This guest post is by Bamidele Onibalusi of YoungPrePro.com.
Let me be straightforward with you: I’m no email marketing expert and I don’t plan to be soon. But email marketing is just so important to my blogging that I can’t ignore these very important techniques.
If you’ve been following Darren for more than a few months now you will have noticed how much emphasis he places on email marketing for bloggers and how important it is for his business. The same is the case for most top bloggers I know.
Email marketing is also an integral part of my own blogging business and as a result, the moment I notice something wrong with my email marketing, I look for ways to fix it. Almost ever tips I’ll be giving in this article I discovered by accident; some I discovered by reading the results of others and testing them for myself.
Here are three practical ways bloggers can get more from their email marketing efforts—instantly!
1. Always use a linked call to action
The first step is to always use a call to action in your email. It took me a long time to discover this, but the moment I did there was a difference in my results.
I know you might have already read a lot of email marketing articles about calls to action, and are already thinking you’re getting it right. But before you skip this section you need to realize that there is a difference between a “call to action” and a “call to action“.
The basic idea of a call to action email is to focus your email on getting subscribers to take a particular action, and including text that encourages them to do so.
A mistake most people make, though, is to use a call to action and then paste the link below the call to action.
That was what I used to do, too, but I recently started linking my calls to action text to the specific link I want subscribers to click, and I saw an increase in clickthrough rates of over 50%.
In other words, instead of using a call to action like “Visit YoungPrePro to learn more at http://www.youngprepro.com“, I changed the text to something like “Visit YoungPrePro to learn more!” And that increased my clickthrough rate by over 50%.
One thing I used to worry about, though, is the fact that some of my subscribers will get the text version of my emails and won’t be able to click on the link. In my own experience, the number of such subscribers is very few and the results you will get from an active call to action will far outweigh those lost opportunities, so there’s no need to worry about that. If you want all your subscribers to get your messages, you can include a sentence asking people who receive the text version of your message to read it online in HTML.
Also, make sure your emails only contain one call to action. When it comes to email marketing, giving people too many options won’t be effective so make sure every email you send is only centered on one action you want the subscriber to take.
It’s okay to include two links in your emails as long as they’re focused on the same call to action. The more you’re able to remind subscribers about the action you want them to take, and the easier you make it for them to take that action without having to scroll down or up, the better.
In other words, it’s okay to include your linked call to action more than once in an email, as long as they lead to the same page.
2. Use a custom email template
I know, there has been a lot of debate about this online, and the majority are in support of sending a text-based email, mostly due to the fact that there are text-only subscribers on their lists. But in my own experience, switching to an HTML email template increased the results I’m getting. I’ll explain!
One major problem I recently started to notice with my email list were high unsubscribe rates—even if I sent an email packed with value. I started to wonder what was wrong.
The problem was that most people are unsubscribing because they’d forgotten who I am—and it doesn’t help if they don’t receive any email from me in almost a week. Even though I never intended for an HTML template to help, I was surprised by the results.
On average, with text-based email I get around eight to ten unsubscribes per email, but with a custom HTML template that figure has reduced to two unsubscribes.
Most people will think this is a fluke, and has something to do with my message, but let me explain the idea behind it.
Having an HTML template that is designed the same way as your blog template helps reinforce your brand to your subscribers. As a result, no matter how long it’s been since you sent your last message, they will remember you once they see that template. Text-based emails can also get boring—especially when you consider the fact that most people get dozens of them daily.
Having a custom HTML email template helps you stand out—it places your brand in your subscribers’ inbox and ensures no one else can copy your approach.
One important consideration, though, is that you should make sure your email template is a custom one, not the default one most ISPs provide you with. The main effect of the template is to remind subscribers of your brand—and their reason for subscribing—whenever they open your emails. So your email template must be exactly the same as your blog design.
3. Don’t use shortened links
The problem with link shorteners is that their advantage is their disadvantage. Instead of having to include one ugly long link in an email you can easily shorten it to a few letters and enjoy the ability to track clicks to it.
The problem is that email spammers also know this, and are now abusing link shorteners. They send spam emails to people who never subscribed to their lists, using shorteners to cloak their links and track results. As a result, most of the popular link shortening services have been blacklisted by email servers.
In other words, using one or more of the popular link shortening services will increase the chances of your email not getting delivered to subscribers’ inboxes.
AWeber recently published a list of the link shortening services that have been blacklisted, and where they were blacklisted, so make sure you check it out!
If you don’t want long links in your emails, you might want to create your own link shortener, or always link your calls to action to the actual links you want users to click.
Email marketing is still the most effective way to get your message across to your readers, especially as a blogger. Here I’ve shared three tips that gave me an instant boost in my email marketing results.
What other email marketing tips do you think we should know? Share them with us below!
Bamidele Onibalusi is a young blogger and writer who helps people learn to write for traffic and money. Visit YoungPrePro.com to learn what he has in stock for you and also follow him on twitter @youngprepro.