Your Email Marketing Road Map

Lost Without A Compass Your Email Marketing Road Map

If you were marooned on a deserted island, what would you want with you?

We’ve all heard some version of this question and given different versions of our answer.

[My answers: a suitcase trunk large climate controlled storage facility full of dark chocolate, a cache of really good whiskey, my Spotify account, a good fountain pen and a blank journal.]

Now – what if you were marooned on a desert island, and the only way off was through harnessing the power of email marketing?*

*Don’t worry – you can still share my whiskey.

Email marketing: You’ve seen the statistics. You know you should be doing it; you’ve heard success stories from all corners of the small business universe. You might even have signed up for an account somewhere, or created an opt-in link on your website. Perhaps you’ve dipped your toe in the water and have a small, but growing list.

But you know you’ve barely scratched the surface.   You are overwhelmed by the options and intimidated by the process. You’ve got way too much on your plate already, and you’re just not convinced that this will be worth it.

What you need is a compass and a road map. Luckily, we’ve got just the thing.

Compass Your Email Marketing Road MapStart here:

You need to be convinced that it will be worth it.

When it comes to the power of email marketing, the statistics are clear. An investment in email marketing – whether it be time, personnel or monetary investment – is an investment in the growth of your business.

And it pays off.

EmailStats Your Email Marketing Road Map

And if you like those numbers, there are far more where those came from.  In fact, a 2012 survey reports that “e-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.”

I now essentially run my entire business based on email, but when I first approached email marketing, I felt completely lost and overwhelmed. I started from nothing a little over a year ago, and as of today my list is currently at 1,302 subscribers. And I can also attribute nearly 100% of my revenue to email marketing. Every time I launch a new product, I plan out a launch sequence of emails leading up to the launch itself, at which point I ask for the sale. And, because it’s so damn effective, that strategy has led to nearly all of my revenue.
Alex Colman, Your First Web Development

Compass Your Email Marketing Road MapYou need a system (and you need to know how to use it)

Okay – so you already know you need an email marketing system. You’ve even looked into the options. And now your head is spinning.

How do you decide?

There are many factors to consider when selecting from a sea of competing systems. This part is going to take a little time and investment on your part.

  • Brainstorm a list of business objectives that you hope to achieve with email marketing. Do you want to grow your list? Nurture prospects? Increase sales?   A list of your top 3-5 objectives will help you decide what features are a must for your system.
  • Ask your small business peers about their marketing automation software. What do they love? Where have they struggled? What would they do differently?
  • Narrow down the list of options and call and speak to a representative at each company.   Have a list of specific questions ready.

Questions to consider:

  1. Features and scalability:
    Does the system include your must-have features? Will the system support your business not just now, but far into the future? Consider your one, three and five year plans and be sure the system will scale with you – changing down the road once your business has grown can be a time consuming and expensive process.

“I had to take a leap of faith. Before I embraced email marketing my business made less than $ 100K a year. I knew if I wanted to make the leap and have a tool to help me automate and look like a pro instead of an amateur I needed to do it. Now my business makes 6 times what it did before making the switch.”
Lisa Larter, Business Coach and Consultant

  1. Cost:
    What is your marketing budget each month? Be sure to consider how much targeted marketing automation can increase your bottom line in both the short and long term.
  2. Reputation and accessibility:
    What is the industry reputation of the system? How is it regarded by your peers and in the wider business community? How does the company respond to customer issues on social media? Are the representatives helpful and personable and willing to go above and beyond to answer your questions?
  3. Integration:
    Does it integrate with your current systems (website, email client, ecommerce) or do third party systems (such as Zapier) exist to create those integrations? When you speak to a representative, be sure to share your current set up and inquire about existing and planned integrations to be sure that your systems will be able to speak to one another.
  4. Learning Curve:
    Marketing automation software will involve a learning curve. Find out what training or support is available or included with your purchase. What is the customer support policy and how helpful are the representatives? Do you have friends that use the software, or can you train an employee or hire a virtual representative to take care of the details for you?

I don’t believe as a business owner I need to do everything, I just need to drive strategy and ensure people do what I need done and that the sequence and results work. My VA agreed to learn as an investment in working with me. I still don’t know how to use my marketing automation software completely myself but I know what I need it to do and I can give direction to someone else to make that happen.
Lisa Larter, Business Coach and Consultant

Compass Your Email Marketing Road MapYou need people on your list

If you build it, will they come?

You can invest all the money in the world on buying the most ideal system, building it out to perfection and pressing play on the best email marketing campaign in the history of ever.

But you still need an audience to convert. Without people to receiving your messaging, your most brilliant campaign will fizzle fast.

1. You’ve got to ask

Many small business owners are hesitant to ask prospects for email addresses. They fear it feels too pushy, or they are uncertain how to integrate the process with their existing site. If you want to secure a valuable spot in your prospect’s inbox, you’ve got to do exactly what your mother told you never to do: invite yourself. (just don’t barge in without knocking first, it could be embarrassing for everyone.)

All along in my business I knew I should be asking people for their emails but several years went by before I started doing so. The very first thing I would suggest is to email directly all your current contacts and ask if they would like to join the list. I grew my list from 0 to 95 people in no time flat and they were – and are still – engaged readers).
Licia Morelli, Speaker and Coach

2. You’ve got to capture

Asking is the first step, but you also need a mechanism to capture the ongoing stream of people ready and willing to give you their email address.

This capture can happen in a number of ways. On the most rudimentary level, you can individually invite and manually add people to your list, but this is not a sustainable long-term solution.

By installing the SumoMe ListBuilder pop-up we increased email list signup by 900% – from averaging 2 signups per day to 20.
Mike Glezos, Biz Name Wiz

Compass Your Email Marketing Road MapYou need to know what your people want, know how to create it and what will make ‘em click.

1. Editorial Calendar
The first hurdle of marketing automation is planning your campaigns; knowing what you want to send and when you want to send it. An editorial calendar (much like a company might create for their blog or overall content marketing campaign) can be a powerful way to organize your email marketing efforts. We use the Coschedule plugin, but even a simple spreadsheet can do the trick.

Create an editorial calendar to organize your email/content ideas and get ahead of yourself. An editorial calendar is a great way to organize your content ideas and allow you to plan out content for weeks or months in advance.
Marc Lewandowski, Life Insurance United

2. Copy
What you say is important – but it also matters how you say it. Very few small business owners consider themselves writers, and even if writing is within your sphere of expertise, sales and marketing copy is a completely different ballgame.

Consult with a copywriter – even if it’s just to brainstorm. This helped me immensely because she was able to point out what worked and what didn’t. I immediately saw results and conversions when people went to my site.
Licia Morelli, Speaker and Coach

3. Design
It’s likely that you’re not a professional graphic designer, so creating a well designed and graphically appealing email-marketing campaign can seem like a daunting task. Luckily there are many ways to make this feel less intimidating.

4. Call To Action
Pay special attention to your calls to action. This is where you tell your audience exactly what you want them to do; they are specific instructions and intended to provoke an immediate action.

  • Use active and directive vs. passive language.
  • Promote a feeling of urgency and time sensitivity.
  • Don’t be afraid to embrace repetition.
  • Test different copy, formats, sizes and colors to determine which your audience response to the best.

By focusing on crafting emails for open and click-through rates and understanding the different types of marketing emails, we increased unique open rates 566% and click thru rates by 300%.
Mike Glezos, Biz Name Wiz

5. Spam
When it comes to email marketing, spam is even more unwanted than that canned and processed meat product on your dinner plate. It is important to familiarize yourself with spam legislation in your country (and in any country to which you will be sending automated marketing messages) in order to avoid complaints.

6. Be Useful
Automated marketing should not be removed and impersonal. View email marketing as a way to stay closer and more connected to your customers and prospects, instead of less. Focus on providing information and content that is both valuable and relevant so that your audience is eager to hear from you.

Make sure your emails are providing real value. My number one focus is to try and develop meaningful relationships with the people I’m emailing. The best way I’ve found to do this is providing them with useful (and whenever possible, actionable) information. The more value you provide, the more they will trust you, and the more success you’ll have marketing products down the line.
Alex Colman, Your First Web Development

Compass Your Email Marketing Road MapYou need a way to measure your success (so that you can repeat it)

Let’s face it; metrics are not always the most fun thing. And, as a busy small business owner, they can often be among the most avoided pieces of the puzzle. However, it is important to not only know what you are aiming for, but to test different methods of achieving your goal, and fully understand the results of your efforts.

1. Choose your KPI (key performance indicators)
There are many ways to judge the success of marketing automation:

  • Subscribes
  • Open rates
  • Click though rates
  • Unsubscribes / abuse rates
  • Conversions
  • Revenue
  • Bounces
  • Site traffic

2. Split Test

Split testing or A/B testing, should be an integral part of every email marketing campaign, especially in the beginning. By testing different options from time of day to headline to call to action, you can begin to gauge how your audience responds and can use this information to better structure future campaigns and maximize your email marketing efforts.

Compass Your Email Marketing Road MapGo forth and conquer.
Yes, the world of email marketing can be intimidating, but the only way to learn is to try it for yourself. Know that your customers want to hear from you and that you have a great deal of valuable information, insight and expertise to offer.

Now take this compass and get off the island already – your business will thank you!

Just try it! Doing anything that you don’t fully understand can seem intimidating at first but you just have to give it a try. Having an email list can be a license to print money. You just have to reach out to your list members and be diligent about it.
Marc Lewandowski, Life Insurance United

Still intimidated? Not sure where to begin? Sign up below and join our Ninja Marketing Challenge and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the world of marketing automation, once and for all.

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