Affiliate Marketing Disclosure: One of the ways I make money in my business is through affiliate marketing. If you click a link marked with * I may get a thank you payment for any action you take on that site (like subscribing, taking a free trial, or buying a product). You can read more about this in my Affiliate Marketing Beginner’s Guide.

Email Marketing For Beginners - How To Use It And What To Avoid

Email marketing is not buying lists of email addresses and then spamming those inboxes with desperate pleas to buy your stuff.

Email marketing for small business can be a simple, casual and friendly affair. Gently offer the opportunity for your website visitor to leave their email address with you. Then follow-up with those people by offering your services, sending occasional updates about your business, and providing valuable information or resources.

Why Small Businesses Need Email Marketing

Your content marketing strategy will help you create a steady flow of clients, so you can spend less time marketing your business and more time doing the work you love.

There’s plenty you can do to generate awareness of your brand: blogging, guest blogs, Facebook advertising, being visible and helpful in relevant Facebook Groups. All these activities can attract the attention of potential clients, and gently encourage them to check out your website.

Most of the people who land on your site aren’t ready to buy yet. Maybe they’ve seen a Facebook ad, or bumped into you in an online group, read a guest post. However they found a link to your site, they’re here, checking you out, deciding if you’re their kind of person.

An email opt-in form gives them the opportunity to say ‘hey, I like you, let’s keep in touch’.

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A Little History Lesson - The Origins Of Email Marketing

In the early days of the Internet, when websites were accessed via a buzzing, squealing dial-up connection, email marketing involved plonking a subscription form on a website and then repeatedly spamming the email addresses on your list until the reader either bought something or unsubscribed (which in those days was difficult).

Now (unsurprisingly) people are a little more cautious when giving out their email address, so you’re going to have to work hard to get it, and be a little less ruthless once you have it.

A Tiny Bit Of Tech - Email Marketing Services For Small Businesses

To manage this process you will need to use an email marketing software, such as Mailchimp, Aweber or Infusionsoft, Convertkit (link for 14-day free trial*) and Constant Contact (link for 30-day free trial)*.

You can find 5 email marketing services you can try for free here.

5 Email Marketing Services You Can Use For FREE

How To Build Your Email List Using Bribery

A lead magnet is a juicy free chunk of goodness that you give your reader in exchange for their email address.

Initially, this acts as a bribe - give me your email address and I’ll give you this lovely shiny thing in return. Like these printable inspirational quotes for entrepreneurs.

But (and this is the superly-duperly important bit that gets missed) if the lead magnet is a well executed, helpful, valuable resource it builds your likeability and credibility, and improves the likelihood that your subscriber will open your future emails and/or consider working with you.

Important point about GDPR
It is down to you to research how GDPR impacts your business, and the wording you would like to use on your website. Essentially, if you are planning on using your subscriber’s email address to send them more than just the freebie, you need to make this clear at the sign-up stage. But you MUST do your own GDPR research and decide how your business intends to comply with this internationally-applicable legislation.

Following Up On Your First Date - Introducing Yourself To Your Subscribers

Your lead magnet is like your first date. Sure you both had a great time, but unless you take the initiative, reach out and make contact, your relationship’s going to fizzle out quicker than a damp sparkler.

This is where your email nurture sequence comes in.

A nurture sequence is a short series of emails (3 or 5) delivered over a week or two, that introduces you to the subscriber, builds your likeability and credibility and gently warms them up to the idea of buying from you.

How To Market To Your Email List

Once a new subscriber has passed through your initial email sequence you can use your regular email marketing strategy for them. This can be weekly, monthly or ad hoc emails - whatever works for you, your business and your audience.

Don’t just send sales pitches! Create a careful blend of behind-the-scenes insights into your business, value-added helpful content, and occasional mentions of your offers, availability and positive customer testimonials.

Email Marketing Ideas - What To Send Your Subscribers

There is no single ideal strategy for what to send your email subscribers.

One way to get a feel for what you’d like to include in your marketing emails is to take a deep dive into your own inbox (not as rude as it sounds). Your own personal email account it no doubt littered with marketing emails. Grab a coffee/tea/wine and surf around looking at what the pros are doing, taking a note of the type of content you think would work well for your subscribers.

Often marketing emails are:
♦ A newsletter style round-up of all the latest news, blog posts and offers - this is great if you are often putting out new content on your blog and social media, and want to be sure it’s been seen by fans.
♦ A blog post written out in a slightly abbreviated version - this is great if you want to be sure your content gets read. Taking away the need for an additional click to hop over to your blog increases the likelihood of your text being read, making it easier for you to establish a relationship with the subscriber.
♦ An insider story - something more personal, or behind-the-scenes than you are sharing with your wider audience on social media or on your blog. Treat your subscribers as your innermost circle. They love you enough to hand over their email address - reward them for that.
Seasonal or time-sensitive in nature - if you have content that has a deadline for its relevance you may blast it out across your social media and email to be sure it gets seen.

This free workbook to generate small business blog post ideas may be a source of inspiration to you.

And this video about what I send my email list and why will help too.

5 Email Marketing Services You Can Use For FREE

* Links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. This means that if you buy something from that website, I may get a ‘thank you’ commission for referring you. This is at no extra cost to you.

Find out more about affiliate marketing and how you could add this passive income stream to your business.

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