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Email Marketing Q&A Podcast
3 minutes | Oct 8, 2015
What Is A Sales Funnel?
In it's simplest form - a sales funnel is what converts individuals into customers. How is this done? If you picture a funnel, the top is very wide - and this represents the start of the funnel. The idea is to cast a wide net through various forms of advertising targeted towards what the business believes is ideal customers ... whether social media, content marketing, PPC, direct mail, phone calls, etc Some folks will be "captured" and continue down the funnel, while others will "fall out" ... hence the narrowing of the funnel. What do I mean by captured? Normally, this means an email address; however, it can also reference mailing info, phone info, social media info, etc. Basically, a way to keep in touch with what is now called a lead or a prospect. Up next comes "lead nurturing". This is where the business attempts to form a relationship with the lead by sharing relevant information, keeping in touch, answering/asking questions, etc. Sometimes, even ... this can mean taking the lead out to dinner or sending them on vacation. For example, my parents just got a new investment guy ... and since my parents are at retirement age, they're worth a fair amount to an investment guy, so it's worth that individual to take my parents out to eat, send them on little trips in order to try and "win" them over. So, those meals were part of that guys sales funnel. And, I don't know free food and trips was what did the trick; however, my parents went with him. My point is, a sales funnel can go beyond simply sending people a bunch of emails. After the lead has been nurtured, it's time to close the sale - turning the lead into a paying customer. Most of your "typical" sales funnel definitions end there; however, I do want to take this sales funnel definition a step further because, it's not over once you make one sale. You now have a paying customer, who has enough trust in your business to give it money. Now, you need to keep them happy. Keep them comfortable. Keep them informed. And, of course, sell them more products and services! Don't forget that ... there's a life after the traditional sales funnel, and someone is going to need to maintain that aspect. And, typically, it's value is worth way more than the initial sales funnel.
2 minutes | Oct 7, 2015
What is the value of email marketing?
For the most part, you get out what you put into it. It also depends on your business model. For eCommerce stores, email marketing (if done well) can "easily" double sales ... pretty much, automatically. There are upsell emails to get people to buy more. Cart abandonment emails that remind people to finish their order. Promotional emails that drive sales. And more. It's insane how much email marketing can increase an eCommerce stores revenue. For B2B, it may be a little different; however, the customers may be bigger. What if one customer was worth $10k/mo? And if your email marketing efforts only resulted in 1 new customer a month ... would it still be worth doing? Let's take it down a notch. Maybe you only sell $50 products, and by implementing email marketing, you're able to sell 10% more a month. Would it be worth doing? Some other benefits that increase the value of email marketing are that it's fairly inexpensive, can be highly automated and hands off, and it's easy to get started. Plus, there's the "value" of being able to converse, 1 on 1, with your leads and customers. Having direct communications with these individuals is invaluable to a business. Needless to say, it's very hard to place a distinct "value" on email marketing efforts in general. There needs to be some context; however, 99.99% of the time, the value of email marketing will far outweigh the cost that goes into implementing it.
2 minutes | Oct 6, 2015
How does email marketing work?
It's almost like direct mail and/or sending a print newsletter - as long as the person on the receiving end ASKED to receive that content. For example, blindly sending 100 letters to different households in an attempt to get a response ... is generally how direct mail is performed. However, with email marketing, 100 people will have actually given you their email address ... wanting to hear from you. So, email marketing is similar to direct mail in that you're sending an email/letter straight to their inbox ... the difference is that email marketing is more permission based. So, if you think of email marketing like that ... the next logical step would be to get a list of email addresses. And, before getting into that ... you will want to pickup an email service provider (ESP) that will be able to keep track, organize, and automate your emails. I personally use and recommend both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp. Once you have your ESP, it's time to grow your email list. This is normally accomplished by adding a signup or "optin" form to your website and by offering some form of incentive (Lead Magnet) in exchange for the individual's email address. This can be a coupon, checklist, video course, eBook, etc. From there, you'll be able to send emails to your list, building a relationship and promoting products. And the good part about email marketing is that it's relatively cheap to perform. You do not need to purchase stamps, paper, etc in order to spread your message which makes it much easier to build a relationship and keep your business in the front of your customers minds. So, that's just a general overview of how email marketing works. Of course, there's a lot more to it than that, I was just trying to keep it simple enough that even my mother would be able to understand!
1 minutes | Oct 5, 2015
Can you recommend a free email automation tool?
My first opinion on this question is ... really? If you can't afford between $10-$20/mo on a decent email automation tool, then you're doing something wrong. Anyway, many email automation tools offer either some sort of trial period OR a free tier. ActiveCampaign has a 14 day trial. iContact has a 30 day trial. GetResponse has a 30 day trial. Constant Contact has a 60 day trial. MailChimp offers a free tier; however, it does not allow for automation - so, it will not suite your needs. It's great if all you need to do is send broadcast emails. As for totally free autoresponder services - they're more or less crap. Tracking, automation tools, features, ease of use, deliverability rates, all that stuff ... is hit or miss ... and I would never recommend a free solution for your business. Spending $10-$20/mo on a quality autoresponder service is money well spent. Instead of drinking Starbucks coffee for 4 days, brew your own - and that'll more than cover the cost of an email automation tool.
2 minutes | Oct 2, 2015
What is the trick to email marketing so that it does not annoy people or be dismissed immediately as spam, but rather be opened up, read, and actually turn into a lead or sale?
I don't like the word "trick". A trick is something that works for a little while, but then it gets figured out, overused, and finally loses its effectiveness. Instead, I recommend using what's worked before email marketing even existed and what will exist long after email marketing has died - be helpful, be sincere, be relevant. The only reason someone buys something is because they have a problem and they believe their purchase will solve that problem. By being helpful and guiding an individual into solving their problem - you will be successful. Of course this help MUST be sincere. You must truly want to help that individual and most of the time people can tell if someone is sincere or not ... unless you're incredibly sneaky, in which case you can sell snake oil, but there's probably a special place in Hell for people who use this ability for evil. Finally, you must be relevant to that person's needs. Let's say you're trying to sell a lawn cutting service - you may be truly helpful and sincere, but if the person lives in an apartment ... what you have to offer will not be relevant to them. As long as you cover those three aspects (helpful, sincere, relevant) in any and all of your marketing efforts - you will be successful.
2 minutes | Oct 1, 2015
I have an email list with 5000 subscribers but I’m not making any money. Should I delete my list?
Depends how you answer this question: Where did you get the list from? If you purchased it or scraped it - yes, delete it. If you built it yourself, then no ... but, this is what I would do. Run your list through an email list cleaning service - DataValidation.com offers this service, but there are several out there. Just make sure they're legit before handing over your list. You don't need them to steal your list and sell it. This will make sure the email addresses you have ... at least exists. Then, I would send 3 emails: Remember me? Apologize for delay, remind people how they joined your list - just be honest and say that you're going to be getting better with your emailing What you've missed! Since I failed to keep you in the loop, here's what you might have missed! Discount or freebie The goal of these three emails is to get an open or a click. Those individuals that at least open an email - keep them, you know they exist and you may have a chance. Those that don't open an email - delete. This may bring your list down to only 500 people, but at least they're 500 people you KNOW exist. This will probably bring down your monthly email autoresponder fees as your list will have shrank to 1/10th the size. From there, I'd setup funnels and series, and be consistent with my broadcast emails. That's what I would do.
3 minutes | Sep 30, 2015
Is email marketing dead?
This is probably THE MOST asked question about email marketing. Now, do people and businesses get 80% open rates and 40% click-through-rates like back in the "good 'ol days"? No. They don't. Which is why the "is email marketing dead" question exists. Back in those "good 'ol days", people were only getting a few emails a day, and nowadays people get a heck of a lot more and there's just not enough time in the day to read them all. It just means you have a little more competition - but it's far from dead. Think of it like this ... email used to be about hearing from friends and family, now - it's used for business and transactions. People expect this. They expect businesses to be in their inbox. They now have social media to keep in touch with family and friends. And according to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group - 90% of people preferred to receive business updates via a newsletter, while only 10% chose Facebook. Now I'll rattle off a few common stats most marketers refer to when responding to this question: For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25. [emailexpert] - I don't know how true or accurate this statement is ... 4425% return seems a bit unbelievable to me; however, say it's for every $1 spent, the average return is $2. That STILL doubles your return on investment. When marketed through email, consumers spend 138% more than people who don’t receive email offers. [Convince and Convert] 91% of consumers use email at least once a day. [Exact Target] Email is almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter. [McKinsey & Company] 44% of consumers made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email they received. [Convince and Convert] 72% of consumers sign up for emails because they want to get discounts, but only 8.2% sign up because they love the brand. [BlueHornet] So, email marketing is FAR from dead. In this day and age, people prefer businesses to be in their inbox as opposed to their social media accounts.
2 minutes | Sep 29, 2015
Is email marketing or Twitter more effective to reach potential users?
It depends on your business. Is your potential audience even on Twitter? Do they take kindly to cold emails? Are you just looking for 5 huge, $10k a month clients? So, it all depends on that. For the sake of argument, I'm going to assume you're offering something for around $50 that over 10k people can and should use ... they just don't know it exists yet. Now, to answer your question - normally, from a sales conversion standpoint, email tends to outperform most other online mediums like Twitter. However, you throw in a key phrase, "potential users." So, it sounds like you're still in the "outreach" phase and here's what I would do ... I would use both. LAME! I know, but hear me out. Using email for outreach can be good in some scenarios like trying to get reach hot prospects, but it does not scale well. You're not going to be able to email 10k people ... ever. Well maybe within about 3 years you could ... but that would really suck. So, I would only use email for outreach in an attempt to land influencers. You know, the big guys and gals with the big audiences ... where if they like your product/service ... they'll recommend it to their audience. And, more than likely, you'll want to give your product/service to them for free. Otherwise, I recommend setting up a landing page with an opt-in form, lead magnet, the whole shebang ... with a follow up email series that sells your product/service. I would then use Twitter ... because, Twitter is powerful and allows you to communicate with people, participate in conversations, etc and can get you in front of a lot of people. Anyway, I'd use Twitter to send people to that landing page where you would collect their email address. To summarize. Use email outreach to land influencers. Create an email follow up series to convert leads into customers. Get leads from being hyperactive on Twitter.
3 minutes | Sep 28, 2015
How do I attract the first 1000 subscribers for a content website?
This question involves a few variables: How fast? Budget? Do you have an audience elsewhere? Blog? Social media? Depending on those variables my recommendations and answers will change. So, how fast do you want it to happen? You can get there in a day if you leverage your resources correctly and/or have the budget for it. For example, if you have 50k fans on Facebook, it should be fairly easy and fast to get to 1,000 email subscribers. If you don't have an audience elsewhere, it'll take more time and/or money. Speaking of money ... if you want to go the paid advertising route, for a QUALITY subscriber, you're probably looking at $1-$2 per subscriber ... if not more, depending on your niche. So, some simple math would tell you that it'll cost between $1,000 to $2,000 for a list of 1,000 QUALITY subscribers. Sure, you can get cheaper subscribers too, but you know what you get from them? Nothing. Obviously you'll want people who care about what you have to offer. I don't know you, but $1k-$2k might be a bit out of your price range. So, here's a tip. On your Thank You page, try and make some of that advertising money back by offering something for a few bucks. For example, if your lead magnet is a guide, can you turn that guide into a video and sell that video for $7? Whatever you come up with, try and keep it under $10. If you're broke and don't have an audience elsewhere ... depending how hard you grind it out will dictate how fast you can grow your list to 1,000 subscribers. Here are a few suggestions for your grind to the top! Ask your family, friends, and work acquaintances. May any of them be interested? Ask them to share it. Get active on forums. Can you include a signature with a link to your opt-in form? Guest blogging with a link to your opt-in form. Get active on social sites. Start building relationships and making contributions. Start a blog, podcast, etc. Get your name and business in front of as many people as possible. It's pretty much the "generic" advice you'll usually see when looking how to grow your list ... and that's because, that's how it's done. Ultimately, my advice is paid advertising. Given the right funnel setup, you should be able to make your money back and be net positive in no time ... I mean, that's the whole point of email marketing in the first place!
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