Series Posts: Practical Marketer

How to Create and Execute Your Email Marketing Plan in 2019: A Template for Success

How to Create and Execute Your Email Marketing Plan in 2019: A Template for Success

Practical Marketer • January 21, 2019

For many, the New Year brings a renewed energy towards the pursuit of one’s passions or success. For more than a few businesses, email marketing is a part of that equation. Email marketing is an incredible opportunity for businesses to nurture meaningful relationships with their customers and leads. After all, better relationships is often a New Year’s resolution many of us have as well. It’s a new year and with that comes a new list of reasons that email marketing isn’t dead yet. Aside from the aforementioned relationship building reason, here are a few stats that demonstrate why email marketing is still the king in 2019: Can you believe that more than half of the people on planet Earth used email in 2018? Well, they did. A whopping 3.8 billion people used email last year. I’m sure some of the younger generations will be surprised it’s not higher. Additionally, there are projections that show that email will hit 4.2B users as 2022 comes to a close. All those people using email and they’re checking it too. In fact, research has shown that 91% of the consumers in the US check their inboxes each day. Checking emails is actually the first thing that 58% of adults say they do in the morning. Not only is email being widely used, but email marketing is effective. Consumers who have received emails from a brand spend on average 138% more than those who don’t get any emails. So, now that we can see why email still reigns supreme in 2019, let’s take a look at creating your email marketing plan for the New Year. Why is it important to have an email marketing plan? We’re not all Google or Apple or another tech giant with seemingly endless resources. Most of us only have a limited amount of time and resources to dedicate to each area of our businesses and marketing efforts. When you can plan out an email marketing plan for the quarter or even your whole year, you allow yourselves the ability to see what’s coming next and plan accordingly. You’re able to budget the time and resources enough in advance that you can ensure a consistent email marketing schedule throughout the year. Additionally, when you establish goals for your email marketing efforts, you can track your progress and report back to the team, as well as make improvements when necessary to ensure you’re hitting your marks. With the end goal in mind, it’s easier to see what you need to be monitoring in your reports and then make adjustments to move closer to those goals. That might be improving your subject lines or using a more recognizable From Name as shown by your open rates. It could also mean doing a better job of segmenting your lists to send more relevant content that boosts your click-through rates and ultimately conversions. Part of the time and resources dedicated to your email marketing plan must involve a focus on growing your list. That way you can choose tactics that fit your schedule and create a plan that you can execute accordingly. Choose Your Email Marketing Tools Jordie van Rijn knows a thing or two about helping businesses choose the best email marketing tool for their needs. He’s an email marketing consultant and the founder of Email Vendor Selection. Here are his thoughts on this subject: With every year comes evaluation and planning. One way to gain more insights into your internal and external vendors is to create a vendor evaluation dashboard as Kevin Hillstrom talks about. I like the idea because it allows you to share your goals with your (internal and external) vendors and keep them awake. Suddenly vendor partners can start to care (more) about your business. If you are looking for a new email marketing software this year, one consideration I’d like to highlight is to not look at the price or even the email marketing ROI if the solutions are in the same range, but take into account the ROTI: Return on Time Investment. Once you have found the different solutions that seems to fit the bill and you are comparing. ROTI  means the time it takes to create emails, set up campaigns, do reporting, handle data and whathaveyou in the day-to-day processes. But also the time in training, collaboration and internal processes. Time might be the ultimate measurement for ease of use. You can easily find more money, but it is hard to find more time. Jordie van Rijn – Identify Your Target Audience Knowing to plan for list growth tactics and where to focus your energy to do so begins with identifying your core customer. Understanding who your customer is will help you in all aspects of your marketing efforts. It’s what will let you do a customer-centric approach to your email marketing. It also helps guide each decision you make, because you can do so with your core customer in mind. Who is your core customer? The first step is the gain an understanding of who is your primary customer. Consider what that person wants and even more important than that, what they truly need. What problem are you solving for them?  What value are you delivering to them? Give that person a name. Consider what that person drives and where they shop. Ask yourself what restaurants they dine at, what publications they read and where they spend their time online. This information will help you understand where you should be spending your time for list growth. The second step for identifying your core customer is to consider who is the supporting customer. Aside from your primary customer detailed above, there will be a group of people who make the purchasing decisions. They may not be the one that has to use your products or services, but they are the one approving the budgets for your primary customer. You need to know where and how to connect with that group as well. What do you need to offer your core customer to get them to opt-in to your list? You need a very good understanding of what is the uncommon offering your core customer seeks from you. It’s what they cannot find anywhere else (at least as good as you do it). The customers you already have are likely telling you what it is that they love about your business. What you’re offering your core customer also extends to the copy you place in the signup forms at all the various touchpoints you deem necessary to focus on. What incentive do they have to give you their email address? Going beyond the products or services you offer what value do you plan to deliver with your email campaigns? You’re likely casting a wide net in terms of driving traffic to your website, social media and any other place where you interact with your subscribers. You need to find the right words to connect with your core customer in those places. You can break this down into three steps: Voice The head coach of the Chicago Bears keeps a note on his play call sheet for every game that says “BE YOU” in bold font. It’s his simple reminder to stay true to who he is and his personality when managing a game for the team. Similarly, your voice for your signup form copy should be true to your brand. Infuse the personality of your company into that copy so that it’s not too vanilla, but stick to who you are. Be you. Here is an example of a signup form from a vocal coach named Felicia Ricci who does a good job of finding a voice that matches her brand. Just the simple “Let’s Belt, Baby!” help you to understand what the experience of working with such a coach might entail. It’s fun and makes you want to be a part of it. Incentive Once you’ve translated your personality across all your signup forms, it’s time to work on the incentive. Why should your core customer subscribe to your email list? You need to let them know you’ll be delivering value to their inbox. Gaining an understanding of your core customer will let you know what they need. That’s where incentive comes in. Aside from the goods or services you offer, what value you can you deliver? It can be information, savings or resources. It could even be entertainment. Something that aligns with your brand ideals and will attract the kind of signups who are core customers. This signup form for a writing course from Enchanting Marketing does a good job of outlining the incentives for signup up: You don’t want to hide the incentive. Make it clear and easy for your core customer to understand the benefits of signing up. CTA A strong Call To Action (CTA) is the last step in creating an effective signup form. Now that you’ve infused your personality into the signup form and demonstrated the benefits it’s time to inspire that signup with a compelling CTA. Your CTA should be easy to find first and foremost. While you can test out various button placements and colors, the primary focus when writing a CTA should be on using action-oriented words. You should also create an urgency by using words like “today” or “now.” Here is a signup form from Treehouse. Notice all the action words they use: “Change,” “make,” “get started today,” and “claim” all action-oriented words to get those signups. These three steps cover “how” to get your core customer to opt-in to your list. Now, let’s take a look at some of the places you should be focusing your efforts. Cover All Your Potential Touchpoints for List Growth You and your brand interact with customers in so many places. Perhaps you’ve never considered there is an opportunity for a signup form at some of them. No matter the location, you need to make sure that a customer or lead is finding the signup form at each place. Take a few minutes and jot down all the potential places a core customer may interact with your business. Go beyond online. There are likely offline opportunities as well, such as in-store, at events and more. Next, you’ll want to consider how those visitors to each touchpoint are interacting with you. How can you seamlessly integrate a signup form into each location? There are some of the common touchpoints you should be focusing on for your business: Homepage Many times, your homepage is the first impression you make on an individual. It’s also always the most trafficked page on your website almost always. You want a way to keep all those site visitors coming back for more. For the greatest odds at growing your email list, place your signup form above the fold (which is just jargon for “before an individual would have to scroll down to find it”). That way, it’s right in their field of vision, and if you’ve done the steps above, you’ll be most likely to capture visitors email addresses. Slack’s entire homepage is built around an above the fold signup form: This signup form also does a good job of demonstrating some of the lessons discussed above. It clearly explains what Slack offers and has a clear CTA. Plus, there’s no way a site visitor can miss this signup form. If you don’t have room above the fold, there are two other places on your homepage that you can place your signup form. In fact, years of the Internet have even trained site visitors to look for a signup form in these two places. The first one is your sidebar. If you use a sidebar for your navigation, advertising or to promote additional goods or services, a signup form can fit right in. Additionally, you can place a signup form in your footer. There are a few benefits to this. One, is that if they make it all the way to the bottom of your page, they’re likely fairly interested in what you’re offering. Second, is that it’s another spot we’ve been trained to look for a signup form. Lastly, it’s also a benefit because if it’s in the footer it will live at the bottom of all of the pages on your site. Blog Your blog is a great source of organic traffic to your website. The content your create is a natural lead generator. Are you capturing that traffic with a signup form? You’ve already got their attention. Keep it by getting their email address. Again, the sidebar can work here, as many blog designs have a sidebar already in place and they’ll encounter it as they’re reading your blog posts. However, a pop-up can also be effective here. Just be sure not to have it pop-up too soon, as you want to give them time to enjoy your content and want more. We put this strategy to action on the Benchmark Email Blog, giving blog visitors a chance to subscribe to get updates whenever we add a new post to each category: The pop-up appears as the readers scrolls through to post, so to give them enough time to fall in love with our content and want more (we hope). Other Website Pages Your homepage and blog are probably the two most familiar places to put a signup form, but in reality, any highly trafficked page on your site should have a signup form. You can check your Google Analytics, or wherever else you’re monitoring your website traffic, and come up with a strategy for each page that gets a lot of visitors. Contact and About Us pages are usually on that list. Same with key feature pages or resources. Think about where a site visitor is in their user experience with your brand and what might be helpful to them in that moment and then promise to deliver it if they opt-in. Social Media For many business, social media is where they’re creating engagement with their audience. It’s important to remember that your social followers are not always your subscribers or customers. Use your social media channels to grow your email list. After all, your marketing efforts will be most powerful when you using all channels together. On Facebook, you can use their CTA button to link to a signup form or place one in a tab, you can also link to a signup form on Twitter or Instagram. One other strategy to promote list growth on social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram is to run “gated content” offers, which require an email address to unlock the piece of valuable content. Share a link which brings them to a signup landing page that will allow them to opt-in to receive the desired content. Phone Do you have customers or leads calling in via phone for customer support or any other reason? It’s another opportunity to grow your list. It’s not rocket science, either. All you have to do is ask! Train the individuals who are speaking on the phone to explaining the benefits of being on your email list and ask them if they want to be signed up. In-Store/On-Location If you have a brick and mortar location that customers can visit, you should also prepare some offline solutions for list growth. You can go as low-tech as a signup sheet next to the register, or as high-tech as using a tablet or computer with a station for signing up. You can even display signage that has a QR code which makes it easier for in-store visitors to sign up. If your signup opportunity is near your register, you get the added benefit of a salesperson being able to explain the benefits of subscribing to your list. Don’t underestimate the power of personal interaction! Tell those customers exactly what to expect for signing up, whether it be new products, coupons or other discounts, special offers or anything else that will entice them to subscribe. Some stores even make email acquisition a seamless part of the in-store process for checking out. Other bring and mortar locations, such as coffee shops, offer free wifi in exchange of an email address. Events Does your business host events or do members of your team attend expos, conferences or the like? Use that as an opportunity to grow your list! It’s hard to make your mark when an event attendee is encountering dozens of other businesses. However, if you can get them to give you an email address, you can follow-up with them after the event. It could even be an online event, like a webinar. If they register with an email address, you can do pre-event promotion and follow-up after the fact. Print Ads Even as print media seems to be fading away, they’re not gone and print ads can help you to grow your email list. If you’ve got ads in newspapers or magazines or if you’re printing flyers, brochures, postcards or standees, you can place QR codes on them to make signup quick and easy for everyone. Benchmark Email Tip: Any signup form you create comes with a corresponding QR code. Place them on any of your print marketing materials or on your displays and signage at your brick and mortar locations. As with all your touchpoints, remember to make it easy to find, include a compelling CTA and simple instructions on how to opt-in. Segment Your Email List(s) for Targeted Campaigns With all those touchpoints you’ve covered, you’re sure to attract different sorts of folks. Sure, if you’ve got a clear idea of your core customer, they all likely have something in common. However, they may like different goods or services that you offer or have different needs at different times. Say, for example, that you’re in the business of skincare. Some customers may suffer from acne. Others dry or oily skin. If you sent a one-size-fits-all email campaign, some topics may not be of interest to portions of your list. However, if you’re able to know your subscribers individual needs, you could sent targeted campaigns based on that information and ensure that everyone is receiving the more relevant emails possible. That’s why list segmentation is so important. Here are some tips on effectively segmenting your email lists to nurture better relationships: Begin at the Signup Form Data Sorting your subscribers can begin at the signup form. That way, the work is being done for you from the start. If you’re collecting that data from the beginning, it makes it very easy to create list segments when you’re ready to incorporate that strategy into your email marketing plan. Here are a few of the ways you can segment your list based on signup form data: Gender Sure, nowadays gender lines are being blurred and what is created for men and women matters less and less. However, there are still plenty of people out there who will tell you they want content intended for men and women. Below, you can see how shoe company Clarks creates separate email campaigns gearned towards men and women: The goal of the email is the same, but the content is varied for a targeted audience. Each intended audience will have no problem finding the footwear they need. Location This form of segmentation is especially important for businesses who have multiple locations, but it can be an effective form of targeted marketing for any brand. It’s also helpful if you host events at your brick and mortar locations. If you want to send out an email to advertise a promotion at a specific location or event that’s only being held in one place, it won’t apply to a large audience, only those within the area. You can avoid inundating your whole list with promotions that don’t apply to them by using simple location-based list segmentation. This is also helpful for businesses like local real estate, car dealerships, etc. Here is a signup form from a real estate firm, Robert Paul Properties, based in Massachusetts. You can see how they do their segmenting right there in the form: By asking your subscribers to let you know where they live, or what areas are of interest to them, they segment themselves into the proper list. Then they can be updated on new property listings in the area, like the above example, or any other promotion in their area for other businesses. Industry Another common field on signup forms is industry. If your client-base is comprised of multiple industries, it is a helpful one for you to include in your signup forms. That way you can populate each email campaign with relevant content to that industry. For a company like LiveChat, it’s an important step in their signup process. That way, they can follow-up with onboarding materials that may be helpful to that specific industry: LiveChat has years of experience and knows how to service many industries. This step of their process let’s them hone the messaging to be as relevant as possible to each industry. Job Role Are you mainly focused on B2B? Knowing who your audience is within a business can also be valuable. You may want to use different language or provide different content whether you’re sending to developers, consultants, sales, marketing, etc. Job role is another fairly common signup form field in the B2B sector. Each job role has its own pain points and you likely offer solutions to them. That’s why they subscribed! Cater your content to each segmented audience. Segment Based on Interests Not all list segmentation can, or should, be done from the signup form. However, that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to do. Aside from the above demographics, you can also segment your list based on preferences. Every purchase, click and email open is your subscribers telling you what they like. Use that information to better segment your email list(s). Here are a couple examples for how you can do that: Purchase History A review of your customers purchase history will tell you exactly what they are interested in. That information is invaluable to your business. When it comes to email marketing, relevance is key. If you continually send emails that aren’t of interest to your subscribers, they’re going to tune out. Eventually, they’ll unsubscribe. You can use purchase history data to send various types of campaigns. One way you can put that data to use is by offering a discount to encourage them to reorder or re-up on your products or services. You can also send an email with complimentary or related products to their purchase. After all, it’s five times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to sell to an existing one. You can also follow-up with customer testimonials and videos that show your subscribers how the products and services they have purchased to reinforce their decision. Let’s take a look at how Sephora uses its customer’s purchase history to send more targeted email campaigns: What better way to make your customers feel seen than an email campaign like this?! Website Activity The only thing you can sell in an email is a click. That’s why it’s to your advantage to track your subscribers engagement with your website as well. If a subscriber has looked at a specific product page, you can send follow-ups to help convince them to make a purchase. Benchmark Email Tip: With Automation Pro, you can track and automate follow-ups with ease. Setup automated follow-ups that are triggered by subscribers when they visit specific pages on your website to tell a complete marketing story from website to email and back again. Maintenance is a Part of a Good List Management Plan Great email marketing means you’re sending to people who want to hear from you. That means removing the inactive subscribers or maybe the ones who have abandoned that address or never entered it correctly in the first place. That’s why email list validation is an important part of any successful email marketing plan. We asked Jessica Martinez, Marketing Director of Kickbox, to share some thoughts on why it’s integral to thriving with email marketing: For many email marketers, the New Year is like the first day of school. A fresh start. Time to shed any bad email marketing bad habits and incorporate new strategies to address challenges you may have encountered the previous year. Or to discover new tactics, like email verification, to help you achieve your email marketing goals. One of my favorite things about starting a new school year was always shopping for new clothes because no one wants to go back to school in the same clothes as they wore the previous year. You want to put your best foot forward in new kicks and fresh fits. Similarly, you don’t want to start out the New Year with the same old email list. The New Year is the perfect time to freshen up your list and to create a strategy to keep it clean throughout the year. List hygiene is an email marketing best practice and an easy-win if you want to see an increase in email performance and deliverability. By using an email verification service you can easily identify data quality issues within your lists such as invalid and/or poor-quality email addresses. Removing invalid email addresses is a no-brainer because they provide no value to you as an email marketer since they are guaranteed to result in a bounce. Disposable email addresses can be just as bad because the subscriber has no intention of engaging with your company, which means every email message you send not only costs you money but your message is unopened or unclicked. A high number of unengaged emails can negatively impact deliverability. Additionally, high volumes of invalid or disposable email addresses can also be indicative of a larger problem. People may be trying to abuse free trials, sneak past gated content, or simply making typos. A more robust email verification system is needed, like verification at point-of-capture. Verifying email addresses before they enter your database is becoming more commonplace and can easily be achieved using the Kickbox Real Time API. This combined with periodic email list verification is the most effective way to ensure the best inbox placement. Verification provides you with deliverability information (deliverable, undeliverable,risky, disposable, accept-all, free domain) and a quality score for each email address on your list. Why should you verify your email list? The answer is simple. A healthy, clean list of opt-in subscribers is the foundation for any high-performing email campaign. All the strategizing in the world won’t help your email marketing plans if you have a poor quality list. Oftentimes marketers don’t realize they have quality issues until they start seeing deliverability problems: bounces, landing in the spam/junk folder, or their ESP stopping the campaign. And we all know deliverability issues can be a bear to fix. Time to develop an email list hygiene strategy 2019 is your fresh start. Start it with a clean email list. From there maintenance is easy. B2B email lists often degrade at a higher rate than B2C lists in part because of the frequency in which people change jobs. Your list is constantly degrading and, unfortunately, when you add an email address to your database it doesn’t come with an expiration date. That’s why verification is so helpful and can alert you to quality issues before they become deliverability issues. How often should you clean your list? A good rule of thumb: if you have a list of primarily business email addresses (B2B), you should verify your list every 3 months. If your list consists of mostly consumer email addresses (B2C) once every 6 months is usually sufficient. Or you can take the seasonal approach. Thankfully, verification is affordable and valuable enough that more and more companies choose to verify their lists seasonally before their big holiday campaigns. This is an easy way to ensure your list is always in tip-top shape and sets your campaigns up for success throughout the year. Define Your Email Marketing Goals Setting a goal puts your entire email marketing plan into focus. If you know what the finish line should look like, you can work backwards from there to determine how you can achieve your goals. Every business is different. Sure, at the end of the day everybody wants to sell more. However, there is a set of goals that every email marketer should have. Let’s take a look at what those goals are: Nurture Relationships with Your Email List 75% of Americans say they use their smartphones most frequently to check email. Think about it. For many of us, the first thing we do in the morning is grab our smartphone and check our email, whether it be from bed or in the bathroom. This on-the-go ability to connect with your audience gives you a great opportunity to nurture a relationship with your customers and leads. To earn those relationships that will lead to sales, you need to take a customer-first approach to your email marketing. What does it mean to do customer-centric marketing? Focus on the customer experience. It should be simple, pleasant and convenient. Appreciate loyalty. Offer rewards for your returning customers and let them know how much you value them. Develop strong communication. Know how to talk to your audience, how often and what they need to hear. Variety is the spice of life. If you’re sending the same thing to your audience repeatedly, they’re going to tune you out. Deliver value. Know what you need to offer to your core customer and deliver it consistently. The already talked about knowing what problems your core customer has. The value comes in the solution(s) you offers. Listen to feedback. Give your subscribers a chance to let you know what they need or want. Make them feel heard. Goals for Measurable Improvements in Your Customer Relationships It’s all well and good to say you want to nurture better relationships with your subscribers, but what does that look like? As we mentioned before, nurturing better relationships is the end goal. There are wins you need along the way to achieve that. Like we said, see the finish line and then reverse engineer the path. So what are those objectives that will get you to your ultimate goal? Reduce List Churn List churn is an inevitable part of email marketing. In fact, nearly on average nearly half, 46 percent, of new subscribers churn within the first year of opting into a list. What can you do to lessen the churn in your email list? Here are some tactics to reduce list churn: Decreasing the churn of your email list begins at the signup form. Use double opt-in to ensure you’re growing your list with subscribers who want to hear from you. A Welcome Email is your first impression and best shot to get a subscriber hooked on your emails from the get go. Welcome Emails have the highest open rates, so be sure you’re making the most of the opportunity and set the tone for your emails to come. Keep your subscribers educated on everything they’ll need to successfully solve their problems with your goods and services. It could be video tutorials, DIY tips, customer testimonials that show how others are putting your solutions to use. You may be sick up us saying it by now, but to reduce list churn (and any other goal you’re trying to achieve) you need to deliver value to your subscribers. If they’re happy with the content you’re sending, they’re going to remain on your list. You can also create an exit poll that asks subscribers why they are opting out of your list. This feedback will provide invaluable information on where you can improve your email campaigns to reduce list churn. A re-engagement campaign can also help to keep inactive subscribers in the fold by getting them to remember why they opted into your list in the first place. It can be as simple as telling subscribers you’re going to remove them unless they opt back in or you can try something out of left field, as they’re not engaging with what you’re currently trying. Use your purchase history and click-through data to create targeted campaigns for your subscribers. If you cater to their interests, they’re going to stick around. At last, but certainly not least, be grateful. Make sure you show your appreciation for the space you get in your subscribers’ inbox and say thanks. Say it in words, say it by delivering value and say it often. Improve your Open Rate and Click-Through Rate If you can accomplish even a few of the points detailed above, your open rate and click-through rate (CTR) should improve. There are also a few strategies you can put into place specifically targeted at improving your open rates and CTR. Use a familiar From Name. Make sure that it’s something your subscribers will recognize. Your company name is the most common From Name, but if there is a specific person that your subscribers have been interacting with, you can use their name as well (or a combination of the two). Companies who have a very public CEO or celebrity involvement can bank on those household names as well. Crafting compelling Subject Lines will also go a long way towards improving your open rates. Great subject lines create interest about what’s inside, have a sense of urgency and use action words. You need great CTAs in your emails to improve your CTR. You can use a combination of links and buttons and use the lessons you learned on CTAs from your subject lines to entice subscribers to click-through to your website. Increase Conversion Rate If you’re following the tips for the previous two goals, you’ll likely already see an increase in your conversion rate. To focus on this improvement, you need to do a couple important things: Hone Your Conversion Funnel Just like there are wins that you can aim for on the way to your ultimate goal, there is a series of microwins that businesses need to hit before getting a conversion. The first microwin is getting the opt-in, then it’s each step you need to take to get the conversion. Increase trust, reduce anxiety, build excitement about your products and services. This can be done by sending follow-up emails with testimonials, sharing updates on awards you’ve received or other newsworthy stories. Automation can help you do a lot of this work. Chris Drucker created an awesome infographic to show a very simple:   Improve Your Landing Pages As we mentioned above, the only thing you can sell in an email is a click. The conversion happens on your landing page, whether it be a product page, eCommerce store, registration page or anything else. You must tell one cohesive story from your email to the landing page and make sure that the landing page is set up to seal the deal. Create Repeat Business Again, each of the previous goals will help you improve your repeated business (just as the other goals were served by the goals that preceded them). Repeat business is important. Remember, it’s far easier to sell to your current customers, than to attract new ones. Again, this is where your purchase history data comes in handy. Use it to upsell with related products and accessories to promote a better customer experience for a premium product. Strava promotes their Premium service with an upsell email that paints the picture of what a subscriber’s life will look like if they upgrade: You can also use it when it would be time to order more or when you need to renew a plan early for a SaaS product, like Carbonite does in this email: By targeting their existing customers with a renew email, Carbonite is delivering value by offering two free months, creating urgency with a CTA of “Renew now” and ensuring consistent repeat business. Create an Email Sending Schedule So far we’ve talked a lot about the work that goes into your email marketing efforts even before you even hit send on a campaign. We’ve also discussed the goals you should have for those efforts. There has also been some of talk of different types of emails you can send to achieve those goals. However, no email marketing plan is complete without a schedule of all the types of campaigns you’ll be sending throughout the year. Of course, email marketing affords to ability to riff a bit during the year and send more spontaneous campaigns that will also service your goals. You don’t have to do them all, but these are the types of emails you should work into your email marketing schedule: Newsletters When it comes to email marketing, newsletters are often the first thing people think about. The purpose of a newsletter is to ensure that your brand is never far from the minds of your subscribers. Many subscribers expect to receive a newsletter from your business. It could be monthly, weekly or even daily, as long as the content can consistently deliver on value. Your subscribers will stick around and even look forward to your newsletters if you’re consistently sending great content. Use your newsletters to share your latest blog posts, company news, product launches, promotions and more. These are the things that well help nurture that relationship with your customers as long as they’re focused on your subscribers’ needs. This daily newsletter from Apartment Therapy hits the inbox every morning with tips for better apartment living. There are tips on saving space, decorating and more each day: Holiday Emails The holidays are also great opportunities for email marketing, because consumers have learned to expect them and even look forward to them. Plus, there are holidays spread throughout the whole year that give you excuses to pop into your subscribers’ inbox year-round. Doing holiday email marketing is easy too, as there is no shortage of free holiday email templates available to you. Here are some of the common holidays where subscribers expect to see an influx of holiday email marketing campaigns: New Year’s Day Valentine’s Day Presidents Day Memorial Day Mother’s Day Father’s Day Independence Day Labor Day Halloween Thanksgiving Black Friday Cyber Monday Christmas and Hanukkah New Year’s Eve Inboxes will also be most crowded during these times. If you look hard enough, there is some sort of holiday every day. Have some fun with it and celebrate things like National Pet Day with your subscribers, in addition to the ones listed above. You can find a pretty good list in this holiday marketing calendar from Real Thread. Automation There are so many emails that are recurring, but unlike a newsletter, they can be handled with marketing automation. Emails like your Welcome Email can be automated to send when a new subscriber opts into your list. That way every single new subscriber gets a unified experience. If your goods or services require some onboarding, you can automate that series of emails as well. As mentioned earlier, you can also automate based on your subscribers’ engagement with your email campaigns and your website. If an email goes opened or unopened, you can follow-up with appropriate messages or if they’ve clicked on specific links or visited a particular product page you can automate additional messages to move a subscriber towards a conversion. Additionally, as we’ve discussed, you can also use your purchase history data to automate a sequence of emails to keep customers in the purchase cycle. Decide Which Types of Emails to Send While it’d be nice to cover all of your bases and send newsletters, holiday emails on every occasion and several automations, it’s not feasible for every business given their resources. That’s OK! Just pick one or a few emails to start sending. You can grow your efforts from there. If a newsletter is too much to commit to, given that you have to come up with content each month, start with a simple Welcome Email automation. That way, you’ve got a warm welcome covered for all new subscribers that sets the table for all the rest of your email marketing efforts. You also don’t have to send emails every single holiday, just pick a few that you can manage. Do you have a sale or another promotion during a holiday weekend or maybe for Black Friday? Focus on that first. Regardless of the type of emails you decide to send, they should all be aimed at your goals. Each campaign you sit down to create needs to be in service of the goals you’ve set for yourself. Ask yourself why you want to send each campaign and what you expect the outcome to be. Newsletters are great for getting consumers to buy into your brand story. Holiday emails deliver great value and bring some cheer to the inbox. Automation brings a subscriber into the fold and helds to send targeted campaigns and generate loyalty. All of these are important for relationship building, so pick the ones you can execute within your resources. Trends to Plan for in 2019 As you’re putting together your plan for the year, it’s important to look ahead to what trends you may want to incorporate into your email marketing efforts. We asked our friend Kevin George at Email Monks to share some of the trends he thought email marketers should prepare for in 2019. Innovation with Interactivity As more and more email clients have started supporting CSS-based interactivity, 2019 will be an opportune time for more and more brands to join the bandwagon. With the provision to replicate the interactivity, which was once only possible on websites using JavaScript, brands can send engaging interactive emails, especially during the holidays or special occasion. Moreover, since the message can be customized to be only visible when the subscriber interacts with the email, interactivity can greatly increase the engagement rates and in turn the chances of them converting. Once, AMP for Gmail is implemented well, emails can soon be nicknamed as Mailable Microsites. Check out these emails featuring awesome interactivity of hover for the holiday season: Adestra and BrightWave Gamification By incorporating game mechanics into non-gaming realms, you can encourage your subscribers to take the desired action. The design and functionality of gamification delight the subscribers and significantly enhance their user experience. You can know more about your subscriber through the playful interaction in these emails. It has been in trend since 2016 but it will get more popular in 2019. Here’s an example of a maze game in email from EmailMonks. Artificial Intelligence Most email marketers are employing email automation for sending timely emails to their subscribers based on the pre-defined rules. Yet any scope of personalization is dependent on either including merge tags or adding dynamic content blocks (which are coding head-ache in itself). Just like Phrasee is employing artificial intelligence to personalize the subject lines, implementation of AI shall soon advance further to personalizing email content automatically based on the customer interaction. Improved Accessibility in Emails Move towards making marketing emails accessible has been going on for quite some time. In 2019, more and more brands will adopt industry-standards for making email accessible, which will not only widen the customer base for all brands but also improve the user experience for all your subscribers regardless of any health limitations. Plan for Continuous Improvement You don’t need to be a pro from day one. You only need to be willing to get better as you go and learn from your successes and misses. Reviewing your Reports also shows you what is or isn’t working and where the areas to improve exist. You need to monitor your results to know if you’re on your way to achieving your goals. These are some areas you can focus on in your reports: Open Rate Your open rate is how many of the individuals on the list you sent a campaign to opened that email. It’s a simple metric to follow, and it shows if you’re clearing your first hurdle on the path towards ROI from your email marketing efforts. It’s how you know if you’ve separated yourself from the rest of the noise in your subscribers’ inbox. No additional engagement, much less a conversion, can take place if your email isn’t being opened. Your open rate tells you if two specific things are working right for you: your Subject Line and the From Name you’re using. Does your subject line entice your subscribers to open it? Does it tease enough value? Is your From Name familiar to your subscribers? Do they recognize it? These are the factors that determine whether or not a subscriber is opening your email. To boost your open rates, test and improve your Subject Line and From Name. Click-Through Rate This is the metric in your reports which helps you with the next level of your email marketing efforts. It shows if the content and CTAs are working well enough to get a subscriber to click-through to your website or landing page. As we’ve mentioned, the only thing you can sell in your email is click and this is the metric that tells you if you’re getting exactly that. This is the next micro-win you need to achieve when reaching for your goals. To improve your click-through rates, review your reports to see what type of content is getting you clicks. Focus your emails around that. You can also survey or poll your subscribers to ask what type of content they want to receive. Better segmentation of your lists and targeting of your campaigns should also work to improve your CTR. Additionally, you can test button placement, using links and buttons combined and improve your CTAs to increase your CTR. Opens By Hour This metric shows you when people are opening your email campaigns. Opens By Hour is helpful for asking the old question: when is the best time to send my emails?” Every audience is different and the honest answer to that question is “it depends.” That is, at least, until you review your opens by hour reports. If you’re doing true customer-centric marketing, you’ll be paying close attention to when they’re opening their emails and imagining what’s going on in their day when that happens. Then you can not only know when to send, but what might be helpful content to them in that moment. Unsubscribes and Abuse These two metrics are obviously not the fun part, but they’re an important aspect of your reports nonetheless. If you haven’t done a good job of focusing on your customers’ needs and delivering value, unsubscribers or, worse yet, abuse complaints occur. An unsubscribe or abuse complaint can be the result of sending too often or even not sending often enough to the point that your subscribers forget they subscribed in the first place. It can also mean that your content is no longer relevant. Some subscribers will hit junk or report abuse, because it’s easier for them to find than your Unsubscribe link. That’s why it’s important to have a clear and easy-to-find link for your subscribers to opt out. Following the tips and advice detailed above and focusing on customer-centric should help you to reduce your unsubscribe and abuse rates. Working on your goals from the signup form on will help you to keep these numbers low. Paying attention to what’s in your reports will help you continue to improve and reduce those numbers. A/B Testing Going beyond your reports and learning what is and isn’t working in your email marketing and identifying areas of improvement is one part of the process. Testing is the other. A/B testing is like having a crystal ball, which lets you know how your subscribers are most likely to react to your email campaigns. If you’re wondering which of two subject lines you wrote would be more effective, what design elements would work better, what CTA would be more likely to get a click or anything else in your email, A/B Testing will give you the answers you seek. You can even test entire campaigns against one another. With A/B testing, you can send your variants to small sections of your list to see how each variant works in terms of opens and clicks. Then, the winner is sent to the remainder of your list. With A/B testing, you’re doing continuous improvements as you send campaigns. Here are the types of A/B Tests you can put to use: Subject Line. This is the most popular type of A/B Test. It’s your first impression and will help to boost your open rates. See if a longer or shorter subject works, test with personalization, emojis or any other tactic that you think might increase engagement with your emails. From Name. It’s important to make sure this name is familiar to your subscribers. You can try a name of an individual in your company, if they have a lot of contact with your subscribers, or use your business name. Getting it right will increase your open rate. Entire Campaign. Not sure if an email focused on one product or another would be more effective? Maybe it’s two entirely different designs that you want to test. Just make sure you don’t introduce too many variables, so you know which elements that you’re changing are working. Delivery Time. As we mentioned, the best time to send an email changes with every audience. Test to find out what is best for yours. Wrapping Up For any beginning, all of this might seem like a lot. It doesn’t have to be! Take this article in small pieces and attack one tip or strategy at a time. If every email you send is aimed at improving your relationships with your subscribers and customers, you’re already on the right path. Start with how you’re growing your list and see if there are easy wins you can achieve for adding new subscribers. Just having an understanding of your core customer will help direct the rest of your email marketing planning. Then, take the time to learn a bit about the individuals in your list. Consider the people behind the email addresses and see if you can sort them into segments that let you send more targeted, relevant content. After that, consider your goals for your email marketing efforts. It’s an important step for creating an effective email marketing plan. From there, you can pick and choose the types of email campaigns you want to send. Start with whatever you’re most comfortable with and add more from there. Lastly, review your reports and test different strategies to continuously improve your email marketing efforts. That way you can achieve even more of the goals you set out for your business.


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6 Ways to Use Social Media in Your Email Marketing Campaign

6 Ways to Use Social Media in Your Email Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • December 27, 2018

Incorporating social media in your marketing campaigns can help you experience a number of benefits. Not only are social media platforms used by millions of users from all around the world, they can also help you run your marketing campaign in a much more cost-efficient and faster way. Social media can really help you learn a lot of new things about running your own email marketing campaigns and they can help you not only attract more people to your brand but to also achieve higher conversion rates. Here are some effective ways to use social media in order to help make your email marketing campaign a success. 1. Use the Right Social Media Platforms The very first way for you to support your email marketing campaign and help it grow through social media is by picking the right social media platform to work on. There are millions of online users for every platform, but you might have a harder time working with some. For example, Instagram doesn’t allow you to share links directly through your posts and you will most likely have to link them on your profile’s bio. This might become a setback as many users will not take the time to visit your website and click on that link if it is not easily accessible to them. It is a lot wiser to use Twitter or Facebook instead. Both are platforms which are being used by many companies on the daily in order to promote their blogs and websites and they can help your audience come in contact with your content a lot easier. 2. Provide Redirect Links to Your Landing Page After picking the right social media platform through which you will be promoting your content, you should make sure you are sharing the right links in order to give your followers access to joining your email list. The best way to do that is by always incorporating the right links on your posts. These links should redirect your followers to your landing page, where they will be able to easily spot your email list subscription form. Social media will help you get your content out to a lot of different people and if you promote your page correctly, you will be able to get a lot of people to join your email list and therefore make your email marketing campaign a success. 3. Offer Special Discount Codes Through Your Social Media One of the tactics many companies follow in order to get more people to join their email list is to encourage them through special promotions and various discount codes. This is a great idea which can really help you attract a bigger audience and gain you a lot of followers on your social media. You can probably understand why most people are hunting for bargains. In our day and time, every company wants to sell more than their competitors and promotions are a surefire tactic to achieve that. By spreading the message through your social media accounts you are achieving a number of results. First of all, you are helping people who already are in your follower list to actually go ahead and make a purchase they have been thinking about for a while. Alex Anderson, marketer for TopWritersReview notes, “Placing your discounts on social media will help you reach a lot more potential customers than any other form of paid advertisement”. On top of that, you will be able to get even more people to view your offer if you have your followers share the post you created. Not only will this attract more people to join your email list, but you will also be able to increase your sales. The best way to go about this is to let your online followers know that by joining your email list, they will be able to benefit from a certain promotion. Your social media accounts are the best way to do that as they allow you to come in direct contact with your audience. These followers will more than likely stay subscribed to your email list and that means that they will continue receiving offers and promotional emails, therefore making them more likely to come back for another purchase. 4. Let Your Audience Know How Easy it is to Join Your Email List In order to motivate people to join your mailing list and get certain benefits, you should also let them know how easy it is to join. Your social media accounts are the perfect place for you to do so. Instagram and Facebook give you the option to start a live video where you can show your followers live just how easily they can join and benefit from your offers. You can also go ahead and create a video or an infographic which will show your audience through the right pictures, just how easy it is to follow the link you will attach and become a member of your email list. The point here is to actually make sure you don’t ask for a lot of information in order for them to join. A name and an email address should be enough for you to create a personalized email for them when they decide to join. You can adjust your email marketing campaign to their preference on your website and their purchases, as well as their social media account information, in order to make your emails a little more personal and fun. 5. Create and Share Interesting Content

 When using your social media accounts to promote your email marketing campaign, you will have to give your followers a taste of what they should expect through it. Apart from showing them how to join your email list and informing them about discounts and other important offers, you should also be able to offer them interesting content which will actually motivate them to stay subscribed. Depending in your niche, there are a number of things you can do in order to keep your audience entertained. You can post pictures about fashion, inspirational posts, recipes, blog posts about interesting topics and many other things. In this case social media can help you by providing you with a means of creating the hype before you send of the next email. If your email list is automated, so should your social media be. A few hours before a new blog post, or even a day in advance, you should have already created an interesting email promoting it as well as an appropriate social media post which will make your audience expect the new email in a certain amount of time. This will help you make your audience interested, keep them up to date with your activity and help them give you feedback on what they enjoy so you can improve your email marketing campaign in the long run. 6. Keep Improving Your Marketing Campaign

   The secret to any successful email marketing campaign is to get enough feedback from your audience and make sure you are adapting your content to what they enjoy the most. Unless you pay attention to their wants and needs, you won’t be able to actually create content they will truly enjoy and that will result in them leaving your email list and in your marketing campaign being unsuccessful. Social media platforms allow you to come in contact with your audience without them having to send you an email or give you a phone call. Most people will actually prefer using direct messages to talk to you about any sort of issue. This is a great thing you can do in order to ask for their feedback on your email list after any conversation you have. You can also create a poll on your social media accounts where you can ask your audience what they would like to see next in your future emails as well as what they would like you to continue doing. This type of direct feedback is the number one thing that will keep your campaign running successfully for the long run. It will also allow you to improve the way you create your emails as well as the services you provide. Running a Successful Email Marketing Campaign is in Your Hand There are many different ways for you to use social media to your advantage. The point here is to not only find a good way to spread the message about your emails and website and to attract more followers, but to also continuously improve your content in order to make your campaign successful in the long run. You can use your social media accounts in order to solve any questions your followers have regarding your email list. You can talk to them about all the offers you can provide them with as well as get feedback on your current email content and keep improving it. No matter how you go about it, your campaign will be a success as long as you put enough effort into good communication and content creation.


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How to Use Your Email List to Create a Facebook Audience

How to Use Your Email List to Create a Facebook Audience

Practical Marketer • December 21, 2018

You’ve probably heard us say it many times before, but your email list is your most valuable marketing asset. But did you know its value extends beyond the inbox? You can use your email list to create an Audience to promote ads to on Facebook. After all, it’d be silly to limit your marketing to one platform when it takes 5-7 times for a person to recognize your logo. A strong marketing strategy comes from using all the channels available to you in combination with one another. There’s no denying the audience that Facebook provides. It’s massive. As of the third quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.27 billion monthly active users. That’s a lot of eyeballs in one place! A lot of businesses are taking advantage of this massive audience. 93% of marketers, which is around three million businesses, use Facebook advertising with regularity. Additionally, showing off its prowess as a global force, 70% of those businesses are based outside of the US. The ability to target those ads by creating a Facebook Audience from your email list will help you to stand out from the crowd with more relevant ads. What is a Facebook Audience? Facebook allows you to upload an email list of customers and leads to its platform and compares your data with theirs to formulate an audience that you can target with ads. How to Use Your Email List to Create a Facebook Audience Let’s say your business has a special sale coming up. Perhaps it’s for something around the holidays such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s. It can also be for a new product launch or just because! Whatever the occasion, you can use Facebook Audience to help promote your sale. First, you’ll want to create your custom Facebook Audience by uploading your list of existing subscribers. If you’re using Benchmark Email, you can now use Automation Pro to create an automation that will automatically upload new subscribers you add as you grow your email list to your Facebook Audience. You can also do this from your Contacts dashboard. We’ve put together a helpful FAQ to help you create a Facebook Audience with Automation Pro. A 360° Marketing Approach to Your Facebook Audience This is an email marketing blog, so first we’ll discuss using Facebook Ads in conjunction with your Facebook Ads. However, we will share some tips for Facebook Ads below. As mentioned above, your marketing efforts will be most powerful when you combine your channels. You should create a sequence of automated emails that match the messages in your Facebook Ads. That way, they’re reminded of your special sale at multiple touchpoints. It makes it all the more likely that you’ll convert those sales. Here are a few tips for combining email marketing automation and Facebook Ads: Try to sync the messages. Think about when a subscriber might see the Facebook Ad or an email in the sequence. Make it feel like one complete story. Additionally, you need to make sure your branding is consistent down to the colors, font styles and voice in your copy. Don’t repeat yourself on both channels. Add some variety and give your subscribers a reason to follow you in each place. Offer a different perspective, make a new joke, anything that is going to add additional value for your customers and give them a reason to tune in. When a conversion happens, you may want to remove the buyer from your Facebook Audience list for that campaign. You don’t want to annoy them with ads after they’ve already made a purchase. Alternatively, you can add them to a new Facebook Audience with upsell ads. Facebook has an audience minimum of 10,000. If by uploading your subscribers, your audience isn\'t large enough at first, feel free to add in more people by selecting from their audience settings. You can choose audience lookalikes and Facebook will find people on their network that share similar interests and profiles as your existing subscribers. Following these tips will help you stay top of mind with your subscribers, grow stronger relationships with them faster and can even get your message in front of more eyes by using lookalike audiences on Facebook. Tips for Facebook Ads We’re obviously excited about the new Facebook Audience features available in Benchmark Email. However, we also took some time to compile some stats for you on Facebook Ads. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but when it comes to Facebook Ads, images account for 75 to 90 percent of an ads effectivity and performance. Keep it short and simple. An ad title is most effective at just four words and it only grows to 15 words when it comes to your link description. When it comes to using video in a Facebook Ad, you have to get to your point quickly. According to Facebook, 47 percent of the value from your video comes from the first three seconds. Wordstream conducted research to determine the average Cost Per Click (CPC) and Click-Through Rate (CTR) for Facebook Ads. They determined that the CPC was $1.72 on average for Facebook Ads and that the CTR was 0.9%. These numbers are important when it comes to knowing how effective your own Facebook Ads are in comparison to other businesses. However, their importance really only factors into your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) for a new customer. You can use a Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics to track your entire conversion funnel. This will tell you what your CPA is for your Facebook Ads. If your Customer Lifetime Value is high, a higher CPC or CTR will be more acceptable for your business. Wrapping Up Like Captain Planet, your marketing efforts are most effective “by your powers combined” from all your marketing channels. Facebook Audiences let you easily combine your email marketing and Facebook Advertising efforts. It’s an incredibly effective strategy to better nurture relationships with your customers and subscribers. That’s why we’re all here, right? We\'ve put all this info into a helpful infographic as well. Share it up! Do you have tips for Facebook Ads? Share them in the comments below!


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The 4 Ways Your Email List Becomes Your Most Valuable Marketing Asset

The 4 Ways Your Email List Becomes Your Most Valuable Marketing Asset

Practical Marketer • December 19, 2018

Your email list is your most valuable marketing asset. There are a few reasons behind it. You’re not relying on a third party platform. Your business has been given permission by each individual to send them communications. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to nurture and grow a relationship with your customers and subscribers. You’re going to hear us say that a lot in 2019 and beyond. It is Benchmark Email’s mission in 2019 to further your understanding of how to make the most of your email list. To learn to love your list and the people on it. After all, it’s all about those relationships. What makes a great relationship? Trust and Respect. As a business, you understand that it’s a privilege to be allowed into a subscriber’s inbox. Don’t take advantage of it and your subscribers won’t be marking you as spam any time soon. Honesty and Forgiveness. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes. That’s OK as long as you’re transparent about it. Share yourselves with your customers and they’ll buy into your brand story, warts and all. Thoughtfulness and Appreciation. You need to be doing customer-centric email marketing at all times. Understanding what problems you solve for your customers and what value you’re delivering to your subscribers’ inbox. Commitment and Appreciation. You need to send consistently and stick to what you promised on your signup forms. It’s also imperative to demonstrate how much you appreciate your subscribers for opting-in to receive your emails. Send them targeted, relevant content that will help them get the most out of your emails. When it comes to making the most of your most valuable marketing asset, your email list, we’ve identified four topics we’ll be focusing on: 1. Growing a List When it comes to growing your email list, it’s important to focus on covering all the potential touchpoints you have with customers and leads. You also want to make sure you’re attracting individuals who want to hear from your brand to your email list. Growing your list is also about timing. It’s about knowing where to put a signup form on a page and which pages to put them on and even what offline opportunities could lead to list growth. Here are many of the touchpoints you should be considering for list growth: Your homepage Your blog The other highly trafficked pages on your website Social Media Over the phone In-store At events Print ads It’s also about knowing what to promise your subscribers. Give them an incentive to signup. 2. Managing a List Learning how to properly sort and segment your list to make sure you’re sending targeted, relevant campaigns will be a difference maker for your business. Not ever subscriber is the same. They have different needs and interests. Being able to meet them on their level and provide the specific information that each subscriber desires will help your business thrive. Here are some of the ways in which you can segment your email lists to provide more relevant content: Gender Location Industry Job role Purchase history Website activity Email engagememt 3. Securing a List In 2019 and beyond, data security is going to be important. We’ll help you make sure your list is safe. That means that you can require anyone who attempts to export a list from your account to enter a PIN. It also means that your data is stored in our top-of-the line secure servers and that we abide by all data protection regulations such as GDPR. 4. Monetizing a List While we believe you should be doing customer-centric marketing versus constant selling, we understand that everyone’s goal at the end of the day is to make money. We’ll show you how. Using tools such as automation, you can help deliver more personal, relevant content to each subscriber. Benchmark Email also makes it easy for you to test your emails with A/B testing and by reviewing your reports. See what is and isn’t working in your email campaigns. This lets you focus on continuous improvement for your email campaigns. Wrapping Up To learn more about how you can grow, manage, secure and monetize your list, check out our book, Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. It’s full of tips and examples for how you can achieve those four goals for your business. Do you have tips on any of these aspects of your email list? Share them in the comments below!


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Building and Nurturing a Customer Email List Prior to a Product Launch

Building and Nurturing a Customer Email List Prior to a Product Launch

Practical Marketer • December 18, 2018

Your customer list is your most valuable asset. You’ve probably heard this many times, but I’m sure many have never actually taken any action on it. Dealing with many startups, I know for a fact most startups or even older more established companies do not interact with their current or ex-customer list often or ever, or if they do, they probably do not strive to keep a close relationship with the list, and are not really trying to sell the list anything. Coming from a heavy internet marketing background, I’ve seen most savvy marketers take a completely different route than traditional pre-internet companies. I’ve noticed that: They focus on building a list and capturing a targeted audience first They then develop and market products to said list It is really incredible how much money is all too often left on the table by having a dormant email list. As acquiring customers is often the biggest expense any company has, it makes no sense that companies are throwing money away when they acquire customers, but then forget about them once they’ve purchased a product. On the other hand, keeping your current or ex-customer list engaged can really make or break your business long term, as a higher customer engagement almost always means a larger customer lifetime value, which in turn means you can spend more dollars to acquire each customer. Maybe companies have gotten away with neglecting their list in the past, but in markets with higher maturity, and when going against competitors that have this piece of their marketing process dialed in, a higher customer LTV means outbidding, outperforming in advertising and getting a much bigger slice of the available leads. That is why when you’re looking to launch a new product or feature, nurturing and re-establishing a relationship with a pre-existing customer list is not only the most surefire way to guarantee revenue at almost no cost, it’s really key for the long-term pulse of your business. Before getting into how you actually do this, we assume that people reading this post already have an email list so we don’t have to go into list building as that would be a massive post onto itself. If you want to read more about that, you can check out this post, that talks about the most popular free marketing tools. Usually, there are two main types of lists: Public lists - These are usually built with giveaways, promotions or newsletter offers. These lists tend to be much less engaged and therefore need more nurturing of up to 60 days before a launch. Current or Ex-Customer lists - If you’ve sold them something before, and assuming the product fulfilled their needs, this list will be your most valuable asset, as it will be filled with people that already trust you and your brand, and will be eager to know about the upcoming launch of your next product. Ideally, you should be keeping close contact with this list, and if that’s the case, the nurturing for an upcoming launch can start a couple of weeks before launch. Generating Hype Ahead of a Product Launch So you\'ve got a dormant email list. Now the first step is to create an autoresponder sequence to re-engage your list a recommended 60 days before launch, particularly for disengaged public lists. The autoresponder should be split into one email every four or five days for the first 30 days, then for the next 3 weeks every 2-3 days up to launch week. On launch week, send an email every day. 48-72 Hours around launch day you should be sending 2-3 emails per day. The first emails should not be used to pitch anything or even speak about your upcoming product, they should be all about re-engaging people with the want or need that drove them to subscribe to your email list in the first place. So the emails you send in these first 30 days should be used to remind everyone why you are an expert in that subject matter by providing insights about your niche without providing concrete solutions. Twist the knife, that is to say, make people remember the pain they were trying to solve when signing up for your list. I.E. If you have a list about weight loss you can talk about your research into what causes most people to gain belly fat and resulting health problems. Back it up with scientific evidence for an even bigger impact. After the first 30 days, the following 3 weeks you should be sending the list emails about the solution you’re developing to solve the problem you’ve been talking about the previous month and why it’s going to be different than anything else that’s out in the market right now. Do not rush and disclose everything about the product in a single email. It’s often best to separate your product features into separate emails and talk extensively about each one, which problems they solve and how they go about solving them. Set a launch date and include an add to calendar link on every email you sent, so people will get an alert on launch date. During the launch week, you should be sending daily emails re-defining the strong points and main features of your new product, some testimonials if you can get them. Don’t worry about unsubscribers, you should welcome them, as if they don’t even want to read your emails, they would never buy your product. An Example of Email Template You Can Use At This Stage Market’s search for meaning email You can create an email that targets most customers who do not even know why they do not buy and most of the times they subconsciously disqualify themselves based on old cognitive biases or negative self-imaging. You will, therefore, need to reframe those negative self-perceptions and give them a chance to derive new positive meaning to REQUALIFY many of the lost customers. → Questions to ask yourself when coming up with this email template i) What unexpected actions in relation to your product might your prospects feel ashamed of? ii) If there are any unexpected actions that they (the prospects) could feel ashamed of, what external thing can you deflect the blame to? iii) How was the unexpected action best possible at the time? iv) What pain may it have saved your prospects from? v) How did it prepare and/or empower them for this moment? Examples: Tell a story about their experience of that shameful trait/action/behavior Deflect the blame to something external Bridge into WHY it actually wasn’t their fault How was that thing actually positive ­a good thing ­ ie. opening the meaning loop But now there’s a better (more appropriate) way ­ closing the meaning Loop Tying the meaning loop to your offer Overcome surface level objections through your key features/benefits An example of an email you can send to your prospects at this stage is shown below: During The Launch Do not forget to set up your email marketing service so that you segment your list after a customer purchases. Pass the customers that purchase your new product onto a separate list, so they stop receiving pitch emails. Send them 2-3 emails per day in the 72 hours that surround a launch date. These emails should be shortened versions of emails you’ve been sending for the past 3 weeks, addressing the key points in your product and why they need to get it now. Offer them motivation to jump in right now in form of a special launch discount or additional offer that will be very helpful to your customer. This will get your undecided customers to act now. If you do not do it, a lot of these undecided customers that are on the fence will have their hype slowly wear out and will never buy. Offering them some kind of a deal on top is many times all they need to make the jump and buy your product. Make sure you set up conversion tracking on your emails. You want to know which particular email led to the click that generated you the sale, so you can gauge which emails are working best with your audience, and repeat the formula of that winning email. Examples of Email Templates You Can Send To Your Prospects During a Launch 1. The spoiler alert email This email is designed to leverage the power of future pacing. This means that you can use it in a powerful and concentrated way to show your prospect what it will be like to experience the benefits of your products you are launching and at the same time future pacing the experience of overcoming their resistance to purchasing it. In doing so, we acknowledge that those elements of resistance are normal, par for the course, and ultimately overcomeable within the context of a new reality they want to experience. Explanatory Questions To Ask Yourself When Making a Downsell Email Template What are the very SPECIFIC thought patterns or layers of resistance they’ll have to overcome before hitting “purchase”? To the best of your ability, describe their current reality as accurately as you can (this will be used to anchor the future pace) What will their experience look like 12-72 hours after buying your product What will their experience look like 12-72 hours after NOT buying your product? What will their experience look like a few weeks after buying your product? What will their experience look like a few weeks after NOT buying your product? Example in a Template [CTA] [Being Specific, Anchor in Current Reality] [Immediate FP - 10 Minutes - Disarm Fear/Resistance in Purchase] [Short Term FP - 24 Hours - Immediate experience of owning product - disarm buyer’s remorse] [CTA 2] [Medium Term FP - 2-3 Days - Quick wins as it relates to a unique aspect of your offer] [CTA 3] [Long Term FP - 2-3 Weeks - a paradigm has shifted. Reality has flipped. What outcomes have started to become realized?] [CTA 4] [Long Term FP - 4-8 Weeks: Tangible ongoing and growing results that emerge from that new world] [CTA 5] [Future Pace - 10+ Weeks - What it’s like experiencing that new ultimate outcome - and the experiences it now affords them Benji and Devesh of Sellfy have been using this mail in their product launches. The email they send their prospects looks like the one on the image below: 2. The anti-launch launch email Majority of sales usually roll in at the final hours of a launch cycle. It’s a known fact and many people embrace it. While there are more theories that try to explain why that is, most launchers/marketers fail to unpack this ordeal further and reap from the benefits of frontloading more sales from the very start. Front-loading can prove to be very crucial at this point as it will: Increase your cash flow to re-invest in retargeting/ads Validate you and your customers Give you the confidence to market aggressively until the end Provide social proof like case studies to use in your closing mails Create urgency as early as possible especially when there is a limited number. The anti-launch launch email aims at progress and sustaining the momentum of your product as well as consistency in the sales from the time of the launch to the end. The email should answer the following questions: What micro-actions have they ALREADY taken that you can hold them consistent to? How are they already in the process? In what ways is “Rome Burning” for them? How has it been burning for long before you came along? How will your prospect be in a worse position if they buy in a few days? (what will the fire have already consumed between now and then? What benefits are they leaving on the table?) How have they been trying (and struggling) to put out the fire? How is a product “launch” disingenuous to you? What proprietary elements have been in development/testing/being proven for months or years? What results or case studies can you point to? What actions have your prospects taken that hold them consistent to acquire your product from the beginning of your launch campaign to the finish? Example in a template Announce that the offer is now live Social proof and/or a core benefit of the product Bridge into WHY it’s not an actual “launch” Rome is Burning moment - what’s burning - how are they trying to Extinguish? Describe the existing context/problem as SPECIFICALLY as you can Remind them that the fire has been burning long before you got there Why it’s not a launch for you (credibility + proof + case studies) Call out a negative trait (ie. procrastination) + hold them consistent to a higher standard [CTA - which shows naturalness - continuation - small step] Remind them of the cost of waiting. What will be left of Rome? [CTA 2] Optional: use the PS to disarm 1 or 2 key objections An example of an anti launch launch kind of mail is shown in the template below: Post Launch The main post-launch goal is to try different strategies to convert people who were not converted by your sales pitch thus far The customers should be segmented according to the product level/upsells they bought. You can then re-pitch upsells to the ones that have not purchased them during the checkout process. You may need a developer to set this Automation for you between your website/payment processor and your Email Marketing service using API calls. You may want to offer a one-time downsell to those who did not purchase your product (the same product as a discounted price). This will not leave people who paid full price for your product happy, so this is why it’s key that you move these people onto a separate list as they purchase. If applicable you can also offer a 2-3 day free trial, or a $1, 7-day trial. This tends to work really good as you’ll get their credit card information and bill them automatically for the full amount at the end of the week. Make sure you disclose this information to keep chargebacks low. You should keep sending 1-2 emails a week to your non-buyers. Try shortened/key points versions of the many emails you sent prior to launch and always try to give them a new motivation to sign up. If you are doing this correctly, every time you send an email you should squeeze a few more signups. Example of Email Templates You Can Send Your Prospects Post Launch The Downsell Email This ‘’wait, don’t go yet, I have one time special offer for you” kind of email is one of the most profitable emails you can send after the initial launch campaign has closed. It is at this stage that most non-buyers are agitated to have missed on your product and it is the ripe time to coax them into conversions. Apart from just the feeling of missing out on your product, some non-buyers feel disempowered not to pull the trigger and or not being in a position to pull the trigger. A well-designed downsell on your product will boost your campaign with extra dollars while at the same time creating and building trust and goodwill. It is more profitable than just having to leave your non-buyers hanging. It gives your audience a second chance at success apart from just giving you a second chance at a sale and that makes them feel served, excited and re-empowered. A downsell will also create a long-lasting goodwill for your next launch. Forms of Downsell Offering your non-buyers a shorter subscription period/trial An introductory product related to the main product that will empower them to get the full product later in the date. Offering your non-buyers a stripped down product without providing hand holding Explanatory Questions To Ask Yourself When Making A Downsell Email Template For Your Customers Overlooking the price, in what ways was your audience NOT ready to benefit from your initial offer? What option from the downsell options might be useful at this stage? What unique and positive characteristics will exclusively empower them to make a new offer? Example in Template Remind them of offer they missed Show you care - that they’re still on your mind Confirm that they made the right decision Commend them on that decision - and WHY it was the right one Transition: What about their current stage or unique abilities makes them exclusively empowered for your downsell offer Introduce the downsell offer [CTA] OPTIONAL: Give unselfish reason for the downsell Urgency/Scarcity/Guarantee [CTA2] Mistakes people are fond of doing during downsell Guilting or shaming them into a sale. Making them feel like they’re getting a second rate product. Painting the FOMO on too thick Making it feel like a “compromise” instead of a new, more fitting opportunity. Not being transparent. Unless you give your real motivation, your audience may think it’s just a cash grab A downsell email example you can send your prospects is shown below: Other Strategies That Will Help You With A Product Launch And Can Be Incorporated Along With The Above Email Strategy Create a Presell Page This usually will be a small page used to pitch or display your upcoming product or feature to your customer list and possibly validate the product or even just the idea, before actually investing your hard earned money on it. What we usually do with a presell page is we offer our email list the chance to signup for an early launch (with benefits) of said product. Based on the number of signups we not only generate hype for the launch, but we get a pulse for how much the product is going to sell. There is no way of knowing how many of those who sign up actually end up buying the product when it launches, but common figures in the Software as a Service industry tell us that from 30 to 60% of those who make a pre-signup will actually buy the product at least for 1 month, when it comes to subscription based products. So this can be used to get a small representation of the actual figure after you launch. If you will find it good enough, then your product will be worth launching and you can now dig into pre-selling it. If not, then it is advisable to use your time to focus on something else. The image below shows a presell template used by Jimmy Cyclone of Sumo: Top-Notch Pre-selling Strategies 1) Create a group and offer them a Beta version of your product at a discount. This strategy works really well as long as you stay transparent with the fact that you are giving out a discount because your product is still being refined. We use this a lot when we’re in need of funding but we don’t want to stop development and look for funding elsewhere. You can create a private group for members who are willing to pay a bit less for an early unfinished version of your product. A beta version of your product is like an experiment and those who will be willing to pay for it will do it knowingly. Customers usually have different reasons when they decide to pay for your beta product, but the main reason revolves around getting an opportunity of early access to your product and the exclusivity that it entails, as well as actually helping you making the product better. A discount is just a bonus for them. In fact, it acts like a bait for more who may be interested but feel like they cannot afford to pay for a beta product for as much as the complete product costs. Make sure to use that opportunity to gather feedback which will help you refine your product prior to launch. 2) Host a Webinar Even before you host a webinar, you should write a series of emails that not only engage your prospects but also build trust among them. Once you earn their trust, it is easy to host a webinar that teases your product nudging them toward paying for your beta product before the official release. Your ideal webinar should not only focus on convincing your prospects to acquire your product by giving them all the reasons but also should be precise fun and ‘easy’ to watch. If you convince them well, chances are that most viewers will be willing to pay for your product. You should understand that hosting a webinar will prove to be crucial if it dawns on you that you might not be able to gather a group of enough beta testers for your presell activity. In general, if you have a fairly loyal or enthusiastic (assuming you know your audience quite well) following, you can choose to go with the strategy of creating a beta group for your product pre-sell action. The reason is, unless they are already fans of your work, it might not be easy to convince them to pay to work through the kinks of an incomplete product . Hosting a webinar works just fine in all situations, but it does need some more preparation and content creation. Jeff Walker is the prominent entrepreneur who has made a number of most successful webinars prior to product launch and they have made quite a fortune for him. Photo Credits: YouTube Conclusion I trust that this article has shed some light on how you can start utilizing your pre-existing email list and turn into a perpetual money machine, and a source of guaranteed income, particularly when it comes to launching new products or features. As with mostly everything, consistency is key, so after creating your email sequence, you need to put a system in place to guarantee that the crucial emails are being sent to the right prospects every day. Also when it comes to email, more is more, meaning each email you sent will probably lead to more sales, as long as you’re offering some value on it as well. It’s also a good idea to put some of the other tips into action. For example making a pre-signup page shouldn’t take you more than 1 hour and can dramatically increase your product sales.


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