Email marketing — rules to keep in mind

Was browsing through my journal last night and found this nuggets of wisdom on the email marketing and why it still is one of the best strategies that can 10x your business! Unfortunately, I don’t have the source written… yikes! (I hope nobody sues me for this!)

It’s not fair that I hold on to these, so I’ve decided to go ahead and publish it for the rest of the world to see. I’ve added my comments where needed. Think of this a brain dump and feel free to take these points and modify them to suit your business/context.

I wish I’d kept these super focused and short (there were like 21-22 points, I’ve let some points go or have condensed them for everyone’s sake) … nonetheless, I hope you find this useful… don’t dodge these bullets, alright? 😉

  1. Use email marketing to build permission-based lists. I’ve seen people focusing insanely on creating great content while missing on a great opportunity to build an email list. (I’m guilty as charged!) The challenge is that you can spend the rest of the life creating great content but I don’t see a point if you aren’t monetising all the good stuff you’re putting on your site. It’s not smart anymore. Here’s the best part — you really don’t have to get techie or tricky to do this. Just use a free tool like Sumo and you’ll be set! I also like Optimizely and Thrive Themes. They’re advanced and come with a lot of bells and whistles (if that excites you) and a monthly/yearly financial commitment.
  2. Use a reputable email delivery service. I personally like Mailchimp but any modern email service would do. Been hearing rave review about Drip.
  3. Give web visitors reasons to opt-in. That’s a given. You have to ensure that the content you’re putting out is valuable to them. (Not you. Them!) Do your research. Know your audience and create content that they will appreciate. Anything less than that wouldn’t cut it.
  4. Use auto-responders as robotic sales agents. Learning to build autoresponders is probably the best investment you can do for your business. Think of this as a one-time investment for a campaign that will typically run for months. Here’s everything (almost) you want to know about autoresponders and how they work. And Neville Medhora has the best course on building autoresponders. It’s worth the investment.
  5. Give people a great reason to stay on your list. Keep building great content. Put in the time and effort to stay relevant to your readers. Engage with them on your blog and/or your larger community on Facebook (don’t tell me you don’t have one… build one! Right now!). Remember consistency is the key. That could mean once a day or once a week. Or perhaps random (like me!) but have a plan and figure out a way to convey this to your audience. (And that’s where your community on Facebook comes in the picture).
  6. Ask for a sale in every email — a CTA in every mail! I like Ben Settle for a reason. His emails are highly engaging and quite casual. It’s like chatting with a friend over coffee… who wouldn’t mind saying, “hey, the coffee is on you!” And you would gladly pull out your wallet and pay up. Why? Because you just had a great time. I’m not asking you to put in time to create valuable content and ask your readers for money. No. Any action would do. As long as it’s a clear call to action. Click here to know what I’m saying.
  7. Craft a powerful signature file for all emails. Think of your email as yourself dressed in a suit… and your email signature as your shoes. Most marketers don’t pay attention to their email signatures but that’s akin to wearing crappy sneakers or flip-flops with your suit! Would you do that? Here’s a great resources I found on the anatomy of a great email signature.
  8. Craft subject like using the personal, anticipation and curiosity (PAC) formula. Self explanatory… read how this subject line (by Ben Settle) feels: Why so many people wriggle in agony when selling . It’s personal as I too “wriggle in agony” if I’m put under the spotlight to sell something. The “why” factor makes me curious — why do I feel that way? And at the same time, I know I’ll finally figure out a formula or a solution to resolve my dilemma.
  9. Start each email with undeniable, confirmed truth. That’s the quickest way to hold on to the readers attention and make them more curious about what’s to come. This is where you have an opportunity to construct a slippery-slide and have readers go to the next paragraph. Nothing hits people hard than cold facts. The truth. They’re compelled to read the next line. And the next. And finally take action on whatever your CTA is. Joe Sugarman said, “Your readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slide.
  10. Use a PS the summarises the lead benefit and provides a link. The PS is quite undervalued for what it can do for marketers. Sure, it’s old-school in someways, but I think it’s the most powerful tool of them all! It’s best positioned to summarise or throw in a surprise or a mouth watering proposition that will lead me to take an action. Here’s Sean D’Souza’s explaining the logic of the P.S.
  11. Place a minimum of 3 links to your CTA in the email body. I just think three is better than a single link (too less and weak) or five links (too much and way too strong). There may be some science behind it somewhere, I don’t care. Three works. Ignore at your own peril. (If you’re going in for CTA buttons, however, stick with one.)
  12. Send short emails that create the Zeigarnik effect. If you’ve ever come across an email that ends with “stay tuned for tomorrow’s email on the 3 best kept secrets of email marketing” and found yourself anxiously waiting to read the next day’s email… you’ve been a subject to the Zeigarnik effect. Learn how you can use this powerful psychological principle to your own advantage.
  13. Send emails that emulate plain text. Plain text is simple and is truly cross platform. It’s hard to mess up the formatting if it’s plain text.
  14. Always honour unsubscribe requests. If they don’t like you. Stop trying. Move on with your life. Ignoring unsubscribe requests is the quickest way to build a reputation for all the wrong reasons.