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Myth Busting Email as Part of your Sales & Marketing Strategy

There are many that will tell you that you need to grow your email list to tens of thousands, but let's take a pause to talk strategy around the purpose of building your email list for your business.

The Direct Marketing Association estimates the return on investment for email marketing is around 4300 percent (that is not a typo). And email tends to get 10 times higher conversions than social media campaigns. As of the time I am writing this, It's 2020 y'all... and there is a lot of political competition for attention, amiright? Even if that wasn't competing with your messaging, your posts reach about 1-2% of your Facebook fans, and only a small percentage of folks will see a single tweet.

Perhaps most importantly, email is crucial for building relationships, and it is also yours. You don't have to worry about a third party changing the rules on you.

For all these advantages, too often we jump in without a plan, or worse, we jump in with an expectation set by someone else. So let's walk through the Who, Why, What, Where, When, and How of using an email newsletter and list as part of your sales and marketing strategy.

Who are you trying to reach?

It really isn't all about the size of your list. It is about your ideal customer. There are many who will purchase a list, or feverishly work to sign up "anyone" to hit the "golden numbers" but that approach could frankly leave you talking to the wrong people. Ideally, you organically grow your list with target customers through authentic engagement.

Wait... what?

Ok, think of it this way... you go to a chamber meeting (back before COVID and we did these things in person). You meet a lot of amazing people, a lot of interesting people, a lot of successful people - but how many of those people are your ideal customer? How many are a fit for your services or product? How many have a need for what you have to offer? The "who" of your list is critical when it comes to turning that list into clients.

Why are you trying to reach them?

Too often, I see this step skipped. We are talking strategy, right? So take a few moments to ask yourself what it is that you want from your email list. Your email list does not have to be about the $10,000 month. Heck, it doesn't have to be about sales at all. Your list could be to further relationships, build authority, educate, inspire, build community, provide feedback for product development, promote events, and yes it could be part of your sales funnel or cycle. It can even cover more than one of those. There is no wrong answer, only the very real question of what do you want from your email list?

What should your newsletter include?

When talking with my own clients, I encourage them to go through their own inbox and take a look at what they read, what they save, what they delete, and what they unsubscribe from. Email newsletters have gone from graphically heavy somewhat aesthetically noisy to novellas with one sentence per paragraph. Here are my tips for getting that newsletter read:

  1. Keep it snappy

  2. Keep it relevant

  3. Remind them who you are (Is your logo at the top? Is the send from address clear?)

  4. Keep it clean and use white space wisely

  5. Use an attention-grabbing subject line, again review your own inbox to see what grabs your attention, or us a tool like Headline Analyzer

  6. Be authentic and personalized, and speak to them like a friend or colleague

  7. Repurpose your content (and redirect to that content so they can click for more but the email is snappy)

  8. Create a welcome sequence to set expectations

  9. Segment your list where necessary, but don't feel like this is a must - I have seen segmentation stop too many people from just getting started

  10. Yeah. You can include a gif

Where should I host my list?

There are truly a great number of great tools out there, and many of them you can start with for free. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • At what list size do you graduate out of the free version?

  • What is the monthly cost once you level-up?

  • How easy it is to transition to another platform from the free version?

My personal preference is SendFox. For a one-time fee of just $49 you have an email marketing tool for 5,000 subscribers that is clean, easy to use, has great customer service, and lets you send compose unlimited customized emails. Look, I have spent the past year snagging 'lifetime deals" and getting rid of monthly fees. I have also used some of the competitors out there - and frankly SendFox is fantastic.

When is the best time to send my email newsletter?

When, what time, and how often are two questions I get asked about A LOT. In general, newsletters go out on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Face it,