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Two Email Marketing Strategies that Work

This is a guest post by Shaun at Ultimate Mailing List.

As I’m sure many of you know, building a mailing list can greatly benefit your business.

Bloggers harp on all the time about how much money you can make if you have enough subscribers, and how great it can be in terms of social proof. While this is true, what’s often left out is what you should do once you have your mailing list up and running.

This means bloggers are left paying their $19-a-month Aweber fees, with no real idea of how they’re going to make that money back.

I want to share with you two great ways to get your email marketing campaigns off the ground.

The first strategy will help you get more subscribers and build your authority in your niche, while the second will help you get more page views and affiliate sales—all in an ethical manner, of course. Both of these methods will also help build stronger relationships with your subscribers, and get them to trust you. This is vitally important, as the better your relationship is with your subscribers, the longer they will stay around.

So, let’s get into the methods shall we?

The short course strategy

The method

The short course method is pretty much what is sounds like: you set up a short course which your website visitor is enrolled in once they sign up to your mailing list. Over the next few days (usually seven, but the course duration can be more or less depending on what you have to offer), your subscribers will be sent a new part of the course. This is done automatically via your autoresponders, so you don’t have to physically be around for your course to be delivered.

What it achieves

Depending on the niche I’m catering to, I often prefer this method to sending out a one-off ebook in exchange for an email address. This is because it achieves a few objectives:

  • It helps build up a strong relationship with your customers in a short space of time. While it can take a while for subscribers to fully trust you, if you send them top-quality emails every day for a week, this trust is built up a lot faster.
  • A short course can offer higher perceived value then a one-off ebook, meaning you’ll get more subscribers.
  • It’ll get people used to opening and interacting with your emails. A subscriber who doesn’t open your emails is pretty much useless, so sending them daily emails (initially) will help them to associate your emails with quality. This’ll mean they’re more likely to open future emails they receive from you.

Why it works

With this approach, each email acts as a reminder.

While ebooks are good, many people tend to read the first chapter, put it down for further reading later on, and never get back to it. With an email course, however, they’re sent a new part every day, so they’re always reminded that they have reading to do. This means they’re more likely to read each part, and they’ll be reminded to go back to any part they miss when a new email comes through.

Another good thing about short courses is that they can quickly help you to establish your authority in your niche. If everyone else in your niche is offering ebooks, and you offer a course—something most other people will likely be charging for—people will look at you more favorably than your competitors, and they’ll be more open to seeing what you have to offer.

An example

You can see an example of this strategy at work here. In the sidebar, a seven-day course is offered to anyone who enters their email address. If collecting email addresses is your primary aim, you may want to make the opt-in box appear at the top of the page, though.

While it’s not essential, it may be a good idea to incorporate this next strategy into your seven-day course, too…

The further interaction strategy

The method

In this strategy, you’re looking to get your subscribers to further interact with you once they finish reading your emails. This is a method that can be applied to your existing email marketing campaigns, and although simple, it can drastically increase your website’s page views, reader loyalty, and more.

With this technique, you send subscribers short- to medium-length emails. In these emails, you will include a guide or something else that’s helpful to the reader, and at the bottom, include a link to more on this subject. The link will lead back to a page on your website, getting you more page views as you point the subscriber in the direction of further assistance. Note that it’s important to not include any ads in these emails.

This strategy can be applied to any email you send out for which you have additional information about the subject on your website. I tend to use it a lot in my autoresponder series, but it can be applied to any email you see fit.

What it achieves

  • More page views. As you will include a link back to your website, you will have more people visiting your site.
  • More sales. While you’re not selling anything directly in your emails, some of the pages you link to from your emails may promote affiliate products or have ads that you can make money from.
  • More visits to your hidden gems. If you have a big website, there are often articles that will be helpful to visitors that they don’t end up seeing. Using this method you can show people about your less-visible but just as helpful articles.
  • A higher open rate. If your emails are helpful and genuine, more people will continue to open and interact with them.

Why it works

I’ve been using this method effectively for quite a while now. It has led to me having top-quality open rates and a high percentage of clickthroughs—both are well above the industry average.

This method works because people don’t feel like they’re being sold to. If you constantly sell to people in your emails, your subscriber turnover rate will be very high. While people may open the first few to see what you have to say, after a while they’ll catch wind of your game and start ignoring your messages.

If you’re being helpful to them in every email, however, people are more likely to look forward to your messages and interact with them regularly. On top of that, they can make you sales if you have an affiliate offer or other monetization method in the linked page on your website.

What if you don’t have any extra information on your website?

I’ve often written emails for my autoresponder but not had anything to link back to. So what did I do? Well, I added the email to my autoresponder anyway, as the information was still valuable by itself.

The good thing about this method is it always gives you ideas for new subjects. You may want to make a note of any emails you send that aren’t further documented on your website, and in future, write an article or post about them. You can then go back and add a link to your emails (If they’re in an autoresponder) so any future subscribers will have that further bit of interaction.

Email marketing that works

So there you have it—two ways you can greatly improve your email marketing efforts. Using these methods will help build your authority, get you more subscribers, build up a better relationship with your customers, and get your more sales.

What other methods do you use to effectively build up your mailing list?

Shaun is the owner of Ultimate Mailing List, a site dedicated to help you build a responsive and profitable mailing list. Not sure how to build a list or want more email marketing tips? Then check us out.

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Comments

  1. Gregory C. says:

    Just got done reading another great post on email strategies by Glen (I think you all might know who) and it’s benefits, I really think that email is still king over any social media strategies one might implement.

    • Hi Gregory, yer I know of Glen. His views on email marketing is very interesting, and something I’m curious to know if many other people have had success with.

      I’ve always done well with email marketing, but I know social media can work for some people too. But who says you have to choose one or the other?

    • This post is simply awesome (apologies if I am sounding like spammer :)

      But believe me this gave me instant foods for my brain and noted down few good strategies.

      Shaun … My friend … You just made my day.

    • Hasan says:

      Hey, I absolutely agree with you all the way.. The power of an email list is greater than any social media tool! Since most people have an Email address which increases the chances of reaching out to diverse people and build a healthy relationship with them!

      Hasan

  2. Autoresponders are crucial to the success of any blogger in today’s blogosphere.

    I highly recommend using the autoresponder to ask for feedback and suggestions from your audience. It helps to build a relationship with the people who sign up, and that’s something I stress heavily in the why people course as well.

    • Agreed, using autoresponders will save you so much time and effort in the long run. on top of that they increase conversions and build you loyal subscribers while you sleep. Why would you not use them?!

  3. Tony says:

    I like the first suggestion, but find people really want the offering immediately. I have found a very low abandonment rate with my list. Your suggestion offers a teaser too that gets people excited and wanting more, which is a good thing.

    Another suggestion I have is after the initial period is over and you’ve delivered what you promised, I would recommend using the “Follow Up” messages more than Broadcasts. The reason being that if new people opt in to your list, they will never see broadcasts that went out before they signed up. If you continually add to the Follow Up messages, everyone will always get the messages. You would just not want to do this with time labeled materials.

    Good stuff and I LOVE my list. The subscribers are so engaged and responsive its unbelievable.

    • That can be true, it often depends on what niche you’re in. On one of my sites the short course methods works very well, while in another they more want something instant so I went with an ebook. You can always start with a short course, and if it doesn’t convert well (Everyone reads your first email but by day three no one’s opening them any more) you can turn it into an ebook and give them something instant. You will want to make sure that they haven’t stopped opening your emails because you weren’t offering anything interesting though :)

  4. Thanks for the read Shaun: my take away is the importance of not selling, but relationship building instead. Offer value and you retain the reader. Hit them with a sales pitch and you lose them!
    Colin

    • Great point to take Colin, this is often true for many other types of marketing as well. SEO for example, focus on what will benefit the reader and you’ll have a longer SEO career (You won’t get your site slapped by Google / people will stay on longer and share your links).

      All the best.

  5. Maaike Quinn says:

    Great tips, thanks! I have a newsletter on my new blog and although I can think of some great topics to write about, it sure helps to see the bigger picture :)

  6. What if you don’t have any extra information on your website?…nothing to link back to.

    Good point! We have Wal-Mart stores near us that place 4-8 Coca-Cola machines outside the store. The folks at Coca-Cola don’t really believe they are going to sell that much Coke. It’s just a strategy they have to keep you thinking about Coke.

    Weather you are sending an email with a link back to you website or not, you are still engaging target market people, and getting them to think about your product.

    • Wow, great example Andy, that Coca-Cola example actually made me laugh lol.
      They’re marketing geniuses I tells ya. :)

      Right you are, it’s all part of building up relationship and getting people to remember you exist. Then when they’re ready to use your type of service, yours will be the first name to spring to mind!

  7. iPad 2 case says:

    I tried twice and failed on email marketing. This guess post really encourages me to try once again with full efforts given to keep quality very high.

    • Email marketing isn’t always easy if you’ve got a small audience, but as you grow it will become easier. Just remember to focus on offering value to your subscribers, they will stay on your list for longer as well as help spread the word about you. Good luck!

  8. Great posts. Ebooks and encouraging engagement are key. The problem is that the content that marketers are trying to market have to relevant that adds value to the conversation. This way, if they’re not buyers now, at least they know that you deliver awesome content and you will be considered in the future. Besides, while social media is dominating the chatter now, Ex: email marketing has always been the most effective means of communication for marketers.

    @IsmaelAlterian
    Community Manager (Email & Campaign Management)
    Alterian
    http://www.email.alterian.com

    • Very true, and exactly what I said to Andy above ;)

      And social media is very popular these days, but I’ve never personally seen it as a competitor to email marketing. To me it serves a different purpose, and is used in conjunction with building my list (In fact, I often use Twitter to get a lot of easy mailing list subscribers fast).

  9. Bee Painting says:

    I’ll soon be offering varying subscriptions of varying cost, from free to good value. But all will have something of value to offer.

  10. I like the second method, sending your old subscribers some free gift. You do make money if you already had made a good impact on your readers.
    Mini course is much better than a ebook. I agree to it and will be implementing it very shortly.

  11. I can see how the Short Course Method can work. Internet users are easily bored, and subscribers are no exception. I’ve bitten into subscribe-for-a-free-ebook campaigns many times in the past, and Shaun’s right, after skimming the first few “pages,” I usually do the online equivalent of putting the book down and never returning to finish it – ever. Given that I was only lured into subscribing by the ebook, I usually feel no compulsion to interact with the blogger afterward.

    As for the second strategy, now that’s just obviously a clever idea. This would be a whole lot of help to a website I’m working on, http://www.SynchPST.com. I have lots of Outlook-syncing tips and resources to give away, and I have a FAQ page that I can link to. Perfect! Thanks for the tips, Shaun!

  12. Mario says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m curious what others come up with as myself I find the investment in Aweber my biggest waste of money so far. Just paid for another year because I forgot to cancel.

    • Hi Mario,
      I was just on the phone today to Aweber with a question. I always find them very helpful. If you are unhappy why not call them and ask to cancel and get you money back.

      The best part of Aweber is the smoothness of their automated system but without a doubt if you don’t have people subscribing it is an expense. But it is a great foundation to your business.

      Whatever you do, Good luck,
      David

      • Mario says:

        Hi David,

        They are very helpful indeed if I have questions. The problem also isn’t that I don’t have subscribers. It’s more like what to do with them?

        You see, in the beginning I subscribed to some of the well known ‘geniuses’ and they were all preaching that you have to have a list a.s.o. So I got one from the very first moment of blogging.

        Now 3 years later the only thing the ‘guru’s’ do is vomiting their sales pitches into my in-box. I don’t want to do this with my subscribers.

        Of course I have a series of auto responders and so on but I don’t see how this drives my traffic up as my subscribers visit my blog anyway.

        However, I don’t really dare to stop with it as I hope that the day comes where I can master the art of not only building my list but also doing something useful with it. For both parts, otherwise it’s just an expense I could invest more wisely in other stuff.

        • Hi Mario, you’ve raised an interesting point. A lot of ‘gurus’ suggest using Aweber as it’s the “best thing since sliced bread”, but in reality they’re just going after the affiliate commission they get from you. Aweber can be a very useful tool if you use it right, but if you’re not sure how to get money back from your list or you’re simply in a niche that doesn’t convert very well, then it can be a waste of money.

          I’d recommend to you to try the second strategy I mentioned, and lead them back to a page which has some affiliate offers on it. I’ve done this successfully many times in the past, sometimes making a few hundred dollars for each email blast I send out. There’s nothing salesy about the email, I may simply talk about how to make their Twitter promotion easier for example. From the email I link back to a post which shows them the ins and outs of promoting on Twitter, and mention Tweet Adder in it a few times. A good email like this can pay your Aweber fees for a while to come, and will mean you can enjoy using it to build up relationships more.

          If you really feel you’re wasting your money with Aweber, you could always move over to Mailchimp as they have a plan which is free for up to 2000 subscribers. I have been known to start up a new list on there then move it over to Aweber once I’ve past the free limit :)
          (Although I’ve kept a couple of lists on Mailchimp recently as their new site redesign is very easy to use).

          I’d say stick with email marketing a while longer, try a few new things and see where they take you. If you need any more help don’t hesitate to ask. :)

          • Mario says:

            Maybe this is a little off-topic but maybe it gives you an idea for another great post.

            I don’t want to say that Aweber isn’t user friendly but would rather describe it as a little unusable or to complicated in some way.

            Example: If I want to create a segment for people who didn’t read a blog broadcast or a follow up it seems that I have to mail them in order to create that segment. This is totally ridiculous in my opinion. At least I can’t find something in the help section that tells otherwise.
            The whole idea is to kick them out of the list all together after they didn’t read the newsletter a couple of times.

            In my opinion there should be an option to do this kind of things just by clicking on some easy to create buttons.

  13. Saul says:

    Those are solid techniques.

    I would add an important observation about email marketing as a whole. Your relationship with your subscribers is key. That means not only sending good content and not over-selling but understanding what your subscribers want and what they respond to.

    In blogging it starts with your subscribers being readers. You have to understand what kind of posts your readers respond to and create your email campaigns respectively.

    One other simple technique that I think is great is to invite your subscribers to read a post and invite them to comment. Word it like asking a favor. Like “hey, I want your opinion on something”. You can do that with any post, but again, it’s best if you know what your readers respond to beforehand.

  14. I use this exact strategy with a free 8 day ecourse on how to create a website and I can categorically say, it’s the MOST effective reward strategy for getting subscribers. The visitor to subscriber conversion is ridiculous.

    I will say this though, it helps to have a course that’s worth something to the user. Never forget that giving away their email is, in itself, a transaction and requires their trust.

    • Wow, great to hear. Michael at Income Diary has a similar subject course and I know he’s doing well from it. If I wasn’t already in enough niches it may have been something I would think about myself ;)

      P.S. Great point about giving something worthwhile back.

  15. Kent says:

    Email marketing is the best! I think the key is to keep the emails short and informative..or maybe just a short paragraph with some words of motivation.

    If you send out emails that will take 10 minutes to read, then forget about it! They might read the first one, but the next time they see your email in their inbox, they will assume its another long boring read.

    I know that sounds bad, but most consumers don’t like to read or do anything that takes much effort. They like to watch TV and generally be lazy. Hmm..I actually just came up with a good idea :)

    • I think it really depends on your niche, you’ll need to know your customers and what they’d want out of your emails. E.G. A motivational website may send longer emails, while a website giving stock tips may make it shorter. It really depends on your market…

  16. Ann says:

    Great tips, thanks. Just hope it does not get into Spam Folder!!!

  17. Sounds like a great alternative to the common “get my crappy free ebook in exchange for your e-mail”. A little sarcasm there.

  18. Mano says:

    This is really great. I’d like to give it a try. Email marketing is one of the best ways to drive your traffic and to build your credibility.m It’s good to now some new strategies that can help me with my business.

  19. George Tee says:

    Nice insights shaun! yes, the mailing list is an important part of the business. The short course method are good to gain subscribers. Giving an eBook for free or a few days course in exchange for the email address would be fine for your potential customers. I like how you present the further interaction strategy and how the internet marketer benefit from these approach.

  20. Brandy says:

    I Honestly have been struggling with this topic, I have taken time to build up my email lists a bit, not as big as I wanted to be at right now but haven’t figured out how to work that list so that I am not a spam machine but an educational machine that offers value to the subscribers in a way that makes them wish to visit my site. Thanks for this post, I love it and hope to implement the strategies soon.

    • Hi Brandy. Yer, email marketing isn’t as easy as a lot of people think. Most people don’t just want to spam their list with a load of adverts (Even though this can make money if you don’t mind losing subscribers / have a way to gain a lot of new ones), and I don’t blame them. I’ve never been a fan of going down this road myself, as I usually have a passion for the niches I go in and want to build a relationship with the subscribers.

      The Further Interaction strategy I mentioned above is win win for everyone involved, your visitors get more value, and you can make money from it without being salesy. It’s worth giving a try.

  21. I am building an email list but I have a blog. Each week, my readers get the entire week’s posts so there is really no need to go back to the site unless they want to read the comments. I also have auto-responders to have them dig deeper into the site.

    My question is, should I be giving my readers a short weekly format and let them click to the articles or a full feed? I also ask questions at the end of each post but my readers rarely respond.

    Would it be too much for the first couple of months to send them an auto-responder with dig deeper articles and the weekly newsletter? I post by the way 3 times a week and the average word count is 700 plus words. I do have affiliate links in the newsletter but no clicks.

    Open rate is about 30%

    • Hi Anna. Are you talking about your readers get the posts in their feed or you email it to them? If in their feed then that’s up to you. Some people only give a part of their feed so people click back and they get more page views. Others want to make it easy for the readers so allow the full feed. I go for the second option for one very simple reason: The more you have the visitors best interests at heart, the more you will succeed in this business.

      Now there are some exceptions to this of course, but it’s generally true. If you have a website that has a lot of features and useful information, search engines usually pick up on this and rank you higher. I’ve tried this and it’s worked for me.

      You could however give people a reason to come back to your website within your articles, e.g. to fill in a poll or to enter a competition.

      Another things I’ve noticed is that people don’t comment as much in certain niches. The MMO niche has a lot of commenters as people want backlinks and to get on the guru’s raider. In other niches however, people just want to get the information and go. This isn’t really a problem, as these websites can still be profitable. Give them a solution to their needs and the rewards will follow.

      And no, it’s not too early to give them dig deeper links from day one. If you have affiliate links in your newsletter but they don’t get clicks, maybe you should rethink the strategy? I’d suggest maybe shortening down your emails, taking the affiliate links out and redirecting them to a useful article on the subject that has affiliate links in there. Just don’t over do it with directing them to affiliate based articles…

      P.S. Nice site, I’m a vegetarian too ;)

  22. Miroslav says:

    Great strategies from the email marketing kitchen . Really helpful, keep it up!

  23. sadek says:

    I prefer the first one rather than second one because of its simplicity….

  24. sadek says:

    I prefer the first one rather than second one because of its simplicity….

  25. SOUROV says:

    Thanks for this post, I love it and hope to implement the strategies soon.Anchor Text: lee croucher
    URL: http://www.leecroucher.co.uk/2011/01/seo-dudes-search-engine-optimization.html

    Link must be do follow

  26. I agree with you, building a mailing list can greatly benefit your business. Thanks for these two email marketing strategies, they will help me a lot. This is one of the most useful articles I’ve read since it doesn’t only shows the great use of email marketing but it doesn’t discriminate in anything. In other words the content of the article is all positive and it is a great start of people would get a chance to read this.

    Great work!

    Juan

  27. Sydney Shore says:

    Very well said. There are so many insights that a lot of people can learn from here. I read a blog before that there may be a competition between social networking sites and the usual mailing lists, but I think that there shouldn’t be any competition because they still work the same, only differently on some aspects.

  28. balkony says:

    hi,,, thaks for the info, i’m a new here.. maybe, my blog’s audience is not much,, but i will try to get better,,

  29. Betterhand says:

    Thanks.. At last i found some helpful tips from this site and I shall try to follow those for better blogging.

  30. Jim says:

    I think interaction with your subscribers is key to success. My personal opinion would be to send just 2 emails once with lots of value in it on a weekly basis. I’ve also find that email marketing works differently for different niches. Sometimes you just got to interact more and sometimes too much is just too “noisy” for my subscribers.

  31. Susie says:

    Hmm, the short course strategy sounds like a rather good method to reinforce your readers’ trust in you. I think if you can show to them how your course can help them in the long run, they are more likely to listen to what you say and even promote your course to others.