Poor email. It's not sexy and exciting like smartphones, apps and social media trends that keep popping up and taking the world by storm. If anything, email is often unfairly given a bad reputation, aligned to spamming porn and pills into inboxes and just being a nuisance in general.
And yet, how many times have you checked your email today? How often do you use your smartphone to do just that? And where do your social media alerts and notices go? To your email.
Far from being relegated to the past, email marketing is actually driving the future of social and mobile marketing.
Because as unsexy as it may be, there's no denying the fact that email is used by virtually everyone everywhere and can be a very cost-effective, efficient marketing approach if it's done right. In fact, many studies have revealed that email is the method people prefer for receiving marketing messages and other information.
That's why businesses have no intention of leaving email out of their marketing mix. You shouldn't either.
Don't be shy your readers want to hear from you
The position you're in with your email list makes you the envy of businesses and brands everywhere. You haven't paid a fortune for a list of names, nor demanded email addresses as part of a purchase or registration process. Your readers have given you their valuable email addresses because they like what they see and want to hear more from you.
That makes email marketing a win:win situation for you and your readers. All you have to do is make sure the balance stays that way.
We've established that your readers/followers want to hear from you, now it's just a matter of what you want to say to them.
It could be a regular email update that summarises your recent posts, with links through to your blog of course.
With all the blogs they no doubt follow, this is a gentle reminder of yours and what brought them to it in the first place. And it communicates your desire to maintain a relationship with them and an appreciation of their interest in your blog.
Or maybe you have news an award won, a follower/post milestone achieved, a product and/or service you're now offering. These are all very good reasons to send an email out, to ensure they're the 'first to know' as an important part of your blog community.
It's all about keeping them coming back for more, and hopefully sharing relevant news/views with their friends, family, colleagues, etc too.
Some tricks of the trade
Just like with direct marketing, there is a science to the success of email marketing; what it should look like in the inbox, how best to get it opened, what it should say and not say all of these and so much more have been tried and tested, and tested again. So it's important to do your research and be willing to learn from the experts.
- The subject line is all-important. Be brief, be true but be a bit exciting too. You want to draw them in after all.
- Use attention-grabbing headlines. People scan emails rather than really read them, to make sure they see something they like, quickly.
- Use plain text or simple HTML. This was the email can be opened and read easily, on any device they choose.
- Make sure it's easy to click through. This is the whole point of your email marketing to drive people to your website so it's important that the links are immediately and continually viewable.
- Use what you know. If you know more about your readers their gender, occupation, interests use this information to personalise your emails and improve your email marketing
- Provide an unsubscribe option. It may seem counter-intuitive but it's important that every email you send out gives people the option to unsubscribe from your email list. If they no longer find what you have to say/offer of interest, it's better for you in the long run to know so you don't waste valuable time and effort marketing it to them.
- Stay in touch. Just like with regular blog posting, if you don't send emails on a regular basis, there's no real reason for people to stay on your email list.
Do you need help?
If you're determined to grow your subscribers significantly through email marketing, you may want to consider professional advice and help. Because, for the best results, email marketing does take time, effort and a commitment on your part that you might simply not be in a position to take on.
Creating the emails, ensuring their correct viewing and delivery, tracking the results, testing for effectiveness, managing the lists there are email marketing services out there to help you but you could also invest in the services of an email marketing consultancy that can provide you with anything from software packages to complete campaign management.
So there's the case for not forgetting email in the face of all the new-fangled digital marketing sensations it really can be a tried, tested and true benefit to your blog.
Andrew Tipp is a writer, blogger and editor. He writes mainly about technology and web trends, business internet security, content marketing and branding. Andy is also interested in geek news, social media and pop culture.
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