Mining The Gold That Lays Hidden In Your Mailing List
You’re getting some traffic. (Yay!) You’re building a list of prospective buyers. (Yay!) And now you need to engage that list to build relationships and start generating sales. So read on to discover the best practices, strategies and secrets to helping you mine the gold that lays hidden in your mailing list…
Create a Strategy
First things first – you need to develop an email marketing strategy.
See, a lot of store owners think of an idea for an email, create that email, and send it out. But there’s no rhyme or reason to their publishing schedule. And if you don’t develop a strategy around a specific goal, you end up with poor response rates, unsubscribes and other problems.
So, ask yourself these questions as you develop an email marketing strategy:
· What are your overall goals for your mailing list?
· What sorts of promos do you plan on running, and when?
· What kind of content can you send to build relationships? In other words, what sorts of “how to” articles, tips and other informational articles are can you create to inform subscribers (build relationships) and close sales?
For example, if you sell dog supplies, you might write an article about how to leash train a dog who pulls on the leash. Then you might promote a “no pull” collar and leash set within this article.
· What sort of holidays would you like to observe with your mailing list? (E.G., If you sell candy, then you’re sure to want to send special promos out during Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.)
· What sorts of events are relevant to your niche? For example, if you sell clothing, then you’ll send out seasonal newsletters. E.G., selling beachwear during the summer months.
TIP: Be sure you know your audience. For example, it does no good to advertise beachwear in July if your audience is in the Southern hemisphere (where it’s winter in July).
· Are you doing any content swaps with partners? If so, you’ll need to plan their mailings into your publishing calendar.
· Which products do you want to focus on moving? “All” is not the correct answer here, because you can’t promote all your products in your newsletter. (Assuming you have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of products.) That’s why you’ll want to pick your top products and promote them in your newsletter.
· How can you use your newsletter to promote these products? NOTE: Generally, a series of emails about a product creates more sales than sending out a single email about a product.
Once you answer all these questions, then you’ll be able to create a publishing calendar so that you know what sort of emails you’ll send and when over the next six to twelve months.
In other words, don’t just send out an email because it’s time to send an email. Instead, send out emails with a specific purpose, such as promoting a new product in your store, promoting a seasonal item, or announcing a sale.
When you have a plan in hand, then move onto these others steps and best practices…
Send Emails Regularly
You can’t very well establish a relationship with prospects if you’re only contacting them once or twice a month. At a minimum, you need to contact them weekly – you may even find better conversions by contacting them multiple times per week.
Brush Up on Copywriting
Copywriting (the art and science of writing great sales copy) is the #1 skill you can develop to start getting better results from your email marketing efforts. That’s because great copy will ensure you create subject lines that get the clicks, and emails that keep people engaged and clicking on your links.
Here are tips for writing better copy:
· Create benefit-driven copy. Your readers are always wondering, “What’s in it for me?” So, when you’re describing a product, don’t just describe the features (parts) of the product. Instead, let prospects know what those features do for the prospect. In other words, let readers know the benefits of the product.
· Arouse curiosity. An email subject line that arouses curiosity will get people opening your email. An email that arouses curiosity will keep people reading. And sprinkling a little curiosity near the call to action will get the click.
· Push emotional buttons. People need a little emotional push to move towards the order button. For example, let’s say you’re selling clothing. Your promo for a black party dress might include something such as, “You’ll be all the envy of your friends when they see you in this jaw-dropping little black number…
· Provide proof. An easy way to do this is by providing testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers. These testimonials can cover the products themselves, as well as issues such as shipping times and your customer care.
Use Responsive Templates
A lot of your prospects are likely reading your email on their mobile devices. That’s why you want to make sure that it’s formatted well. If you’re sending HTML emails, then use a responsive design to ensure a good reading experience across devices.
Segment Your List
One way to improve the response rate of your mailing list is to segment it into targeted sections. That way, you can send highly targeted content and promos to each segment.
At a minimum, you should split your list into prospects (those who haven’t purchased anything yet) and customers. But you’ll enjoy higher conversions if you can segment your list in other ways.
For example, let’s suppose you sell clothing. You’ll make more sales if you can segment your list into those who are interested in women’s clothing versus those who are interested in purchasing men’s clothing.
Here are other ideas for list segmentation:
· Segment your list according to list behavior, such as those who clicked on a link or those who didn’t open your last email.
· Segment by basic demographics, such as age, gender and location (where relevant).
· Segment according to lead magnet. That is, offer different incentives for joining your list, and then segment accordingly.
· Segment your list according to what people purchase. This makes it easier for you to send targeted offers to create backend sales.
· Segment according to where the traffic originated. For example, if a segment of your population came from Facebook, then you might refer to a special offer for Facebook Fans only.
Those are just a few ideas to get you started. Many major email service providers make it easy to segment your list, so use this feature and track whether segmenting boosts your conversion rates.
Track and Test
Many major email service providers give you the basic tools you need to track and test your campaigns—use them! You can then do things such as:
· Test different subject lines to see which ones get you a higher open rate.
· Test different products and offers.
· Test specific things within your email such as the opener or calls to action to see which gives you the best conversion rates/most clicks.
Be sure to just test ONE thing at a time in your emails. That way, you know that if there is a difference between conversion rates, it’s because of that one factor you tested.
For example, let’s imagine you’re testing email subject lines. What you’ll do is create two emails that are EXACTLY the same, except for the subject line. Then you’ll send those two emails out at exactly the same time, so that time of the day doesn’t become a factor that influences conversions.
NOTE: An email service provider with built-in testing tools will handle all the details automatically, including splitting your list randomly and then sending the emails out at the same time to these random segments of your list.
So now that you have a good idea of how to boost your email conversion rates, you’ll want to take a look at this checklist…
Use This Checklist
There are plenty of pieces and parts to remember when you’re sending out campaigns and emails. Use this checklist to be sure you cover all your bases…
Do you have a well-defined goal for this email?
Did you plan your content and pitch around this goal?
Is this email part of a series? If not, would your goal be better served by creating a series?
Have you selected a recognizable “From” field?
Is your “From” field brandable?
Does your subject line give your prospect a good reason to open the email? (Does it grab their attention?)
Does the subject line include a benefit?
Does the subject line arouse curiosity, where possible?
Is your subject line short so that the email client doesn’t truncate it?
Does your email immediately engage readers with a direct benefit, a story, an intriguing question, a startling statistic or similar item?
Is your email reader-oriented? (Hint: You should use words like “you” and “yours” much more often than self-centered words like “I” or “me.”)
Is your email structured in a way to naturally lead people to your offer at the end?
Do you answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” by offering a list of benefits?
Do you include high-quality product photos in the email?
Do you provide a strong call to action alongside a link?
Do you give your readers a good reason to click on the link now? (E.G., a time-limited discount offer is a good way to create a sense of urgency.)
Are you using a responsive email design?
Did you test your email across devices to be sure it looks good?
Did you proofread your email?
Did you test the email’s spam score?
Did you switch your email’s testing tools on so that you can test and track this email?
Are you only testing one factor at a time, while holding all other variables constant?
Segmenting And Follow Up
Are you sending highly targeted emails to different segments of your list?
Do you have another email with a different subject line ready to send to people who didn’t open the current email?
Do you have another email ready to send to people who open the current email, but don’t click on the link?
Do you have another email ready to send to people who open and click on the link, but don’t purchase the offer?
Building your list is only part of the battle. If you want to make money with your list, you need to develop a relationship with them by sending them a combination of good content and product promos. The key here is to treat your list like you would your best friend, by staying in touch regularly, only recommending the best products to them, and focusing on solving their problems.