Email Marketing Campaign Strategies (Aweber)

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The single, biggest mistake I made with my website is not learning to master email marketing from day one.

Don't be like me.

I kept hearing all the big-time marketers say "The money's in the list", but I wasn't seeing it.

My open rates were horrible and I couldn't think of what to write about so I just decided to focus on my blog and forget about email marketing.

Throughout the years I kept reading about how important it was to have a list, and how it's the backbone of any real business. Why? Because no matter what happens to your website's traffic, you'll always have people to market to.

While that is true, there's no point in having a list if you're not going to use it properly and learn how to engage your subscribers. And that's where I struggled.

But I never gave up. About two years ago, I started re-building my list again and experimented with different strategies.

Below I'll show you what I've learned and how to create an email list that keeps people engaged.

Exclusivity

First of all, people guard their e-mail addresses like the gold at Fort Knox these days. Their inboxes are already flooded with messages and junk mail so they certainly don't need anyone else clogging up their accounts with stuff they don't want to read.

So if you want to engage your subscribers you have to give them extreme value.

Don't just regurgitate what's already on your site. Provide them with exclusive offers and be sure they know it's only being offered to people on your list.

Make them feel special.

For example, at the time I'm writing this I am planning to give my subscribers a free e-book that everyone else will have to pay for. Providing valuable freebies is a great way to turn your subscribers into excited, loyal fans.

Segment Your Email List

AWeber has this awesome feature that allows you to collect information about your subscribers when they subscribe so you can send out targeted mailings based on the information you collect.

One big problem I had with my email list is that people subscribe for many different reasons. Some need help starting their websites, others already have a website and want to make money, and the list goes on.

So when I sent out an e-mail, it was only relevant to a small portion of my list. My open rates were terrible and my email subscribers were very disengaged.

To rectify this problem, I restructured my list in November, 2011. Now when you subscribe, you can select the topics you want to learn more about. This allows me to send out mailings based on the information I collect.

So if I have a major WordPress tip I want to share, I can send it out to the people who told me they wanted to learn more about blogging.

The more targeted your mailings are, the more engaged your subscribers will be.

Use an Autoresponder

Autoresponders are fabulous because they operate on a "set it and forget it" model. You can create a sequential series of messages that go out on intervals you choose.

What's great is you set the messages up in advance, and you don't have to suffer with the anxiety of having to come up with new content on a regular basis.

Here's an example...

I have an autoresponder series called the WP Starter Tips where I offer quick, free tips on using WordPress. The messages are sent out every 7-10 days. So I have a ton of messages already queued up and they go out automatically.

You can sign up for them below...

Autoresponders keep you on your reader's radar. So if you don't have time to come up with new content on a regular basis you can create a "quick tips" series that is relevant to your site.

Another way to use an autoresponder is to setup follow-up messages to go out days after they subscribe. For example, after a week or so you can send out a warm email thanking them for subscribing and asking if they have any questions or need more advice.

You can also direct them to important pages on your site that will answer questions, solve problems and ultimately lead them down your sales path.

Notice I said "lead them." Be careful about overselling. You want to nudge people to buy from you by gently leading them through your site and helping them find helpful content.

Find a Rhythm

This is tricky. You may have heard that you should send out mailings on a regular basis. However, don't just mail out something just because it's been too long since your last message.

If you aren't sending valuable information, you're going to lose the interest of your subscribers.

I'd much rather you send out mailings less frequently if that means waiting until you have something valuable to share.

Nevertheless, you should try to get into a rhythm whether it's once a week or once a month. Experiment until you find what's best for you.

Poll Your Subscribers

In November, 2011 I started asking my subscribers what they want to learn about. So when they subscribe, they are sent an automated message with a link to a page on my blog where they can give me their feedback. (An AWeber feature.)

I used their comments to fuel ideas for the free e-book I was planning to give away to my list.

We often assume we know what our subscribers want to learn, but you'll be surprised at what you will discover if you just ask.

Remember, success online is all about how connected you are with your visitor's needs. So the better you nail this aspect of Internet marketing, the better you'll do.

Limit Your Selling

Unless you have a shopping site, no one wants to be fed a bunch of sales pitches. Of course, you can use your list to promote your products or other affiliate offers, but it's about balance.

The majority of your mailings should be focused on providing help, quality and relevant tips. And when you do send out a promotional email, your subscribers will be much more willing to buy.

Many people think that once they start an email list, they're supposed to just shower their subscribers with sales pitches and promotions for products.

That's actually a great way to turn people off and cause them to unsubscribe.

The Learning Curve

When it comes to perfecting your email marketing strategy, there is a definite learning curve. You have to discover what works best for your audience.

Don't compare your strategy too closely with someone else's because they may be in another niche and have an audience with different needs and expectations.

It may take time to discover what works for your site, but it's well worth the effort. Once you have an engaged list with thousands of subscribers, it can become the best traffic and sales generation tool you'll ever own.

Just remember the following...

  • Ask your subscribers what they want
  • Find a broadcasting rhythm
  • Don't oversell
  • Provide value
  • Create exclusive offers to establish loyalty
  • Use an autoresponder to send a series of messages/tutorials when applicable
  • Segment your list and send targeted mailings (AWeber)

An Example of Effective Email Marketing

Here's how you can use an email list on your site.

Let's say you have a website about getting out of debt. There's a ton of free, useful information on your website, but your ultimate goal is to sell your book that teaches people how to take control of their finances.

You can setup an autoresponder series that sends out free, money management tips on a weekly basis. In the signature of every email, you will add a link to the book that you're selling.

This is a very subtle way of promoting something via email. You're still providing helpful advice, yet you're gently promoting your book without really hard selling it.

Remember, people hate feeling pitched! Sure, it's OK to promote products occasionally, but keep selling to a minimum in your emails.

Now here's another bonus...

The great thing about AWeber is when you setup an autoresponder, you can still send broadcast emails out to the people who have signed up. So every now and then you can send a mass email to everyone in addition to the autoresponder messages.

For example, say you've just made extensive updates to your site and you want to notify your subscribers about them. You can send a mass email to everyone on your autoresponder list.

It's a great way to keep people coming back to your site while remaining on their radar.

The purpose of having an email list is NOT to pitch products all the time. It's about keeping in contact with those who want to follow your content and continue to provide value when you can.

I Recommend AWeber's Email Service

MailChimp and AWeber are the two most popular mailing list managers. MailChimp is free until you reach 2,000 subscribers, but once you get over that threshold, the pricing is pretty similar to AWeber's model.

I have used AWeber since 2005 and really appreciate how they continue to improve upon their features as the years go on. It's worth the $20/month by far.

In addition to being able to segment your list as I described earlier, adding a customizable sign-up form to your website is as easy as dragging, dropping, copying and pasting.

You also have access to unlimited autoresponders, and as you saw above, I use them to send out quick tips on WordPress.

In addition to the features I've already mentioned, AWeber has...

  • Graphical Email Templates
  • Performance Tracking Reports (open rates, undeliverable stats, etc.)
  • Unsubscribe Management
  • Subscribe Form Templates
  • Professional Customer Support

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