When you’re building a business, there’s always one marketing channel that you can rely on.
That’s stood the test of time for years as social platforms come and go, and hot new tactics emerge.
I’m talking about email marketing.
Email marketing is like your childhood BFF that you can rely on through thick and thin. It’s there when you need it and always comes through.
Yes, I know there are so many other newer, sexier marketing tactics out there from Facebook Live to Snapchat to using texts. They all have their place, but email marketing still delivers the highest ROI of all of the available marketing channels.
I work on email marketing strategy, campaigns, and even tech every single day, and there are a few reasons that email marketing doesn’t fully deliver on its promise for many business owners.
Let’s quickly review them so you can be on your way to email marketing that gets results:
1. You Neglect Your Email List
When you work so hard to build an email list, you want to make sure you’re able to deliver. Not consistently communicating with your subscribers is a missed opportunity and it’s a cryin’ shame.
Think about how hard you work to get each and every subscriber on your list. People sign up for your list one-by-one, and they’re real people who’ve raised their hand and expressed interest in what you have to offer.
When they don’t hear from you with any type of frequency, you’re squandering an opportunity.
Regular, ongoing communication with your list is a must. And if you’re not sending emails to your list consistently, don’t feel bad about it – just do something about it. Set a schedule and stick to it!
2. Your Subscribers Have Whiplash
If there’s one thing we all know as business owners, it’s that things change. Our services, our focus, our offers – they all evolve over time.
That growth is completely natural and to be expected. But you need to ensure as you go through those iterations of your business that you’re not giving your subscribers whiplash.
The last thing you want is to have a valued member of your tribe opening up your emails and feeling like they’ve got absolutely no clue what’s what.
Watch for changes in direction, messages and more and think carefully about how to make your transitions graceful from the outside. Even if on the inside you’re feeling all over the map. Put on your game face and serve your subscribers so they can go along with you on your journey.
3. You’re Always Selling and Not Serving
You know that whole saying, “the money is in the list”?
Not so fast. It’s not really in the list. If you treat your list like an ATM, there’s no money in your list. What you’re going to have is a list of super annoyed people who can’t get off your email list fast enough.
Think of your email subscribers as your VIP list and treat them as such. Which means you need to show up and serve them.
Provide content that makes their lives easier, that speaks to them and is of real service by answering questions, providing resources they need and more. Then you can sell.
Take care of your VIPs and they’ll learn to know, like, and trust you, and then be ready to buy. (Keep in mind that 100% of your list is never going to buy from you – think more in single digits!)
4. You Don’t Set Expectations
Speaking of the know, like, and trust factor, a stellar way to start that is by setting expectations when people opt-in for your freebie or content.
The moment someone opts-in, they’re interested in what you’re offering. So don’t botch that interaction by having your email be a robotic one that says “thanks for signing up for (blank), here’s the checklist/video/PDF you requested.”
If there’s one email people open, it’s the one with the free item they’re getting, so don’t waste it. Use it as a chance to tell them a bit about you and what they can expect from you moving ahead. Not everyone will read it, but when you do this, you’re going the extra mile and you will have a chance to connect with more subscribers from the get go.
5. It’s Too Much
Your email marketing shouldn’t be a catch all where you tell everyone everything that’s going on. You want to curate the content you send and be intentional about it.
That means not including 83 calls to action or places to click, a whole pile of images, or anything else that makes it hard to know what you actually want them to do.
Do you want them to read your blog post? Learn more about your new signature service?
Whatever is it be clear about it so you’re not confusing the hell out of them. Confused minds don’t click on anything but, possibly, the delete button.
6. Your Subject Line Sucks
You’ve written an amazing email, you’re preparing to send it in your email service provider, and – face palm – you don’t have a subject line.
So you hastily come up with one and call it a day.
Subject lines matter, and for you to get results from your email marketing, you really need to spend time crafting your subject lines. They shouldn’t be an afterthought, because if your subject line sucks, your email isn’t going to get opened.
If you struggle with subject lines, then while you’re writing your email, write at least 10 different subject lines. See which ones evoke curiosity, urgency or make you want to open the email.
As you start working on subject lines, pay attention to what your email subscribers do open. Then take those lessons to consistently refine and improve your subject lines.
Your email marketing will deliver returns to your business when you actually invest the time and energy it deserves. If the idea of all of this overwhelms you, start small by picking one of the above areas and focusing on that.
Instead of starting fresh on the next big platform, why not maximize what you’ve already got to help grow your business? After all, if email reaps the most significant returns, you might as well go all-in on something that you know will work in the long run.