The one where I start from the very beginning with email marketing and do a little jargon busting. Funnel, anyone?
Hello and welcome to episode 30 of the Creative Me podcast; it's great to have you with me.
Today I’m going to be talking about email marketing. This is not the first time email marketing has made an appearance on the Creative Me podcast. In episode 23 I interviewed email marketing expert Nicole Murphy, so if you haven't listened to episode 23 it might be a good idea to check it out after this one.
Today's episode is in response to some chat that was going on in my Facebook group The Lightbulb Club. If you'd like to join the club you can do so here. There was lots of talk about email marketing and it struck me that there are some basics people might not be aware of. Also, there’s lots of jargon being thrown around such as funnel, auto-responder, CTA and lead magnet.
Therefore, this episode will go back to basics and do a little bit of jargon busting.
Why Is Email So Important?
If you're a creative business owner you might be thinking something like this…
I've got a really good community on Facebook and I've got 500 followers on Twitter, so why on earth do I need people's emails?
You need emails because you are effectively building your house on other people's land. Even though the idea of Facebook or Twitter disappearing one day seems absolutely bizarre to us, it does happen. Case in point: MySpace.
It is a really good idea to leverage social media platforms to create community, but just remember, if that social media platform disappeared or changed, you’d lose your followers. That's why getting email addresses from people is crucial. You own those email addresses; they are an asset.
How Do You Collect Emails?
I started with MailChimp and then I moved to Convertkit. Until you get to a certain number of subscribers, MailChimp is free so it's a really good option for getting started. It is a different animal to Convertkit though.
Here’s a great article comparing Mailchimp to Convertkit.
Now you've started collecting emails - you've put a nice little signup box on your website and you've got a couple of email addresses flowing in - what do you do?
Well, you need to do something, otherwise what you’ve got is a cold list. You subscribers aren’t used to seeing your name in their inbox.
My recommendation initially would be to set up a monthly email newsletter. This could contain all sorts of things. If you are a blogger you might recap some of the blog posts you've created that month. You might link to podcasts. Your email newsletter might contain reading recommendations or behind-the-scenes information about your business and what you do.
The key is consistency if you say you are doing a monthly newsletter - make it monthly. For me, people live their lives in weekly cycles, so I'm a big fan of the weekly newsletter. But when you're just getting started I think monthly is a great idea.
Give Loads of Free Value
Another golden rule of producing email newsletters is: don't just say “buy my stuff”... you’ll lose subscribers quickly. You need to give a lot of free value before you will be allowed to make a pitch. Give, give, give and then ask.
I explained that this podcast episode was in response to a discussion on The Lightbulb Club. One thing that did crop up that there is SO MUCH jargon associated with email marketing. So I’m going to bust some jargon…
A lead magnet is an ethical bribe. You are offering something to your website visitor for free (usually a digital download) in exchange for an email address (in other words, permission to email that person). Don't just offer a random thing - think hard about what your lead magnet is; make sure it would appeal to the type of prospective customer you wish to attract.
Next up we have the content upgrade. This is bonus content (given in exchange for an email address) and is typically used by bloggers and podcasters.You can see an example from my own blog here.
Examples of content upgrades include checklists, cheat sheets, ebooks and templates.
A CTA a call to action - it is a thing that makes you click, so usually a button with some text on it or something along those lines. Here are some great call to action examples.
Earlier in the episode, I mentioned auto-responders. An auto-responder is a simple thing; it's a series or a sequence of automated emails. In other words, you only write them once and don't have to send them yourself. When someone clicks on a call to action the emails come out automatically.
An example of how I use an auto-responder is when a new person signs up to my email list. I send out a short series of emails over the course of about a week introducing myself, telling that person a little bit about what I do, sharing some links to popular blog posts and podcast episodes, and just giving them as much value as I possibly can.
Finally, let's talk about funnels; my favourite email marketing term (I have no idea why…!)
A funnel is a specific process - a number of steps - to guide people into making a buying decision. If you have an online business you will likely use an email sales funnel.
An email sales funnel is a very strategically crafted auto-responder sequence. Your first couple of emails might just be absolutely fantastic value pitched in a way that your prospective customer would appreciate. Then you might then address some of the pain points and any objections your customer might have with regard to purchasing your product or service. There will likely be a degree of gentle agitation of pain points too. Then more and more value, then a soft pitch - value - then a harder pitch.
OK, so that’s my basic introduction to email marketing, including some jargon busting. I really hope it's helpful. I think email marketing is a huge challenge for many people and as such, I intend to pop up on a Facebook Live stream in The Lightbulb Club soon to answer any questions you might have.
That’s all from me today, thanks so much for tuning in, I hope you’ll tune in next week.