A Case for Email Marketing (for Bloggers)

…. prove that we understand a prospect’s problem, we can provide a solution and we can do it in a delightful way.

Unbounce founder

Writing emails to my list is my favorite thing to do each week. It is also the most challenging. I’ll let you into my numbers. I have a very small group of email readers. And yet, I made a decision before Christmas to change the way I write. I imagined Diane and Kate were sitting in front of me (real clients by the way), and I talked to them via keyboard.

I have erased more than I’ve written each week since then. I tend to get explainin’ and explainin’ but you know what? Kate and Diane don’t need my ‘splaining. We have this thing in common: we’re all women, working online, and growing businesses. But the people I serve are also incredibly intelligent, they know what they’re doing and they have a lot of wisdom that I admire.

And this is what happened since December 2021. 49% open rate. You know what that means?

  1. I keep my list clean (I get rid of non-openners)
  2. I’m writing something that resonates

Creating the list and building a community around a common interest is a wonderful feeling, but it is also the way to understand your audience, empathize with their problems and find solutions to help them. You get to know their pain points, you provide value and establish your helpfulness. You be you and demonstrate how you would and can meet their needs. And eventually and periodically you can offer to fix problems for a fee.

Compare an Email List to Social Media

  1. If you sell something to your list, you do not have to build the list again for the next product, like a regular sales cycle.
  2. Emails are a direct line to your audience. Any social media platform is not yours and can go away any time the developer wishes. If Google disappears your list and your company will still survive. Assuming there’s no zombie apocalypse.
  3. Email is extremely scalable – you can go deeper with each new customer individually. ( if you’re making use of an automated intro sequence)
  4. People are attracted to email. We check it obsessively. It converts better than any other platform – says Every Expert On The Internet.
  5. An email’s lifespan is decided by the recipient. It will stay until read or archived or whatever. Unlike Facebook which has a 1-2% reach right now and Twitter with where’d-it-go tweets.

Email is very important to any online business owner or blogger. Your job as an influencer is to attract, retain and convert (see Digital Commerce Institute for that ARC principle).

First – a little house keeping.

Why No One is Reading your Newsletter

I have a tough question… why are people not opening your emails? Let’s assume that at one time, they expressed an interest and signed-up. So why the change of heart? Are you doing something wrong?

Here are a few common reasons. These are the what NOT to do’s*.

We’ll talk about being your amazing self below.

  • unhelpful messages / lots of self-promotion
  • boring or inauthentic voice
  • no structure
  • no stories
  • no call to action
  • no consistency (no top of mind)

*from Copyblogger

How to Find Your Writing Voice (for non-writers)

I found a huge difference in the open rates when I changed the ‘voice’ of the newsletter at WPBarista. The content has remained fairly similar. The voice changed in December. You see, I have a tendency to teach if you hadn’t noticed.

I loooove me a microphone.

But in being a ‘teacher’ I tend to talk AT people instead of TO them. You’re not feeling talked at now, RIGHT?! 🙂

For years I had an open rate at around 14-20%.

Since I changed my voice(just a few months ago) to be me – slightly off-kilter, fun-loving, sparkly* me, my open rate jumped! Some writer clients of ours get an open rate of around 60%!! *I don’t really sparkle.

How to be Authentic in Your Writing

This is what I did. I’m not sure if there’s a better way to do it but this worked for me.

I thought of my bestie.

In my brain, I put her across from me looking toward me. I had to close my eyes to do this – and yes, I looked completely unstable. And I spoke out loud to her. And typed.

As soon as I opened my eyes and started concentrating, I would begin editing myself. The default voice would return to my fingertips.

Erase. Start Over. Erase. Start Over.

When I was done, I had written this incredibly intimate – at least it felt intimate – letter that I really wasn’t sure I wanted to send!

I wasn’t an ‘authority’, I wasn’t ‘on top of my game’. I was just me. Messy me.

I *knew* this was far different than anything I’d ever done but I pushed through and pressed send.

The next day people responded! I received emails and messages on Facebook. There was a little party in my heart!

My recommendation? Be as authentic as possible. Especially if your brand is you or if you’re selling a service. And if your brand is created and aligned well, you will see more feedback than ever before.

I also recommend having a friend read it first to see if it really sounds like something you would write to her.

Email Marketing Summary So Far

  • list building is your most important task
  • avoid sending boring / inauthentic emails
  • find your voice

My primary job is to create and mold websites into money-makers for your businesses. We do that through getting clicks or sales or page impressions. The first and primary way of doing this is through an email list.

List building must be your number 1 goal.

One last thing: Clean Your List

If you have a list, you must clean it up before we begin this process. The list should have only those who have opened an email from you within the last 6 months to a year. The time frame depends on how frequently you send emails and your type of service.

If you sell a seasonal product – Christmas Trees – let’s not delete everyone who hasn’t corresponded with you over the summer, k?

Most email service providers provide a simple way to segment unresponsive readers, so you can create a re-engagement series or delete them forever.

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