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.
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:
Keep it snappy
Keep it relevant
Remind them who you are (Is your logo at the top? Is the send from address clear?)
Keep it clean and use white space wisely
Use an attention-grabbing subject line, again review your own inbox to see what grabs your attention, or us a tool like Headline Analyzer
Be authentic and personalized, and speak to them like a friend or colleague
Repurpose your content (and redirect to that content so they can click for more but the email is snappy)
Create a welcome sequence to set expectations
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
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, Monday is already... well... Monday, and the "F" in Friday is more about fun than focus. The best time of day, is 11 a.m. but hold up... is that the best time for your audience? I really encourage clients to get started and pay attention to your audience. I have a bunch of early birds on my list. How often is really up to you. My advice here is to make it a schedule you can commit to, understanding that value (aka content) is key. So don't send something just to send it because you told yourself you were going to be weekly. Send your email newsletter when you have content.
How do I grow my list?
This is a great question, but I also want to go back to the beginning and reiterate the importance of identifying your ideal client. Once you know who you are looking for, you will also have an idea of where to look to find them! Here are some of my favorite ways to build my list:
Freemiums (aka content upgrades), I absolutely love Beacon for this and their LinkLock option is by far my favorite
Blog (and make sure readers can subscribe)
Promote your Freebie on Facebook (LinkLock with Beacon is perfect for this!)
Use Pinterest to promote gated visual content
Add hyperlinked end cards to your YouTube videos
Host an online webinar
Host a virtual summit
Add a link to your email signature
Remember your call to action, and invite your list to share the newsletter with a friend or colleague
In summary, your email newsletter is your tool for intimately communicating with your target audience. Truly, the key to success is organic growth with your targeted customers through authenticity.
Got a question, comment, or idea to share? Please comment below. And if you haven't done it yet... don't forget to sign up for my email newsletter which is always snappy, relevant... and even sometimes funny!
Wanna talk it out? Schedule free discovery and consultation, and let's talk about how we can ignite your business.
Until next time, wishing you much success,