If you’re a business owner, it goes without saying you should have an email marketing strategy to help you grow your business.
It doesn’t have to be a super complicated strategy: it can be as simple as sending out an email newsletter once or twice a month.
Seriously – you don’t need to overthink it.
You can send out as a simple text-only email, or you can get a little fancy and do something with design components, links, embedded media, etc.
Nevertheless, some people get hung up on the details when it comes to email marketing.
Here are 5 of the most popular questions I get from clients when they are trying to figure out a basic email marketing strategy…
1. What do I put in my email newsletter?
Ready to write your email?
What throws off many entrepreneurs is the thought of having to put together original content to go into their email.
This can be particularly daunting for business owners who are already tasked with creating original articles and videos for their social media channels.
Have no fear. Here’s good news. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, especially if you’ve already done a great job creating content for Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
Think of your email as a sort of “highlight reel” of all the content your company put out the previous week or couple of weeks.
Summarize and link back to your best blog posts and social media updates from recent weeks.
Don’t worry about your audience seeing the same (or similar) content more than once. First of all, it takes several impressions for content to even get noticed on social media. Remember when TV commercials were relevant? You’d see the same ad every commercial break for hours. Similarly, you will nowadays see the same Facebook ad a bunch of times, because marketers know that it takes getting in front of their audience a few times before getting noticed, clicked on, and read.
So, if you have the same article posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, don’t worry. Your audience might not be following you on every platform. Or, they might miss you on certain channels just because of timing. Or, they might not have time to get you the first time, but they will the third or forth time.
If you don’t have original content to share, you can curate third-party articles that are relevant to your audience. You can share advice, as well as industry news.
Once you have provided value, you can update your email readers with information about your upcoming webinars, events, sales, and promotions.
To keep things fresh, you can also wish your readers well for the holiday season, summer vacations, or anything current.
Keep your email short, as most people don’t have tons of time to scroll endlessly and will likely just get overwhelmed by too much content.
Don’t overload your email with embedded images and videos – they might look cool, but too much can slow down the load time, and that just frustrates people and gives them reason to close your email.
One final note… your email subject line is EVERYTHING.
If you have a boring, spammy-sounding subject line, you might get sent to the dreaded SPAM folder. Or, you just won’t get open.
Don’t have a cringey subject line like, “Our Company Newsletter, Volume 3” or something dry and generic like that.
Instead, opt for a tantalizing sentence that asks a question or raises curiosity. Make it sound like you are a human speaking directly to the person reading it, not a mail-bot.
If your subject line is boring, no one will open your email, and all your efforts will be for nothing. Seriously, put a lot of thought into this one sentence!
2. Do I need email marketing if I have social media?
If you are already sharing content on social media, you might be wondering if you even need to send out a regular email blast.
The truth is, you need BOTH email and social media if you want to set up a winning online marketing strategy. The two work together, and each has their own pros and cons.
Ideally, you want to benefit from the pros of both, and you want to override the cons of both.
The benefit of social media marketing is you get access to this seemingly unlimited audience, where you can share your content and draw in people from anywhere.
The drawback of social media is that it’s very hard to have control over your audience.
It’s hard to hold onto them. So, even if someone likes your content, and they share it, and they comment on it, and they’re a fan of your page, you run the risk of having them here today and gone tomorrow.
Because, it’s very hard, even if they follow your page, they might not see you again for a little while, depending on what time they’re online versus when you post, or algorithms, or all kinds of things that you really don’t have much power over.
Now, email on the other hand, is very reliable, in that you get to send your content directly to someone’s inbox, so you know they’re probably going to see it, or the likelihood of them seeing it and opening it is a lot greater.
The problem with email is that you don’t have access beyond your list. It’s effective and more targeted but it is limited in potential audience size, unlike social media.
3. How do I grow my list?
Always keep in mind that quality beats quantity when it comes to building your email list.
In order to grow your list in a meaningful way, you can put out calls-to-action on social media and on your website, prompting people to sign-up to get your emails.
However, you will likely have more success growing your list by offering a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is something of value that you offer to your target audience. It can be an ebook, PDF, infographic, video, or any kind of content that your audience will find helpful.
Offer your lead magnet as a free download, in exchange for consent to add the user to your email list.
This way, you will attract subscribers who are already interested in the kind of knowledge you have to offer. They are automatically qualified leads!
4. How often should I send out an email blast?
Your goal with email marketing is to stay on top of people’s minds, and convert leads into business.
So, unless you have a specific reason, you’re most likely going to find that sending between 1-2 emails per month is enough. You might consider sending out a weekly email, if your audience responds well and if you keep it short and sweet.
Now, if you’ve got a specific promotion – such as a new program launch or product coming out – and you are ramping up to build hype and encourage sales, you might in this instance send out more emails. But this is a special circumstance.
5. How do I not look like spam?
No one in their right mind loves SPAM.
Most business owners cringe at the thought of being labelled as a spammer.
How do you avoid getting labelled a spammer? First of all, as with any kind of content, when you create your email, you should lead with providing value.
In other words, keep the sales pitch until the end (or avoid it all together).
Provide helpful tips and advice that your target audience (the people subscribed to your email list) will want to consume.
No one is going to want to open your email and take the time to read it if they know it’s just going to be full of ads and sales lingo.
Second, make sure your list is refined and consists of only people who are interested in receiving your content by email.
You can do this by only adding qualified people to your list, and making sure you get people’s consent to be added to your list.
Email marketing is far from dead. Use your email newsletter as a sort of “highlight reel” of all the great content your business has pushed out in recent weeks. Use email to build upon your social media marketing effects. Grow your list with an effective lead magnet. Don’t feel pressured to email too often – in most cases, once or twice a month is enough. Avoid coming across as a spammer by offering value first and foremost.
If you’re ready to take your business blog to the next level, check out my FREE eBook, “How To Blog Like An Entrepreneur” here…