Experts always emphasize that for every $1 spent in email marketing, there is a return of almost $40. But not everybody maximizes those returns. One reason is because the emails are mostly geared towards upfront selling.
To clarify: there is nothing wrong with selling. But selling in itself does not help in standing out. Too much pitching might even bother your leads to the point of unsubscribing from your list - or even flag your emails as spam.
That's why it's important to employ different types of emails other than the typical "promotional" method.
Below are five tried-and-tested methods you can use to increase open rates, clicks and engagement in your email marketing campaign.
Here’s a question: which emails are you most likely to open?
Answer: Those whom you have an important relationship with. This could be family, friends, colleagues - and yes, brands you feel connected to.
Perhaps they said something that is very relatable. Maybe they gave you an answer to a problem. Or maybe you’re already a happy customer prior to opting in.
In any case, the fact remains that there’s a relationship between you and the sender. That’s why you open their emails and warmly welcome future content.
That being said, just because leads receive something in exchange for their email addresses (if you’re using “lead magnets” to acquire them) does not automatically translate to hot customers who are ready to purchase.
Treat their opt-ins as if they’re giving you a chance to develop a relationship with them. Email is your chance to connect with them on a personal level.
Stories are a great way of breaking the ice, since they surpass most points of mental resistance and get readers to consume complex ideas easier. Consider writing a brief but feeling-driven origin story. Or maybe the reason why you’re providing your services in the first place.
Emails are also great opportunities to empathize with your list - which may lead to problem solving or handling resistance (see below). So don’t hesitate to invite readers to respond to your emails and keep them engaged in a two-way thread - the way emails were meant to be used.
Whichever relationship-building tool you’re using, the point is to humanize your business. After all, people buy from people - not from faceless entities.
Free and useful content are also great relationship-building tools. But they also help establish authority and presence in your industry.
There are many ways to educate your leads via email.
Maybe you have on-the-fence leads who simply need more data about your product. Why not talk about a few of its features and benefits in an email?
Is there an obstacle they face? Consider describing the specific problem in your email and propose a simple solution to tackle those problems.
Do you prefer to educate them on a weekly or monthly basis? Newsletters are a great way to provide tons of value, entertainment and news.
But if you have free content that has massive value or is impossible to place in an email - there is a more clever way to share them…
Maybe you have a video, a blog or some other piece of content that simply couldn’t fit into an email.
In that case, you can write an email that invites readers to view those bigger content elsewhere. You then provide a link that directs them to the content.
In other words, you’re “selling” them to consume free content!
This strategy has two major benefits. One, it effectively increases your website visitors, video views or social media followers. This improves your SEO. And two, the more you do this, the more you’re “training” your list to click. This makes selling in the future all the more easier.
This strategy also works in reverse. You can also direct social media followers, YouTube subscribers and website visitors to your email list.
This is also a chance to get feedback from your leads. Direct them to a survey, a quiz, or something else which gets them even more engaged.
One of the key reasons why people do not act is because they do not hold the same beliefs as you do. As such, it is a given that not everybody’s going to buy.
Nevertheless, some of them can join your flock by shifting their beliefs. Just note that this takes more time because they need to be constantly exposed to different data.
The good news is, emails are a great way to do those. After all, if they’re subscribed to your list, they still receive your emails.
In most cases, they’re ignorant of:
The problem they’re dealing with, or
The solution you’re trying to provide.
This would be a great time to launch a series of educational emails (see above) to boost awareness.
For instance, I might be in a fitness email list to learn more about exercises. However, I wouldn’t buy into the “lion diet” unless you tell me more about how it works and why it’s beneficial. (You can easily craft a week’s worth of emails on these!)
This is also a great opportunity to pre-empt any skepticism. In the example above, you might send a bunch of emails that answer common objections to this new regimen.
But to repeat: this tactic is a longer process that usually requires sending more belief-shift emails. These are colder and more skeptical audiences you’re dealing with.
However when done right and long enough, you’ll be seen as a formidable force that can handle any resistance.
Speaking of which…
The difference between belief-shifting and resistance-handling is audience type. The former is colder and might be skeptical with your solution or niche. The latter is a warmer audience that doubts your product or service.
In other words, this warmer audience already acknowledges the problem and the solution they need. Their concerns are instead product-centric.
These people can be on-the-fence prospects who just need FAQs answered. Email is a great way for you to pre-empt those questions and answer them. You can even show them what makes you stand out.
Maybe some of them are thinking of risks involved with your offer. Consider sending an email responding to those risks they might face upon purchase - be it financial, social or emotional.
Perhaps they just need one last proof that it works. Write an email about a statistic, a testimonial, or a story of a happy customer.
In any case, email is a great way to handle different points of resistance to build trust in your product and in your brand.
Selling is a very common form of email marketing. These include product launches, promotions, and discounts.
The problem with this practice is that it is so common that people tend to be numb to the “30% OFF” or “3 days left” sort of subject line.
Nevertheless, the end point of email marketing is sales. So it’s necessary to write these types at some point - just don’t overdo them as they appear spammy.
There’s also not selling upfront. Here’s one way of doing it…
In the email, you can focus on a problem, talk more about it, and the solution your product provides. The trick here is to exclude any talk of your product for the meantime. Instead, build curiosity in the email. Then send a link if the reader wants to learn more about the solution. They will be directed to the sales page, which does the rest of the selling.
Another trick is to use any of the five methods above - then your P.S. could briefly talk about your product and provide a link to the sales page.
Simply put: do not sell the steak in the email - sell the sizzle.
The saying “the money is in the list” is only partially true - especially when there’s too much upfront selling.
What’s more accurate is: “the money is in the connection.” This is because the “secret ingredient” of any great email marketing campaign is to build relationships and trust.
Think of it this way. Suppose marketers only have a 2% average click-through rate. To increase revenue, they can:
Grow their list and spend more on paid advertisement, or
Warm their list and increase the average click-through rate.
Of course, doing both is best. But if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick the second because:
It’s cheaper (I would spend less on advertisements); and
People feel more comfortable to act simply because they feel connected.
Imagine your email list as a wheat field. It does not make sense harvesting every single day. It takes time for crops to grow before a bountiful harvest.
The good news is, there are so many ways to build trust and relationships via email. It’s flexible. That’s why email has a great rep in marketing.
But it might take more time and effort to write different types of emails to warm up your leads. That’s why we recommend hiring a copywriter who writes engaging content that generates more revenue in the long-run!
Adrian is a copywriter, closer and an aspiring consultant. He's also an international poet and an essayist, his writing background is very diverse, having both a creative and an analytical edge. He is now honing his copywriting skills while traveling around the world.Hire Adrian