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When you have worked to build an email subscriber list and finally feel you have enough readers joining you for newsletters and other promotions, the journey has only begun.
In every email marketing strategy, there are hurdles along the path. Some obstacles you can avoid. Others require a change in your methods.
Your email isn’t delivered.
When you are spending a chunk of your valuable time each week writing emails, you expect the emails to be delivered. But if your emails land in your subscriber’s spam folder, you have ZERO chance of making a sale or building a relationship.
But how can you be certain your email will survive and make it to your subscribers’ inboxes?
Use a great email service.
I know… you could get email hosting for FREE with THIS service or THAT service, but at what cost?
Using a reputable email service is the single best thing you can do to improve your chances of avoiding spam folders. Companies like ConvertKit, Mail Chimp, and Get Response work hard at making sure they are white listed with the big Internet Service Providers and email providers like Gmail.
These services understand that if you are not happy with the deliverability of your emails that you will move your business to another company. So, when email marketing rules change, they guide you through making the adjustments necessary to keep your email out of the spam folder.
Most email hosting companies list their delivery stats to keep you informed. They also check your account frequently to make sure your emails are compliant, keeping you out of hot water.
Set expectations and be consistent.
Your chances of staying in the main inbox are high when your subscribers regularly open your email. The best way to insure that – outside of providing great content that your subscribers are looking for – is to set expectations from the beginning. Let your subscribers know early on when and how often they can expect an email from you.
You can even use “foreshadowing” in your messages. For example, toward the end of your current broadcast email, mention that they can look for another email from you next Tuesday.
Once you’ve set those expectations do what you can to meet them. Yes, things happen every once in a while. In general though, do your best to keep your promise and email when your readers expect it.
Doing this regularly will improve your open rates and thus your overall deliverability.
Clean up your list regularly.
Another good habit is to clean up your list regularly.
I had a list of over 100,000 email addresses, but the vast majority were useless to me because they never opened an email. So, I worked over several months to cut my list to under 20,000.
If subscribers haven’t been opening your emails for the past six months, chances are good they are no longer interested in what you have to offer.
Check your autoresponder services knowledge desk or help files to see how you can go about deleting anyone who hasn’t opened an email from you in the past six months. If that freaks you out, or you have a seasonal business, start by deleting anyone that hasn’t looked at your emails in the past year.
Following these tips and keeping an eye on email deliverability in general will make sure your emails are being read by your subscribers and that’s the point of email marketing, isn’t it?
Your subject lines lack pizzazz.
The first thing you need to get right when it comes to email marketing is the subject line. If you can’t get your subscribers to open your emails, it really doesn’t matter how good the actual email is.
It’s easy to spend a lot of time crafting a great message and then just slap a subject line on it at the end. Spend some time writing them and see what type of headline gets you good open rates. Here are five tips to get you started.
Keep the email subject line short.
You want your readers to see the entire subject line before they click it. You also want to make it easy for people to scan through their emails. Try to get your point across in 50 characters or less.
Also, pay attention to how your subject lines look on your own devices.
Another great idea is to keep a swipe file of subject lines that grabbed your attention. Even if the emails are on a very different topic, you can adapt them for your own needs.
Avoid “spammy” words.
Stay away from using any words we all associate with spam emails. Words like “sale”, “discount”, “coupon”, “free”, “limited time offer” and even “reminder” are over used and even if they don’t trigger a spam filter and actually make it to your reader’s inbox, chances are high they’ll get ignored.
Instead, start by using the emails you’re saving in your swipe file and then go back and see what subject lines got the best open rates. Try to analyze why they worked well for your market. Not everything will work well in every niche. Find the types of subject lines that get your readers to open your emails and tweak from there.
Personalize the subject line.
While personalizing emails with someone’s first name has been overused in some markets, it still works well for many of us. Give it try and see if it works for you. Don’t overdo it, but use it when you really need them to open the email.
Depending on what data you collect when your readers sign up, you can personalize other things like their location for example. Seeing the name of your state or even city in an email subject line is sure to get your attention.
Pique their curiosity.
We are all nosy and it’s hard to ignore email subject lines that sound intriguing or only tell part of the story. Using “…” at the end of your subject line will also work.
The idea here is simple: You want them to click and open the email to find out what you’re talking about or how the story ends.
Frankly the best tip when it comes to crafting compelling subject lines is to keep a swipe file of examples that got you to open the email.
You don’t email enough (or you email too much).
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a number or a schedule you could follow? While it would be great if there was research that suggested that mailing exactly every 5 days gets you the best results every time, there is no such thing. And there’s a very good reason for it.
Every market, every niche, every audience and every person is different. While you’ll never make everyone on your list happy, there is a lot you can do to make just about any email frequency work.
Set your email schedule.
Let’s lay the ground work first. You don’t want to have too much time in between emails, or your readers will forget you. Anything less than once a month is not a good idea. In most markets and for most business models you don’t even want to mail less than twice a month.
On the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to go any higher than one email per day on average. Yes, you may have days when you have a good reason to send multiple emails, but on a weekly or bi-weekly average, you don’t want to email more than once a day.
Start by looking at what you’re doing now. Then figure out how often you want to mail:
- Do you grow a closer connection with your market by emailing more often?
- Do you want to drive more traffic back to your site by emailing them links frequently?
- Do you want to grow your income by making more frequent email offers?
Once you know where you’re at and where you want to be, you can start to make a plan for getting from point A to point B.
Transition to your new routine slowly.
What you don’t want to do is to go straight from emailing once every few months to daily emails. It’ll get your readers clicking the spam button like crazy. Instead, start with monthly emails for a couple of months, then let your readers know you have more to share with them and start mailing weekly. Then a few months later, ramp it up to daily emails.
Or find a good reason why you’re mailing them daily. For example, while you usually publish a weekly newsletter with the occasional promotional email in between, running a 15 or 30 day challenge for your readers is a great excuse to hit their inbox daily without seeming pushy or spammy.
Adjust as needed.
Listen to your audience when you get feedback on email frequency but also realize that there will always be someone complaining. Look at data like open rates to get a better feel for what frequency is working best for you and your audience.
You don’t give them what they want.
Effective marketing boils down to this: Find an audience, figure out what they need or want and then deliver it.
Email is one of the best mediums to help you do just that. And it isn’t always about selling them on a product. In fact, that isn’t at all where you want to start.
Earn the subscriber’s trust.
First you want to build a relationship with your readers.
You want them to get to know you. You want to help them out so they start to like you and trust you. Only then will you be able to make an offer and have them pull out their wallet and buy it.
Pay attention to your website stats. Programs like Google Analytics can give you a lot of information of where you’re readers came from, what page the landed on and where they were on your site when they joined your list. That data along with demographical information will tell you a lot about your audience.
Pay attention to their replies.
As you start to email your readers, they will reply and get back in touch with you. Pay attention to what they’re saying. And don’t forget to read between the lines.
Let’s say you’re in the parenting niche and you noticed that some of your readers are asking for suggestions on having more patience. They complain about being short temperate and freaking out about little things. The real issue may be lack of sleep because the baby or toddler isn’t sleeping through the night.
Survey your email subscribers.
Or consider having your readers fill out a simple little survey. It’s quick and easy to do with Google forms. Having them contribute builds a sense of community even via email.
Dig deep and see what you can learn about your market. Sometimes what they tell you they want isn’t the real issue. On the flip side, it can be helpful to ask them for suggestions. Keep the questions open ended if you want a lot to work with.
Analyze your email analytics.
Last but not least go back and look at the past emails you’ve sent. Pay attention to open rates, click through rates and unsubscribes.
If a large percentage of readers opened the email, that’s a good indication they were interested in the topic. If they clicked link to additional content, that’s even better. If on the other hand you got a lot of unsubscribes, that might be an indication that either the topic was wrong or your language and overall message didn’t click with your audience.
Use all the data and information you get back to learn more about your target audience and connect with them on a deeper level. The more you know about your subscribers, the more effective your email marketing will be.
Keeping a tidy and effective email list is instrumental in using your email list to drive website traffic and product sales. Set a reminder to check the health of your email marketing strategy regularly.