Perhaps you already feel like you have a good handle on the little details of email marketing, like writing subject lines, creating opt-in forms for your site, and setting up your welcome message.
But maybe what you really need is a comprehensive road map for email marketing that presents a smart email marketing strategy as a series of manageable steps.
If that’s the case, I’ve got great news! To wrap up our 10-part email marketing series, that’s exactly what you’re going to get.
This step-by-step email marketing strategy guide summarizes how to create your list, get subscribers, build solid relationships, and make well-timed offers.
We’ve also outlined these steps in a handy PDF checklist that you can download for free, so keep reading …
Step #1: Sign up for an account with a reputable email service provider
To make sure your email marketing strategy stands on a firm, ethical foundation, you’ll need a reputable email service provider to help you collect, track, and get in touch with your contacts.
An email service provider (ESP) will help you:
- Manage your opt-in and opt-out process
- Stay CAN-SPAM compliant
- Provide mobile-friendly email templates for your messages
- Track and report your open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe information
Shop carefully when you’re choosing an ESP, because changing service providers down the road can be tedious. When you’re selecting an ESP, consider your budget, the level of tech support you’re going to receive, and the service’s user interface.
Step #2: Add smart opt-in forms to your site and give away an enticing incentive
Once you’ve got an email service provider, it’s time to invite people to join your list.
More people will sign up for your list if you give away a useful, enticing incentive in exchange for a subscriber’s email address. It should be simple and highly useful.
Your goal is to create content so compelling that your potential subscribers don’t hesitate to hand over their email addresses to get it.
You may need to try multiple incentives until you find one that strikes the perfect chord with your visitors, so create your first one quickly and test it out with your audience right away.
Once you’ve got your incentive ready to go, add attention-getting opt-in forms to your site. Remember to think beyond simple sidebar opt-in forms and consider feature boxes, pop-overs, and blog post footer opt-in forms.
Step #3: Actively build your email list
Now that your incentive is ready and your visitors have a way to join your community, it’s time to actively build your email list.
You can try these classic, time-tested list-building techniques:
- Guest blog posts that direct readers to sign up for your list
- Strategic social media marketing
- Focused webinars that are helpful and entertaining
Step #4: Send regular, useful content to your list
As soon as you gain subscribers, begin sending them high-quality content on a regular basis. You can send newsletters, content notification emails, or both.
Aim to regularly send content to your subscribers, provide tons of value, and train your community members to consistently click on the links in your emails.
You can also set up an autoresponder series that sends carefully selected content to your list. To start, you can compose three emails for your autoresponder series and add more over time, as needed.
Step #5: Present relevant offers to your list on a regular basis
Once you’ve built solid relationships with your subscribers through free content, start sending them relevant offers via email.
You can begin adding relevant offers to your newsletters or content notification emails, or add sales-related emails to your autoresponder sequence(s).
When sending emails that feature offers, include a strong call-to-action link that prompts your subscriber to take the next step — whether that’s setting up a consultation, buying a product, or checking out your latest online program.
Call-to-action links should be easy to click on and work best when they stand out visually — particularly on mobile devices.
Continually repeat Steps 3 – 5
Your email marketing strategy is an evolving process — it’s typically not a “set it and forget it” task.
You need to continually build your list, publish valuable content, and send relevant offers, so it’s a good idea to repeat Steps 3 through 5.
It’s also a good idea to regularly evaluate your email marketing strategy and the accuracy of the messages you send, as well as make sure your emails are sending as expected. Review your welcome message, offers, and any automated operations (like autoresponders or RSS feeds that send new content to your list automatically).
Craft an effective email marketing strategy for your business
When you follow this five-step process, you’ll be on your way to attracting a large list of loyal subscribers, building solid relationships with those subscribers, and using email as one of your most successful sales tools.
Don’t forget to download the PDF checklist of this email marketing strategy guide, along with a glossary of common email marketing terms (61 KB).
Catch up on all the posts in our email marketing series
- How to Choose a Solid Email Service and Build Your List on a Firm Foundation
- Your Top-to-Bottom Email Checklist: What to Include Before You Hit Send
- Email Newsletters vs. Content Notifications: A Head-to-Head Comparison
- How to Write a Heroically Effective Email Autoresponder Series
- How to Write Email Subject Lines that Make People Stop, Click, and Read
- 13 Tantalizing Incentives that Will Build Your Email List
- 4 Quick Solutions that Spawn Radical Email List Growth
- CAN-SPAM 101: A Crash Course in Bulk Email Regulations
- 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Virtues of Email Marketing
This is the last post in our current email marketing series, so now I’m officially handing the reins over to you.
You can use this series of posts to craft a smart email strategy that fits with the rest of your content marketing plans and goals.
Make sure to stay in touch, and fill me in on your email marketing success story!