Einstein once said that “email marketing is the eighth wonder of the world.”
Okay. No, he didn’t.
But he should have!
Email marketing is powerful — you can use it to build an audience full of your dream customers, generate website traffic on demand, and sell more of your products and services.
If you’re not using it to grow your business, you’re missing out on some serious opportunities.
In this guide, we’re going to show you everything you need to know about email marketing, so you can start using it to drive growth for your business.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses electronic mail as a means of communication. Email marketing is the process of sending commercial messages, typically to a group of people, using email.
In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. However, this term is usually used to refer to:
- Sending emails with the purpose of enhancing a merchant’s relationship with current or previous customers, encouraging customer loyalty and repeat business, acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately, and/or developing brand recognition.
Email marketing can be done to either cold lists (people who have never heard of your company) or to warm lists (people who have already heard of your company but don’t do business with you).
Feel a little lost?
In this guide, we’re going to show you our proven process for building and engaging with an email list.
Why is Email Marketing Important?
Email marketing is arguably the most powerful marketing medium available today.
You might shrug and point to YouTube or Instagram or Facebook… “Aren’t those ones way more powerful?”
Here’s the problem with those platforms: they own the audience, not you.
Facebook regularly puts people in “Facebook jail” for posting content they dislike, and YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram all have their own methods for gatekeeping.
Not only that, but these platforms don’t want you to reach your audience unless you pay for it. The longer a platform is around, the harder it is for businesses to reach their audiences for free. That’s why organic reach for businesses has steadily decreased on Facebook over the last decade.
With email marketing, that’s not the case.
Your email list is something that you own and have full control over. You can customize your audience and the experience. You can send what you want when you want. And you can engage with your most loyal followers on your own terms.
Email marketing is also important because it’s one of the few platforms where you can reach your audience on their terms.
Most people check their email every day, meaning that if you can get in front of them when they’re checking their inbox, you have a chance to make a real impact.
And finally, email marketing is important because it’s one of the most ROI-positive marketing strategies available. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $40.
That’s a 4,000% ROI.
But that’s not all. Check out some of these other email marketing stats (HubSpot)…
- There are 4 billion daily email users.
- 37% of brands are increasing their email budget.
- A majority of marketers using email leverage mobile-friendly emails as part of their marketing strategy.
- Subscriber segmentation is the most effective email marketing campaign strategy.
- 33% of marketers send weekly emails and 26% send emails multiple times per month.
- 77% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.
- Smartphone users prefer to receive brand communications via email.
- Almost half of marketers report changing their email performance measurements as a result of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection changes.
- Testing your emails leads to higher ROI.
There’s no other marketing strategy that comes close to being as powerful as email.
Important Email Marketing Metrics
To succeed at email marketing, you’ve got to understand a few key metrics.
The bigger your list grows, the more important paying attention to the health of these metrics becomes. They will not only impact your relationship with your audience, they will also impact your deliverability (i.e. whether your emails go to spam) and even your bottom-line revenue.
Let’s take a look.
1. Open Rate
Your email open rate is the percentage of people on your list who open an email you send.
A good open rate varies from industry to industry, and the accuracy of this metric has been at least partly impacted by Apple’s recent privacy updates.
Still, it’s important to pay attention. Generally speaking, anything above 15% for an open rate is pretty decent.
Here are some open rate averages based on industry…
If your open rate is lower than expected, here are some things you can try…
- Resend your email to people who didn’t open it the first time (after a day or two) with a different subject line.
- Experiment with different “from” names to see if that has an impact on open rate.
- Test different subject lines to see what capture’s your audience’s attention.
- Don’t neglect your preheader. A lot of people read that before opening.
2. Open Reach
Open reach is similar to open rate in that it’s tracking the number of people who open, but it does so differently.
Instead of tracking how many people open a single email, open reach reports on how many subscribers opened at least one email over a given period of time (say, one month). That gives you a more holistic view of how many of your subscribers are engaging with your emails at least once per month.
You can determine this number by dividing the total number of unique opens over a given period of time by the total number of subscribers that you have.
3. Click-Through Rate
Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who click on something inside of your email.
This could be a link to your website or a link to a landing page.
CTR is important because it tells you how well your email content is performing.
A good CTR varies by industry, but as a general rule of thumb, anything above 2% is decent.
Here are some CTR averages…
If your CTR is lower than expected, then think about the CTAs you’re including in your emails.
How can you make them more compelling?
4. Unsubscribe Rate
Your unsubscribe rate is the percentage of people who unsubscribe from your email list after receiving one of your emails.
A good unsubscribe rate varies by industry, but as a general rule of thumb, you want it to be as low as possible. Anything below 0.5% is considered good.
5. Spam Complaint Rate
Your spam complaint rate is the percentage of people on your list who mark your email as spam.
A good spam complaint rate varies by industry, but as a general rule of thumb, anything below 0.1% is decent.
Obviously, though, you want this to be as low as possible.
Still, if you’ve got a big email list, you’re going to get spam complaints even if you send the purest, most value-packed emails in the universe… so don’t sweat a few spam complaints here or there.
7 Email Marketing Tips For Total Beginners
Now let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this article.
You understand email marketing, what it is, and which metrics matter the most. Now we’re going to walk you through our top tips for success.
Follow these and you’ll be head and shoulders above 99% of other email marketers.
1. Create a Customer Avatar
Who is your dream customer — the person whom you most want to work with? What are their dreams and desires? Their fears and worries? Their wishes and wants?
At the beginning of his bestselling book, Traffic Secrets, Russell Brunson tells the following story…
- I don’t know if Alexis will like this,” said an executive at Sally Beauty Supply.
- Confused, my friend Perry Belcher asked, “What?” He set down his new scented hand sanitizer that he had brought in to pitch at the meeting.
- He picked up his new UV nail polish and handed it to the group. “Okay, well, how about this product?” he asked.
- They looked at it, opened it up, and smelled it. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure that Alexis won’t like this either,” they replied.
- More confused than ever, and now a little frustrated, Perry brought out his third and final product to pitch to them.
- In a similar fashion, they looked at the product, gave it a quick once-over, and then said, “Sorry, Alexis definitely wouldn’t be interested in this one either.”
- More frustrated, Perry looked at the two execs he was talking to and finally blurted “Who is Alexis?! Is she the decision maker? Why isn’t she in this meeting instead of you two? Is she here? Can I just talk directly to her? I know that I can convince her that your company needs to sell these products!”
- There was a moment of silence, and then both execs burst out in laughter.
- “Alexis isn’t a person. She’s our customer avatar!” one replied.
This is important because if you don’t know who your dream customers are… you won’t know who you want on your email list or even what you should send them.
Find a picture to represent them, give them a name, a job, an income bracket, a family, and so on — the more real they seem to you, the better.
You can use the graphic below as a starting place.
Knowing who you’re targeting is going to make you far more successful at email marketing.
2. Focus On Growth
Obviously, you don’t just want 100 people on your email list… or even just 1,000… you want tens of thousands. Maybe even millions.
The more people you have on your list, the more profit potential sits at the tip of your fingers (assuming that those people are part of your target market, of course).
So it’s important to always be growing your list. This is the top of your funnel, where people enter your ecosystem and start to learn about your business.
You’ve got to keep the leads flowing.
Here’s how you can keep growing your email list…
Use Lead Magnets — A lead magnet is something that you give away for free in order to entice people to opt-in to your email list. It could be an ebook, a webinar, a coupon code, etc. It needs to be something of value that people actually want.
Do Trades With Other Email Lists — Find businesses in complementary industries with email lists similar to yours and offer to do a list swap. You promote their product/offer to your list and they do the same for you. This is a great way to get new leads without having to spend any money on ads.
Use Our Dream 100 Strategy — This is the exact process Russell Brunson used to grow ClickFunnels from the ground up. It consists of reaching out and/or building relationships with 100 influencers in your niche in order to garner attention for your business. You can click the link to learn more about how this works.
Advertisements — You can also grow your email list by running ads directly to opt-in pages. This is a great way to get targeted leads, but it will cost you money.
Sponsorships — Another paid method for growing your email list is through sponsorships. You can sponsor a podcast, an event, or even another email list in order to get attention from your audience.
There are a number of ways you can grow your email list, but it’s important that you always have a plan for doing so. The last thing you want is to let your list stagnate.
3. Be Consistent
Were recommend sending one email per day using the Seinfeld emails strategy explained below.
But we also understand that feels like a lot.
Maybe, instead, that’s a goal you can work toward.
When you’re just getting started, maybe just send once per week — we recommend not doing less than that.
It’s important to stay top-of-mind with your audience and so to be interacting with them consistently. It’s also helpful for deliverability to send consistently, at the same time every week or day.
So work your email marketing strategy into your schedule. Stick with it. Be consistent.
4. Create a Swipe File
Here’s a simple fact: some days you’re going to sit down to write an email and you’re just going to feel like you’re totally out of ideas for what to say.
Build a swipe file that you can use whenever you need inspiration.
A swipe file is simply a collection of emails that you’ve found to be effective in the past. They could be from your own email list or from other businesses.
The key is to keep them organized so you can easily find what you need when you need it. You can create folders or labels inside of your email provider. Go subscribe to a ton of great email marketers or businesses in your niche and make sure they all go to the same folder in your email account.
Then when you’re out of ideas… you can just use your swipe file.
5. Write Seinfeld Emails
Once someone has finished going through a soap opera sequence… what’s next?
Whether they buy or not, you shouldn’t stop emailing them.
After all, just because someone didn’t buy five days after they signed up for your email list certainly doesn’t mean they’ll never buy.
49% of businesses say that most of their leads require “long cycle” nurturing, according to Ascend2.
So it’s worth your time to keep emailing people who’ve bought before… and people who’ve never bought.
But… what do you send?
Daily Seinfeld emails — check out the video below!
Basically, Seinfeld emails are just daily emails that catch the recipient’s attention, tell a story, and make an offer relevant to the story that was told.
Now you might be nervous about emailing every day, but you could use the same strategy and email just a few times a week or even once a week.
The important thing is to stay in contact with your entire list — to continue building authority, and to continue making them offers.
Once you get in the habit, writing these emails should just take 15 minutes or so every morning — you can use the hook-story-offer format to write them…
- Hook — Get the recipient’s attention with a curiosity-inducing subject line.
- Story — Tell a compelling and interesting story.
- Offer — Offer a product or service that’s related to the story you told.
Here’s an example…
And here’s another example…
Russell Brunson (and many other online marketers) have found that you can make about $1 per subscriber per month… and that number increases when you email more often.
Seinfeld emails are a great way to nurture your leads, build trust, and keep your email list actively buying.
You can learn more about Seinfeld emails in Russell Brunson’s bestselling book, DotCom Secrets ← use that link to get it for free.
6. Create a Soap Opera Sequence
Once you’ve got people on your list, once you’ve delivered the lead magnet… then what?
The next step is to try and sell those people one of your primary products using a series of emails.
It’s called the “soap opera sequence”.
Because, like a soap opera, the emails guide the visitor irresistibly from one “episode” (email) to the next… and eventually to buying your products/services.
Here’s a great breakdown of how this email sequence works from Ryan Wegner…
The soap opera sequence basically consists of 5 emails sent over 5 days (one a day).
You set the stage, create high drama, share your epiphany, discuss hidden benefits, and then use urgency to push the lead over the fence.
If you want a more detailed explanation of how this works, get a free copy of Russell Brunson’s bestselling book, DotCom Secrets ← just pay shipping.
7. Don’t Overthink It
Maybe you’re feeling a little bit nervous about sending emails to your list.
What if they don’t like them?
What if they unsubscribe?
What if… what if… what if…
Let me offer you some advice: don’t overthink it.
Emails come… and they go. They are a very ephemeral type of content marketing. Even if you don’t 100% nail the email you send today, there’s always tomorrow. And people who like you aren’t going to unsubscribe just because of one sub-par email… not to mention that an email that you think is sub-par might actually be really good.
You never know until you hit send!
So keep sending emails to your list, keep selling, and you’ll learn tons along the way.
If you’re not sure what to say or send, use the Seinfeld emails strategy we outlined above, and always remember: there’s no right answer. You can send whatever you want to send.
Just keep going.
Email marketing is a powerful tool that every business should be using.
It’s an easy way to stay in touch with your audience, build relationships, and drive revenue.
Now that you understand the basics of email marketing, it’s time to get started building your own campaign!
The action-oriented bird gets the worm!