1 Email Marketing Mistake that Makes You Look Stupid and Lazy

email-marketing-ireland

I would attribute a huge part of my success in growing my solicitor’s practice to email marketing.

Anybody with an ounce of sense can, with a little research and study of online/digital marketing, quickly recognise the stunning power of email marketing in helping you grow your business.

However, it is not all plain sailing.

In fact, there is one simple way to ensure that your attempts at using email marketing will flounder badly and, in fact, be stunningly counter-productive.

The power and purpose of email marketing

Let’s back up for a minute and take a look at the power and purpose of email marketing: the power is that you get access to a person’s email inbox.

The purpose is to get the opportunity to earn your position as a trusted advisor/expert in your particular field.

The knock on effect of this win is you get a chance to sell your products or services later on in your relationship, when the subscriber to your list feels the time is right and he/she is comfortable in doing business with you.

It’s worth dwelling on this idea briefly:in exchange for someone’s email address you promise to deliver into their inbox something of value, probably on a regular basis.

The outcome of this exchange will be, if done property, the trusted authority status you seek, and of benefit to you as business owner and to your subscriber.

But before this exchange, before a website visitor gives you their email address, you must give them something of value in advance-an “ethical bribe”, if you will.

One way to blow this strategy out of the water is not to deliver value in advance, not to provide an incentive for the reader to give their email address, not to give them the opportunity to confirm that they want to join your email list, and simply to go for the short cut.

The counterproductive shortcut

The short cut?

Simply putting someone’s email address on your list, without their consent, without a “double opt in”, and sending them unwanted commercial emails.

There is probably more than one definition of spam, but unwanted, unrequested commercial emails into my inbox is a sufficiently accurate definition for me.

So, for me, it’s spam.

Look: let me be clear: if you add me to an email list of subscribers without my consent, and send me commercial emails, I will simply report your emails as spam in my Gmail account.

And the consequence of this is that your email will simply be undeliverable with future emails going straight into my spam folder.

Google is good like this.

There is only one thing worse than this mistake in your email marketing and that is getting someone else, for example a so called professional marketing company, to make this mistake on your behalf.

Not only will your emails go straight into spam, but you will be paying some “marketing/promotions” company for the privilege of having your email address blacklisted.

As I said earlier in this piece, I rely hugely on email marketing.

I work very hard to grow my subscriber lists

But each and every one of my subscribers to my many email marketing lists has been bribed in advance with something of value, such as a free guide, in return for their email address.

In addition, they must also confirm that they want to opt in and receive communications from me; and, finally, they have the opportunity in every single email to unsubscribe from the list.

Don’t want to hear from me any more? Just hit the “unsubscribe” link and I’ll be gone like a thief in the night appears regularly in my emails.

When you go to the trouble of doing it right, and creating something of value to swap for an email address, I find it easy to get angry when I receive commercial emails from people who have simply added me to their list and hoped for the best.

5 Email Marketing Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb

email-marketing-2

Let me guess…

You haven’t started email marketing yet.

You’re pressed for time, and social media marketing seems to soak up what little marketing time you have like a sponge.

You’ve probably read that marketing with email is stunningly effective, but there are just so many demands on your time.

And you’re not quite sure how to start.

You’re afraid of making stupid mistakes.

Let’s take a look at the most damaging, but easy to avoid, mistakes you can make.

10 minutes is all it’s going to take to learn exactly what you need to avoid.

And put the power of email marketing in your business toolbox.

Let’s take a look at what you need to avoid like the bubonic plague:

1. Sign up for our newsletter

This is a common, and fatal, mistake.

Asking people to sgin up for your newspaper means that your list will never grow-you simply won’t get people to sign up.

People don’t want newsletters, because they have no interest in hearing that your company has a new premises, or secretary, or Twitter handle, or Facebook page.

Sorry.

They want to know what’s in it for them, if they sign up, and how quickly they will get it.

Download your free report immediately and discover how to save 7,000 euros in your business in the next 6 weeks”;

or “Discover the 7 costly mistakes that 84% of Irish business owners make”;

or “Learn how to double your Twitter followers in 3 weeks”;

or “Discover how to grow your business making cheap videos with your mobile phone-download your free report now”.

All of these offerings offer a reason for the would be subscriber to sign up.

Quite frankly, “sign up for our newsletter” is simply not good enough.

People are too busy, too distracted, and too concerned with their privacy to give you their email address for a newsletter telling them that you have secured a new car parking space for your business.

2. Failing to prepare your email messages

To get your relationship with your new subscribers off to a good start, you should have at least 5 valuable emails loaded up in your autoresponder.

These will be delivered automatically at intervals of your choosing-perhaps 3 or 5 days-once each new subscriber signs up.

I cannot emphasise too much that these emails better be really useful to your subscribers. Put your best foot forward, and give them genuinely helpful tips which are not just statements of the obvious.

Over time, you can decide to send broadcast messages as and when you desire, but I recommend a solid base of automatic messages in the early weeks to build your relationship, and get the relationship off to a great start.

Your messages could contain useful tips or answers to frequently asked questions in your industry; but they cannot be overly promotional or “salesy”.

If they are, you will have a high rate of unsubscribes, and fail to build a relationship of trust and authority with your subscribers: the reason for email marketing in the first place.

3. Your emails are overly promotional

People don’t sign up to receive a series of sales messages. Your goal is to demonstrate that you know your stuff, regardless of your industry, that you can be trusted, and that they can be comfortable doing business with you.

Or even recommending you to their family, friends, colleagues.

You don’t achieve this by hammering your subscribers’ inboxes in a frenzy of pitches.

You must earn the right to pitch, to make an offer.

That’s what email marketing is about.

As a guide, consider 1 promotional email for every 5-7 emails sent.

And deliver value, real value, in all your emails.

4. Failing to provide a valuable incentive to drive sign ups

Tip number 1 above tells you that offering a “newsletter” simply doesn’t cut the mustard.

So, you need to spend some effort and time creating a valuable, useful incentive to persuade him to sign up and part with his email address to join your list.

This could be a free report, a short series of videos or mp4s, a free CD or DVD-the options are limitless. But, the bottom line is it must be sufficiently valuable to encourage people to subscribe to your list.

And, never forget: your email list is the most valuable asset you can build online.

5. Failing to recognise the potential of email marketing

If you spend a little time studying, and learning, and experimenting, you will discover one thing: anyone who knows his stuff about online marketing will tell you that the single biggest asset you can build online is a big, engaged, email list.

I have to say I have seen few, or any, Irish businesses using email marketing well. So, the potential is enormous, because anyone doing it professionally, and smartly, will have a huge opportunity and early adopter advantage.

 

The art of email marketing

Firstly, to get started with email marketing for your business, take a look at how to get started with email marketing.

Then, give some thought to your “ethical bribe”, your incentive, to get people to sign up. This might be a report, a white paper, a short series of videos, etc.

Make sure that it’s a good one, one which will be hard to resist. And promote it aggressively.

Don’t think that, because you are giving something away for free, you don’t need to promote it. You most certainly do. So, make sure your “opt in” form is prominently placed on your website or blog.

And then, deliver value. Build a relationship with your subscribers. Position yourself as the “go to” source in your industry. Create an immensely valuable asset for your business.

Look around at your competitors, and your industry. You will probably find that you are the only one using email marketing to build a relationship with your potential customers.

And, if you avoid the mistakes above, you will almost certainly be the only one doing it well.

Email Marketing for Small Business-What You Need to Know and the 2 Common Mistakes to Avoid

email-marketing-ireland

“The money is in the list”.

This is a phrase that you will read and hear regularly when you being to learn how to market online. “The list” is a list of subscribers generated from your website or blog.

And here’s a challenge for you: go to the website or blog of any guru, expert or thought leader in any aspect of social media marketing and observe what is the one thing they want you to do.

Yes, sign up for their list.

So they can engage with you, and convince and convert through email marketing.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Anyway, you may offer a “newsletter” as an incentive to get people to sign up.

But, quite frankly, this will be a waste of time because “newsletters” simply don’t cut it now: people don’t want industry news or news about you or your company.

They want to know “what’s in it for me if I sign up?”.

So, your ethical bribe must be genuinely useful to the subscriber.

This list, then, can be golden and one of the most valuable assets in your business, depending on your business, if you understand how to use email marketing properly.

Because email marketing, also known as autoresponder marketing, can be the most effective, cost efficient method of marketing your business.

This is especially true if you are a professional service provider such as solicitor, consultant, hr professional, barrister, accountant, marketing professional, trainer, etc.

How Does Email Marketing Work?

Firstly, you open an account with an autoresponder/email marketing provider such as Aweber or MailChimp or Constant Contact.

Once you open your account, which costs less than €20 per month, you load up your account, or more specifically your marketing campaign, with a series of emails.

These emails can be a series of helpful tips and information which would be helpful and informative for your target market.

You can set up as many messages or emails as you like and determine the intervals at which they go out to your customer/lead.

I would recommend writing your emails before asking anyone to sign up as a subscriber. This allows you to deliver real value from the outset rather than noticing that you have 10 subscribers at the end of the week and you are now wondering what to send them in your email.

Once you have written your first handful of emails you will need to build your list of subscribers.

To do this you need to create the valuable, ethical bribe I spoke about earlier.(More about that below).

You then create a form in your email software account and place the piece of code generated on your website. This allows visitors to submit their name and email to sign up and receive useful information, tips, solutions to problems, and so forth from you on a regular basis.

Once they have submitted this information your emails in your campaign which you will have set up already will receive your messages on autopilot.

Keep this at the forefront of your mind: your messages need to be useful and informative, not spammy or relentlessly “salesy”.

There’s nothing wrong with selling and it’s not a dirty word.

But you do need to build your authority and trust in the first place, and you need to earn the right to make a pitch.

Once your emails are useful, helpful and genuinely informative you will build trust with your leads and eventually convert a good percentage of them into loyal customers.

We all know that we buy more from people that we know and trust.

The purpose of the email series is to build a relationship and trust with your potential customers and those who have expressed an interest in what you have to offer.

How To Build Your List of Subscribers

The key to getting sign ups is to give something away for free in return for the name and email. This could be a short report or other freebie that would be of interest to your target market.

It must be of genuine value.

If you are in the diy market for example you could create a short, free report with valuable tips for refurbishing your bathroom or kitchen. Once the person submits their details they will automatically receive the report from your email/autoresponder provider.

If you an accountant you could do a report such as “6 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Tax Bill” or “How to Choose an Accountant/Financial Advisor for Your Business”.

An Irish Example of Email Marketing in Action

Take a look at my site http://EmploymentRightsIreland.com.

At the top and bottom of every page on the site you will see an email opt in form.

In return for giving their email address and becoming a subscriber, the visitor receives a
“free copy of “The 16 Common Employment Law Mistakes that Most Irish Employers Make” and my regular money saving employment law tips via email.”

This report appeals to both employers and employees and even though it is a simple, short report about common mistakes made by employers it still appeals to the visitor.

Because there is a benefit to the employer and an element of curiosity also-the employer is wondering whether he makes one of these 16 mistakes.

Once the reader signs up he also receives useful tips about employment law, pitfalls to avoid, common problems in employer/employee relations, and so forth.

As I write this today in September, 2015 I have over 2,000 subscribers to this list, and there are 62 email messages which go out on autopilot.

The messages are sent at intervals of 3-5 days but you can choose any interval period you wish-for example once weekly- and automate it.

You will see from the screenshot that there are currently over 1,100 subscribers to this list. And it just grows day after day on autopilot.

Email Marketing Benefits

The reality is nobody is going to buy from your website first time, especially if you are selling a high value product or service.

You will need multiple interactions to build the necessary trust and confidence from your lead.

But many leads simply won’t have the funds to buy first time, even if they are completely convinced that you are the right person for them and you understand their problem.

So you need a way to be there, or at least in their memory, when they are in a position to buy.

Blogging and email marketing is perfect for this.

The options for your email campaigns include sending your subscribers

  • Regular email newsletters (but you need more than news-you need to deliver real value)
  • Valuable hints and tips to help your subscriber with whatever problems they face in their daily life
  • Promotional material and special offers
  • Updates about changes in your company or organisation. However the likelihood is that nobody cares about your company, except maybe your competitors, or your significant other or your mother.

Remember: people are only interested in this question: “what’s in it for me”.

So if you are asking people to “sign up for our newsletter” with no benefit or reason for the reader to do so, you simply won’t get subscribers.

This is why the valuable “freebie” is essential to grow your list.

Features of Email Marketing

Once you do begin to grow your list, no matter how small, the benefits are obvious and immediate:

1. It’s a cost effective way of communicating with your subscribers, fans, potential customers/clients and existing clients;

2. Easily target specific groups of your list members with messages specifically for them;

3. The results are measurable with great reporting statistics about how many people received and opened your message, how many clicks on any links in your message, and so on.

A Good Email Marketing Strategy

A good email marketing strategy should be about delivering value to your subscribers and not spamming them. Genuinely helpful tips and information for your target market about dealing with their particular “pain” is vital.

The best and most effective email marketing strategy in the long run is to use email to build a relationship with your list, demonstrate your company’s trust and authority and increase the lifetime value of each subscriber on your list.

Banging out email pitches in a relentless way will only see the number of complaints and unsubscribed from your list render your email marketing counterproductive.

Getting new subscribers onto your list should be the principal goal of your website/blogging efforts.

2 Widespread Email Marketing Mistakes

The 2 common mistakes, as you will no doubt have learned, are

1. Encouraging people to “sign up for our newsletter”-this isn’t good enough.

Nobody wants to know that you have a new product or a new secretary or a new; the reader wants to know what’s in it for her if she signs up. Will you make her life easier, will you show him how to make more money, will you tell him how to reduce costs, will you give her some useful tips to become more popular, appreciated, loved?

2. Bombarding your subscribers with promotions and sales pitches; what you need to do is build trust and authority by providing helpful, useful information for your readers to help them solve their common problems.

What To Do To Get Started

To get started today, think about 5-10 things that your potential clients worry about and consider carefully how you could help them if they were subscribers to your list.

These 5-10 things would form the basis of your first emails to your new list members.

You then need to create the valuable gift or ethical bribe to get visitors to sign up and the emails themselves.

Can’t think of 5-10 things that worries your potential client/customer?

Think of the 1 thing that keeps her awake at night.

Yes, 1 thing, and show her how to reduce or eliminate the fear.

 

If you want to see email marketing in action you can sign up for my list on this site, or this one, or any of these free reports on this page.