No matter what your blogging goals are, an email list is one of the most powerful assets you can have – but only if you know how to use it.
This is where email marketing comes in.
While building an email list gives you direct access to your audience, email marketing makes maximum use of it. It achieves this by sending subscribers a sequence of emails with a specific goal in mind.
This goal could be as simple as informing subscribers about who we are and what our blog is about, to advertising affiliate offers and selling products.
Once setup, it can run automatically requiring little ongoing effort whilst producing fabulous results.
It’s the main reason I have been successful selling products. The only regret I have regarding my email marketing is that I didn’t start doing it sooner!
As you can imagine, email marketing is a very broad area and covers a huge range of topics. In this article, I focus on what you need to know about email marketing, the types of email sequences you can (and should) be running, how to create your email marketing strategy and how to check it’s working.
I really urge you to get started with email marketing. It can seem overwhelming, but once you break it down, it really isn’t. It’s also one of those things you can set up and largely forget leading to great interactions with your readers week after week while you work on other things.
It’s the most powerful method you have to communicate with your audience and it works no matter what your goals are.
Let’s dive in!
Email Marketing 101 (And Why It’s The Most Powerful Thing You Can do For Your Blog)
You will learn...
- What email marketing is and why it’s important
- The types of email sequences
- How (and when) to send a newsletter
- How to write effective emails
- How to create your email marketing strategy
- How to check if your email marketing strategy is working
- Next steps
1. What email marketing is and why it’s important
Email marketing is more than just sending out a newsletter. As I mentioned above, email marketing is a sequence of emails (or email series) that you send to subscribers to achieve a particular goal.
Some common goals include helping subscribers get to know us and how we can help them, introducing special offers and advertising your products/services/affiliate offers.
The goal we have determines when we send emails and the type of emails we send.
Say a subscriber signs up to our email list for our lead magnet. Should you just send them the lead magnet and be done with it? Of course not – you should take the opportunity to welcome the subscriber and show them the value of being subscribed to your list.
This really is the ultimate way to build a relationship with our subscribers and cultivate trust and authority.
If you have a product to sell or offer to advertise, email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to achieve success since your email list gives you direct access to your audience. This is because most people don’t buy an item the first time they see it. Via email, you can keep reminding your audience about your products, share the benefits and help them get over any objections.
In addition to your goals, every email series should lead to some transformation for the subscriber. This transformation should help them in some way and offer value, like helping them align their goals or overcome a hurdle.
I also believe that email marketing is one of the best ways to turn readers into raving fans – people who tell others how great you are, get onboard with everything you are doing and are the life blood of your blog’s community. This is because an email feels like a 1:1 communication.
Email marketing is very powerful no matter what your blogging goals.
2. Types of email sequences
Collectively, we call our email sequences an autoresponder series.
There are many types of email sequences you can run to make up your autoresponder series.
The email sequences you run will depend on your objectives.
What is the goal of the email sequence? What transformation should the subscriber have after the email sequence?
The onboarding sequence consists of a series of emails you send after the subscriber first signs up to your email list.
At the most basic level, you should at least have an onboarding sequence set up.
It’s usually sent after the subscriber downloads a lead magnet/optin offer, and I recommend sending a series of 6 emails over 6 days to start off.
It allows subscribers to get to know you better, understand what your blog is about and what you offer.
It gives you a chance to advertise your best content, to show why you are an authority and why they should be a subscriber.
The onboarding sequence usually includes your most read emails, so you want to ensure you do a great job of engaging subscribers.
Tell stories, inspire people and provide real value to help your subscribers.
This will ensure they keep opening your emails, that they finish the sequence feeling like they have a relationship with your blog and know what you are about and that they will take whatever action you want them to take.
New lead magnet sequence
The new lead magnet sequence is used to encourage existing subscribers to download a new lead magnet you’ve created.
Again, how you do this depends on your goals.
If this is a simple low quality downloadable, you can send this out as a newsletter and describe the benefits of the downloadable.
Something higher quality, such as a webinar, that leads to a sales seqeuence can be sent to subscribers over 2-3 emails to encourage maximum engagement.
Remember that the benefit of having lead magnets isn’t just to get people to subscribe to your email list but also so you can give them something of value to really help your audience so they keep wanting more.
This only works if they use your lead magnet.
The goal of a sales sequence is get subscribers to buy your product/service/affiliate offer.
There are loads of ways to go about this. To work this out, an effective way is to consider price. Lower priced offers require less consideration than higher priced ones, and therefore require a shorter sales sequence, and vice versa.
The most effective sales emails are usually the last emails you send, so take advantage of this by sending several emails within the last 72-24 hours of your sequence.
There is no point having subscribers on your list that don’t interact with your emails.
The goal of a re-engagement sequence is to send a series of emails to interact with the subscriber and ultimately unsubscribe them if this goal is not achieved.
You can do this over 2-3 emails where you check in with them, give them an opportunity to unsubscribe or stay subscribed, before finally removing them.
I have a sequence that sends out automatically to do this if a subscriber doesn’t interact with my emails within four months.
Some additional email sequences include a webinar series, video series and challenge series – like the ones you get if you sign up for my 7-day link building challenge!
3. How (and when) to send a newsletter
Newsletters differ from the above sequences in that they are a one-off email we send subscribers.
This means less return on our time than something like a welcome sequence which runs in the background, but they have the benefit of getting subscribers to brand new content and offers that aren’t contained in our sequences. They also mean we keep interacting with our subscribers when they aren’t in any other sequence.
Because the reality is that people forget you very quickly.
You should email at least once a week.
Plus newsletters don’t have to be a lot of effort. I spend about 10 minutes writing my newsletters and I get great open rates.
You can use newsletters when you write new blog posts, for old posts that you’ve updated, for affiliate offers or for simply checking in with your subscribers. You should only send newsletters to people who aren’t in an email sequence at that time.
When you are writing your newsletters, you need to consider your goal. What are you trying to have the subscriber do? Do you want them to read a blog post or click on an affiliate link?
When you’ve identified your goal (and just have one per email), focus on the benefit for the subscriber when writing the newsletter. Why should they take the action you want? Explain the benefits and follow the advice below about writing effective emails.
4. How to write effective emails
Once you’ve decided what email sequences you need, you’ll need to write the actual emails.
This isn’t difficult but you should put some thought into each email.
The subject should be used to encourage subscribers to open to email. For example, ‘5 Sales Page Mistakes You Need To Stop Making’ encourages subscribers interested in sales pages to open as it implies they urgently need to stop making these mistakes.
The emails themselves should be brief, personable and focus on the benefits of taking the action you mention.
For example, if you want your subscriber to read your blog post on travel mistakes to avoid, you’ll mention mistakes you’ve made and how avoiding them will help improve the quality of their next vacation.
Any links should be inserted 2-3 times to encourage clicking through, and you should consider adding a P.S. – it’s the second most read part of an email (after the subject).
5. How to create your email marketing strategy
I like to think of my autoresponder series as the backbone of my email marketing strategy, with newsletters filling in the gaps.
To create your email marketing strategy, consider what email sequences you want to be in your autoresponder series and whether you should send newsletters.
The overall aim of your strategy should be to show authority and engage people, but the way to go about this differs based on your blog/topic/offerings.
For example, a long autoresponder series over 6 months with no newsletters might work well for a topic that people only engage with for a short while, such is the case with many destination blogs where someone is planning a trip to a destination for about six months beforehand but then they have little interest.
On Digital Nomad Wannabe, however, where the emphasis is on building a financially successful blog, the process is a long term one, so I take them through this transformation via several email sequences in my autoresponder series and newsletters.
Consider your audience. Could it be that your content is only relevant to them for a limited time?
Do you have the time to write newsletters? How much valuable content can you offer?
What transformation do you want your readers to have?
6. How to check if your email marketing strategy is working
When it comes to email marketing you simply have to test to know what works and what doesn’t for your subscribers. This can scare some bloggers but it’s actually very straight forward.
To start off, I recommend you focus on tracking:
- The email open rate – aim for between 20 – 50% +
- The click through rate – aim for over 5% – 10% +
- The unsubscribe rate – aim for under 0.5%
Your metrics might be better than this and that’s great.
Keep in mind your metrics will likely change over the course of the segmentation depending on the length.
For example, at the start of a welcome sequence you should see open rates well above 50%. However, you may see them drop below 30% towards the end. This doesn’t necessarily mean your sequence needs changing.
When things do need changing and aren’t working there are several things that could be happening.
For example, open rates may be low due simply to the subject.
Click through rates might be improved just by changing the placement of links or adding one in the P.S. section of the email.
Or if you notice a big difference between two emails next to each other in the sequence, the problem might be with the first one. Maybe it didn’t resonate with your subscribers so they didn’t open the next one.
If things still aren’t working and your email list remains unengaged, it may be worth exploring different topics. Perhaps one areas works better for your audience than another.
Sending out a free resource can also be a great way to engage an email list that’s gone a bit stale.
There’s always something to test and improve on!
7. Next steps
If you’ve covered all of the above then congratulations! You have a simple email marketing strategy. But email marketing is a huge area and there’s always room to grow and improve.
I recommend you regularly track the open and click through rates of your emails to see how effective they are. This will allow you to see if they’re working and where you need to make changes.
Whenever you set up a new sequence, you should also add yourself to make sure it’s working the way you want.