An Introduction To Email Marketing
If you run a business, a website or a blog and you want to increase your audience as well as increasing engagement, then the single most effective way to do that is with email marketing.
If you listen to pretty much any top marketer, then they will almost always tell you this. They will almost always say that the most important aspect of their marketing – the thing that led to their success – was email.
And there’s a very good reason for this. Or ten…
Email marketing allows you to reach your audience in an incredibly direct manner. Unlike other forms of marketing, you’ll actually be able to reach your audience directly in their inboxes without having to go through any third party. That means that you’re not reliant on a platform like Facebook or Twitter, or at the mercy of potential changes to policies that could render your messages unheard.
It wasn’t that long ago that Facebook made the decision to change its system so that only a small percentage of posts from pages got through to followers.
With email, your messages are going directly to the users. That means that nothing can prevent you from reaching them and you know that 100% of everything you send is going to reach the recipient.
It means that you don’t lose your long list of subscribers if Facebook decides to inexplicably delete your account (this happens – in fact it has happened to me) or if they decide to delete their accounts.
This is a relationship that is directly between you and the subscribers. But that’s only touching the very surface of what makes Email marketing so useful.
As you’ll see in the rest of this post, there are many, many more advantages to email marketing and tons more reasons why you should invest more time and more energy into email marketing.
By the end of this post, you’ll understand precisely what makes email marketing important and you’ll hopefully be hyped to dive into the rest of this post to find out how you can make it work for you.
First, a Few Stats
First, let’s take a look at a few stats which perfectly illustrate just how impressive email marketing really is and how it is transforming business…
For example, did you know the following figures?
Email marketing has a ROI of 4,300%
91% of consumers check email daily (most people check it much more!)
When surveyed, companies say that email marketing is more profitable than: PPC, content marketing, display advertising, mobile ads, social media marketing, direct marketing, affiliate marketing…
66% of US consumers aged over 15 have made a purchase as a direct result of an email campaign
1/3rd of consumers say that they open their emails on the basis of the subject line alone
So, what does all this tell us? Why are these stats the way they are?
Firstly, let’s consider the ROI. The reason that ROI is so high for email marketing is actually because the cost of entry is so low. ROI is ‘return on investment’, the amount of money you make versus the amount of money you spent in order to make it!
In the case of email marketing, you only need to pay for an autoresponder. Once you’ve done that, you have the means to collect and send emails, which means the only thing left for you to do is to write said emails.
Guess how much writing an email costs?
And it barely takes any time either (remember: time is money!). In short, this is an incredibly quick and cost effective way to start marketing.
Another stat that’s interesting is the fact that 91% of consumers check their email every single day. That’s a huge statistic but in reality it’s probably rather conservative. The reality is that most of us check our phones not only every single day but countless times throughout the day.
The reason for this is that we get a notification each time we get a new email. There is no way for us to miss an email, which stands in stark contrast to a Facebook post or a Twitter Tweet which is very easy to miss.
In fact, the main way that you tend to hear about new Facebook posts is via email.
Think about the Facebook pages that you have Liked. Can you honestly say that you get 100% of the messages that any of them put out? The answer for most of us is ‘no’ and the obvious reason for that is that we’ll only check Facebook every now and then and even then, we’ll likely only see a small percentage of what’s on offer because that’s what will make it to our home-feed.
The only way we would stand a chance of seeing 100% of the content from a given page is if we were to manually navigate to that Facebook page every single day and scroll down through the posts.
And who cares enough about a brand in order to do that?
With email on the other hand, you not only check your inbox multiple times a day anyway, but you also get alerted each time a new message comes through.
Of course, this is only true of your inbox and not of your ‘social’ mailbox or spam – but using the tips you’ll learn over the course of this… course… you’ll learn how to make sure you end up in the inbox and not one of the other two.
So, that’s what the stats have to say but what about the things that a survey can’t quite capture?
Top Reasons You NEED to Invest in Email Marketing
Here are some of the top reasons that you can’t afford not to invest in email marketing…
1. Email Marketing is More Personal
The first and most important consideration is simply that email marketing is much more personal as compared with other forms of marketing. When you send someone a message via email, you are messaging them in their inbox and that means your messages are going to be placed right alongside messages from their friends and family, as well as all the other things that they signed up for.
All of a sudden, the way that your messages are parsed and interpreted changes. Suddenly, this is in a folder filled with correspondence that demands attention and your email message will take on that same importance as a result.
As a marketer, it’s your job to take advantage of this too – by making sure that your content is written in a way that feels personal and direct – this will have a much better impact on readers and make them much more likely to sit up and take notice of what you’re saying. People like getting messages from people – not companies.
2. Email Marketing is Immediate
With email marketing, you have complete control over your message and that even includes the timing with which your message is sent.
On Facebook or Twitter, you will write a message and then hope that your followers see it at some point in the near future. However, with email marketing we’ve already discussed that your recipients will get a buzz in their pocket as soon as the new message comes through.
Even if they have several messages that they haven’t read (meaning that they won’t get notified for each new message), they’ll still tend to check their messages to dismiss those unread contacts at several times throughout a day.
That now means that you can time when your message gets seen and therefore you have some control over what mood the recipients are in when they get your message and how they are likely to respond.
This is crucial because – as with comedy – timing is everything when it comes to marketing. If you can send a message at the right time, then you can take advantage of current events, or of the fact that your subscribers are likely to be tired and thus more impulsive. You just don’t get this kind of control with any other form of marketing.
We’ll learn more about how you can utilize timing in your email marketing over the next several posts.
3. Email Marketing Requires Permission
This is actually a very important aspect of email marketing and it’s one that makes every message much more effective and impactful.
The simple fact is that in order to send a marketing email to someone, you first need their express permission. And that permission requires them to actually give you their email address and contact details. This isn’t as easy as clicking ‘like’ and it’s not something they can possibly do by accident.
At first, you might think that this would be a negative thing. After all, it means that you’re going to have a much shorter mailing list and your subscribers might be less inclined to sign up.
But that is actually a positive thing. A big positive. Why?
Because it means that the quality of your contacts is much higher. In marketing, quality trumps quantity every time and by a large margin at that.
If your recipients actually want to be there and if they’re interested in signing up, then that means they’ll actually read your messages and it means they’ll be much more likely to click ‘buy’ or to pass the message on to friends.
And the very act of giving you their email address also increases that trust. When someone gives you their email and invites you to message them, they are showing that they trust you not to abuse that power and that they value your ideas enough to give up some of their privacy. This way, they become ‘members’ of your movement.
Again, we’ll look at how you can ensure your contacts are 100% valuable and the right fit for your list in future instalments.
4. Email Marketing Allows Smart Use of Data
Something that a lot of eBooks and blogs don’t touch on is just how much data you get when you use email marketing, or how flexibly you can use that data. With email marketing, you’ll be able to sort your contacts into categories, so that you can choose to target only the right kind of recipient with your messages. That might mean that you send messages only to people of a certain age, a certain gender or in a certain location – and this can drastically increase your conversion rates.
All this means you can see which leads are cool, warm and ‘hot’ and in turn, that means you’ll be able to try and convert only the right recipients that are likely to be tempted and not likely to be frustrated at your contact.
On top of that, seeing this kind of information can help you to design better campaigns – by seeing which types of message get opened the most and which types of recipients are more receptive to your message (so that you can try and get more like them).
In short, email marketing gives you control over numerous very important metrics which allows you to target precisely the right people at precisely the right times.
When you combine all these different factors, you have a method of marketing that is simply unparalleled. Many marketers and business owners will put it off as it seems like a lot of work but in reality, once it is set up and you understand how it works, it couldn’t be simpler. And the pay off is enormous. Email marketing absolutely MUST be a part of your marketing strategy and over the rest of this post you’re going to learn how to take advantage of it in a MASSIVE way.
Top Tools for Creating Landing Pages
Are you planning on building a mailing list and then using it to increase the engagement of your audience and maybe drive some sales?
Then you’re going to need a landing page!
A landing page is a single page on a website that has one purpose. This might be to help you sell a product (in which case it might also be referred to as a sales page) or it might be to help you get new subscribers for your mailing list (in which case we can also sometimes call it a squeeze page). In this case, we’re talking about the latter type of landing page – a single page that is dedicated to getting new emails.
This is a powerful tool when it comes to growing a list because it allows you to focus all of your attention – and all of your visitors’ attention – that opt-in form. That means that all the copy can be there to revolve around how amazing your mailing list is and that all the design features can point your audience toward the ‘Sign Up Now’ button that you need them to click.
The good news is that a landing page is not that difficult to build and this is especially true for squeeze pages. These are often short passages of text with an opt-in form down the bottom designed to collect your messages.
But while you can probably whip together a landing page using nothing but a bit of HTML, you will likely find that you get a lot better results if you try using a tool designed to help you build better lists.
Let’s take a look at some of the best tools out there and how they can help you to make a more effective and highly converting page for your email list.
OptimizePress (www.optimizepress.com) is a simple tool that works with WordPress and that can help you to make very professional looking pages in no time at all. As the name might suggest, these pages have been ‘optimized’, meaning that the creators behind the tool have tested them over and over and refined them in order to ensure that they are highly effective at converting.
In theory at least, simply installing OptimizePress on your site and using it to handle your opt-in page could help you to drastically increase your conversion rate and thereby drive up your sales and get more returns for any advertising or other marketing that you’re doing.
The great thing about OptimizePress is how clean, simple and professional everything looks. This is very important when creating a landing page because ultimately what you’re doing here is asking the new visitor to your page to trust you. You are asking them to share their personal details with you so that you can email them whenever you see fit – and that is a big ask for most people.
Now, if your website looks like it was designed by a ten year old, if the images are all low resolution or if the site appears to be somewhat broken, then you’re going to have a hard time getting that trust. And unless you’re a professional web designer yourself, you might find that your pages occasionally do look like this. That’s why using something like OptimizePress can be such a good idea.
OptimizePress is also a good choice because it is very versatile. You can use this to create sales pages as well as landing pages, which is something that a lot of people might find themselves needing later on when they have a big enough list.
The downside is that OptimizePress is not cheap for most people. It costs $97 for the most basic package – which is limited in several ways – and that’s a big ask if you’re just starting out with your squeeze page for the first time.
LeadPages (LeadPages.net) is a tool that is designed specifically for mailing lists unlike OptimizePress that is more aimed at sales pages with additional capabilities.
This means that LeadPages is going to give you an even more comprehensive set of tools for that specific purpose. You’ll get the option to create welcome gates for instance, to integrate with Facebook, to sort landing pages based on their conversion rate and more. You can build multiple landing pages and serve them up at different times too and generally, you get a lot of capability here.
The pages themselves are also incredibly well designed. Whereas OptimizePress is more focused on sales and therefore provides the more typical ‘pillar box’ design; LeadPages gives you a lot more flexibility and creativity to work with. You’ll also get access to landing pages that are designed to build leads in more creative ways.
These include timers on the main page, countdowns and promotional pages for free ebooks and courses. There are landing pages with videos embedded in prominent positions and more and all of them look highly professional.
One big difference with LeadPages is that it is a hosted solution. That means that you aren’t going to be downloading the plug in and using it on your site, but rather redirecting your visitors to a different page where they can sign up. This will be a downside for some as it can mean that your audience is somewhat less engaged with your brand (seeing as they’re now on a different page entirely!).
On the other hand though, others will like the fact that they can now manage an effective mailing list with no need to have built a website in the first place. Not all email marketing strategies are wed to websites or blogs, meaning that you can use this tool to create something without the headaches of hosting and web design.
The pricing structures are also more appealing here than OptimizePress. The most basic membership is $25 per month but this goes all the way up to $199 for the most advanced package – which is a large recurring fee.
Thrive (www.thrivethemes.com) is a product that provides a large range of different tools all in one package. You receive an entire ‘Thrive Tool Suite’ which will include things like landing pages, the ability to manage leads, tools for creating more engaging email content, a headline optimizer and more.
In other words, Thrive will combine the ability to create attractive landing pages along with better tools for building great emails. This is a powerful combination and more importantly, the landing pages themselves look great. You get 162 templates in total, which again revolve around a range of different features from promoting free ebooks to showing countdown timers and other time-based incentives.
Unlike LeadPages, Thrive is a hosted solution meaning that you’ll keep it right on your own page. At the same time, it is a WordPress plugin, which means that it will be quick and easy to set up if you’re already familiar with the CMS.
It is worth noting that both OptimizePress and Thrive rely on a WordPress installation. So if you have a site that you built yourself or with another tool, then you might need to consider LeadPages or a lesser known alternative!
All of Thrive’s themes are mobile responsive and built to load quickly. They look very professional with high quality, crisp images and are generally a great choice.
And better yet, is that this is also the most affordable package. Basic membership will only cost you $19 per month, whereas the top tier ‘Agency Membership’ only costs $49.
Do You Really Need a Landing Page Tool?
Perhaps the question that you’re now asking is whether you really need a landing page tool…
And the answer to that is no… but with caveats.
If you head over to the Four Hour Blog – Tim Ferriss’ blog – you’ll see that his landing page is incredibly simple (http://tim.blog/7-reasons-to-subscribe/). The page is simply called ‘7 Reasons to Subscribe’ and it is designed like any other page on a WordPress site with 7 points, each giving you a reason that you should subscribe.
This was not built with any kind of tool, in fact it is nothing other than a simple WordPress page. And you could do the exact same thing and rely on the strength of your copy and the weight behind your name to drive those conversions.
But let’s face it, most of us are not Tim Ferriss and most of us don’t have the ability to persuade people to sign up for our mailing list on the basis of a little text.
If you use Thrive or LeadPages, then you’ll benefit from large crisp images, background animations and smart layouts that feel like they belong on a top website. This instantly impresses your audience and makes them much more inclined to want to sign up.
This can really help you to convert if you didn’t before and as such, all you have to do is to replace your current landing page with one of these and you might conceivably expect to see your conversion rate go up by several percent.
It’s an investment, yes, but for most people it will be one that offers good ROI. Just know that you can get by without this feature and that you can always wait until you’re making some profit before you decide to reinvest in a landing page tool.
It’s also worth considering the time aspect. Using a tool like this can save you a lot of time and that way help you to start making profit immediately – rather than wasting weeks or even months tweaking everything to get it just right.
Of course, this is also a feature that becomes more useful as you start managing multiple businesses, multiple websites and multiple mailing lists.
That said, seeing as Thrive will only set you back $19.99 for the first month, you can always try it to see if it makes a difference and then just unsubscribe if it does not!
More Useful Tools
There are a number of other useful tools that will also help you to grow your mailing list more quickly.
One excellent one to consider is Optimizely (www.optimizely.com). This is a split tester, meaning that it can help you to take your landing page and split it into two slightly different versions. Imagine one landing page with a red opt-in form and one with a green opt-in form. You can then monitor these two versions of your landing page with half of your traffic going to each.
Over time, you might notice that one of them is getting better results than the other and at that point, you can choose to accept the change to green. Then you can test another change!
The great thing about this is that it allows you to gradually improve your site over time until it eventually evolves into the perfectly optimized funnel to grab as many new subscribers as possible.
Another thing to consider is a lightbox. This is a ‘pop-over’ that appears over the top of your page and makes everything else go dark. You can use this in conjunction with a landing page or you can use it elsewhere on your site.
Either way, these tools are fantastically effective at driving conversions and numbers often get thrown around like ‘400% improvement’. It can be a little annoying for visitors though, which is why you need to be careful with how you go about it. Make sure that your lightbox is easy to dismiss and that it only appears once someone has been on your page a certain amount of time.
Get this right though and it will simply ensure that nobody can miss your mailing list or all the good reasons they should consider signing up to it. One good hope is ‘Huge-It’ for WordPress but there are many other similar plugins that will do the same job.
A bad workman may blame his tools, but the right tools will make you a better workman!
Opt-In Landing Page Tactics
In the first lesson in this course, you discovered the massive importance of using email marketing as part of your campaign and you saw why it was so critical for the success of your business – even compared with other tactics like PPC and content marketing.
But while email marketing is crucial, it is also dependent on other factors. That is to say that you can’t have email marketing without having a great opt-in landing page. This is your ‘squeeze page’ – it is the page that you use in order to encourage first time visitors to your site to sign up for your mailing list so that they can receive your emails.
This is the gatekeeper to your email marketing campaign and it is fundamentally important if you have any interest whatsoever in this form of marketing. After all, the best email marketing campaign in the world isn’t of much use if you can’t get anyone to read it!
So, the question is: how do you make sure that your landing page gets the attention it deserves and how do you ensure that the people who land there, convert?
Some Things to Consider
There are two types of landing pages, which are ‘squeeze pages’ and ‘sales pages’. A squeeze page is an opt-in landing page as we’ve been describing here, while a sales page is a page that attempts to convince someone to buy from you.
The reason that I mention both types of page here is that they are actually more similar than they are different. In essence, you are trying to sell your landing page and that means you’re going to face all the same challenges you would when selling a product.
Your objective here is to demonstrate that it is worth signing up to your mailing list – that it is going to provide significant value to the readers – while at the same time convincing your readers that the cost is worth it. In this case, the cost is that your readers have sacrificed some of their privacy and have given you permission to contact them right in their inboxes.
So, you need to inflate the apparent value and diminish the apparent cost.
Diminishing the Cost
Your job then is to demonstrate to readers that they don’t need to worry when they sign up to your mailing list. You can do this by mitigating and removing the risk – by alleviating the concerns that they might have.
For example, your visitors will likely be worried that if they subscribe to you, they will potentially get inundated with messages and spam. They might even be worried that you are going to pass their details on to other brands and companies.
So, you need to reassure your audience that this isn’t going to happen. Promise your readers that you will never share their details and that they can very easily unsubscribe at any point.
Likewise, let them know precisely the frequency and nature of your content. There are few things that are more daunting than the unknown so make it absolutely clear what your mailing list involves and what they can expect if they sign up.
If you take a look at Tim Ferriss’ opt-in page, then you can see he does all these things while also using a couple of other things. One clever line is:
‘1,000,000+ monthly readers means something – the content works.
This is clever because it effectively removes the risk that the content might be a waste of your time by using ‘social proof’. By alluding to the evidence provided by happy readers, Tim is showing his audience that they have nothing to worry about and that they can rely on his content to be great – a million people can’t be wrong!
Another ‘cost’ is the amount of effort involved in actually signing up. This is something you don’t want to diminish too much because you might open the floodgates for low quality subscribers (people who aren’t really interested). Still, try and make your opt-in form big, obvious and readily apparent.
The next thing to do is to consider the value proposition of your mailing list. Value proposition means the way in which you are providing value for your visitors – which is going to be more than the sum of its parts. More than what you are physically providing. Your value is not defined by the number of words you write, rather it is defined by what those words can do for people and how they will change their lives.
For example, if you have a mailing list about fitness then the ‘value proposition’ comes from people getting into great shape and – even more than that – building amazing abs, glistening muscles, incredible confidence and oodles of sex appeal.
The value proposition should be the emotional hook – the thing that motivated the audience to come to you in the first place, even if they don’t know it.
Get them to imagine what your mailing list can do for them and get them to really think about all the ways that their lives will be better thanks to your messages. If you can do that, then they will feel the urge to subscribe right away.
And convince them at this point too that they are getting something for nothing. This is amazing value!
Two More Techniques: Incentives and Pressure
Something that a lot of email marketing introductions miss out is option of using pressure in order to encourage more subscriptions. This is something you see an awful lot in sales but not so much in squeeze pages.
The essential idea here is that you are going to get your audience very interested in what you’re offering and tempted to sign up and then you are going to apply a form of time pressure to get them to act quickly. The reason this works well is that most purchases – and subscriptions – are based on impulse. We buy things based on our emotions rather than based on our reason.
If you are given time to go away and think about the purchase you want to make, then you will often eventually realize that you don’t need it – that’s because the emotion subsides and logic kicks in.
If you act quickly though and you’re spurred by emotion, then you’ll go ahead and sign up.
Only earlier today, I filled in a survey that I knew was spam and immediately regretted it afterward. I did it because I’d been trying to find a specific download for hours and this site promised to deliver it if I entered all my details. I knew it was probably spam and a trick, but I went ahead anyway because I was so emotionally charged by frustration and impatience.
The result is that I gave away my personal details when I never would have done otherwise.
And if I had gone away to think about it, then I definitely wouldn’t have signed up!
Hopefully, your mailing list is not spam but is genuinely useful and interesting – so it should be even easier for you to get people to sign up. But by adding that time pressure to get people to act in the moment, you’ll get a lot more positive results. This might mean you run a competition, or that you mention a limited number of places on your list. Whatever the strategy, this is often highly effective.
The other technique you can use to get even more people to sign up is to use an incentive, also called a ‘link magnet’. This is a free giveaway that you are offering in exchange for people signing up to your mailing list and the objective is to convert people that are on the fence and debating whether or not to sign up.
The objective is not to give away such an incredibly high-value freebie that you convince people to sign up who otherwise would not have had any interest in your content.
The reason for this is simple: you don’t want people to sign up if they aren’t going to read your emails and you don’t want people to simply download your freebie and then unsubscribe.
This is why you shouldn’t give away huge eBooks or long courses. Doing this also devalues the products that you are offering and it means that if you try and sell a digital product in the future, people might think that it isn’t worth much.
If they just got a free ebook for signing up – which they probably haven’t read yet – then why would they bother paying $100 for another one?
Thus, giving away a short report is actually a much better incentive. Other good options include entering your readers into some kind of raffle (which can also be a great way to add time pressure) or simply to make the mailing list much more valuable in itself. Perhaps that means that you offer a newsletter rather than simple emails – filled with beautiful images, exclusive interviews and other extras that elevate it above the quality of other email lists.
Perhaps the best strategy of all if you can pull it off, is to make a product sound so interesting that people actively want to learn more about it. If you can make your product sound incredible, then people will sign up just to learn about its development or release.
This is fantastic because you are now not only getting permission from your readers to contact them – you are getting permission to talk about a product and to effectively sell to them!
Remember: permission is one of the key and most important aspects of a mailing list because it is what will allow you to message without people unsubscribing. This is also why it is so important that you never mislead your audience in order to gain subscribers.
Getting People to Your Landing Page
Now of course if any of this is going to be effective, then you need to ensure that people actually land on your landing page and get to see what you’re offering!
The most straightforward way to do this is through content marketing. This means running a blog that will contain content in the form of posts. These posts will not only help your site to show up through SEO and through social media (if your readers share the content they find) but they will also help you to demonstrate the kind of value that you are capable of providing.
By filling your site with lots of great information, your visitors will see that you are capable of helping/entertaining them. As a result, they will then be more inclined to want to read more of the kind of content you have to offer and thus they will sign up for your mailing list!
The other method you may want to consider though is PPC. This is ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising, which will likely be handled through Facebook Ads or Google AdWords. In either case, it is so named because you are only going to pay each time someone actually clicks on your ad.
That in turn means that you can calculate the maximum amount of money you are paying for each visitor (you pay for these clicks with ‘bids’ and you can set a maximum bid).
This then in turn means that you can calculate how much each new subscriber is worth to you by looking at CLV – Customer Lifetime Value. In other words, how often do your subscribers by from you and become paying customers? How much profit do you get from each of those sales?
By calculating all of this, you can then see how much you can afford to pay for your new subscribers while still making a profit. Of course, you also need to consider what percentage of your landing page visitors become subscribers (this number is your ‘conversion rate’) but that can be increased positively simply by employing the strategies we’ve looked at over the course of this report.
That, and by paying attention to the tips that we’re going to look at in future reports!
Email Copywriting – How To Write Effective Email Copy That Gets Opens and Clicks
If you are a marketer, then that makes you a writer.
These days there is no getting away from that fact – the two jobs go hand in hand and in order to be anywhere near effective at building and engaging an audience, you need to make sure that you understand how to write convincingly and how to grab attention.
This is especially true when it comes to your email marketing: a form of marketing that involves a lot of complex goals that are seemingly working contradictory to one another in many cases.
As an email marketers, you have been given privileged access to your subscribers’ inboxes. This is a huge gesture of trust and it demonstrates that your readers/visitors/customers must really enjoy your content and want to see more of it. They have given you their details because of that fact and because they want to get value from you.
So that is your first objective: to provide value without abusing that trust and without frustrating your subscribers.
At the same time though, you also need to fight to get your messages clicked. You need to make sure that your subject lines stand out among the other messages in their inbox and are interesting enough to be considered worth reading (while not looking like spam…).
Then you need to make sure that you are also able to persuade your audience and convince them to potentially buy from you, or to visit your site again, or simply to trust whatever it is that you’re saying.
Oh, and you need to write well as well. That means you need to write in a way that is captivating, entertaining, authoritative and accurate.
Over the rest of this report, you’re going to learn how to do all of those things.
How to Write Well
Is writing something that you can be taught?
Probably the best answer is a frustratingly non-committal ‘yes and no’. That is to say that it can be very hard to teach someone to write well if they have no natural ‘voice’ but in most cases, it will still be possible as long as they can grasp the basics and they have a decent command of English.
Problem is that this is going to take longer for some people than it is for others. And that means that in some cases, it will not be worth learning to write well from scratch. If you are someone that might be considered hopeless by your friends and contemporaries then it’s probably best just to hire a good writer.
Find a friend who speaks good English, get them to read a post you’ve written and then ask them to be completely 100% honest with you. If it’s terrible, then hire someone. If there’s hope, or you are a good writer, then continue and take on board some of these tips…
1. Writing Should be Efficient
The best place to start is by considering what the objective of good writing is. Writing is good if it manages to complete said objective, so what is it that you’re trying to do?
Usually, the most fundamental answer is that you want to impart meaning. You are trying to get your readers to understand something, to learn something or to think something and that all involves meaning.
In reality, nothing else really matters. And thus your objective should be to try and do this as quickly as possible and in as few words. Most of us are in a hurry these days and most of us have places we need to be. That means that we’re unlikely to have the patience to sit and dig through a massive paragraph of text and if your emails look like that, they’ll probably be ignored or binned.
Be respectful of your readers’ time then by getting them to understand the message you’re trying to convey as quickly as possible so that they are getting good ‘value’ for their time. The more value you impart in the fewer words, the more likely they’ll be to want to keep reading.
So, look through your writing and ask yourself which words are entirely necessary and which need to go. Anything that is superfluous – that does not serve a specific purpose – should go.
2. Vocabulary is Important
But this is not a ticket to write like a robot or to start writing in text speak! While your aim is efficiency, it is not necessarily brevity and there is still a place for flowery language and a large vocabulary.
Well, apart from the fact that it makes you sound clever – which in turn makes you more persuasive – using a larger vocabulary will actually help you to convey more meaning in fewer words. Why? Because you can choose words that provide a lot more value and ‘do more’.
Not only that, but by choosing the right turn of phrase, you can convey more than pure meaning and also start to evoke and emotional response from your readers or to provide additional details. This becomes very important when you’re trying to write in a manner that is persuasive and engaging because it allows you to better motivate your readers and therefore make them more likely to buy from you.
The best way to improve your vocabulary is just to read more. Likewise though, it can also pay to become better at description and emoting – so try to really picture and feel the emotions that you’re trying to convey and the way you want to depict them.
3. As is Tone
Also important is getting the right ‘tone’. This means that your message should be on-point in terms of how friendly it is versus how formal. If you are writing about insurance and your target audience consists of big important business people, then you will want to adopt a more formal tone than you would for an email list about football or your favorite band. Make sure that your content fits the intended purpose and the intended audience.
Again, this is where good vocabulary can come in – it’s a matter of being able to choose the words that will be most comfortable for the audience reading them. A great writer is someone that write for any audience and get the same kind of positive response.
Note as well that things like perfect grammar actually don’t matter all that much if you’re aiming to be more colloquial. That’s because the way that you write is secondary to the meaning that you’re trying to convey. As long as your audience understands you and they feel that you’re on their level, then you will have done well.
How to Write Copy That Gets Clicked and Read
If you can follow the advice shared in the last section, then you will be an efficient and accurate English writer. That means that no one is going to read your content and wonder if you’re English… or over 10 years old.
But that in itself won’t help you to sell or even to get your messages read. The best writer in the world is not necessarily going to be a good salesperson and it’s our job here to marry those two distinct skill-sets.
So how do you make sure that your content gets opened in the first place?
How do you keep your recipients reading right to the end?
1. Use Stories
One incredibly powerful tool is to use stories.
Stories are highly effective for a large number of reasons and sometimes storytelling is even referred to as ‘SEO for the human brain’.
The human brain has evolved over countless years and all of our different psychological quirks and ticks that we carry with us are a result of that evolution. Now consider that we have been telling stories for generations and recounting our experiences this way: this is why the human brain loves story telling.
That and we continue to hear stories whenever we watch TV, turn on the radio or read the news.
Stories engage us because they send signs that tell us they are important and relevant. These are things that affect real people and so they may affect us? And because there’s that whole ‘beginning, middle and end’ thing, we will almost always feel naturally compelled to stick around with a story until we get to the end.
So, the question now is how you’re going to use storytelling in your emails. Usually, the answer is to write the very same stuff, but to do it in a way that is framed within your own personal experiences or those of a friend.
Instead of saying that ‘writing an ebook can make you rich’, explain how you got rich from an ebook and it changed your life. Which is most engaging and interesting?
2. Provide Value
The next tip is to provide value. This may seem obvious but actually it’s something that a lot of marketers struggle with because they aren’t 100% sure what value actually entails.
What is value? How can you measure it?
The thing that everyone (hopefully) knows that they must NOT do, is to send emails that are nothing more than adverts for products. If you do this, then you are not providing value but rather spam.
Nearly everyone will ignore your messages and will likely hit unsubscribe because they won’t want to be pestered by you in the future.
But what’s also an example of not providing value is to write an email like ‘How to Get Six Pack Abs’ and then list three different types of exercise.
Why isn’t this value? Simple: because it is generic and because it is content that most of us have read countless times before on other sites. It’s unexciting, unoriginal and it doesn’t build your relationship or convey that you have any useful knowledge beyond what the reader already has.
Think about it: if they can get the same information by Googling, then why would they subscribe to your mailing list?
Suddenly, this can create a bit of a challenging situation for you because now you need to be continually coming up with content that is going to be completely original or so jam-packed with value that it blows anything else out of the water.
In other words? You can’t fake it. You need to be an expert in your field or someone with truly unique ideas or you need to hire someone that is.
Always ask yourself the following simple question for your value litmus test: would you read it? If the answer is no, then go back to the drawing board and come up with something more interesting!
3. Structure and Delivery
Finally, make sure that your content isn’t just read but is read all the way to the end. To do this, you’re going to need to fill it with things that are interesting and engaging but you’re also going to need to make sure it isn’t too long and that it is well spaced out.
That means lots of headings and lots of paragraphs. It means using bold titles and images and generally making sure that everything on the page is screaming for attention.
Think of this like arranging a shop window. A good store manager knows that if they have a ‘top seller’, then they need to stick it right in the window so that people passing by on the street will stop and take a closer look. Hopefully they’ll see other things they like along the way.
So, in a similar manner, this is what you’re trying to do with your emails. You need to make sure that if you are providing amazing value, you are also conveying that value throughout the course of your messages. You need to ensure that people who open your emails will see lots of things that catch their eye and be able to jump in straight to those points.
Do all this and you’ll drastically increase your chances of actually getting read. Of course, you then need to think about how you’re actually going to sell as well – but that’s a conversation for another time…
Subscriber Relationship Building
Once you’ve built a high quality email list and you are ready to start emailing your fans, you need to think long and hard about what kind of content you are going to send. This is not just a matter of how to write a great email that will get opened and that will get read to the end – it means thinking about a long-term strategy that will gradually build more trust and develop the relationship you have with your audience. It’s about growing your connections and turning those initially cold leads into hot leads who are ready to buy from you.
So how do you go about doing this?
Let’s take a look!
Understanding the Value of Your List
One of the biggest mistakes that many marketers will make when they start sending emails, is to spend too much time marketing and selling and not enough time building that relationship.
A lot of people will write to their subscribers and immediately try to sell something. That might mean that they promote something that they’ve made themselves, or that they recommend an affiliate product. In other cases, they might try to build hype for something that they plan to release in future.
Either way, this is often a quick way to lose followers and to turn off your audience. The problem is that no one likes being sold to at the best of times and certainly not inside their own inbox. If you were to get nothing but marketing messages from a contact, then would you see any good reason to keep opening them? Or would you eventually just stop looking at them?
Not only this, but sending nothing but marketing messages will cheapen the relationship you have with your followers. They will feel as though the only reason you were interested in them signing up was so that they could earn you money.
But on the other hand, if you write messages that actually provide value and that talk to the recipients, then this will be a great way to build trust and to engage your audience further.
And this actually earns you more from a business perspective in the long run.
Let’s say that you use your mailing list to try and sell a digital product that will make you $30. This might work and you might get a 10% conversion rate (which would be amazing). If you have 1,000 subscribers, then that’s $300 – not bad.
But it might also mean that a lot of those subscribers stop paying attention and it might mean that you ‘blew your load’ a little too early!
Instead, focus on delivering value and building the relationship. This way you are increasing the ‘CLV’ – the ‘Customer Lifetime Value’. That means that you are creating customers that really love what you do and that will be likely to buy from you multiple times in the future. It also means you’re creating fans who will likely visit your site on a highly regular basis – and maybe even share your links on their social media pages and elsewhere!
Consider the book 1,000 True Fans. In this classic marketing tome, author Kevin Kelly explains that a brand with 1,000 true fans will always be destined to succeed and it will be almost impossible for it to fail.
So, what is a ‘true’ fan? This is someone who will read every post you share, who will like every one of your Tweets, who will buy whatever products you put out and who will absolutely love your channel and what you do.
How does a true fan ensure that your business is a success? There are numerous ways. For starters, it means that your content will spread exponentially as people share what you’ve written and end up becoming ambassadors and promoters completely free of charge.
At the same time, it will guarantee a source of income. If you have 1,000 people who will buy nearly anything you create, then you will always be able to generate income – as long as you don’t take advantage of their interest.
Think of your first thousand true fans as being a tipping point – a threshold. Once you pass this point, you will find that everything you create in future gains more and more followers and your site begins to grow like wildfire.
This is why building true, loyal fans is far more important than simply focusing on trying to get a few quick sales. Don’t be short sighted – think about the long term and aim to build relationships that will last.
How to Build Real Relationships
So, you’re aiming for those 1,000 true fans and not trying to get a quick sale.
Now the next question has to be how you are going to go about doing that. How does this shift in objective change the way you work?
The first thing to do is to start writing your messages in a more personal and casual manner. People won’t be won over by your brand if they feel that is completely removed from them. If you try and portray yourself as this big global brand, it will actually just alienate your audience and make them less interested in what you’re doing.
What’s more, is that this can often actually make you appear less professional. This is a big mistake that many small brands will make – trying to appear bigger than they are.
If you are one guy who runs a blog in the evenings and is trying to make some money on the side, then don’t say:
“We’ve been working hard to bring you this project”
Because you know what?
People can tell that you are just one guy. And when you pretend to be bigger than you are, it hurts your reputation. It makes you sound like a kid who is trying to pretend they’re a big serious business.
Conversely, admitting you are one person and talking to your audience as human beings is going to help you to become more likeable and relateable for your audience. As a result, they will be more likely to want to help you to grow.
Another pointer is that if you use a more personal narrative in your emails, they are more likely to make it into the primary inbox. Use the recipient’s name by using the feature in your Autoresponder and write in a way that sounds like a regular letter. You know what makes a great subject line? ‘Hi’!
Also important, is to think about what an email is and how you can take advantage of the unique benefits of having one.
You know what email is for?
Communication. And you know what communication is? Two way!
In other words, if you can ask your recipients to message you back after they have received your correspondence then you will open up a communication that will let them feel as though you’re a real, approachable person. This will massively increase the trust, as well as helping your audience to feel as though you really value them.
So when you write your next email, why not include a message at the end asking your readers to respond with their ideas? Ask for suggestions as to what you should do on your blog or site next and maybe even ask for contributions or for help!
Doing this gets your audience involved in a big way and it will mean that they feel much more attached to your content and more like they are a part of your brand.
And of course, what is just as important is that you then actually look out for these messages and then you respond to them. Suddenly, you have a two-way line of communication with some of your readers and that means that you can actually start to develop a real relationship. This way, you can get your audience to feel as though they actually know you.
They’ll be far more likely to look out for your future messages and they’ll feel like an important part of your brand and the movement that you are promoting.
This takes time and it does mean that you’re now working even harder to not only send emails but also respond to the messages you get from fans and subscribers. But while this might seem like extra work, this is the kind of extra effort that will set you apart and help your site to grow at a much faster rate than the competition.
Things Not to Do
So that is how you go about building a relationship with your audience that is much more powerful and useful than the usual ‘sending lots of marketing messages’.
But if you’re going to make the very most from this, then it is just as important that you consider the things that you must not do. And there are a lot of mistakes that email marketers will make that can end up completely destroying all the good work they’ve put in.
Here are some things you should avoid doing…
Forgetting Your Account
One of the most obvious mistakes that a lot of marketers make is to go weeks or months without ever sending an email. This is a great way to fall off of your readers’ radars and to make them far less interested in what you’re doing. It will make you seem less professional and ultimately, it will lose you subscribers. When your remaining list sees a message from you months later, there’s a good chance they’ll be offended or upset by it – as though you were cold messaging them!
So be consistent and don’t let your mailing list turn into a ghost town.
Similarly though, it’s also a mistake to send too many emails, which can quickly lead to your subscribers becoming irritated by your messages and wanting to unsubscribe. If you inundate your audience with messages then you are taking advantage of the relationship and of the trust and you will quickly get yourself black listed!
Likewise, try not to overdo it in terms of your content. Don’t send messages that are too long for instance or that contain too many large images. These will take a long time to read through and might even clog up your recipients’ inboxes.
Selling Things You Don’t Believe In
Eventually, there will come a time that you try and sell something from your blog. After all, this is a business proposition ad your objective is to try and make a living from your brand.
And this is fine. People recognize this and they don’t mind being sold to – as long as you appear to really believe in what you’re promoting. What’s more, is that once your item has sold, it is highly important that it actually be good enough to be worth the money. If someone buys something on your recommendation and it is low quality or it doesn’t work… well then how likely do you think they will be to buy from you next time?
Breaking the Trust
There are many other ways that you can end up breaking the trust that you have build with your subscribers. An obvious example is if you pass on their email addresses to someone else. While it won’t be easy for your subscribers to find you are the culprit, if they do then it can completely destroy your brand – and it’s pretty obvious if they sign up to your list and they suddenly start getting lots more messages. So don’t risk it!
Okay, so there you have it: that’s how you go about building trust with your audience and getting them to feel that they are a true part of your brand.
The key thing to recognize here is that the relationship you are building is much more important than the direct sales you make. Think in the long term and focus on growing your engagement more than growing your profits and your numbers. Do this and you will create true fans that can help your business to explode!
Autoresponder Sequence Power
There are lots of different ways you can approach email marketing and depending on the strategy you employ, the results can be very different.
One strategy that is actually somewhat underused and potentially very effective is to write an autoresponder sequence. What this means, is that you are writing a series of emails that you will deliver automatically through your autoresponder without having to have any input in yourself. This will then help to build interest in your brand, engage your audience more and more and then eventually make a sale.
The sequence is going to trigger automatically as soon as the subscriber signs up and the best part is that you won’t even need to lift a finger!
Why an Autoresponder Sequence is Such a Good Strategy
There are many things that make autoresponder sequences a good way to go ahead. The first benefit is that autoresponder sequences involve less effort on your part. You don’t need to lift a finger like I said – and that means you can focus your efforts elsewhere. All you do have to do is to create the email sequence in the first place.
Another benefit of an autoresponder sequence is that it can actually be more effective when it comes to introducing new subscribers to your list and it can be less alienating.
The problem with many email lists, is that they have a collection of both long-time subscribers as well as completely new members. Without an autoresponder sequence, you can’t make sequential emails that refer to previous messages and you can’t build on ideas that you’ve laid out in previous messages because some of your visitors are going to be coming in halfway through.
This is just like tuning into a movie and realizing that you are completely lost and have no idea who any of the characters are or how they factor into the wider story!
If you want to create an online course then or some kind of lesson or story, you effectively need to use an autoresponder sequence.
Finally, an autoresponder sequence is powerful because it is consistent. This is the precise same message that is delivered to every single recipient on your list. And the reason that matters, is that it means you can tweak it, improve it and optimize it over time. In other words, if you find that people aren’t reading all the way through then you can try making a small change in order to see if that increases your engagement or your open rates.
If that doesn’t work, then try making another change and seeing how that influences the data. In other words, you can iterate and tweak your formula to optimize it and create the perfect sequence that does whatever it is you’ve set out for it to do.
And speaking of consistency, autoresponder sequences are also very effective because they are completely consistent. That is to say that once you start sending an autoresponder sequence, it will be delivered at the same time and on the same day every single time meaning that your audience will learn what to expect from you and they will be able to enjoy high quality content that is predictable.
This is one of the biggest tips in email marketing – being consistent – but it’s very easy to let it slip when you need to remember to manually write every single message!
Some Things to Consider
When creating your autoresponder sequence, there are a few things to keep in mind and to consider.
This is a system that will work differently from other email messages and that means you need to approach it a little differently.
For example, when creating an autoresponder sequence, you need to make sure that it is 100% evergreen. In internet marketing, the term ‘evergreen’ means that a piece of content is going to be just as relevant and interesting in 3 years as it is today.
So, a news story is not evergreen and neither is any story that references something that’s in the news.
Likewise, if you have written an email course that describes how to make money from a certain strategy, then you need to make sure that the strategy still works in a year’s time. This means you might need to update that strategy and make sure that it is working in the same way even when the next version of WordPress is released.
Another tip is to think about the types of content that lend themselves best to being shared in this manner. For example, courses tend to be very effective because they will come in steps and stages. The other great thing about a course is that it has very clear value and that it can act as an incentive in itself.
In fact, courses are something that we are used to paying for. So, if you’re told you can get one completely for free, then you might well feel as though you’re getting a very good deal and it’s worth signing up!
Likewise, any kind of series that imparts advice and ideas can also work well.
Finally, consider that your autoresponder sequence and regular email marketing need not be mutually exclusive. There is nothing wrong with having a welcome series to introduce new subscribers to your messages and then to send them hand written emails subsequently once they’ve gone through your little initiation.
At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with sending autoresponder sequences with your own personal messages interspersed in-between. This way, you can combine the benefits of an autoresponder sequence along with the benefits of having something that is manually written and where each message is unique.
How to Write the Perfect Autoresponder Sequence
With all that in mind, how do you go about making the perfect autoresponder sequence? Here are some tips that will help you to make the best first impression and to drive conversions and maintain engagement along the way…
Tease Your Next Message
One great strategy that often gets overlooked is to tease your next message. Another of the big strengths of an autoresponder sequence is that you will know with certainty what the next message is going to be about and when it is going to get sent. That means that you can include a note at the bottom of your current message saying ‘be sure to tune in next week for XXX’. This helps to build anticipation for what is coming up and it gives your emails a sense of sequence and importance.
Always Provide Value
This is the most important part of any email marketing campaign but it bears repeating here: it is always crucial that your email marketing campaign includes a tip of some sort, an actionable idea or some entertainment. In other words, you need to make sure that after reading your message, your audience feels that they spent their time well and they would do well to make sure they look out for the next message.
Along the same lines is delivering on your promises. You probably made certain promises on your landing page telling your audience what they would learn and why they should definitely sign up. Make sure that you deliver on those promises in the actual content by doing the things you said you would do and by ensuring that your readers go away feeling more informed than they were before.
This is once again true of most autoresponder sequences. It is very important that you give your email a conversational tone because it is going to end up right in the inbox of your recipient – which is a very personal place. This will help you to better build a real relationship with your audience and it will make sure that your emails aren’t filtered out by the spam filter quite so readily too.
Get the Welcome Message Right
Perhaps the single most important part of your autoresponder sequence is the welcome message. This is the point at which your new subscriber has just joined and they are going to get an early taste of what your series is going to be like. Getting this right is incredibly important because this is the email they are most likely to read and that will set the tone for everything that is to come.
Again, this is a fantastic opportunity to tease what lies ahead to make sure that your reader is exciting and interested to look out for your future messages. Let them know the timescale and the subject line structure too so that they can actively seek out your messages and they won’t be as likely to get lost.
Also important in a welcome message is to make sure that you show your gratitude and you start out by building that trust. Invite them to message you if they have any questions and to get in touch if they want to strike up a conversation. This will help to make you feel like a real person (which is even harder when your sequence is being delivered automatically) and it will build more trust and a better relationship with your audience.
Consider Getting More Advanced
Autoresponder sequences don’t have to be the exact same for everyone. If you have a good autoresponder tool, then you should be able to introduce slightly more advanced features and options. For example, how about creating an autoresponder sequence that changes depending on how well engaged the user is? This way, you can try selling only to those subscribers that seem highly engaged.
Better yet is to use your mailing list in order to handle upsells. You can do this either with a secondary autoresponder sequence or one that responds to cookies and knows when a reader has viewed your checkout page. This allows you to follow up with a quick offer while the reader is in ‘buy mode’ and therefore to capitalize on the sale.
How to Sell From an Autoresponder
Finally, the most important thing you need to learn is how to sell from an autoresponder series and more importantly: how not to. Unfortunately, this is something that is very easy to get wrong and if you are overly forceful in trying to push a product, you can upset your audience and lose subscribers.
What you need to do then is make sure that your autoresponder series builds the trust and provides value first. Think of this like a transaction where you are earning the right to try and sell to your audience. If you have provided lots of free, high quality tips, then your readers will usually be happy to consider buying from you – or at least just hear you out.
Even then, there is way to do this and a way not to do it. You need to make sure for example that you don’t announce your product or service out of the blue. Instead, weave it into your narrative gently in order to warm your audience up to the idea first.
You can use a strategy that is often referred to as AIDA. This stands for ‘Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action’.
So, this means that the first email (after the welcome message) might provide a high value tip and some useful ideas and then mention that you’ve got something cool coming relating to X. The second email will then provide another tip or piece of advice, followed by a slightly longer section on what your product is and why it’s interesting.
The third message can now include a shorter tip followed by a bit of exciting description of what the product is and why it’s desirable. Now you make your audience wait, which is a great way to build interest further and to get them to really want whatever it is you’re selling – we always want what we can’t have.
Finally comes ‘action’. This final email is designed purely to sell the product and is all about getting the audience to act quickly while they are feeling emotive and impulsive. Get all this right and you can effectively sell without putting off your audience!
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