If you think that your lead magnets are sufficient for turning your audience into clients or customers, I’ve got some bad news.
While lead magnets are necessary, the vast majority of those that join your email list by downloading it aren’t ready to spend money with you. In fact, the harsh truth is that 99% of them probably don't care about what your business is or does, and are just after something that can help them.
A lot of companies don’t understand this and wonder why they never hear again from the countless people that downloaded their resource.
This is where email marketing comes in.
Email marketing is an incredibly effective way to start building trust with someone once they've joined your email list and serves as a way to demonstrate you have the solution to help them fix their problems, be that through coaching, a product, or a service.
So, with that, let's find out the best practices for your email marketing strategy.
1) Send emails people would actually want
Email has gotten a bad reputation over the years and to this day you'll still hear that "email is dead".
I'm going to ask you disregard that and, instead, let you know that email is very much up and running. The real reason why people claim emails are ineffective are usually because they've had bad experiences spamming people with dozens of promotional emails a week.
That isn't the way we're going to be doing. Instead, we should all endeavor to prove ourselves as valuable to our email subscribers because, in the long-run, that's what's going to help us generate sustainable revenue for years to come.
This means tackling problems facing your email list and providing genuine, accessible advice and entertainment - not countless emails of promotions, product information, and deals.
In practice, this means a large majority of emails should be focused around providing people with value and support in the way of blogs, videos, and more.
If you want to get examples of what sorts of emails are working well at this, join a number of the competitors in your industry. As you start to receive emails from them over time, you'll start to notice trends that you can take inspiration from.
2) But, equally, don’t forget you’re a business
On the other extreme, don't forget you’re not just providing people with content out of the kindness of their hearts. The whole purpose is to eventually generate as much revenue for your business as you can.
While we do want the majority of our emails to be providing value to build trust and authority, we also want to use it as a way to promote our products and services.
If you want a idea of the ratio you should be working with, remember the VVP mode.
VVP stands for "Value, Value, Pitch" and explains that, for every "Pitch" email you send out, it should be preceded by two that offer all-out value.
For example if you were a web designer, you can send an email sequence similar to this:
Email 1 (Value): How to add buttons into your website to generate leads
Email 2 (Value): How to design forms that decrease your abandonment rate
Email 3 (Pitch): Do you need someone to help you with your website?
3) Let the content sell, not the email
The job of the email is to take people to where you want them to go. Pretty simple, right? Yet, it’s amazing how many people still get this wrong when they’re actually doing it.
Many people hurt their chances of people taking action by filling their emails with thousands of words instead of a clear outside link to where they should go. They wrongly believe that the email needs to do the selling when, really, that’s the task of where you're sending them to i.e. your sales page or your content.
Getting people to click through from your email to your content is easier said than done, though.
The first option is to make key words and phrases bold. I use this a lot in my emails to make my content visually appealing and provide my recipients with subtle cues of what’s the most important information at a glance.
You also want to ensure that any content you introduce in your email is done so using small text blocks. Large text blocks quickly overwhelm people, causing them to close or even delete the email.
Finally, make sure that your email has section headings and that links are underlined. This helps your email list be sure of what they are meant to click on to find more information.
As a general rule, try to keep the total word count in your email marketing down below 200. Any more and you risk people not going to where you want them to.
4) Generate engagement
Many automated marketing emails are good in the sense they can provide value on autopilot. However, the only downside is that it's easy to not engage with your recipients in the same way you had if you were sending them something in real-time.
This is a missed opportunity as creating engagement within your emails can be very effective in making your subscribers stay on your mailing list.
One way you can do this is by simply asking people to email you with questions. Not only does this allow them to directly contact you with any concerns and queries they have, it gets people to really feel like they're talking to a real person.
Another way to try to generate more engagement from your emails is to make sure you have your contact details clearly displayed at the bottom.
This will allow you to capture anyone looking to get in touch with you immediately, and also makes it easier for people to connect with you on on other platforms, such as social media.
5) Keep it personal
No matter how large your email list gets, every person you send an email to will always be an individual.
It’s important, therefore, to personalise your emails whenever possible. The best way to do this quickly and efficiently is to use "smart fields". These fields change depending on the name of the recipient, allowing you to address your customers as individuals.
For instance, rather than the email saying just “Hey!” in the title, it might say “Hey Louise!"or “Hi Troy!” instead.
The great thing about smart fields or “merge tags,” as they’re sometimes called, is that they can be added to your email content dynamically, allowing you to personalise different sections of your email depending on who is receiving them.
You could keep things simple by using merge tags for name, or you could even construct an entire email from merge tags, personalising it to every individual. Just be careful that everyone on your list has the right data fields complete - there's not much worse than a "I notice that you live in %/location_field/%"!
Personalisation doesn’t have to stop with merge tags, though. It can also apply to the type of user you’re approaching.
Say, for instance, one of your leads has been on your email list for 6 months but hasn’t purchased anything.
Instead of sending them a regular content-based email, you might want to instead send them an email explaining how you’re now offering 50% off your products for the next week.
If a lead hadn’t originally purchased something because they were on the fence about the price, 50% off might just be enough to push them over the edge!
6) Keep it clean
I’m not talking about refraining from swearing or sending nudes to your leads. If you need to be told that, you’ve probably got bigger issues...
No, I mean including as little clutter in your email as possible.
One aspect of this is in your use of HTML. HTML was originally designed as a programming language for web pages and books. Today it’s often incorporated into emails to provide additional functionality and, while it can make your emails look attractive, it also reduces the rate at which emails get people to perform actions i.e. convert.
The reasons for why there is a reduction in click-through rates aren’t entirely clear, but many experts suspect it has a lot to do with signaling. If an email contains lots of images and colorful fonts, then users interpret is as marketing and are much more likely to hit the delete button out of habit.
In fact, according to a study by Hubspot, emails that contained a lot of HTML consistently underperform and, what's also very interesting is that the people they asked for the study even said they preferred HTML, so bear this in mind if you're doing customer research!
Plain text emails, however, are interpreted differently. They’re much more likely to be seen as a one-on-one, personal communication, increasing the likelihood of response.
A second reason to use as little HTML as possible is that plain text emails have better deliverability and many HTML emails contain a large amount of coding, which is a big trigger for spam filters.
Remember that some of the people on your list may have used their work emails which use advanced spam filters so, by using HTML, your emails may be rerouted to spam folders, or even blocked from the start, never to be seen again.
But even if they're using their Gmail account, there’s also a good chance that your HTML email will be automatically redirected to the “Promotions” folder, which is basically a surrogate for the traditional spam folder, and is rarely checked.
The goal for your email marketing is to continue to build trust and authority with those that have trusted you with their email address.
Because of this, you need to make sure that you're always continuing to offer value and following the rule of one promotional emails per two of value.
Not only this, you need to take steps such as keeping your emails as HTML-free as possible to get them hitting their main inbox, rather than a promotional feed or spam filter.
Any questions? Make sure to give me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.