Authority Email Marketing - Before You Start
Email is a vitally important marketing channel, but it's also often overlooked because it is a lot of work to get right, and unfortunately it is easy to set yourself up to fail even before you start.
As with many things in online marketing, getting started with the content and copywriting side of email marketing can seem to be the hardest part, but with the correct framework that can be straightforward.
The real dangers are in going with the wrong service provider, building out the wrong flow and sequences, or antagonizing your audience.
This is why I wanted to set you on the right path rather than throwing you in the deep end of the technology and writing emails.
The Importance of Getting it Right
Ideally, right at launch, you will have everything set up correctly so that all your prospects and customers experience a wonderful, consistent brand experience.
In reality we have all experienced email marketing that is NOT wonderful, and is in fact a horrible experience. I'm not going to name names but there are a couple of companies that keep emailing me even after I have unsubscribed and marked as spam - you can imagine my perception of their brand right now!
This is a failure of process, and there can be a number of causes, but as the saying goes ...
"never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -- Hanlon's razor
It is far better to get your email strategy right now than to try and turn the tanker around later after putting in countless hours of effort and technical patches.
A good email sequence, even built slowly, incrementally, and in phases, can beat a massive buildout based on false premises.
So rather than diving in, or worse spending a fortune in outsourcing, invest in crafting a strategically smart email marketing foundation that attracts, opts-in, converts, engages, and retains leads long into the future.
High Reward Sequences
Start planning your highest revenue-generating flows first.
Lead acquisition flow
Sales conversion flow
Cart abandonment flow
These sequences or auto responders are the most crucial because this system will allow you to attract new leads, convert them into customers, to limit lost sales, and to ultimately turn customers into fans.
Just by implementing and optimizing the first three funnels, you would have a strong, profitable sales engine.
If you are currently investing in SEO or ads, the difference in ROI/ROAS in having those flows versus not having those flows is night and day.
Once you have these flows, then you start to get to segmentation and optimization, but you need to be thinking about and implementing these foundations first.
You might be wondering how you can set yourself apart if so many successful people and businesses have already implemented email marketing.
The good news is most who have implemented it either haven't implemented fully, or they have implemented it badly. It is amazing how many companies I come into contact with in my day job and side gigs every day who are in the position of having no email automation strategy, or a broken one.
That said, if you are in a niche with smart competition, you can still get extreme competitive benefits via the follow avenues:
The design of everything you do is, of course, important but when it comes to your email it is especially important.
It is not just the graphic design of your email, but also the usability, accessibility, and responsiveness of your email.
You see, even before the mass adoption of mobile, there were a bewildering array of email clients, some of which have major quirks. Now that a huge number of sales conversions happen on mobile devices, you need to be even more aware of email's specific requirements.
If your email isn't mobile-friendly, or does not work with graphics turned OFF, you will lose the goodwill of your subscribers and customers.
As Maya Angelou said
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
You need your emails to look great across as many devices and apps as possible, without triggering spam or priority inbox filters, such as in Gmail.
Your content needs to be in service of your prospects and customers, their wants, their needs, their fears, the problems they face, and their goals.
But it is not enough to give them solutions, you need to motivate them to act, you need them to trust you, and most of all they need to want you to stick around.
We have all experienced the "smart jerk", the person we would love to avoid but can't because they hold the keys to something important.
Let's not be that person, but instead, we want them to be delighted when we show up in their inbox!
In email, we have the wonderful opportunity to both use the information your email subscriber provides (such as their name) and also information we infer (for example which links they click) to make their experience much more tailored to their preferences.
And yet so many companies can't be bothered.
Rather than send messages at people, have conversations with them. Not only will your subscribers enjoy that, but you will also learn so much valuable information that everything you do will be improved by it.
What You Need in an Email Provider
Once you start planning out all the above, you quickly realize that to do it properly, you need to spend some money on a decent email service, and you need to select the right one.
It's just a sad fact that to implement all that we need, you can't go with a budget, commodity email provider.
Reputation - Dare you risk your email with an unknown? A good company will have relationships with major ISPs to ensure safe passage of your messages.
Features - As well as the basic ability to build lists and send emails, you must be able to track, measure, tag, and segment. Plus the autoresponder ability is as already stated, foundational.
Deliverability - There is no point in sending emails that do not arrive at their destination!
Scalability - Can you grow with the same provider without spending too much at the start or very quickly find the whole thing slowing down to a crawl?
As you would expect, I have a favorite provider and that is ConvertKit.
It is quickly growing to be the standard for when people graduate from simple newsletters to actual email automation.
While there are other providers, and people often start out using their standard email client, off-the-shelf PHP scripts, or something budget like Mailchimp, in my mind nothing beats ConvertKit for flexibility, features, ROI, and most of all they manage all of that along with excellent deliverability.
Next up we will look how to get started implementing, beginning with a simple list, "Welcome" message, and opt-in form.