9 Tips for Your Email Marketing Strategy [Boost Sales]
Are you hoping to increase your business's sales? An effective email marketing strategy can not only boost your revenue, but requires just a moderate amount of time and money to be effective. I'm an author with an email list of about 40,000 subscribers. In this article, I give you 9 tips I've picked up for creating a profitable email marketing strategy.
1.) Attract future customers as email subscribers
Having a massive email list won't help your business if it's filled with subscribers outside of your target market. For example, if you happen to sell guitars, an email list with 500 avid guitar players is more valuable than a list of 50,000 who aren't necessarily interested in guitar.
When people first join your email list, rarely will they buy anything. Though you shouldn't try to sell via email right away, you should eventually. Before you spend time on your email marketing strategy, be sure you've identified your target buyer persona.
You want to bring in these people.
How do you attract potential buyers to your list?
The most effective way to get email subscribers is via a lead magnet, which is a digital item of value you give away for free in exchange for an email address.
If you create a lead magnet that your target buyer persona would want - and others wouldn't - then your email subscribers will align with potential buyers.
For instance, if you create a lead magnet that's a video about tuning guitars, you'll naturally be appealing to potential buyers of guitars.
How do you get people to know about your lead magnet?
Most lead magnets are featured on a dedicated page, known as a landing page. If you already have a social media following, you can drive traffic to this URL via social networks. If you don't already have a social following - or do, and want to increase traffic even more - you can buy online advertisements.
How do you deliver a lead magnet?
You deliver a lead magnet via an automated email, ie, a message that's automatically sent to someone based on a pre-defined trigger (in this case, the trigger would be signing up for your list).
To send an automated message, you're going to need an email marketing software. This tool will not only handle lead magnet delivery, but all of the other operational elements needed for email marketing.
These systems are priced on how many subscribers you have. In the beginning, they're very affordable, often even free. Even if you drastically increase the size of your email list, the cost is still relatively low, just a couple hundred bucks a month, which you can easily make back with an increase in email-based sales.
What are some good email marketing platforms?
Here are some tools I recommend:
2.) Automate an email nurture sequence
Email marketing shouldn't be looked at as a standalone initiative, but a part of your broader marketing funnel.
Email is particularly helpful at the middle and bottom of your funnel. At the middle, you want to set up a series of automated messages known as a nurture sequence.
This sequence - which typically consists of about 5 emails - starts going to subscribers right after they receive their lead magnet. Each message is spaced about 1-3 days apart. The email marketing tool you use can take care of delivering the messages.
The purpose of this sequence is not to sell products, but to build trust and credibility with your new leads. If you can successfully establish trust and credibility at the middle of your funnel, when you do eventually pitch your products, at the bottom of the funnel, the likelihood of a sale skyrockets.
What should you put in your nurture emails?
Here are some guidelines to follow:
3.) Automate an email sales sequence
After your nurture sequence is done, and your new subscribers hopefully view you as a trusted, credible industry expert, you can move to the bottom of the funnel, pitching a product.
You want to avoid sending out an email that simply links to an e-commerce page with all your products on it. Instead, I recommend a sequence like this:
For a sales sequence to work, your business will need to have an e-commerce capability, ie, you should be able to process credit card payments online.
If your business is already equipped for e-commerce, that's great. If not, the email marketing platform you purchase may have the feature built into it. In case it doesn't, you can easily begin taking payments with the tool SamCart.
4.) Give over email more often than you ask
After your sales sequence is done, if you happen to offer multiple products, you can definitely set up new sequences for each. However, if so, you should surround them with additional emails that do not ask for a sale, but instead, give things to your subscribers.
Your ratio of giving emails vs. sales emails should at least be 1 to 1, ideally, 4 to 1. If you're constantly asking for money, without offering much else, your subscribers may begin to view you as an annoyance.
Even if they like what you sell, not everyone is ready to buy a new product from you every couple weeks. If you keep sending out sales emails that often, you're going to just be flooding people's inboxes with information they don't need at the moment. Many may unsubscribe from your list.
Then, when they are ready to buy the type of product you sell, they won't think of your brand because you've lost communication with them.
What sort of non-sales content can you send to email subscribers?
Some content types to consider:
5.) Send segmented emails
So far, we've been discussing automated emails, which are triggered to individual subscribers on an ongoing basis. However, your email marketing platform will also give you the ability to send a broadcast email, which is a message to all recipients at once.
An email may be relevant to certain people on your list, and not at all to others. Whether you're setting up an automated or broadcast email, you should only send it to the relevant group.
You can do this with list segmentation.
How do you segment your email list?
Any high-quality email marketing platform will make this process straightforward. You'll have access to various data points on your subscribers' activity, such as:
If you happen to have a CRM system you can sync with your email marketing platform, you'll have access to even more data points, beyond email activity, such as:
If someone matches (or doesn't) certain criteria, you can add the subscriber to a list segment.
For example, let's say you're about to launch a new product, however, it's only relevant to customers who've purchased a different product from you (ie, the new one is an add-on).
If a subscriber hasn't yet bought product 1, pitching product 2 wouldn't be relevant. So, you can create a segment, including people who've purchased product 1, and only promote product 2 to this group.
6.) Create curiosity with subject lines
You can have excellent email bodies, however, if hardly anyone opens your messages, your sales won't go up much. To avoid this, your subject lines need to be catchy.
A subject line is a critical factor in whether or not your email is opened or ignored. And curiosity is a critical factor in a quality subject line.
Some guidelines for creating curiosity with subject lines:
7.) Feature a single CTA in emails
A call to action (CTA) is a behavior you'd like readers to do from your email, usually clicking a button or link. Including many CTAs in one email might seem like a good idea, since more links/buttons would increase the chance a reader is interested in one. However, this is not the case.
Instead, I recommend you structure each email around a single CTA. This way, the body can be filled with detailed marketing copy urging people to click this singular button/link, plus, complete any follow-up actions after the click.
For example, imagine if a brand sent an email with 12 links. The body would feel cluttered. Recipients wouldn't be sure which link to click.
And if they did click a link, they'd have no reason to be particularly motivated to take a follow-up action (like buy something), since the email didn't have enough space addressed to creating excitement around any of the 12 links.
Now, imagine if a brand sent out an email with a single link. The body would have plenty of space for text to build excitement around the benefits of clicking the link. Recipients wouldn't be confused around what to click. Once they did click, the email's marketing copy would increase the likelihood of a follow-up action.
8.) Make emails feel personal
When a brand sends emails, they shouldn't feel like they're coming from a business, but instead, a human being.
Many people will automatically ignore anything they perceive as an ad, even if the underlying content is good. However, a message that feels personal has a much lower chance of being ignored.
How do you make your emails feel personal?
9.) Tap into past performance for future emails
For every email you send, keep an eye on these three metrics:
You want a high open and click rate, and a low unsubscribe rate. If you notice a certain email has a particularly high open rate, and/or click rate, try to figure out why. Does a pattern emerge across other emails?
If your audience seems to have responded well to a certain element within your emails, consider including a variation of it within future emails. On the other hand, if you notice low open and click rates associated with a certain element, consider avoiding it in the future.
Unsubscribe rate works the same way as open and click rate, just in the opposite direction. For instance, if a certain email has a high unsubscribe rate, try to see why and avoid the cause in the future.
Email marketing strategy - frequently asked questions
What is an email marketing strategy?
An email marketing strategy is a method a brand uses to attract subscribers to its email list, and the type, content, and frequency of emails the brand sends, optimized around increasing sales.
How do I create an email marketing plan?
To create an email marketing plan, first consider your target consumer. You'll want to offer these people something of value in exchange for their email address. You then want to send emails to build trust and credibility, and, eventually, send emails pitching your products.
How do you increase sales through email marketing?
To increase sales through email marketing, build excitement about a product over email, offer a limited-time deal, such as a discount code, and link to a landing page where prospects can learn more and complete their purchase.
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