I was recently interviewed for some email marketing tips by a good friend of mine, author and content-creator extraordinaire Sonja Jefferson, who posted our discussion as an article on email marketing tips on her blog.

Sonja wanted to know how to use email as part of your marketing mix.  But there are some mistakes you can make with email marketing that kill your sales and can even cause you problems with your online business profile.  More on this later.

This is a complementary article to Sonja’s, exploring the strategy in more detail and how to do it in your business. I’ve also included a couple of resources that I find helpful.

How Email Marketing Tips You Towards More Sales

Using email is a great follow-up strategy for people who have already been in contact with you in some way.

It’s not a good method to acquire new contacts unless you use some advanced copywriting and targeting as part of your strategy.

In fact, you already know this, but you may be blind to it within your own business.  When you get an email from somebody completely out of the blue, who you’ve never previously heard from, you call it spam.

You delete it without reading it and put it onto the back burner.  So use it only for follow-up, not for initial contact.

If you send unsolicited emails too often, you’ll find people will start to write negative posts about you on social media sites and business forums.  This will damage your online reputation and could harm your business.

It’s just not necessary to send spam emails – take the time to do it properly, explained in the rest of this article, and you’ll get great results.

(As an aside, the email marketing tips in this article come from the overall marketing strategy that I teach.  You can find more info on my marketing plan template post.)

The most important email marketing advice is to capture the contact details of everybody that shows any interest in your website.

That’s why you’ll find that I’ve got a signup box for my business advice newsletters in the sidebar on the right of this page, and also at the foot of the page.  The easier you make it to sign up, the more quickly you can build your mailing list.

The advantage of this is it builds a warm list – everybody on your mailing list has shown an interest in what you sell.

It’s possible using this technique to build a list of thousands of names within a matter of a year or less, all interested in what you sell.  Especially if you drive more traffic to your site using a smart online marketing strategy that integrates search engine optimisation, pay per click marketing and social media for business.

By capturing their details, you are in the driving seat for staying in touch.  In fact, of all the email marketing tips in this article, the whole reason you’re doing it is to stay in touch until they’re ready to buy.

These people have already expressed an interest of some kind in your business, you have started a fledgeling relationship with them, so you have the chance to develop that through quality content sent to them on a regular basis.

One of the best kept secrets of the super-successful marketers is called database marketing.  You may have heard of it, you certainly receive examples of it in the post and email (credit card offers to you by name, Sky TV offers, etc).

It has been around for a great many years, has been proven to consistently out-perform any other marketing strategy, yet only a tiny percentage of small businesses invest the time and effort to use it.

That’s where email comes in.  Email is the great leveller – it makes database marketing very accessible and affordable to you.

And if you think it doesn’t work, you might want to look again.

Email drives huge numbers of clicks to your website.  I can double or triple the daily traffic to my websites simply by sending an email to my list.

If you’ve tried it without success, it just means you need to adjust your approach.  Read on for more email marketing tips.

How Do You Get People Added Onto Your List?

I’ve seen some people go out and “harvest” email addresses from company websites, or buy large databases of email addresses.  This is the short-cut method and it has very variable results.

You also need to consider how people will feel when they receive your emails.  If you get a broadcast promotion email from somebody you’ve never hear of, you’re likely to delete it right away.

If too many emails are sent from your address, and if enough people complain that it’s spam, your email server can be “blacklisted” by the big email services like Hotmail, MSN, GoogleMail, YahooMail and so on, meaning that none of your email will ever get through to their users.

So if you want to add people to your list, make sure first of all that they’ve requested that you add them to the list, or at least that you have their permission.

Two great strategies for this…

  • Offer an attractive free download when they signup (like my 21 Ways To More Profit in 30 Days ebook – got yours yet?)
  • If you’re speaking to them in person, send them an email afterwards and ask them if it’s OK to keep in touch via email afterwards.

With many email services you can also do an opt-in confirmation, which simply sends an email to your new subscriber and asks them to confirm that it’s ok for you to keep in touch with them.

While this can reduce the number of people on your list, it also means that your emails will be going to people who’ve already said they’re interested.

Email Marketing Tips – What To Write About…

I personally believe in developing the relationship with your subscribers by sending out quality information.  This keeps them engaged and interested in what you do.  You can include an offer from time to time too.

There are people who simply send out special offers at regular intervals.  These are the kinds of emails that can end up in the bin after a while because they’re just push, push, push.  Nobody like a pushy salesperson, and sending out only promotion after promotion is being pushy.

It’s a good idea to map out your series of topics or messages on a piece of paper before you send them, so that there’s some kind of continuity from message to message.  That way your subscriber gets to feel that there’s a common thread through everything that you do.

If you have a particular promotion to offer, you can send out a special offer email just on that topic.  If you’re delivering value in your educational emails, they’ll pay attention and you can get results, as long as your offer is relevent to the topic around which you’ve built your relationship.

How Do You Make Money From Email?

There’s not point having a bunch of email marketing tips for business if there’s nothing about making money.

The secret to a successful email marketing campaign is to build a relationship with your subscribers until they’re ready to buy from you.  Here are some specific things you’ll want to consider…

Call To Action – At the end of your educational emails, include a short call to action that reminds them what you can do for them.  You’ll be surprised how many sales this can lead to.

Promotions – Send out a special promotion from time to time that’s relevent.  A good ratio to think about is never send out a promotion before at least one information/educational article.  So each month, you might send out two emails, one that’s informative, the next promoting something related.

Build A Bigger List – The bigger your list, the more chance you have of making sales.

What Service To Use For Your List?

For the first few years of list-building I used Aweber.com, and I’ve recommended this a lot of clients too.  It’s the most widely used list management software.

These days though I use InfusionSoft.  It’s not only an email management system, but it can do mail-merging for letters, it’s a full Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) and it’s very powerful for managing your sales activities.  It has a built in diary, can connect into an SMS service for marketing via mobile phones, and for me replaced the ACT! database I was using on my desktop.

I have recently switched to recommending InfusionSoft to any of my customers who needs to start building an email list.  If you go to a networking event, or take an enquiry over the phone, you can enter details of the contact into InfusionSoft and add them to your mailing list instantly.

They’ll then receive a series of emails automatically about your business, with a slightly different sequence after each contact you have with them, helping you to nurture the relationship until they’re ready to buy.

Click the image for a great free report from InfusionSoft about what they call Web Marketing 2.0.  I recommend you have a read of this.  They also offer regular webinars that go a long way beyond simple email marketing tips.

I hope you found these email marketing tips useful.