Note: This is the third installment of the Email Marketing 101 series.
When you were a baby, you made a lot of mistakes.
You learned to walk by falling over a gazillion times.
You hit your head, you cried, and you learned to be more careful, so your brain wouldn’t leak out.
You put things in your mouth. Some of it tasted good, while some didn’t.
We’re learning machines, yet most people avoid making mistakes. It isn’t fun, but it leads to success.
There are plenty of mistakes you can make in email marketing that can ruin your efforts.
The good news is that you don’t have to make them, at least not the biggest ones, because we’ll cover them right now.
1. Strategic Failure
When I started my email list for this blog, I had no goal for the list.
I had hopes, but no goals.
The best way to avoid strategic failure is to know where you’re taking your subscriber.
Imagine yourself as the captain of the ship.
You have to know where you’re setting sail.
Most email newsletters are in la-la land, because they have no idea what they ultimately want to accomplish.
When you sign-up to my list, you get a report on building a lifestyle business, and I follow up with excellent content on the same topic.
There’s a strategy in place.
2. Where’s the Cookie?
A cookie is what you give someone when they first sign-up to your email list.
In my case, it’s the lifestyle business report.
It entices people to sign-up, because it’s not enough to just say “Hey, sign-up for my newsletter, it’s pretty awesome.”
A cookie is usually short, and easy-to-digest. It gives a fresh subscriber instant gratification.
It’s not randomly thrown together. Even though it’s short, it has to be packed with value, because that is what delights subscribers.
And when you delight people, they want to hear more from you.
3. Landing Page Horror
A landing page is a page dedicated solely to getting you to sign-up to the newsletter.
It “sells” the free stuff.
A great landing page communicates how your cookie and newsletter can help.
We’ll go into more depth in a future installment on landing pages, but for now, keep it as short as possible, while communicating what people get and why they should care.
In short: what’s in it for them?
4. Where’s Your Personality?
Most email newsletters, like blogs, are bland and easily forgotten.
You can avoid blending into the noise by letting your personality shine through.
Your subscribers want to connect with a human being, not with a website or a logo.
You may be afraid of putting yourself out there, and that’s fine. But in the end you have to decide whether you want to let your fears, or other people, dictate your life.
The ball is always in your hands.
5. Following Rules
Following rules is a virus that infects every aspect of life. It sucks the life out of your soul.
Even though I write as if there are rules to email marketing, there aren’t.
There are merely guidelines, just like with everything else in life.
If an expert tells you to send a newsletter to your email list every day, and it feels like too much, don’t do it.
You don’t have to follow every single piece of advice.
We build a lifestyle business to do what we enjoy, not to create another way to follow someone else’s rules.
There are a lot of mistakes you can make in email marketing, but mistakes are what you learn from, so don’t go out of your way to avoid them.
You can significantly increase the profitability and receptivity of your newsletter by following these simple tips:
- Have a goal for your newsletter
- Create a cookie that fits in with that goal
- Communicate what you have to offer with a landing page
- Put your personality into what you do and express yourself (quirks and all)
- Beware of letting yourself be governed by other people’s rules
And even though you don’t have to make all the mistakes a baby makes, you will still make them, because that’s how we learn.
Here’s what I want you to do next.
Pick one mistake and look at how it applies to what you’re doing.
Yes, just one.
Then ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers:
- How does this apply to me?
- What am I doing “wrong?”
- What one thing could I improve from what I’ve just read?
- How am I going to implement it?
- When am I going to implement it?
Focus on one mistake and one improvement at a time.
Photo by Alexander (CC BY 2.0)