Whatever form your newsletter takes, know it’s just one of many touchpoints. But it’s the most direct way to speak to the people who may be your clients someday consistently with no marginal cost. Focus on delivering value to them—even if there’s only 10 of them at first. For most service businesses just two or three new clients for the year is such a big payoff that nurturing a small list of interested subscribers thoughtfully is completely worth it. However, if you sell low cost products then quantity is important and building a huge list would be your goal.
Even though you’re creating beautiful and engaging email campaigns, some recipients may still want to unsubscribe—the inbox is a noisy place! Although setting up an unsubscribe group or option might be considered a minor step, failing to ensure a way for your recipients to unsubscribe from your email marketing campaigns can cause disastrous consequences for deliverability and your sender reputation if you ignore them.
Lots of people will shop online, add items to their shopping cart, and then abandon the shopping process before completing their purchase. If you send out an automated email reminding people about the items left behind in their cart, you increase the likelihood that they will return to complete their purchase. In some cases, you can use the automated email to encourage consumers to ask questions that may have prevented them from completing the initial purchase.
For instance, I like getting the New York Times cooking recipes. My partner Steve enjoys getting updates on the latest shows added to Netflix. I would never want an email from Netflix telling me anything, instant unsubscribe! Does this mean Netflix doesn’t benefit from its email marketing? Of course not. I am not someone who enjoys their emails so their email content isn’t really for me. It also doesn't affect my use or enjoyment of their service so let’s dispel the fear that if someone doesn’t enjoy your email content they will not use your service. So whether you prefer Seth Godin’s marketing emails or Marie Forleo’s weekly videos, the point is that marketing emails are all about what you have to offer that your ideal customers want and need. Not what everyone wants.
Keep an eye on your stats. Most email newsletter services offer free reports that contain helpful information. Learn how to read and understand your reports, so you can use the stats to improve your campaigns going forward. Pay attention to your open and click rates, and identify any patterns that make those numbers go up or down. If a campaign receives a high number of unsubscribes, then try something different the next time.
A lead magnet (a.k.a. an optin bribe) is something amazing that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. This doesn’t have to cost you anything to create– most lead magnets are digital materials like PDFs, MP3 audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost. It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value for free.
If you’re just getting started with email marketing, your list might be fairly small. That’s okay. Everyone starts somewhere, and you’ll grow your list over time. Just make sure you’re collecting email addresses, and especially that you have an opt-in form on your website, blog and applicable social networks so new people can sign up to join your list.
Write great subject lines. David Ogilvy once said that 80 cents of your dollar should be spent on writing headlines. With emails, the subject line is just as important. If it doesn’t catch your attention, you won’t open it. So, spend the majority of your time writing and polishing your subject line. A great email subject line entices curiosity about the content of the email. It’s also personal, and highly relevant to the recipient. To learn more about how to write amazing subject lines, we have an entire blog post on the topic: 30 Successful Bloggers Share Their Best Converting Email Subject Line.