Authority Email Marketing: Email Marketing for Getting More Authority, Loyalty, and Sales
Email Marketing, as the name suggests, is using email to distribute your marketing messages, but it is way more than that when done correctly.
What is Email Marketing?
Traditionally you would start an email list, such as a newsletter, and send regular messages to this list (tips, news, and links), along with occasional products or services that subscribers might be interested in buying.
As well as your own list of readers and potential customers, Email Marketing can also optionally cover things like advertising on other people's email newsletters or creating "auto-responders" - an automated sequence of follow-up emails to your own prospects and customers.
Anyone familiar with Listnerds will understand the concept of sending your messages to a list owned by someone else with the intent of getting as many of the recipients as possible to take action.
While you should consider these other wider definitions, most people when they start out in Email Marketing are mainly using the term to describe building their own list as a business asset, with a view to growing reader loyalty and making sales.
Email Marketing Advantages
As just mentioned, a good email list, well run, can grow your reader loyalty. Hearing from you again and again with interesting, valuable content reminds readers of your own value to them, especially if they take your advice and find it works.
Giving actionable advice is known as "Results in Advance", and is extremely powerful.
We will come back to this again, it's an important topic.
That said, the most obvious reason why people try email marketing is because it has proven to be reliable and profitable.
One thing is certain, an email subscriber is almost always more valuable to a site owner than someone who only sees their content in social media. Especially considering how many people innocently lose their social media accounts without any way to ever recover them.
Email marketing is still after all these years one of, if not the most responsive and profitable marketing channels. This is because of the following attributes:
Low Cost - Communicating via email has many of the advantages of traditional direct mail but with much lower costs. There is a reason we get so much email spam, at scale sending email is basically free.
Speed - Get a message out to your entire list very fast, and then even faster on repeat!
Ease (both for you and the reader) - For your marketing to be a success it has to be easy for the recipient, but it helps that email marketing is easy for you too as it means you can do it yourself then scale up.
Push - While websites and social are “pull”, in that the visitor has to come to you, with email you can send your messages out, reminding and re-engaging readers that you are there for them.
Personalized - The more information you collect, the more messages can be tailored and personalized. Email also has the particularly special ability to segment, meaning you can split people off into smaller, more focused lists, with higher engagement and conversions.
Inherently Viral - It’s so easy for people to forward your email on to others, furthering your reach more than you could alone. Create enough value and people will spread your messages for you.
Tracking Metrics - While privacy has tightened over the years, still each individual link click can be tracked, meaning you can hone your techniques and improve performance.
Testing - Along with tracking, you can test different subject lines, calls to action, use of images, and so on, to further improve your results over time.
Complimentary - Email, while an excellent tactic on its own, does not have to replace your other marketing activities but compliments them extremely well. Combining multiple tactics can build very profitable marketing campaigns.
Opt-In - Perhaps most important, the best email lists are always opt-in, meaning you have explicit permission to contact the person. This permission is very powerful and should not be underestimated.
Email Compared to Alternatives
What are the other ways you can keep in contact with your prospects, and how do they compare?
Direct Mail? - Physical mail can be highly responsive still, especially if you send “lumpy mail”, ie. not traditional junk mail leaflets or envelopes, but physical objects of unusual shapes and sizes. Just the novelty factor gets attention. Postal mail is more expensive to send, and more difficult and expensive to get opt-ins than email, however.
RSS Feeds? - While most people do not know what an RSS Feed even is any longer, it is sometimes easier to get subscribers in some ways than email because the reader does not have any barriers, no personal information is provided, the site owner does not know who is reading. That is also the downside, there is very little tracking to be reported and the commitment and relationship is loose at best, even amongst the remaining RSS user community.
Social Media? Twitter, Facebook and such have become the mainstay of keeping constant contact with a community. You can quickly grow a vast audience with these tools, and the users are personally identifiable, but engagement varies, organic reach is on the decline, as does tolerance for making direct offers, plus you don't get to own or control those communities.
So which channel is best?
My answer is all of them!
Email performs best in my testing but any other choice can be a great supporting player to my main tactic.
Attract all the attention you can in niche-appropriate ways, then use all your tools in combination.
Your blog, your videos, your podcasting, and your social networking can and should reflect, reinforce, and grow your email lists.
Email Marketing Risks
Doing email right can be a fantastic addition to your marketing mix, but do it wrong and you might be better off not doing it at all.
I will guide you as we continue down this Authority Email Marketing process, but before we get into those details, there are some major traps to avoid.
The main risks are:
Being branded a spammer - Even the best lists will get marked as spam occasionally. A small amount of this is to be expected. Always make sure people know what they are signing up for and that they confirm their subscription so you can point to clear and fair opt-in.
Burning out your list - A certain amount of churn is to be expected. People leave lists all the time through no fault of yours. Too many messages, too often, or bad content to sales ratio and you could find your email list becoming used up and burned out. Be careful to always make your list valuable to your readers, not irritating.
Breaking the law - Using a reputable email service provider like Aweber or Convertkit will help you through most of the legal pitfalls, but the main issue is to organically grow your list rather than purchase subscribers so you are SURE you have permission to email them.
Alienating readers - It never ceases to surprise me how many people get carried away with email marketing and go way over the top. Your messages do not have to read like snake oil. Remember your list members are human beings, not an ATM, and all should be well.
Delivery issues - As people become more and more sensitive to spam there are more and more innocent messages landing in junk mail folders. There are techniques to help your message get through, but the main way is as mentioned above, to use a reliable email provider and follow all of their instructions to the letter. Yes, it will cost you more, but fewer of your messages will get blocked, and if anyone does complain you will have better success at surviving those complaints.
Ordinarily one might suggest you sign up for an email service provider right away, but before you do that I believe you would be best served to analyze your situation a little bit so you can make the best choice.