What is the biggest mistake people make in their email marketing campaigns? Itâ€™s not bad strategy â€“ although â€œpoor strategyâ€ is a major factor in ruining any profit-potential a website, product or idea might have. And no, itâ€™s not a lack of leads â€“ building your list is surprisingly easy once you know the right way to go about doing it. The biggest mistake people make is this: They assume that email marketing should be left to experts, and donâ€™t bother learning anything about it!
Folks, Iâ€™m not joking about this. There are tons and tons of websites out there with perfectly profitable business plans who are missing out on pure gold by ignoring their email marketing campaigns. And no, sending out monthly newsletters about so and so updates on the site does NOT constitute as email marketing. Email marketing is a process of generating business through maintaining a list of email contacts â€“ people who â€œsign-upâ€ to your list for one reason or the other (usually to gain access to information or some other resource). A properly run campaign involves at least the following:
* Building a positive, responsive relationship with your list.
* Providing your list with a reason to trust you and your advice (give quality information first, ask for their money later).
* Promoting targeted , useful products to your list (related (directly or indirectly) to the â€œreasonâ€ they signed up for your list.
Youâ€™ll see from that list of points that simply mailing promotional offers to a bunch of email addresses does not qualify as email marketing. No. That is spam. Donâ€™t be like most people on the Internet. If youâ€™re operating in a niche online, youâ€™re almost guaranteed to be sitting on a small gold mine. Profit from it by all means possible, and make the effort to set up your own email marketing campaign.
To setup your email marketing campaign, you need the following:
* A reliable autoresponder.
* A lead capture form / landing page.
* Means to bring traffic to that landing page.
* A set of pre-written messages for your list.
* An email marketing plan.
If that sounds like too much, donâ€™t worry about it. All five points are explained in full detail below.
An autoresponder is the most powerful tool in your email marketing arsenal. Essentially, it not only automates list management (including subscription and unsubscribe requests), but it can also automate the process of sending emails to your list. You can load a set of emails / messages to your list in your autoresponder, and the script will automatically send the emails out at the dates you specify. The two autoresponders I would recommend are AWeber and GetResponse. Both are reasonably priced and have excellent features. I personally use Aweber myself, although if you want to test autoresponders and see how they work I would suggest that you sign up for the free version of GetResponse and experiment there first. Setting up an autoresponder is fairly simple. Both AWeber and GetResponse have a straightforward sign up procedure, and once youâ€™re in, they provide detailed tutorials to help you set up your list management process.
List management is really simple with autoresponders. You can preload your account with template responses for any of the following occasions:
* When someone signs up through a lead capture form.
* When someone confirms their subscription to your list.
* When someone unsubscribes from your list.
* When someone sends an email to your autoresponder email address (you can configure this message to tell the sender that you will respond within a certain time, or redirect them to a different email address).
In addition, you can write up several emails in advance (in case you want to send messages to your subscribers at specific dates in the future) and load them in your autoresponder. Then, just specify the dates you want each message to be sent on, and your work is done . The autoresponder takes care of everything else. Pre-loading messages into your autoresponder is a great way to schedule an informational email course, or if you want to send several promotional emails for the same product. Most autoresponders (including AWeber and GetResponse) offer templates for generic messages (such as the list above), making your job a lot simpler. All you really need is to customize these templates if necessary, and then upload your own messages.
Building Your List.
Once youâ€™ve set up your autoresponder, itâ€™s time to build your list. For this, you need to do two things:
* Set up a landing page through which people can sign up on your list.
* Drive traffic (hint: targeted traffic â€“ people who are likely to be interested in hearing what you have to say i.e. people interested in your niche) to that landing page.
Letâ€™s look at these individually.
A lot of people simply use a â€œsign up for our newsletterâ€ type of box on their main pages and expect people to come barging in. Thatâ€™s not how it works. For people to sign up for your list, they have to be interested in what you have to say. This means that first you have to educate your potential subscribers to what they have to gain by handing over their email addresses to you. Set up a separate page on your website â€“ a â€œ landing page â€. On this page, you would include a description of your newsletter as well as the key benefits to your subscribers for signing up to the newsletter (a free report on plus weekly updates, or regular dating tips, or whatever your niche is). The key here is to convince the reader that if they are interested in your field, itâ€™s in their benefit to sign for your newsletter because it is THE place to get the best information about that field. And of course, provide a simple form for the visitors to fill in and sign up to your newsletter.
By now, youâ€™re all set to build your list and crank out the sales pitches through your autoresponder. But first, you need to drive traffic (read real people) to your landing page so that they can sign up to your list. Hereâ€™s a quick discussion of a few tactics you can use:
* Write and submit articles in a niche article directory . Make sure you include your resource box at the end of the article, with some text describing your email course and a link going back to your landing page. This is fairly elementary, but its still surprising how few people end up taking advantage of this technique.Make sure that you focus on the top content-rich sites in your niche when you are submitting these articles.
* If you expect to profit significantly from your subscribers (in the next lesson Iâ€™ll tell you how you can calculate the lifetime value of your subscriber), you can afford to spend some money on building your list. Use Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing to drive targeted traffic to your landing page. The key here is to bid on very specific two-word and three-word phrases, so that not only your traffic is targeted, but that you can get these clicks for cheap.Make sure that youâ€™re not paying too high a price for each click (1 visitor), otherwise the process might backfire on you.
* Simple as it sounds, make sure to promote your newsletter on your website . Donâ€™t just settle for a link on every page â€“ include some text and actually explain in a few words what the newsletter offers (kind of like a PPC ad).
* Offer a freebie â€“ this could either be a free tool or access to a section of your website (where you keep the good content) or even a downloadable report. This is by far the most common hook marketers use to build their list.
* If you have a sales pitch on your website, make sure that your â€œfreeâ€ newsletter features prominently in it. It will provide readers with a risk-free alternative to test you and find out if you can really deliver on any claims you make in the sales pitch. In addition, many people donâ€™t buy immediately â€“ they tend to evaluate the pros and cons and deliberate over buying decisions (especially costly buying decisions) quite a lot. By offering them an option to sign up to your newsletter, you secure an inside track to the â€œbuy or notâ€ debate in their minds and are in a position to win their trust and earn their money.