Without doubt there are email marketers out there who are earning a lot of money, these people are genuine when they quote income figures, they for the most part are willing to help people who want to learn but they do not have a secret instead their success has come from years of trying, failing, learning how not to do it then figuring out what works and implementing it.
If you think about it, the internet is simply a big shop, people offer you their stuff and you decide whether to buy it or not. Imagine if you walked down your local high street and every shop was giving their stuff away for free, how long would the high street last? Not very long as they would be out of stuff on day one, the internet is exactly the same it’s not free and it doesn’t come without strings, sooner or later you will be expected to buy something.
How does email marketing work?
In it’s simplest form this is how it works, you invite people to give you their email address, you build your list of people then you build a relationship with them. Relationships are nurtured then at some point you invite people on your list to buy something from you. To be honest if it really was that easy I’m pretty sure everyone would be millionaires so let’s break it down a bit further.
Collect email addresses
This is by far the hardest part and needs to be done properly otherwise you will be waiting a long time for your list to grow. To collect email address you first need a “shop window” a place where you can actually ask people to give you their details. This could be a collection form in your sidebar, in your post or a simple one page site set up specifically for the purpose of collecting names; commonly known as a squeeze page.
Assuming you’re using WordPress there’s a free plugin called Wysija Newsletter, if you are on a very tight budget this will do for starters, I have used it myself. It worked OK, not great just OK, the reason I used it was because it was free! Remember what I said about free, I very quickly out grew it and moved on to a purpose built email marketing software. As always there are so many to choose from its difficult to know which ones best?
I use Aweber
It’s widely accepted that Aweber are the best, there are others but to be honest I’ve never needed to use them. Aweber have been perfect for my business, in a nutshell I am able to create simple forms, build my list, manage my list, auto communicate with my list, send out newsletters, track the success of my newsletters and use their analytic’s to keep my list up to date.
Aweber is a paid service, in my opinion it’s a small price to pay for professional list handling, at the time of writing they have a promotion where you can get your first month for a dollar. If you prefer to try before you buy have a go at their free trial, just fill in the form below:
Manage your list
Imagine having a list of 10,000 subscribers you’d be quite excited I am sure. What if 1000 people on your list had changed email address, another 1000 never open your emails and a further 1000 block your communications with spam filters then what? Manage your list; that’s what!
Your list should be your prize possession; it is where the money is after all so it’s vitally important it’s up to date. Using third party software such as Aweber basically does this for you, it will tell you how many people received, opened, unsubscribed, are out of date, what they clicked on and a whole host of other things besides.
Nurture your list
It’s one thing having a list it’s something completely different nurturing it. The first thing you need to ask yourself is why are people on your list? What motivated them to subscribe? What is it they want from you? This part of email marketing is one that is often over looked, break it down into the parts I’ve mentioned and you will have a better understanding of how to nurture it. Obviously it all depends on what niche you are working in but let’s have a look at the “Boardroom Bling” list:
Who’s on my list?
There are three types of people on my list, Firstly people who are new to blogging and email marketing, secondly people who have tried and failed so are looking for a better way and lastly successful marketers who are making sure I don’t get the jump on them or checking me out for future partnerships. I know this because I see the email address, with a little bit of detective work I can understand who my followers are and why.
What motivated them to subscribe?
Based on the type of people on my list and a bit of split testing I can usually figure out what motivated them to subscribe. Generally struggling blog owners and marketers like the way I explain things, my straight to the point style resonates with them.
There is a train of thought that your list will grow quicker if you give away a freebie, some business are actually built on this philosophy, think loss leader. You might have noticed I haven’t got a freebie and that’s intentional, I am not against freebies but I don’t want my list littered with freeloaders. I want people who actually like what I’m doing, understand why I’m doing it and can see value in it, if they join my list I know they are serious.
If you consider the successful people on my list they don’t need a freebie from me, they could teach me a thing or two and they are on my list because they want to keep an eye on me not because they need something from me.
Your niche might mean you have to give away a freebie to grow your list, I will write about that in another post.
What do they want?
This step will make or break your business, if you don’t know what your list wants how can you give it to them? There is a bit of psychology here and the best place to start is with you, here is my thinking as a guide:
Newbie- I want to know where to start, I want to know the basics, I want to know the easiest way, I want to be directed to time saving resources, I want to do all of this without investing money, I want to avoid the pitfalls and I want to be able to connect with the person teaching me.
Struggler- I want to find out where I went wrong, I want to move my business to the next level, I want to get serious and I want to build a relationship with a mentor.
Successful IM- I am never too successful to learn more, I can use the information here to learn what others want then implement it into my own business or I might be able to work with this guy in the future so I will keep an eye on him.
How often to keep in touch?
Part of the nurturing process is keeping in touch, some people send almost daily emails but in my opinion it’s overkill and when this happens to me I quickly unsubscribe. Obviously if you have signed up for a daily tips email, expect a daily email!
Using Aweber you can set auto emails to go out at specified times, say once a week, fortnightly or monthly. This route is better because it’s not too much and you are still keeping in touch so you’re not forgotten about.
I work on the premise that you have signed up for a monthly newsletter, that’s what you expect from me. If I come across a fantastic deal or idea that is time limited I might send you a special email but I will announce it on the site so you are expecting it!
I strongly recommend you use a similar approach to nurturing your list; you might have other ways of achieving the same understanding that’s fine as long as you are doing it. OK we now have a way of collecting email address, we understand why people subscribed and we know how to build a relationship with them so the next step is to make some money.
Monetize your list
Many bloggers say this is the bit that frightens them the most. They don’t like trying to sell people stuff even though they know that’s the point of their blog!
I have a theory about this, people are scared of monetizing their list because they have got people on the list under false pretenses, remember what I said earlier!
I am in business to make money, my vehicle for making money is my list, my subscribers know at some point I will promote something too them, they also know if I say it’s good then it is, if I say it works then it does. They can buy it or not, I am not going to email them and ask why they didn’t, there’s no pressure from me so I have nothing to worry about.
There are many ways of monetizing a list but let me start with and absolute “NO”, if you want to lose your list overnight this is the quickest way “Sell Your List”. Under no circumstances sell the names on your list, your subscribers have signed up because they trust you, they know they won’t get spammed and if you break this trust you are out of business.
Making money from your list depends on your niche. If you are an expert in your field, if you understand your list you’ll know how to monetize it. If you’re blagging your way through you’ll send out “shite” and go bankrupt. I’m sorry if that’s a bit harsh but part of my crusade is to rid the industry of idiots and I can normally tell who they are by the crap they send me!
Making money in your niche
I generally break this part of the business down into sections, you might have more! The first thing I want to impress on you is don’t rush into monetizing your blog or list, if you do most people will switch off and hit the back button. It comes back to the reason your blogging, yes you want t make money but this should be secondary to building something useful.
Build up your content and following, offer your help for free and down the road the money will follow, I know that’s a cliche but it’s true and the sooner you accept that the better.
It’s not surprising that the biggest niche on the internet is the internet itself, specifically making it easier to use and making money from it. Information, software, eBooks, apps etc…are worth a fortune and there are millions of business around the world making money from it.
If you are in this niche your income will come from teaching people how to do things quicker, smarter and better. You might be a coder, designer, SEO’er, mentor or one of hundreds of experts; you might be an affiliate, consultant, pioneer or simply selling the dream, whatever your forte there’s money to make because there are people out there who want what you have.
There are two categories of products that sell online, impulse buys and luxury items; it’s important you understand the difference.
Impulse products lend themselves to affiliate type blogs and bargain orientated email marketing. These items cost less and are pretty much low risk purchases. I used to blog about dog food bowls, the items I sold were cheap, people could read about which bowl was best and why then make a purchase via Amazon. Buying a low cost item is a no brainer and if they get it wrong it’s not the end of the world.
The second category are what I would describe as luxury items, these are much more expensive, need researching and carry a risk when buying online. Another site of mine promotes high end luxury gifts, one purchase can set people back thousands so for the most part they won’t rush into it. Quite often they will visit many times, do a lot of shopping around before buying, this is where my newsletter comes in. I find the best deals on these items and review them in depth, I put these deals in my newsletter and every once in a while somebody makes a purchase. The commission on these sales is much higher than 20 impulse commissions so you can guess where my focus is.
You might have an offline business and want to reach a bigger audience, you could become an affiliate for online stores, you might write a blog and offer associated products or review products on behalf of companies; there are far too many ideas to list here so sign up to my list for more.
This is another area the internet was made for, services are perfect to review, compare and promote. Think about your habits when you use the internet, insurance, phone contracts, holidays, business opportunities and so on all lend themselves to blogs and email marketing.
People want the best price, the best service, are willing to shop around and are happy to receive these offers via email. Everyone wants to save money and the internet is the easiest place to do that, people might not be able to visit 10 offline companies for a comparison, you can and you can give shoppers an honest opinion about whats on offer and why they should buy it.
The service sector is a tough nut to crack, it’s a very profitable niche and there are some big players operating in it. You can still win if you get your offer and email marketing right, it’s hard work but the prize is much bigger.
So what now?
I’ve had to rein myself in because this post is turning into another sermon, I wanted to give an overview of email marketing not a definitive guide. I will be writing about all the component parts in much more detail. If I’ve wet your appetite for building an email list then I can’t stress enough my subscribers get much more detail in the newsletters, subscribe!
I really do like feedback, it helps me write about topics you need help with, it keeps me on my toes and it let’s me know what I’m doing right or wrong. If you can spare a minute why not leave me a comment.