products & services are spread-out for helpful products & services, the subscribers will more likely appreciate getting tips on paid products or services that can be beneficial to them. Doing email marketing in this manner builds loyalty among email subscribers and helps to build brand awareness for the email list owner.
What Is An Email Opt-in?
When someone submits their email address on a form on a web page (typically in-trade for being able to receive a newsletter or special report), that person has opted-in (or subscribed) to the email list (that's been set-up & is controlled on the marketer's email sending service - also known as an autoresponder company).
What Is An Email Double Opt-in?
If the online marketer or the email autoresponder company require a double opt-in, the autoresponder company sends the new email subscriber an email with an approval link in it for the new subscriber to click. Double optins help to minimize spam email sign-ups from automated bots that will only serve to fill-up the quota of available subscribers for given paid subscription levels at the autoresponder company. A downside is that double opt-ins can reduce the number of subscribers because it requires the new subscriber to do one more thing - which they may not want to do, or they get distracted & forget to get to it.
Some email autoresponder companies require their list owners to have double optins on all of their campaigns. That's because of the spam component. Autoresponder companies have reputation scores at each Internet Service Provider (ISP). Good scores allow emails to be delivered to inboxes. Lower scores can either get emails delivered directly to spam folders - or not delivered at all.
So, it's in the autoresponder company's best interest to do what it can to influence a higher reputation score at each ISP. The best autoresponder companies also provide spam score reports to the email list owners for each new email they create and add to their campaigns.
How To Do Email Marketing
By now, you already know that successful email marketers send helpful content to their subscribers more often than they send pitches about various products or services. You also know that they don't inundate their subscribers so frequently that they wear-out their welcome in their subscribers' inboxes.
What Is A Targeted Audience?
There's a marketing axiom that says, if you try to market to everyone, you end up marketing to no one. Trying to be all things to all people is a recipe for failure in the attempt to build a list of subscribers. On the other hand, if you focus on a subset of the overall population, you not only can identify with their needs, wants, & desires, you can also end up attracting people who want to be included with what you offer.
The brand Rolex, for example, focuses its marketing on the wealthier, successful people among us. But, they found that even so, there are a lot of people out there who want to be part of that wealthy, successful lifestyle. Many of them want a Rolex, too. But, if Rolex marketed their watches on websites like "Field & Stream", CNET, or "This Old House", they will likely be wasting their marketing dollars.
A targeted audience consists of people who want, need, or desire the exact things you offer. For example, people interested in building & growing their email lists will want to know about the proven strategies, tools, automation, and tips that are provided by Optins.net. That's my targeted audience, and I focus on making sure they find my email marketing website, learn helpful information to grow their own list(s), and growing my own list.
There's another saying that goes, "The money is in the list". That's true unless you have subscribers bailing-out left & right because you flood their inboxes with pitches.
Your list is an asset. Go about building it the right way. Communicate with reasonable frequency. Provide value. Earn money.
How To Build A List
Obviously, to build a list, you've got to convince people to join or optin to your list. The excitement over "You've got mail" ended over 20 years ago. And, with email filling-up peoples' inboxes every day, you need to have a compelling reason to get them to offer up their email address to you. By "compelling", I simply mean that you need to zero-in on something that your target audience is interested it.
Exceptions - An exception could be that some subscribers sign-up to an email list purposely to receive a daily email about, say, gratitude, positive thinking, or perhaps daily deals - like deals from Groupon, AppSumo, etc.
Another exception is that you offer people who sign-up on your list will get, say, a 7-day course on Search Engine Optimization Tips - of course receiving a new installment each day for the first seven days. As much as they are looking forward to the daily tips for the first seven days, most subscribers will not want a message from you every day of the month.
If it's not clear from the get-go that your subscribers will be daily emails from you, just don't do it because that's a rookie mistake or a sure sign of a "churn & burn" style of marketer. The latter doesn't provide value - and will burn-out their subscriber list over time.
Whatever your topic of interest is, it's best if you are passionate about it. Having passion for a given topic typically helps you to be more successful at building a growing list of engaged subscribers. "Engaged meaning that they are opening your emails, clicking through to the web pages you are referring them to, consuming the content, and buying the products or services (when its a pitch email).
There is some great training online helps you identify your passions and match them to related products that are currently selling very well.
The Mechanics Of Building A List
Optin Form On A Website Page
Naturally, you'll need a mechanism to initially collect the emails from the people interested in what you're offering. That mechanism is an email opt-in form that is located on a website page that you own & control (like, your own WordPress website) - or on a website page that you control, but someone else owns (like, Convertri, ClickBank Builder, Genius Lander, or Landing Page Monkey). The bottom-line is that you don't have to have a website of your own - unless you choose to have one. But, it's not an either/or. You can make use of both if you desire...
Email Autoresponder Service
You'll need another mechanism that receives the emails, organizes them, and is able to do something with them - like send manual or automated messages from you to your subscribers. By far, the best way to go is to use an email autoresponder company because this type of service makes it easy to initially create lists, organize them, send messages on your behalf, create actual opt-in forms (if you need to create one for a website you own), and maintain analytics for you (like, email open rate, click-through rate, etc.).
And, even if you don't need the visual form created by the autoresponder company for a new list you've created (because you may have chosen to create a better-looking form using a design plugin on your website - or the form has been automatically created on a site someone else owns), you'll need a way to connect the new, replacement form to your autoresponder account. That connection is made via a piece of code that's automatically generated when you initially create a new list in your autoresponder account. You simply "copy & paste" the code into your new form's administration panel on the website or website page. It may sound complicated, but it really is very easy - even for complete beginners.
Some of the more popular email autoresponder companies are ActiveCampaign, Aweber, GetResponse, and InfusionSoft. But, a newer, feature-rich email platform has emerged on the scene, and it is said to be "email marketing software designed by email marketers". The name of it is GrooveMail, and it is part of the amazing GrooveFunnels suite.
Ethical Bribes - Lead Magnets
As mentioned previously, to get someone to volunteer their email address, you need to offer them something they want. A way to think about is to offer the potential subscriber an "ethical bribe". You give them something they want in exchange for their email address and permission to contact them via follow-up emails. Each person you want to become a subscriber to your list is also known as a "lead" or a "prospect". Another name that "ethical bribe" goes by is a "lead magnet" because it's purpose is to attract "leads" to it - and to your list.
Just be sure to do some research and find out what your target audience needs - what they're looking for. Don't assume that what you're thinking of offering as an ethical bribe is actually something they want. Do some homework, and find out...
Examples Of Ethical Bribes or Lead Magnets
Examples of an ethical bribe could be a 5-day course on "fill in the blank". It could be to learn about some helpful information or tool presented via a webinar broadcast. It could be instant download in the form of an eBook, a special report, a helpful checklist, the first chapter of a book you've written, a handy spreadsheet, a useful diagram, or some other written content. And, the list goes on. Your lead magnet just has to be considered desirable to the potential subscriber.
When choosing to provide an instant download (like a special report), don't make the mistake of providing a text-only document - like a Word document. In the age of Internet viruses, people tend to pass on Word and Excel documents because they may contain a virus planted their by a hacker. If you simply must use Word, save it as a PDF - and send the PDF to your new subscribers.
Also, text-only documents are a sure sign of an amateur. And, they are completely boring to look at. Instead, create a nice looking PDF document that has a cover image, your brand logo & colors, and styled content. Most people wouldn't even know where to start to accomplish this (as was my case at one point). Word has some styled templates, but getting a cover image, colors and everything just right can be an exercise in frustration.
I came across a service that gives all of my special reports & checklists the "Apple Treatment". If you've ever unboxed something you've purchased from Apple, you know what a nice & professional experience it was. And, you can make all of your reports "look & feel" that way. Check-out the Designrr service by Paul Clifford. Your reports will immediately have the look of professionalism to them.
Attn: Email List Builder - You know that most Lead Magnet hand-outs look awful. But, yours won't with this easy-to-use tool...
Build your email marketing list faster by giving your Lead Magnet or eBook 'The Apple Treatment'.
Check-out the quick 2-min demo!
Webinars are a very popular way to build an email list and to earn money. And, the money you can make is often at much higher price-points than with run-of-the-mill affiliate product commissions.
But, there is a bit of a trick in getting new people to webinars.
For a webinar, you typically already need to have a list - or access someone else's list - in order to get people to attend the webinar. If you've already got a list, simply telling the list you've got an upcoming webinar doesn't really grow your list. But, inviting people on someone else's list to attend your webinar can grow your list. Naturally, you've got to have a relationship in place with the other list owner to accomplish that. List owners that you don't have a relationship with may not even give you the time of day, as they're likely contact frequently with all manner of pitches to support someone else's project. Naturally, that's more of a long-shot and potentially very frustrating. So, what can you do?
You can advertise to your target audience where they hang out (like, on certain Facebook pages or in Facebook groups). Don't know the first thing about advertising on Facebook? No worries - there are specialty blogs dedicated to advertising on Facebook, like SocialMediaExaminer.com & FearlessSocial.com. Even better, check-out the free Facebook Ads University webinar to learn how to do Facebook ads like a pro.
Advertising on Facebook allows you to reach new target audience members straightaway, as Facebook aggregates so many interests in it's database that the chances of you not finding your target audience is very remote. And, Facebook advertising can help you build-up your list relatively quickly. But, don't worry - you can easily limit the amount spent each day so that it makes sense for your situation.
Wrapping It Up...
Get clear on what you might like to offer. Determine where your target audience hangs out. Reach out to them and convince them to join your list. Make it easy for them to join your list. Acknowledge them for joining your list and provide what you promised them. Follow-up providing most helpful content. Send out promotions occasionally for related helpful products & services only - not for unrelated things.