If you have been reading stuff about digital marketing or making money online for a while, you have seen many successful marketers recommend email marketing.
They openly confess that they should have started building an email list earlier, and that majority of the money they make is through email marketing.
In this post, I want to explain how you can get started and not make the same mistakes as others.
Note: This post has affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through my link, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you.
Email marketing, as you may have guessed, is marketing by email. You build or get access to a list of email addresses of people likely to be interested in your offering. This list is known as an email list, email database or mailing list.
And you communicate with the people included in the list through a series of emails. So an email list makes it easy for you to connect directly with people who may be interested in your product or service.
Why Email Marketing? & Email List Vs Social Fans/Followers
It’s likely that you’re an entrepreneur with a limited budget. And with so much hype about social media, wouldn’t you rather spend your money on gaining Facebook page likes or Instagram followers instead of building an email list?
Focusing more on social following than email list is a bad idea. Here’s why:
#1. Email has more reach
A lot of people are on social media, and some are not. But who doesn’t have email!
And every time a social network like Facebook updates their algorithm, your reach gets even lower. Only a small percentage of Facebook fans get to see what you post on your Facebook page.
An email on the other hand, has a better chance of being seen (assuming it doesn’t land in the spam folder).
#2. You own your email list
You cannot ever lose your prospects with an email list because that’s in your control.
Your SEO and rankings can drop if Google changes something about how it works. Your can lost access to your Facebook fans if Facebook changes something or breaks.
But nothing can happen to your list. With a list, you can connect with your audience at your own terms. You can reach out to them when you publish a new article or launch a product.
#3. Email is more familiar
Email is a no-brainer to everyone. Even to people who are old, new to the internet or who are not technology oriented or social media savvy.
There are days when I don’t log into Facebook or Twitter, but never have I skipped checking my email.
#4. Email increases willingness to purchase
Most of the traffic to a website consists of first-time visitors. And most people who visit a website for the first time rarely purchase anything.
But they may be more likely to give their email address in exchange for something valuable for free. More on this later.
An email gives you the opportunity to stay in touch, keep yourself fresh in their mind and build a relationship. As they get more familiar with your brand and start trusting you, they’ll be more likely to buy from you.
#5. Email list makes more money
Various research studies have shown that email subscribers are more likely to engage and purchase a product or service than social media fans or followers.
It fact, it’s not a question of either this or that. I am not saying stop using social media.
What I mean is use both email marketing and social media marketing. But direct your social media efforts towards building your email list, instead of building likes or followers.
How To Build An Email List?
Hopefully, you’re now convinced that you should invest in email marketing. And you want to get started.
The first thing you need is access to an email list of people likely to be interested in your business. There are 3 ways you can go about it:
#1. Buy an email list
Another thing to keep in mind is that the people who are part of these lists haven’t given you permission to contact them.
So the response rate will be really low, and they may even get annoyed and mark your email as spam, unless you’re offering them something really valuable.
You either give them a really killer deal, or share a lot of super-useful and engaging content for free in the first few emails. This lets them warm up towards you and your business.
#2. Collect emails one by one
In many cases, especially if you’re a B2B business, it isn’t hard to find email addresses of prospects.
You can check out business websites, blogs, yellow pages, classified websites, LinkedIn and other social media profiles to look for email addresses of people you want to reach.
Additionally, you can also use tools like Hunter to quickly find email addresses of people associated with a website or company.
As with the previous method, here also you need to be very cautious about not being pushy and give a ton of value before you try to promote anything. Because these people haven’t given you permission to contact them.
#3. Build an optin list
This is my favorite method of getting an email list. In this method, you build your list on your own through your website, blog or a landing page. And whoever joins your list does so willingly, giving you permission to contact them.
What you’re doing is getting traffic to your website, and converting your visitors into email subscribers. You provide ton of valuable information on your website or blog and tell your visitors that they can get even more by subscribing to your email list.
What To Email Your List?
After you build a list of a considerable size, you can’t just start bombarding them with promotional emails.
They opted in to your list because they trusted you. They saw that your content was helping them solving their problems and meet their goals. And their hope is that you’ll keep sharing the same kind of content that made them join.
Your list is the opportunity to strengthen that relationship even further. So from time to time, you can email them new blog posts you wrote, exclusive content and offers not found on your website or blog, and an occasional promotional email which connects their goals with your product or service.
How To Build An Optin List?
As we discussed, an optin list is built by getting people who visit your website to willingly submit their email address. But how do you set this up and execute in such a way to persuade as many visitors as possible to join?
You do this by luring them with an incentive. This gives them an extra push towards joining your email list. In marketing world, this is known as a lead magnet.
This lead magnet can be a free ebook, video, cheat sheet, trial, demo or something else which they would really want and which is related to your niche. But in order to send this incentive, you’ll require them to submit their email address.
To set this up, you need 4 things:
#1. A lead magnet
As already discussed, a lead magnet entices the visitors to join your list. The easiest thing you can do is to create a useful list of resources in your niche using MS word. And then convert this word file into PDF.
#2. A lead generation software
Now that you have a lead magnet, you need to present it to your prospects in an attractive way.
This is done either with a widget that you can add to various sections of your website. Or with a separate page (known as a landing page or squeeze page) dedicated to offering your lead magnet. Or both.
When it comes to creating landing pages and popups to build your list, there are plenty of software options to choose from. These include OptimizePress, Leadpages, Sumo and more. I have tried almost all of them over the years.
For instance, I used OptimizePress for many years but found its creators to be a bit lazy. Every time there was a WordPress update, my page design will break and remain that way for many days.
#3. An email list management & marketing software
Also known as email service provider or ESP. After you’ve a lead magnet and a section or page to promote it, you need a system to collect and manage email addresses of people who submit.
And you should also be able to create an email and send to all of them at once. That’s what an ESP is for.
And not only that, the biggest benefit of an email marketing software is a detailed report on the performance of each email you send: how many opened, who clicked, what did they click and more.
The two most popular ESPs are Mailchimp and Aweber. I prefer Mailchimp over Aweber for its cleaner interface and robust functionality.
In this system, Thrive leads will show a popup or widget on your website offering your incentive and a form to submit email address. When people sign up, MailerLite will send them the incentive by email automatically.
#4. A source of targeted traffic
Now that everything is setup and you’re ready to show your lead magnet offer to visitors and collect their emails, what else do you need?
Of course, you need visitors to your website or page so you can show them the offer. If you have added a widget or popup to your website and your website already gets a good amount of traffic, then you’re good to go.
If not, you need to get traffic to your website or landing pages. And there are literally hundreds of way to get more visitors, ranging from SEO and social media to PPC ads and guest posting.
Bonus Tip: Make It Easy To Opt Out
To be successful at email marketing, always keep your list happy. Send emails so helpful and engaging that they look forward to get them again.
And if anyone wants to get off your list, let them do so easily. It’s better because otherwise they’ll mark your email as spam and give you a bad name.
The more people mark your emails as spam, the more likely it becomes that your future emails will be automatically put in spam folder, even for other subscribers.