E-mail marketing on the surface is easy.
Build a list, write an email, send, and watch the money role in.
Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. Building relationships and trust takes work, and in some cases can feel like a full-time job.
Lucky for you, e-mail marketing it a well-explored topic.
Just about every mistake has been made, and almost every approach has been tested by a myriad of different marketers in different markets, and while people are more savvy then ever before, there are some definitive rules that will never change.
So what actually works and what pitfalls should you avoid?
Here are our best 6 “Do’s and Don’ts” of e-mail marketing.
#1 – Don’t: Mix Purchased Lists with Opt-In Lists with Buyer Lists!
In other words, segment your lists and keep them organized. Purchased lists are the lowest quality lists that you can have. They are going to get a much lower open rate than opt-in lists simply because these lists consist of cold traffic. You could get a higher spam complaint rate as well depending on the quality of the list. So be careful.
Ideally do not use your main mail server for these lists so that you do not harm or damage the deliverability of your optin lists. If the opt-in list is one that you built yourself, then you MUST treat it like gold and build a relationship with your subscribers. But not all opt-in lists are the same.
People opting into a list for a free e-book are not the same as someone that has purchased a $500 course. Not even close. Each of those lists require a different level of interaction. One requires more trust building and nurturing, the other more support and authority. Either way, segment your lists and understand their role and purpose and you end goal and objective.
But regardless… every person on any list should be treated with the same level of respect!
#2 – Do: Split Test Everything You Can
Is HTML better than text? Which subject lines get better open rates? Are short e-mails better than long e-mails? Do links higher up in the e-mail body get clicked more often then near the end? All these questions and more need to get answered over time. Look at your stats. Experiment.
The point is, that you’ll never know unless you test. Just like with sales funnels, you must split test everything you can about your e-mails and your mailing lists.
#3 – Don’t: Rush Your Subject Line and Content
Spend more than five minutes writing your subject line. Do not settle for something that does not feel like it is your best effort. Spend time writing the content, and then come back to it. Write about twenty different subject lines, then pick the best one.
People often write the body of the email first, then write the subject as an afterthought. It should really be the other way around. Pay more attention to your subject than anything else. Then focus on making sure that your content is clear, concise, to the point.
Also make sure to be personable, weave a story or case study into it to help get your point across. Remember, that people relate to “real” people and your experiences help them relate to you. Bland facts can be boring and without support do not necessarily build credibility.
#4 – Do: Build Trust over Time
The only purpose of an e-mail list is to build trust. It is the trust that increases your sales conversions. High trust = high conversions. It is a direct relationship. That is why e-mail marketing can yield the highest conversions of any other type of marketing. But it is something that can take time.
Establish credibility with your list. Give them “real” value and treat them like you would your best friend. Make them feel like they know you personally. Be human. Be vulnerable. Then they will come to trust your recommendations and products and buy with little to no effort on your part.
Never get into the sell, sell, sell mentality. It is off-putting and really an insult. People get bombarded enough with junk everyday. Make them look forward to receiving your emails.
#5 – Don’t: Use Double Opt-In
Most auto-responder services will want to push you to use double opt-in. It makes their job easier to ensures less spam. But as a marketer, it really makes no sense.
Yes, you get higher open rates and lower unsubscribes from double opt-ins but the TOTAL opens from the same number of initial subscribers will always be smaller.
It is true however, that sometimes you might want to use double opt-in to make sure you get the right e-mail address, or to deliver content, etc. But if you think about it, there really is no need.
Better to use an email verification service or skript that ensure a valid email is entered into the optin box, then force them to confirm their subscription. If someone gives you a temporary e-mail address, for a freebie, so what! Let them have your gift or giveaway.
People like that rarely get the benefit anyway, because they are freebie shoppers looking for the magic bullet that just does not exist. But if they do actually get value from you, they will come back for more.
#6 – Do: Send a Variety of Different E-mails
Mix up your e-mails. Make them fresh and offer variety. Offer relatable stories and advice. This helps keep people from getting bored. Mix in humor, experience, facts, sales, reviews, and all sorts of content and pace them properly.
For example, your bread and butter email might be tips on a specific topic. But every once in a while, do an email just on answering questions mailed to you that week. Every once in a while, analyze a product or comment on a news story or share a personal story.
It’s okay to have a primary style, but varying things up can make things a lot more interesting.
Also, try not to send product offers every day, and be weary of other marketers promoting the same products… and if emailing offers, do not used the swipe file emails that product vendors provide. They rarely convert and if your audience is on competitor lists you do not want to chance the exact same email getting scent to them.
Be in integrity. Promote what you use or what you have proven to know works. Remember, you are building a relationship so be a friend and be personable.