Email marketing is a direct and potentially one of the most powerful marketing channels on the Web. Broadly speaking, it includes every email commercial message you send to blog readers and customers.
You can use email marketing to drive more traffic to your blog, engage with current customers, launch new projects, promote affiliate offers, and so on. Direct means your message will go straight to the end user, skipping on other advertising channels. If you carefully craft the content of your email newsletters and provide quality to subscribers, you’ll also be able to build strong relationship and establish trust which is an amazing asset when it comes to business blogging. When readers trust you they’ll pay attention to your recommendations, and potentially take actions based on them.
Now that we know that email marketing is awesome, let’s see what it takes to get started with it:
#1 Select an Email Marketing Service
You need an email marketing service and software where you’ll gather all your subscribers’ email addresses, craft messages to be sent to them, analyze statistics, etc. It can be self-hosted, on your own server if you have the skills and time, or you can choose a hosted service where they keep the software and data for you.
GetResponse, Constant Contact, and Mad Mimi are among the top ten rated email marketing services. When selecting the best for your blog consider the available creation, scheduling, and reporting features, but more importantly, pay attention to services’ deliverability rates or the percentage of sent emails that actually reach end users.
You’ll need to spend some money to get a solid email marketing provider, but if you consider the potential incomes from selling your products and services, it is certainly one worthy investment.
#2 Get People to Subscribe
Once you log in to your account you’ll be able to create a mailing list and a call-to-action web form that people will use to subscribe to your email newsletters. To send them marketing messages you must first ask your blog visitors for permission, – that is to leave their name and email address, and confirm the subscription by clicking the link sent via email.
The subscription form is an essential element of a great blog design, and is best positioned on the top of the sidebar and at the bottom of each blog post. These spots are visible and have high conversion rates, particularly at the end of posts since interested and satisfied readers who read through your whole content are more likely to want to sign-up for more of your insights. Check some WordPress plugins that can help you with this call-to-action button.
One sure way to get more people to subscribe to your blog is to give freebies as incentives for those who join. This can be an ebook, a report, software to download, free consultation, or a collection of photos, audio and video files, depending on your niche specifics. Whatever you choose must be valuable to your readers too, as to encourage them to subscribe. Make sure to include an image of the gift in your web form, and invite visitors to subscribe by promoting the freebie in the headline.
#3 Make Connections, Build Relationships
The size of your email list is important, but it’s nothing without a responsive audience. If people don’t like what you send them, they’ll simply ignore your messages or unsubscribe. After all, they already got the freebie they wanted.
The key to keeping them interested and building good relationships is providing top quality content.
- Create an auto-responder in your email marketing software to send all new subscribers an introductory email with the link to download their gift.
- 2 or 3 days after this first email, send another, this time including something your subscribers would find useful, like a how-to guide that helps them solve a problem, or a free web-tool they may be interested in.
- A week after the second email, send them another also containing helpful piece of content.
These first few emails set the tone of your communication in the newsletter, and help establish the initial trust between you and your readers and customers. Then you can start to slowly …
#4 Introduce Promotional Messages
Weekly newsletters are standard practice around the Web, so after a month or so, and 3 or 4 emails, you should already have a solid relationship with your blog subscribers. If they are still here and interested, they are probably ready to see your recommendations too – your products, blog posts, affiliate offers. Just make sure to promote with moderation – one commercial in every two or three content messages. If people feel like you are spamming them and they are not getting any value, they’ll unsubscribe, and you’ve probably lost them forever.
Some people are loath to start using email marketing because they confuse it with spam. They forget to consider that this is just a marketing tool, and what makes the difference is how you use the tool – do you spam and annoy your readers, or is the content of your email newsletters always top quality and relevant to your subscribers?
If you’ve ever been subscribed to a reputable blogger or company website, you certainly have a positive experience to share. Tell us in the comments what you’ve liked the most…