I have made many mistakes over the years when it comes to email marketing techniques. I think the biggest mistake was when I created my first eBook (The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media). I created the book with good intentions of collecting email addresses. I promoted the book on my website, and also on my various social media channels and within three days I had collected just over 800 email addresses – I was overwhelmed. I then saved these emails in MailChimp and decided that I was going to email all these people with the launch of a new social media workshop that was going live in the summer. Three months down the line I sent out my email, expecting to fill my workshop overnight. I was so wrong!
What went wrong?
I was saving my emails to deliver something special, but the mistake I made was not having regular contact with my list in just over three months! I had not built any relationship or trust with my audience, with exception of them reading a PDF that they downloaded from my website three months ago! How on earth would they remember me and more importantly, why would they want to come to my workshop when I have made absolutely no effort in building that rapport and trust?
I often hear my clients saying “I don't want to email my list every week, as it will be “email overload”. Wrong! Consistency is the key to all marketing efforts and email marketing is no exception.
What email styles work for you?
What emails do you look for in your inbox? What websites have you subscribed to that you can't wait to open? We are all different, and we all absorb content in different ways. For example, I am currently using Covideo and I can't wait for their auto-responders to land in my inbox. Why? Because the emails are visual and they are giving me advice and tips on how to use their software that I have subscribed to. I do not enjoy long text emails, therefore I have turned off the emails from Pat Flynn (even though I am a HUGE fan of Smart Passive Income) because he is extremely text heavy in his email communication. I prefer to tune into his Instagram, YouTube or Facebook account to read his content.
But not everyone is like me. We have just had a discussion in the office, and Jane was saying how she can't stand watching videos or listening to audios, she much prefers to read. Therefore, Pat Flynn's style of email communication would suit Jane's personality.
The trick is to make sure that there is something in your email that will attract everyone. If you are including a video, also write an explanation in text.
With the above in mind, here are my top ten email marketing tips:
Tip #1 – Use a Powerful Subject Line
I will share with you my secret sauce to email subject lines, I use an app called Headlinr! Sometimes I simply run out of creative juices and I get stuck on the title. Headlinr is a fabulous Google Chrome Extension that assists you with some catchy titles (that you can edit and make them your own).
Tip #2 – Experiment and Be Brave
I have found that voicing my opinion has generated more open rates on my emails that any other style. Rather than follow the crowd, why not say what you are thinking? I recently wrote an article on how awful the new LinkedIn design was and listed all things that I was frustrated with. I could feel the passion as I was typing and it was probably the best article of this year to date. What makes your blood boil about your industry? If you want big click-through rates they try putting your head above the parapet.
Tip #3 – Edit your email afterwards
Do NOT stop the flow of your writing by making edits as you go along. Get the content out of your brain, onto paper (or computer), and then go back and edit. Changing the tags, adding hyperlinks, images and correcting the grammar. I guarantee that your content will flow so much better if you use this process. I know that you really want to make the page look pretty as you go, but fight this urge and you will be rewarded.
Tool – use a tool such as Grammarly to check your spelling, grammar and vocabulary.
Tip #4 – Use Customer-Focused Language
Use the word “you” as much as you can. Why? Because it is one of the most persuasive words in the English language. If you add personal anecdotes, and you make the reader feel as if you are talking to them personally then you are on a winner. Develop your distinct tone of voice when writing emails or blogs and people will gravitate towards you as they sense your authenticity. Try to get “email marketing speak” out of your head!
Tip #5 – Use the Power of a PS or Countdown
I have found that using a PS in my emails evokes curiosity, so I encourage the use of a PS as part of your email signature. If you are selling something then try using MotionMail as a countdown timer. This is a free application that you can embed into an email or a blog and it is completely free of charge to use (we like free stuff!).
Tip #6 – Consider Humour for Your Email Signature
Try adding some humour into your email signature for both desktop and mobile emails. Here is mine for desktop, can you spot the humour?
Tip #7 – Spice up Your Out Of Office Reply
Please try something different with your out of office message. You have an opportunity to shine! Hubspot have written a brilliant blog on this topic “10 of the Best Out-Of-Office Messages We Could Find”
If you travel a lot then perhaps ask your audience to guess where you are today from these few clues – then Google fun facts about the place that you are visiting. I usually end with “A free Green Umbrella pen will be sent in the post to those that guessed correctly”. It's just another way to engage your audience and is something a little bit more creative than the standard out of office reply.
Tip #8 – Don't Follow a Strict Formula
I know that consistency is the key, but doing the same thing over and over does get a little bit boring and a bit dull. Variety is the spice of life, so although your branding and regularity of your emails should be consistent, you can experiment with the content. If you subscribe to our blog (and if not then why not? – answers on a postcard please!), then you will receive the same style of email each Friday at 11am. But the content is mixed up with social media advice, marketing advice, videos on how to do something and a guest blogger who will share a topic that is not necessarily about marketing. Some of our blogs have audio versions.
Tip # 9 – Ask questions
Imagine that your email is a face to face conversation. It will not be a one-way conversation. Inevitably you will ask a question. I find that ending a blog or an email with a question will generate some comments on the blog. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not responding to questions that are being asked. Whether it is a blog, and email or a social media post you should always have the last word. Respond to comments, like a post that others have made – but tell the world that you are listening.
Tip #10 – Learn from the Masters
If I had £1 from everyone who said email and print were dying then I would be a millionaire! Print is certainly not dead (in fact there has been a huge incline in traditional media over the last two years), and we are so addicted to email that I can not see this changing anytime soon. If you are interested in making the most of your emails and content marketing then here are the four mail sources that I would recommend that you follow:-
a) Hubspot – The masters of inbound marketing. Subscribe to their blog, or follow them on social media. click here
b) Copy Blogger – The best blog out there for content marketing! Click here.
c) Content Marketing Institute – The thought leader in content marketing – click here.
d) Smart Passive Income, Pat Flynn – is very passionate about email marketing. Learn loads here.
Whether you are sending an email to one person, or you are mass-mailing to many using MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Infusionsoft, you are communicating your brand at every touch point. My advice is to be unique in everything you do, even if this means being quirky and different.
Do you have any email marketing tips or advice? Have you made any mistakes?