Email Marketing: Smart Questions Blog
You Asked, I Answered
You know all those email marketing questions you've had, but don't have answers to? I hear or see the ones below often, whether that be on social media, Google searches, or blog comments... So I decided to answered them, and hopefully you'll be able to gain the traction and the knowledge you need to take the next step with your campaigns.
I've also created this great freebie, full of questions to ask yourself about your own email campaigns. These questions will make you think, and hopefully get you on the right path to creating your best email campaigns ever. And don't worry; the knowledge you'll gain from this post will help get the brain working for ideas and answers to jot down.
From beginners, to those that already have a list of subscribers but want to learn more, these questions and answers are for you:
How can email marketing help a new business grow?
Your email campaigns can work for you, while you're busy doing other things. Virtually free or low-cost for small businesses, email campaigns can help a new business reach their customers frequently and on a personal level. From recommending product to getting in front of your customer when they are about to shop or need your service, email campaigns help you make a sale you wouldn’t otherwise.
Why is email marketing important for ecommerce?
Email marketing allows ecommerce businesses to build credibility, remind customers about their product or service, and provide value all in one place - the customer’s inbox. It’s easy to think you don’t need it, but the reality is that you’re missing out on potential revenue and growth. Think of email marketing as another social media platform to utilize, and you’ll find you can’t go on without it.
Why is email marketing important for brick-and-mortar stores?
When your customer throws out that sale flyer for next weekend’s sale, they’ll forget all about it. When they see your commercial or billboard or even web ad, they may be so busy with life that they ignore it altogether. How will you remind them when it counts - when they need you most? Email campaigns allow you to get in front of your customer more often than they visit your store, opening the door to growth potential.
How can email marketing be used for lead nurturing?
Say you have a freebie. but don’t gather an email when you give it away. That was a lead, lost. You might even converse with a customer about your referral program, but don’t ask them for an email to follow up. Another lead, lost. Of course, just gathering an email address doesn’t automatically mean you’re nurturing your leads; you have to then provide value and remind them you’re there to serve them.
What’s the best software to use?
MailChimp is by far the most user-friendly, cost-effective and consistently innovative platform out there. It is constantly evolving, and provides great customer service, FAQ, and tutorials for those that need assistance.
Should I buy an email list?
Earned subscribers that turn into brand ambassadors are always my first pick over bought subscribers that don’t know or don’t care. If you want to put in the work and build a loyal customer base, buying a list is never a good idea.
Is a business email address important?
A business email that comes from a personal or “firstname.lastname@example.org” (or @hotmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc.) account is unprofessional, but you can get away with it. Starting small, it’s hard to fund every little thing. At least start with a “email@example.com”, but plan to move into a business email sooner rather than later. You can always forward the old to the new to keep the contacts and avoid missing anything important.
What tips would you recommend to make more people open my emails?
Create more value. Every business is in the people business, and subsequently the service business. What makes you open emails? Coupons? Free downloads? Interesting or educational information? Create the value your customers want to see, coupled with an enticing subject line, and they'll start to expect great content they actually want to open.
What is the framework for an enticing subject line?
Keep it short and sweet
Tell them what’s inside
Make them laugh or feel special
Ask a question or tug on the heart
Use numbers (ex: “9 things you need now”)
USE ALL CAPS
Tell a white lie
Give them a reason to trash it (Why do you trash emails? Don't do that!)
How do you approach A/B testing of email subject lines?
Test and see what works. Your effectiveness will depend on your industry, email content and audience. Besides the previous question’s answer, some easy tips are: Don’t send the same one over and over, and make it relevant to the content inside. Beyond that, A/B testing will allow you to look over your analytics and see what’s working and what’s not - providing for better subject lines each time moving forward.
What are some best practices for establishing email campaigns and keeping them going throughout the year?
Step 1) Create an editorial calendar with dates, times and content ideas for at least 3 months out.
Step 2) Send your campaigns frequently and consistently on the same day and time (ex: every Thursday morning at 9am).
Step 3) Create segments of your subscribers, and tailor content based on each segment’s interest using automation and recommendations.
Step 4) Do the work, and repeat.
Single vs. double opt-in: which is better?
Single opt-in: Someone subscribes to your email list from your website and starts receiving emails.
Double opt-in: Someone subscribes to your email list from your website, is then sent a confirmation email wherein they must click to confirm, and then starts receiving emails.
Single opt-in can create issues with bad email addresses and “accidental” or “I don’t remember that” sign-ups, resulting in unsubscribes you weren’t wanting. Equally as bad, your account provider (such as MailChimp) tracks the amount of unsubscribes you receive, and if there are too many, too frequently, they take it that you’re spamming your subscribers and could potentially lock your account. Double opt-in is always a safer way to build a credible list that will stick with you long-term.
Why is designing a newsletter so important?
A well-designed email doesn't always mean it must look like the coolest email you've ever seen. There are many things that go into "designing" an email campaign, and it all starts with content. Is it relevant? Will it appeal to your demographic? Does it provide value? Even if they don't need it now, is it interesting enough to remember? Does it include multiple types of content, such as one main story or product focus with a few supporting pieces to gain interest of multiple types of customer needs? Once content is mastered, a design can enhance it and make it memorable.
What is the best day of the week to send a CTA (call to action) email?
It's really not so much about the "best day" as it is the "best time". By that, I mean that CTA's should only come after a period of giving away value. If you send out a "give me a referral" email without any "I'm going to show you why you should" in-between, you're coming at it from the wrong angle. People don't want to be told what to do, nor do they want to do something unless they feel compelled to do it. Give your subscribers a reason to want to love you, and you won't have to worry about when to send out a CTA - they'll click, call, forward, post as you wish (as long as it's in-between a lot of value, value, value).
How do I improve my email reputation?
Start creating value - honest, free, valuable content people need, want and love. Just like skyscrapers, everything takes time to be built the right way.
I’m running FB ads, but no email sign-up on my website. Should I be?
Yes! Those Facebook ad clicks are creating leads, but if you're not nurturing those leads, your marketing budget spent is pointless. Getting those visitors to subscribe to your email list allows you to keep the relationship going beyond the FB ad. That is money well spent. See "How can email marketing be used for lead nurturing?" to learn more.
What are the basics of list building?
All of the above. When you give and give and give (yes, for free!) valuable, consistent, relevant content that serves your demographic rather than yourself, your list will grow like wildfire.
What college degree is essential for email marketing?
Although email marketers possess a broad range of skills, a degree is not necessary to becoming a professional or efficient email marketer. I personally have gained all of my experience with email marketing on-the-job. I wasn't taught best practices or even specifically how to design an email in college. The skills I learned in college and my professional career contributed to the ability to learn how to be a great email marketer.
Best tools and resources to learn more?
Youtube, Google, Pinterest and MailChimp tutorials! Search key words such as "email marketing tips" and "email marketing for beginners".
If you're needing more information, or have a question that wasn't answered, drop a line or tweet. Don't forget to download your free pdf!
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