A 5 Step Plan for Getting Results From Email Marketing

Posted by LinkedSelling in Uncategorized

How To Minimize UnsubscribersThis is very important.

If you care about making your (or your company's) online strategy more effective, pay attention to this.

The landscape is littered.

It's littered with people who talk all day long about what they do.  And people are tired of it.

Some examples of these people:

  • The banker who sends me email blasts about his rates, the sizes of loans he's looking for, and the types of deals he's doing.
  • The LinkedIn “guru” who sends me emails about LinkedIn stuff every week.
  • That one guy who, after I signed up for a “how to publish on the Kindle” webinar, has sent me several emails a week…each about the Kindle.

You might be thinking…what's wrong with this?  Why wouldn't these people talk about what they do?

Why This Is Not a Good Long Term Strategy

First, let me say that there isn't necessarily a “right” and “wrong” way to go about it.

Yet there is a natural tendency for people to “move on” and no longer be interested in immersing themselves in your area of expertise.

Build Communities That Attract ProspectsThe key word here is “immersed.”  

I talk about it all the time with our clients, in respect to the communities (LinkedIn groups) that we build to attract their prospects.

It's the same with email.

Do your prospects want to be IMMERSED in a community that revolves around a sliver of their worklife (such as Google Analytics) and will they stay engaged in this sort of community (such as The Google Analytics Learning Community) for the long term?

Not usually.

Just Not That Into You

Had the Kindle guy used his email follow ups to demonstrate a more well rounded offering and expertise, I would have stuck around longer.

Instead, after some time spent studying up on Kindle publishing, the emails are just too noisy…and I'm gone.

You see, I'm still interested in Kindle publishing.

Just not “three emails a week” interested.

A Real World Example You Can Probably Relate To

Think about it from the standpoint of a commercial contractor, a plumber for example.

This plumber can blog all day long about all sorts of technical plumbing topics, and they should.

But email is a different animal.  This company's clients probably do not care enough about this small sliver of their life to receive regular emails on the topic.

It takes hard work for a commercial plumber to gain new subscribers, and it takes even harder work to keep them from unsubscribing.

So what are some things this company could do?

  1. Highlight local industry news.
  2. Showcase projects they've worked on.
  3. Feature email content that is more of a “behind the scenes” nature.
  4. Conduct an interview series with clients.

That's four ideas, generated in 15 seconds.  With a half hour planning session, you could come up with 20.

Take these types of content/features/etc, combine them with the occasional “technical” topic, and you have a much more balanced approach that will keep prospects engaged for a long time.

Next Steps for You

Email Marketing Plan B2BIf you already have an email marketing plan in place:

  1. Print off the last two months of emails.
  2. Put each of them in a bucket.  The buckets should be meaningful categories that describe the type of message.  For my email list, the buckets include:
    • About LinkedIn Marketing
    • General Online Strategy
    • Announcement About an Event/Webinar
    • “Behind the Scenes” of My Business
    • News About Linked University
    • Email Marketing Strategy and Resources
    • Webinar Marketing Strategy and Resources
    • Links to Recent Interviews, Case Studies, Articles
    • Special Offers i.e. Exclusive Access to Linked U, etc.
  3. Take a hard look at the different buckets and determine what value they really bring to your community.
  4. Next, determine what percentage and frequency each bucket makes an appearance.  If you are making a sales pitch more than 20% of the time, you may want to reconsider your mix.
  5. The mix that you have here will largely define your brand.  It's a great time to make sure that your ACTIONS are aligned with the position you want to hold in the market.

If you don't yet have an email marketing plan:

  1. Determine 5 broad categories of content that you can highlight in your email newsletter.
  2. Be sure that these categories align well with your brand, and also provide real value for your prospects and community.
  3. Build a content plan for the next 6 weeks.
  4. Schedule one email per week.  Yes, one per week.  You see, in order to promote your special offers from time to time (and not annoy people) you have to deliver 80-90% value (or more) with no pitch.  Thus, you need 4 to 6 weeks of great content for every 1 “sales pitch.”
  5. Dig in and get it done.

Whichever path is right for you, give it a shot.  Take the time to plan up front, and it's really not that much of a time requirement.  In most cases, it actually takes less time to provide value than to come up with a new pitch.

Try it out for a couple months, and then send a brief survey to your list…asking if they like the new you.

I bet that your subscribers will love the new approach, and your email retention rate will skyrocket.

  • This was probably the best post I’ve read on email marketing! I’ve been sending out emails for our company for a year now and have basically divided them into two categories: offers and information. I get that you can’t sell sell sell or you’ll lose interest, but broadening the type of information I send is the key I was missing to retaining interest. Thank you for sharing!

    Here is the list I came up with in a minute after looking at yours.

    • About Time Tracking and how to use our software
    • Employee Retention Strategy (very important for the success of our business)
    • “Behind the Scenes” of My Business
    • Case Studies
    • News and Announcements About Our Company
    • HR Strategy and Resources
    • Employee Management Strategy and Resources
    • Blog Newsletter
    • Special Offers

  • Josh, I really like your comment that the types of content in the on-going communications “largely defines your brand”. This concept takes brand building way beyond consistent use of visual elements in a style guide.