3 Quick Ways to Perk Up Your Email Marketing Efforts

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At a recent social media marketing conference I attended, I was surprised to hear one particular topic kept coming up over and over again, in almost every session I attended.

It wasn’t Google+. It wasn’t Pinterest. It wasn’t Instagram.

It was email marketing.

Yep. At a major social media marketing conference — where one might assume we’d be focusing on social networking trends — we were talking about how to get more subscribers to our email mailing lists.

Of course, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ got lots of attention, too. But the central message was clear — email is still important, it’s not going away anytime soon, and you need to make sure you’re still giving list-building the attention it deserves.

This shouldn’t surprise you. We’ve talked about email marketing again and again here at Copyblogger.

But we’re always looking for new ways to organically grow our lists, send out great content, and gain the trust of our current subscribers. So here are three quick ways to keep things fresh while you’re refocusing your energies on email marketing.

1. Create a dedicated subscribe page

You already know how important it is to have an opt-in form on your site. But if you need to email a link to a potential subscriber, and you have to go through a verbal game of Twister to describe how to subscribe, that’s not good.

It’s awkward and annoying to have to say to a potential client, “To subscribe to my list, go to my home page and put your name and email address in that little box in the right sidebar. Yes, that’s the one. It’s the box that says ‘Get free stuff here!'”

With a dedicated subscribe page, you can send the person a link to the page, and you’re done. No dancing around, no weird descriptions, no awkwardness.

When you use a dedicated subscribe page, you’ve also got a lot more space to explain all the great benefits people will get when they join your list. Take your time, add a couple of compelling bullet-points, and break out your best copywriting skills.

Once you’ve got a great page published, you can use the link in all kinds of places — on your Twitter profile, Facebook Page bio, business card, or Pinterest pins. The possibilities are endless.

Copyblogger’s subscribe page details the benefits you’ll get with your sign-up, with clear calls to action. It works.

Dedicated subscribe pages mean more subscribers — so create one today, and link to it anytime you want to steer someone toward your mailing list.

2. Send a simple newsletter that features great, useful content

If you don’t have an email service provider and you need a simple way to start a list, consider using TinyLetter.

TinyLetter is a no-fuss, no-hassle way to send newsletters that don’t suck. It’s incredibly easy to get started, and it’s free. You don’t need to mess around with templates, and creating simple subscription forms is a breeze. It’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to start a mailing list — especially if you’re not particularly technical.

Here’s the quickest way to write a newsletter with TinyLetter that’s actually useful:

  1. Write a quick, concise introduction or welcome message, then add links to your latest blog posts. Entice your subscribers with an excerpt of the post (don’t forget to use compelling headlines), then give them a clear link back to your blog to read the full text of the post.
  2. Add other resources that are educational, entertaining, or interesting for your audience, like links to other websites or blogs, tools, Pinterest boards, videos, etc.
  3. Include a short call to action at the end, like a discount on your latest product or an invitation to an upcoming webinar or live event.

TinyLetter is now owned by MailChimp, so when you need more features, it’s easy to upgrade to the traditional MailChimp service (or import your subscribers over to AWeber).

Use TinyLetter to start your list today. Then create simple, easy newsletters that actually say something.

3. Email your list more often

People are a lot less likely to unsubscribe than you think — even when you are sending them lots of email correspondence.

The evidence is surprising on this topic.

Dan Zarella, an analyst who gathers data about online behaviors, reports that your unsubscribe rate is likely to go down significantly if you send more email than you’re currently sending.

As business owners, we’re often unnecessarily overcautious with our list — we’re so busy worrying that people will think we’re pestering them that we actually don’t get in touch with our subscribers often enough.

Your unsubscribe rate is often higher when you only send email once a month. When you’re only publishing a monthly newsletter to your list, your subscribers may forget who you are and how they signed up for your list, and they are more likely to hit that dreaded “unsubscribe” link (or, worse, mark you as spam).

In an interview with Justin Wise, Zarrella said:

When I look at email frequency, I find that the data rests squarely on the side of “more email.” Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but response rates and unsubscribe rates are such that the more email you send to your contacts, the better … and obviously that email needs to be relevant, targeted and wanted.

Pluck up your courage and email your list more often with compelling, useful, sharable content. I know it’s scary, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Got more email marketing tips?

There are tons of ways to freshen up your email marketing strategy and build your relationship with your subscribers — these are just three quick tips.

What other tools, tips and ideas do you have for making your email marketing easier for you and more useful for your readers? Tell us about them in the comments.

Oh, and make sure you sign up for MyCopyblogger, where you’ll receive our free ebook Email Marketing: How to Push Send and Grow Your Business, and thirteen other high-impact ebooks on content marketing, copywriting, SEO, effect headlines, landing pages, and keyword research.

About the Author: Beth Hayden is an author, speaker, and social media expert who specializes in Pinterest marketing. To find out how to get more traffic to your website or blog using Pinterest, grab your free copy of Beth’s e-book, The Definitive Guide to Driving Traffic with Pinterest.

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Comments

  1. Emailing more often is definitely a more scary proposition for most people (myself included). But once you make it a regular habit, it certainly does result in a more engaged email list! And an engaged list is such an important part of making any email marketing you do work.

    • Market Samurai as well as Dan Thies and Leslie Rohde blast emails every few days. I am on their lists and I have no intention to unsubscribe just because I’m interested in what they are talking about. #confirmed

  2. I think sending more email is a good idea provided you have more to say. You don’t want to inundate your audience with promotional messages every single time because it turns into a fire hose of “look how amazing we are!” which can get a little much. But if you got a lot to talk about and share then why not give a test run?

    • Agreed, Nick – the idea is not to inundate your subscribers with promotions. The “send more email” theory only works if you have good content to share.

  3. Email marketing seems to be the big talk this year-but building a list is not so easy. What are some creative ways to get a list going? Thank you for your time and have a great day…

  4. Hi Beth,

    Great email pointers! I’ve asked this question to a number of marketers and gotten a variety of answers: Which is better, e-newsletter, blog or both? With the combos of linking blog posts in emails and whatnot, the purpose of each gets a little muddled.

    What do you think?

  5. Thank you for the tip on TinyLetter!

  6. My tips are as follow:

    1. Create a schedule and stick with it so you can analyze your open rate and other stats. Maybe sending on the weekends is better for your business.

    2. Create an A/B split test to analyze which email content gets opened and shared.

    3. Create an A/B split test with regards to color schemes, submit buttons, CTAs, etc.

    4. Don’t send emails just for the sake of sending emails. If you have something useful to say and share, send an email. If not, forget about it.

    Have a great day!

    • Thanks, Amandah! Does your email marketing platform offer simple split testing? Curious to hear what you use for testing email campaigns.

      • Hi Beth,

        I use AWeber. I never heard of AWeber until I started reading Copyblogger.

        What I like about AWeber is their Knowledge Base. For example, if you’re not sure how to create an A/B Split Test, all you have to do is search AWeber’s Knowledge Base, and voilà! An article on A/B Split Testing appears. :)

  7. I agree/disagree on the email your list more approach.

    I have also seen lower unsub rates on increased mailings on five to six figure lists. However the cumulative loss has always been significantly higher.

    The biggest difference I see.

    Higher mailings – people unsubscribe because they get mad and/or tired of deleting your emails every day.

    Lower mailings – people unsubscribe because they are simply not that interested in what you have to say.

    If people aren’t interested in what I have to say, then they SHOULD unsubscribe, however if I am annoying potential buyers with way too many emails, then I am losing business.

    • There’s lots of room between “monthly” and “daily.”

      Some people strongly advocate for daily, as it keeps only your most passionate customers. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I do like to see weekly or twice-weekly. But it depends on the content — we email blog posts daily, obviously, with the option of going deeper by subscribing to My.Copyblogger which adds 1-2 emails a week to the mix.

      • I’m a fan of “at least weekly” – and keeping to a regular schedule. Then again, HARO sends 3 emails PER DAY and they are doing pretty well. Ha!

  8. Woohoo! Thanks for the note, Beth =)

  9. I look at social media the same as blogs, that’s where people get to know what you’re really about and see whether you know what you’re talking about or not.

    While email is where you become more personal privately. I see a lot of courses, I wont mention any names :D teaching people to bombard their lists with offers. I believe you need to provide value to your subscribers. This is a really great post and mind opening. Many Thnx!!

  10. I make sure I have a call to action to subscribe to my email list at the bottom of every fresh piece of content on my short story site. It’s unobtrusive, and the people most likely to be interested in my emails (and stay on it for the long haul) are the ones who make it to the bottom of the page … because they’re the ones reading the full stories.

  11. Always great to get that email refresher course. Thanks, Beth.

  12. I agree with a lot of the comments so far. The most difficult balance is finding a strong frequency that keeps you fresh in the client mind, but still generating quality content. I always air on the less-often with powerful content, rather than scheduled communication simply for the sake of saying something.

  13. Sending shorter, more relevant emails using mobile-optimized email templates (so your increasingly-mobile email reading audience can engage with your content via their smart phones) is the way to go. Segment your email marketing list so you’re not emailing your entire audience with each send, but send more frequently to targeted subscribers.

    Include links to your social networks in your email, and if possible, create a public version of your email so subscribers can share it across their social networks.

    You can include links to blog posts and other marketing content (infographics, white papers, etc.) in your email.

    • Great suggestions, Katherine – I really need to work on segmenting my list in my own business. Right now, everything goes to everyone, which isn’t the best way to market to people. Some tools work better than other for list segmentation, too – it’s one of the reasons I’m switching from 1ShoppingCart to Infusionsoft.

  14. Great inspiration on sending more often, which I’ll now plan on doing. Thanks so much! One other thing I’ve learned about getting and keeping subscribers is to offer outstanding content. If you continue to give readers quality information, not only will they not be offended — they’ll want more. Here are some tips to help you do that: http://www.nonprofitcopywriter.com/content-ideas.html.

  15. I feel that I made a big mistake early on with my email list by not using a connecting story. What I’m saying is that I was doing what most people do which is throw random messages/content at my subscribers. Valuable content, yes. Keeping them engaged long-term… Not so much.

    If I could share one HUGE tip it would be to do a storyboard and outline the messages you put in your autoresponder to be more like a continuing story (rather than random news). With my 1st official autoresponder message, I get messages back from subscribers all the time saying that they are anxiously awaiting my next message. I never heard that with my old way of messaging! They are emailing me saying they can’t wait… how cool is that? :) Share content, but leave open loops that you can continue in the next messages.

    • Very nice use of some advanced copywriting technique there. :)

    • I’ve been thinking about this very thing, so I’d love to know of some examples. The mini-cliff-hanger approach comes to mind, as does, “stay tuned for the next in the series.” But what else?

      • David – an excellent example of this is the weekly series put on by AWAI called “The Writer’s Life.” Members write a series of 5 articles on a related theme where one article leads gracefully into the next. There is always a call-to-action and a cliffhanger segue into the next of the series. It’s free, dead useful, and you can sign up here:

        http://www.awaionline.com/signup/the-writers-life/

      • Great question, David, and honestly there are SO MANY ways of going about this… you just have to experiment to find out what fits best for you.

        One way is taking the 3, 5, or what ever number of tips you might give in a post or give to your email list at once and break them up into separate emails. Say something like, “Today I’m going to share with you the first of my 5 killer tips for _______.”

        Give the content, then end with something like, “I hope you get a ton of value from this 1st tip. Make sure to look out for my next email so that you can find out the 2nd killer tip for _____ and use it to ______.”

        Another approach is tying your lessons/tips into a story and sharing the 1st part of the story in email 1, then continue it on from there. Use open loops like, “I wish I would have known that I only needed to _____ (which I’ll tell you about later, so stay tuned)…” or “Where you get your ______ is of the utmost importance in getting the results you want. I’ve researched countless hours and found some of the best sources (which I’ll tell you about later).

        I hope that helps to kick things off for you. And I have separate, specific messages for men and women on my site, because in my clinic the work that I do with each sex is RADICALLY different. …That’s just something else to consider. Wishing you the best!

  16. Beth – Thanks for pointing me towards TinyLetter!

    That’s going to be perfect for what I’m working on right now – especially since I want to start using MailChimp when the time comes (aka when I have money).

  17. Email marketing gets a bad rep, but perhaps people pay more attention to it now more than ever with the advent of rampant social networking sites and the advertising that people tend to gloss over.

  18. Thanks for this great overview! My team and I have been studying it for a few months now and it really does come down to the simple fact that email marketing is massively important to have in your marketing strategy, but it’s difficult to do it right. As far as tools, we use Mailchimp and we also just released our first product to help add email subscribers.

  19. Building a list just takes time. Period.

    I like the idea of making a dedicated subscribe page, but I also really like having the call to action on my about page. It just seems like the best place to ‘connect’.

    I read something a long time ago re: Internet marketing that said to focus on building your list because, unlike your social media profiles, it’s the one “asset” that YOU control. That stuck with me for some reason.

    • Agreed, Heather – your “About” page is another great place to have a subscribe form (especially because the “About” page is often one of the most-read pages on your site).

  20. Well… it’s been an ongoing debate, but bottom line, you don’t know until you try. I think I am about to double my groups email output. We are going to have a fun series.. I think it will work.
    Great article.. thank you!

  21. I know I should be emailing my list more often, and my only excuse is I got so fed up with the emails I received from others I didn’t want to commit the same mistakes. In fact, I’m not subscribed to a single site at the moment – I follow quite a few, but only through Feedly. Fortunately my unsubscribe rate is quite low, but I want to do better, so I appreciate the inspiration.

  22. Nice tips. I’ve been using MailChimp for my list lately and I like it a lot.

    I definitely need to follow the advice of emailing more often. I feel like it’s the one thing I put off more than anything else.

    Thanks for the useful content!

    Jake Johnson

  23. 1. Be consistent in emailing no matter how regular.
    2. Split test headlines
    3. Follow up immediately and daily to your new subscribers so they get to know you. It could be daily for 4/7 days.

  24. Really like #1, Beth. I’m all for email opt-in URLs being WEBSITENAME/email. Simple. Easy to remember. Easy to share.

    Featuring this blog post in tomorrow (Friday’s) Waldow Social Weekly. Will tweet you a copy!

  25. I do totally agree on the concept of sending more newsletters, well it really all boils down to the niche of your business, how well you know your audience, their problems and the solutions you providing to solve them.

    Logically, nobody would wanna unsubcribe to a list if good content and solutions are being rendered through these newsletters.

    But the really challenge though is building a mailing list, just recently created a dedicated subscribe page and tag a subcribe now link to every post.

    Looking forward to using TinyLetters, thanks for the tip.

    And also want to say thanks for all the informative post, its changed a perspective and my whole approach to my blog.

  26. Beth, what do you think of once-a-week blog posts and 1-2 more per week, sharing other people’s happenings, announcing your own events, and things like that? Too much or too little? I’ve been thinking about sharing with people on my list a free event I’ve been enjoying, but I’m worried that it will annoy them.
    I wasn’t going to do anything with Tiny Letter but when I saw it was by mail chimp I got interested! Do you think it integrates well with MailChimp lists?
    Thanks for the great article!

  27. Emailing more often is really dependent on the type of information that is being given. If you’re offering awesome advice on a consistent basis, then sending an email 1-2 times a week is definitely advisable. But if it’s just a sales letter after sales letter, then, personally, I’ll be unsubscribing real quick.

    But, it is definitely true to have a dedicated subscription page. This is especially useful if, after people leave a comment, they’re redirected to a thank you page which also suggests that they sign up for the newsletter for more.

    Great tips, as always. :)

  28. Great post Beth. Although Im not 100% what the mechanics of a subscriber page, I understand the idea. I have dealt with the ‘instructions’ on how to optin and find it extremely frustrating for both myself and the prospect. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Great post Beth.

    I am a great advocate of weekly/monthly newsletters. Many marketers simply ignore their subscribers after getting the email address from them.

    People subscribe to your list for value, and you should respect that and invest your time in connecting with them