Simple Answers to the 7 Most Popular Emailing Questions
Dazed and Confused
You are a new small business owner and you are swamped with a million tasks. Do you really have time to start an emailing campaign in addition to everything else you have to do?
If you remember from previous weeks, I introduced you to my friend Fretful Fred who was starting a brand new construction business. HIs contact list is pretty small but growing steadily. Many of today's business tools are different than what Fred is familiar with. Fretful Fred talks to his trusted and wise mentor Yoda and says, "I am so confused on what exactly email marketing is? Can you answer some of my questions related to emailing?"
Yoda says, "Understanding the importance you must learn. Let me show you the way."
1. As a small business owner, is emailing really worth my time?
Can you have a growing, successful business if you don't participate in an email marketing campaign? You can't build steady revenue, you can't communicate effectively with leads and you can't determine where people are in the buyer's journey without emailing. It is all about reaching the most people, and the right people, at the right time. There is no better way to do this than through a solid email marketing campaign.
Email marketing has a huge return on investment.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing yields an estimated 4,300 percent Return on Investment (ROI). Every dollar spent on email marketing offers a return of $43.
Did you know that according to Direct Marketing Association (DMA) report findings, 66 percent of online consumers made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message?
People prefer communication through email more than other forms of communication. This graph is from marketing research that was completed by Marketing Sherpa.
It seems like a no-brainer to get an emailing campaign started for your business.
2. What are the advantages of email marketing?
Email marketing is a tool. Just like any tool, it can be used to benefit you or if used wrongly, may end up causing issues in your business. Experienced marketers are able to significantly increase revenue just by sending emails to a responsive list.
- Emailing is a low-cost method. Compared to other methods of marketing such as pay per click ads, direct mailing, magazine ads, etc. email marketing is much cheaper. There are actually a few email marketing services that offer free plans.
- It’s fast. Send an email now and within seconds, the subscriber will get it. Time sensitive promotions, special offers, etc. can be made known to your customers immediately.
- Many people check their email daily. As a marketer, you will be able to stay in contact and build brand awareness with your prospective clients and loyal customers.
- There are excellent tracking features available with most email marketing services. You will be able to track and see how many people opened your emails, how many clicked on your links, etc. All these pieces of information are priceless because you will be able to fine tune your system to maximize conversion rates.
- Email is environmentally friendly. Add a line to your emails such as, “Save paper. Only print if necessary.”
- You can automate your email campaign.
3. Can I use a purchased list or send "cold-email" from sources like LinkedIn?
You may have heard the saying, “The money is in the list". Many online marketers will tell you that your list is your most valuable asset. As long as you have a SOLID list, you can increase revenues.
A sure path to failure is to use purchased lists or send "cold" emails to contacts that have not opted-in to your site. Fines can be expensive. If you are sending unwanted emails to a large number of people, a large number of people will report you as spam. This will dramatically decrease your email delivery rates and potentially get you blacklisted by email service providers. Additionally, if you aren't targeting people using a list that people sign up for, chances are that they won't even be interested in your product. There is rarely any good that comes from a purchased list.
4. How many emails should I send?
This is a common question. If you email your list too often, they may get sick of you and unsubscribe. If you don’t email them often enough, they may forget you and the next time you email them, they might mark your email as spam.
So what is the correct duration?
This answer depends on many factors.
The niche you are in, the type of subscriber you have, the quality of your emails, and where you are in the buyer's journey with your subscriber all contribute to how you should be emailing.
The most important thing is to let your subscribers know when they sign up what to expect from you. Some marketers send daily emails. That might work for a short time at the beginning or if you are offering something like a 5-day course where your emails are your actual product.
Take your time to build a relationship with your subscriber. Generally speaking, you don't want to start selling in your first few emails. My general recommendation is to start out slow, always try to provide something of value and don't try to sell more than 20% of the time. However, you choose to design your campaign, always try to keep to the schedule you established at the beginning of the relationship.
You should always be studying your email metrics (open rates, click rates, delivery failure rates) in order to fine tune your campaign. All these stats will give useful information on what schedule and amount work best for email delivery.
5. How can I get people to read my emails?
The most important thing in getting people to read your emails is to make sure you are: Sending email that people want to read, sending those emails to the right people, sending them at the right time, and delivering what you said you were going to deliver.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
(1) You should be segmenting your list. You don't want to be sending welcome emails to long-standing customers.
(2) Provide something of value. What problem does your potential customer have? Try to solve that problem. Give them something that makes their effort in choosing your email worth the time.
(3) Make sure your subject line is enticing. You will get nowhere if they aren't interested enough in your subject to open your email.
(4) Provide something unique - find a way to stand out amongst all the other emails.
6. What is single opt-in vs double opt-in?
Single opt-ins do not require the subscriber to click on a confirmation email. The moment they add their name to your form and click on the button, they are automatically added to your list. No additional steps or hassles.
The benefit of single opt-ins is that it is much easier to get a subscriber. They do not need to take the additional step and click on any more links.
The disadvantages to single opt-in are that you may get people signing up that aren't that interested (which will lead to decreased open rates) or you may end up with a significant amount of bad addresses (either people signing up using someone else's email or they just accidentally typed in the wrong address) where you could end up in someone's spam folder. If your email goes to the wrong person and they flag your email as spam, your reputation and standing will suffer.
The double opt-in is a more secure option and will ensure that the subscriber who clicked on your confirmation link truly wants to be on your list and is the actual person who signed up.
The disadvantage of double opt-in is that it takes a longer time to build your list. It is inevitable that some people who enter their email addresses may not click on your confirmation email.
My advice is to use double opt-in. It almost ensures that they must be interested in what you have to say or sell if they bother to go that one extra step.
7. How can I keep out of the spam folder?
This is a good summary of what has been discussed to this point. The thing that will hurt you the most is ending up in spam folders and if it happens frequently your emails will never get to anyone.
Choose a reliable email marketing provider such as AWeber Email Marketing, MailChimp, or Constant Contact. These companies make their living on getting your email delivered. They advertise high deliverability and usually meet the criteria.
- Choose double opt-in to give yourself an added layer of protection against sending emails to the wrong addresses.
- In your first email, you can suggest to your subscriber that they whitelist you. Provide them instructions on how to do that.
- Avoid adding attachments to your emails. Many email providers look upon emails that have attachments with suspicion.
- Stay clear of certain words (especially in your subject line). Words like "free", "buy", "promo" may send a red flag to the email service provider.
- Once again, as mentioned above, it is a good rule of thumb to not use purchased email lists. Always strive to build your own list. It will take time and effort but you will be sure that everybody who is on your list knows you and wants to be on it. This significantly decreases the chances that you will end up in the spam folder.
"Wow", explained Fretful Fred! "Who knew there were so many things to know just on emailing? Yoda, I appreciate your wisdom and guidance".
“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future..” – Yoda