20 EMAIL MARKETING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Whether you’re a solopreneur, a small business owner, a service provider, or you’re selling digital products, these tips will help you get started and improve your email marketing skills.
#1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT EMAIL MARKETING SERVICE PROVIDER
This is not a decision that you should take lightly, but also not one that should paralyze you into in-action. You need to know which features you need right now, and which features you may need as you grow.
Some email marketing service providers are list based and some are tag based and because automation and personalization is becoming more and more important, I highly recommend tag-based – even if you’re just starting out. Convertkit is usually my recommendation because it’s tag based, budget-friendly, and can grow with you.
#2: CHOOSE YOUR REPLY EMAIL WISELY
- You need your subscribers to instantly recognize you in their inbox, and a good way to do that is to use a combination of your name and your business name.
- if you’re Amy Porterfield, Jeff Walker, or another very recognizable name, you can use your name only
- Some businesses do use their business name only, but it is less personal when an an email comes from a business – and not a human in that business.
- unless you have an extremely recognizable name, like Madonna, don’t use just your first name!
#3: USE SEGMENTATION, TAGGING, AND RULES
With segmentation, tagging, and rules, you can take specific actions based upon your subscribers actions, interests, preferences, geographic location, or subscriber activity level.
For instance, you could tag new subscribers to your email list and automatically send them a welcome email sequence.
You could also tag that subscriber according to their interest if they click on a specific link in your email, or visit a particular blog post on your website!
Targeting and personalization based on interests is becoming more and more important because it allows you to send your subscribers emails targeted specifically to them and their interests.
#4: USE PERSONALIZATION IN THE SUBJECT LINE AND COPY
With virtually any email marketing service provider you can use shortcodes to pick up information about your subscriber, such as their first name, and use that throughout the email.
This not only helps with open rates, but it makes your subscribers feel as if you’re actually talking to THEM!
#5: MAP OUT YOUR EMAIL SEQUENCES
Before you start creating email sequences and rules, you’ll want to map out your sequences.
You may have email sequences to welcome them to you, your business, and your community; you may have email sequences to move them into action – booking a call with you, purchasing a digital product, or attending a webinar.
Having a master plan for your sequences is vital if you’re going to automate your email marketing and keep all of your subscribers moving through your funnel.
If you’re just starting out, at the very least you will want to have a welcome sequence. As you get more familiar with email marketing you can add sequences and automation based on your goals.
#6: WRITE TO JUST ONE PERSON
- Writing email copy that moves your subscribers into action takes practice! Don’t let the fear of imperfection hold you back.
- Write the email copy as if you’re writing to just one person – this will make it feel more personal to the subscriber.
- Writing effective email copy really comes down to 2 things: knowing your buyers intimately, and storytelling.
- Keep your focus on your reader. Email marketing is about helping your subscribers, providing value, and problem solving.
- Do this consistently and when you’re ready to sell, they’ll be ready to buy.
#7: CUSTOMIZE YOUR UNSUBSCRIBE SECTION
- By law, you must have an Unsubscribe link in every email you send through your email marketing service provider, but you can customize the unsubscribe section to reduce the likelihood of them unsubscribing!
- You work diligently to acquire subscribers, right? You should work just as diligently to keep them on your list!
- Customizing the unsubscribe to let them know what’s going to happen when they unsubscribe is more likely to encourage them to think twice about their decision.
#8: USE SUBJECT LINES THAT MAKE THEM WANT TO OPEN YOUR EMAILS
According to Digital Marketer there are 8 elements that contribute to higher email open rates:
- Self-Interest – these are usually direct and speak to a specific benefit your audience will gain by opening the email.
- Curiosity – These peak the interest of subscribers without giving away too much information, leading to higher open rates
- Offer – stating the giveaway offer in your subject line leads to higher open rates
- Urgency – these subject lines are meant to move your subscriber into action quickly for fear of missing out. Use these sparingly!
- Humanity – this might be a holiday or birthday greeting, to tell a story of failure or vulnerability, or to thank your subscriber for something
- News – these keep your subscribers up to date on developments within your business, as it relates to them, or could be industry news that could affect them
- Social Proof – these make the subscriber want to open the email because you’re mentioning success stories, familiar names, or testimonials. Our human nature is that other’s behaviours dictates our own, and you can leverage this social proof in your subject lines
- Story – telling, or teasing, a story in the subject line can increase your open rates.
#9: SEND MORE QUALITY CONTENT AND LESS PROMOTIONAL CONTENT
Being invited into your subscribers inbox is a PRIVILEGE. If you start bombarding them with promotional emails that serve you but don’t serve them, they’re going to unsubscribe.
Try to stick to the 80/20 rule of 80% valuable, quality content that serves them and 20% promotional content.
#10: GIVE THEM A REASON TO KEEP OPENING YOUR EMAILS
Each email that arrives in your subscribers inbox should be like opening a wonderful gift. There should be incentive for your subscriber to open your email. Give them something to look forward to, and they’ll continue opening them.
If your open rate is low it could be due to a number of factors including:
- Content that doesn’t resonate with your subscribers
- Ineffective subject lines
- Emailing too frequently
- Emails being delivered to their spam folder
- Too many links within your emails.
It’s important to continually monitor your metrics and tweak your emails accordingly.
#11: CONSISTENCY AND RELIABILITY
Establishing consistency with your emails – delivering them on specific days and/or specific times, will result in your subscribers expecting your emails and hopefully, eagerly anticipating them. Let your subscribers know what to expect in your welcome sequence then make sure you deliver otherwise, you can look forward to lots of unsubscribes.
#12: ALWAYS SEND TEST EMAILS TO YOURSELF
Whether you are sending a sequence or emails or a one-off broadcast email, ALWAYS send a test email to yourself.
Most email marketing service providers will allow you to view the email in your browser or send a test email. Viewing in your browser can be deceiving because you may be using a different browser than your subscribers.
Send yourself a test email and look at the subject line when it arrives in your inbox. Would YOU want to open it? Did the email arrive in your primary inbox or your spam folder? Are all the links working? How does the formatting look? Doing one last check for grammar and spelling at this point is also a good idea.
#13: GIVE THEM A REASON TO FOLLOW YOU ON SOCIAL
If your subscribers are on Facebook or Instagram daily, they may want to follow you there as well. They’ll likely get different content from you, and having them consume your content in different ways, with different mediums, on different channels is a great way to deepen your relationship with them!
Find creative ways, within your emails, to link to your content on social and give them a reason to follow you there.
#14: DON’T ONLY EMAIL YOUR SUBSCRIBERS WHEN YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SELL
The goal of email marketing is to deliver quality, relevant content to them – education, information, or entertainment – in order to build and deepen your relationship with them.
Once they trust you, and know that you deliver on your promises to them, they’re much more likely to purchase from you when you DO want to offer them something to purchase!
#15: LINK TO YOUR EXTERNAL CONTENT FROM YOUR EMAILS
Every email you send should have links redirecting your subscribers to take the next step.
Lead them to your event registrations, blog posts, content upgrades, landing pages, videos, or podcast. This will deepen your relationship with them.
#16: IMAGES DON’T ALWAYS DISPLAY WELL IN EMAIL
Depending upon the spam filters your different subscribers have set up, whether your email is whitelisted – meaning that your subscriber has indicated that emails from you are safe, if your subscriber has automatic picture downloads in email messages blocked, and depending upon which email service they use, your images may or may not show up in their inbox.
To increase your chances of images showing in your emails to subscribers:
- Resize your images to under 1MB
- Upload the images from your own computer – don’t copy and paste images into an email
- Don’t use too many images
#17: HAVE A CALL TO ACTION IN EVERY EMAIL
Your job is to take your subscribers on a journey, and you’re their guide.
What do you want them to do when they open and read the email?
You can link them to an offer, video, blog post, or anywhere else online you want to take them using hyperlinks, buttons, and images.
#18: AVOID SPAM FILTERS
You’ve worked hard to have the privilege of being in your subscribers inbox – the last thing you want is for your emails to wind up in their spam folder!
- Ensure that every one of your subscribers has opted into your list – themselves
- Use a double optin – having them confirm that they’ve opted in – is a good way to keep your list clean, and ensure that only those who actually want to hear from you, hear from you
- Don’t send your emails from a 3rd party email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. These emails are much less likely to get through spam filters. Use an email with your own domain.
- Avoid use of words that can trigger the spam filters such as BUY, DISCOUNT, SALE, 100%, Accept Credit Cards, and 400 other potential spam trigger words
- Don’t use click bait subject lines which are deceptive in nature
- Choose a reputable email marketing service provider
#19: OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE
When you send yourself a test email, be sure to check it on your mobile!
With over 80% of us using mobile for email, it’s very important to ensure that the formatting works on mobile and desktop alike.
- Use short subject lines
- Keep the content and images to no more than 600px wide
- Use size 14 (or bigger) font. Smaller fonts are harder to read on mobile
- Keep the design clean
- Use a single column layout
#20: MONITOR AND TWEAK BASED ON ANALYTICS
It’s amazing that so many entrepreneurs and business owners take the time to build out sequences and grow their email lists, but they neglect to continue to monitor their analytics and tweak their approach!
Monitoring your analytics, and editing sequences and broadcasts based on the analytics is the only way to increase your impact using email marketing.
You should regularly be monitoring:
- Open rates – Monitor which emails have lower open rates. Low open rates could indicate that subscribers are downloading your lead magnets but not opening your emails, you’re not providing enough value, you haven’t nailed your subscribers pain points or problems, or that your subject lines are ineffective.
- Click through rate – if your click through rates are low, your message may not be targeted enough. It’s time to rework your copy.
- If your unsubscribes are high, you may want to consider double opt-in or targeting more qualified subscribers. If your subscribers are opening the first few emails in a sequence and then dropping off, you need to look at those emails to figure out why you’re losing them.
- If an abundance of your subscribers are complaining to your email marketing service provider about your emails, by marking them as spam, then you really want to look at what you’re delivering to your subscribers.