Such subscribers and you don’t need each other, so let them go. This is because engaged subscribers open more, click more, and buy more. It depends on a whole host of reasons, including: “From” name Preview text Send time Your list quality Your content The more people open an email, the more people click, the more people buy, so make sure you always optimize your emails for a higher open rate. That’s why click rate (along with the conversion rate) is the ultimate metric in email marketing. Email marketing stats like open and click rates, bounces, unsubscribes, list growth and conversion rate can give powerful insights at what’s working (and what’s not) in your email marketing strategy. The first step to a more thoughtful email marketing strategy is determining exactly what you want to achieve — your number one goal. There are a number of ways you can segment your list simply based on campaign activity. Look at the following groups and see how you can serve them differently: subscribers who open most of your emails but don’t click subscribers who click but don’t convert (send them a new campaign with more reasons to purchase your product) subscribers who didn’t open the last email (if it was an important email, re-send it with a new subject line after a few days) subscribers who have consistently replied to your emails (they are your biggest fans, so treat them accordingly) Skillful email marketers should also be able to segment based on past purchases, interest level, demographics, and much more. Want to become a better email marketer? It includes a few key resources for taking your email marketing to the next level: A list of 15 lead magnet ideas to help you grow your email list faster; 7 smart ways you can segment your list to keep it healthy and engaged; A video tutorial on how to delete inactive subscribers from your email list (to keep your open rates high).
And that’s for good reason: if we look at the ROI, email is the best-performing channel, with much higher conversion and retention rates than social media.
Email marketing is like a headed cabbage. It might seem like a simple concept, but it has many layers. Anyone who wants to become great at email marketing has to understand multiple concepts and juggle many skills at a time.
In this post, I’ll walk you through 10 areas of expertise that are essential to email marketing, and give useful tips for each one.
I’ve also prepared a special bonus for over-achievers at the end of the post, so be sure to read all the way through to the end.
If your email doesn’t get delivered, it doesn’t get opened. If1 it doesn’t get opened… well, you know the rest.
Making sure your emails get to their final destination is the first essential step in email marketing.
There are many variables that affect deliverability of your emails, including ISPs, MTAs, throttling, bounces, bulking, spam issues, and the quality of your content.
Here are a few simple rules that will help you achieve 99.5%+ deliverability:
Avoid SPAM complaints
- Don’t spam
- Use double opt-in
- Set expectations upfront, so subscribers know how often they’re going to hear from you
The new “hot” SPAM law is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The law is designed to safeguard data privacy for EU citizens, and applies to any business with EU users or customers, regardless of whether the business is based in the European Union or not. The penalty for non-compliance is “up to €20 million, or 4% of the worldwide annual revenue of the prior financial year, whichever is higher.”
If you do email marketing, lead acquisition, or referrals, you should become very familiar with the GDPR.
Avoid hard bounces
- Use double opt-in
- If you don’t use double opt-in, verify validity of collected email addresses in some other way:
- If you’re collecting emails in exchange for a freebie, send that freebie to their inbox vs. putting it on a thank-you page.
- If you’re collecting emails in a giveaway, send your first email to participants from a different account, so the wave of unsubscribes and bounces doesn’t affect sender reputation of your main account.
Purge your list
Every 6 months or so, delete all your inactive subscribers. If they haven’t opened any of your last 20-50 campaigns, they probably won’t open the next 100. Such subscribers and you don’t need each other, so let them go.
Know how the Gmail Promotions tab works
The Gmail Promotions tab adds a new layer to email deliverability. If your email is delivered but ends up in the Promotions folder, the subscriber might only get to it much later, if ever.
The problem is that Gmail got pretty good at distinguishing personal emails from everything else, so whether you need to stress over the Promotions tab is debatable. However, it’s still good to know what can cause your emails to land there: bulky images, fancy styling, excessive links, different reply-to address and email header markup.
2. List building
Growing an email list is one of the most rewarding efforts you can take in your business. Good marketers should have a grip of different subscriber acquisition mechanisms available to them, such as:
- Content marketing (i.e. blogging coupled with content upgrades)
- Guest blogging
- Lead magnets (steal a few ideas from the bonus at the end of this post)
- Opt-in tools like popups, slide-in forms, and top of the page ribbons
- Social media (see section below)
3. Social media integration
Social media is not only good for building your brand image and gaining exposure; it can also help you add subscribers to your email list.
The good news is that almost any social media channel can be leveraged to grow your email list.
Here are a few ideas:
- Create a Twitter website card showcasing an irresistible lead magnet, and pin it to the top of your Twitter profile (check out mine here)
- Have a sign-up button + sidebar apps on your Facebook page
- Ask Instagram followers to leave their email address in the comments to receive something juicy (and relevant to your brand) — this works surprisingly well
- Talk about your email list and the benefits of joining it in your Instagram stories
- Give a sneak previews of (exciting) emails in Instagram stories
- Drive traffic to the opt-in freebies in your blog through Pinterest
- Collect leads in slide presentations on Slideshare
Essentially, plug your email list sign-up in all of the storytelling you’re already doing on social media.
4. Subscriber engagement
Everybody wants a big list, but few realize that it’s not a panacea for your business.
Even small lists can work magic if they are healthy and engaged. This is because engaged subscribers open more, click more, and buy more. Your top 1,000 customers can generate $8.6 million in revenue (if you’re Ramit Sethi).
The best part is that once you learn how to engage your email subscribers you can apply that to a list of any size to optimize its effectiveness.
The top rule of email list nurturing is “give more than you ask for”.
Especially in the first 2-4 weeks after someone subscribes to your list, make sure you surpass all expectations of being helpful and overdeliver on a regular basis.
Once you establish trust with your new subscribers, continue your communication keeping in mind why people join and stay on email lists: they love the feeling of being on the “inside” of a private club.
Cultivate that feeling by:
- making them the first to hear new announcements;
- sending them exclusive content…