In 2008, a cybersecurity company hired me to handle their marketing. One of my responsibilities was maintaining the email list.
I didn’t know what I didn’t know back then. We had an old platform, Sugar CRM, that sent emails but provided little analytics at the time. It was a struggle until finally discovering Mailchimp.
Importing our email list to Mailchimp was easy, but there were likely inactive or “dead” names on it.
So I sent out my first email to our list and held my breath for a response.
And… Mailchimp promptly shut down our account.
Oh, Those Pesky Bounces!
It turned out we had a higher-than-normal percentage of “bounces.” This is when the email server of the recipient rejects the email. Either the email address is invalid or the server has forbidden the content.
Or it could be that the company just doesn’t like you. Kidding!
I reached out to Mailchimp to explain what happened. This was my first email. The list was old. But the previous platform I used didn’t tell me which emails were no longer valid. So, I had no idea which email addresses would reject the email campaign.
Thankfully, Mailchimp gave us another chance. I cleaned up the list and from that point on, was problem-free regarding our campaigns.
Using Mailchimp templates allowed me to test various designs. I learned how to create a header and developed our first e-newsletter. Learning how to use other design blocks helped. Soon had a template I liked.
I used our newsletters to cover current events, hot topics, and feature our expertise, plus I included strong calls to action. Our email list liked the newsletter, too.
Wait, There Are OTHER Types of Business Emails?!
I also learned about other types of emails. Such as:
The “Welcome” email – When someone first opts into your list, they should receive a warm welcome and introduction to the type of content you send.
New content notification – This is great for letting your list know you have a new blog post, or video and audio content.
Event invitation – Got a webinar coming up? Or maybe a special live event? Email is a great way to let everyone know what’s going on.
Update email – Let your list know about any updates regarding a product, service, or app.
Audience-specific email – If a specific group of people bought a product or service, you probably only want to send an update announcement to them regarding the purchase instead of the entire list. You also would use this type of email for updating registered attendees about new speakers added to a conference.
Co-brand email – This is a great way to highlight a partnership. It features your business brand and your partner’s, along with the email message.
Seasonal campaign – One of my favorites! Take advantage of the main holidays and also the quirky annual holidays (like National Bad Poetry Day on August 19). Check out the Brownielocks site to discover a goldmine of monthly, weekly, and daily holidays you can use in your promotional emails.
Post-purchase/confirmation email – These are small but powerful emails. Your new customer or client just trusted you with their hard-earned moola. You want them to feel appreciated. This type of email doesn’t have to be long but can make a big difference in how your new buyer sees your business. Bonus points for offering a discount or other freebie for “joining the family.”
You can also follow up with your new customer through a post-purchase email series. For instance, send more tips or “hacks” on how to use their recent purchase. Focus on a specific insight that is relevant to the product. It’s another way to keep their interest and stoke curiosity.
Opt-in Form submission email – If you have an opt-in form on your website, you definitely want to follow up with this type of email after someone signs up. You also have the opportunity to introduce your new subscriber to your business universe. Include a download link also in your email if you’ve offered a lead magnet. Thank them for joining the list.
Cart abandonment email – If you have a shopping cart on your site, these types of emails can remind your visitor they still have items in their cart. Offering a discount code may nudge your indecisive buyer off the fence to complete the transaction.
Re-engagement campaign – This type of email often causes a bit of anxiety for email marketers. If you have subscribers that haven’t been opening your emails for a while, it may be time to send a re-engagement message.
Let your subscriber know they’ve been missed. If they still want to receive your emails, request they re-submit their information again. Otherwise, you’ll unsubscribe them (unless they unsub first). Offering a special deal could also entice them to stay on your list. But if they unsubscribe, it’s still a win for you. You want a list of interested, engaged subscribers. Those who don’t respond to your emails will rarely buy anything, anyway.
Lead nurturing – One of my favorite types of emails. If you have a content series that is specific to your audience, send an email series to promote the content and always include a strong call to action at the end. Remember, your reader doesn’t know what to do unless you tell them. So, make your “next step” really clear.
Tip: If you’ve offered a lead magnet that addresses a specific problem, segment your list according to who signed up for it. If your series has to do with that topic, send targeted emails to that list only and you’ll likely see a huge open rate.
Connect via social campaign – These types of emails are a lot of fun! Launching a new product? Create a hashtag and then email your list to ask people to post social media updates featuring your product while using your hashtag. Don’t forget to have someone monitor the hashtag and engage those who participate. It’s a great way to recognize your fans!
Getting Over Myself
Finally, one of the things I had to do as I grew as an email marketer was develop a thick skin.
I had to learn how to shake off unsubscribes and complaints.
Unsubscribes will happen. They’re usually not personal. People sign up for an email list and later, may lose interest.
It’s important to send a survey to your list occasionally. You want to discover what interests them so you can create customized content. But I also learned that when people clean out their inboxes, they notice they’re on way too many lists. Yours may be the one they decide to delete.
Unless your subscriber has a valid complaint (in which case, you’re given valuable feedback), shake it off and realize you can add more subscribers who are interested in hearing from you.
Depending on the email service provider, unsubscribes are a blessing in disguise. The number of subscribers may determine your subscription’s fee, whether they open your emails or not. In that case, it’s best those uninterested unsubscribe. In fact, some email marketers will prune their list once a year and automatically delete emails that show up as “dead” addresses. No activity equals no interest, and they’ll delete them.
I’m No Pest… Really!
The debate about how often to send emails is ongoing. The answer depends on who you ask. Some businesses think once a week is enough. Others will send you 2-3 emails daily.
Here’s my perspective: When someone signs up for your email list, they’re letting you know they’re interested in your business. They should expect to receive emails from you on a regular basis.
However, there are some who think one daily email is too much, let alone two or three. I contend your list needs to hear from you often. You want to use email to create a “top of mind awareness” of your business. Your subscribers may not need your product/services today. But you want them to think of you first when they do. Sending emails on a regular schedule will help make that happen.
I learned to get over my fear of being seen as a pest in the subscribers’ inbox. If you’re sending valuable content to them, then you should see yourself as a welcomed guest… not a pest!
In order to make an impact upon your subscriber, use relevant subject lines that match your content and employ entertaining messages with enough value to make it count.
You also can create various lists in your email account and let the subscriber choose which lists interest them.
If you send a number of emails daily, you can also offer a preference to your subscriber to either receive the emails separately or one daily summary email.
Email Still Works
Over the years, I’ve sent e-newsletters, daily email, sales emails, and more. I love email. Some information marketers send very entertaining emails and always have an offer. Consider that when sending your emails. What is your offer?
The bottom line is that despite many choosing text messages, a well-written email can make a big difference in your business. When you don’t communicate on a regular basis with your prospects, clients, and customers – they will forget about you.
Few visit your website more than a handful of times. And in the era of de-platforming, an email list is one way you can “own” your marketing real estate. You may have social media accounts to keep in touch with your audience, but what happens if that social media site goes down? Or temporarily bans you?
Email is one way to ensure you can message those who want to hear from you. Don’t forget to create back-ups of your subscribers’ email addresses, too! Have a back-up email service provider in mind. Just in case something happens to your primary email platform, you can always then import your list to a new account and keep on chugging. Your subscribers will hardly notice the difference.