By James Chittenden

No, we are not going to teach you how to spam. You clicked here to avoid spamming, opting instead to grow sales and business by providing value. There is plenty of noise in our inboxes already. Accordingly, if you are going to take the time to build a list of people to e-mail, you don’t want it whittled down by irritated readers unsubscribing you.

Let’s do it right.

According to a recent study published in HubSpot, e-mail marketing provides a 3800% return on investment. That’s right. For every $1 you spend, you could earn $38 in revenue.

That sounds like breathless sales hype. But e-mail is subject to far fewer external limitations than other marketing tactics. If you advertise on social media, you are subject to the charges and approval process of the social media platform. If you employ public relations to gain media coverage, you are subject to the reporting of a journalist and screening of an editor. With e-mail, you only need an e-mail address. You are limited only by your own internal policies and by the size of your mailing list.

Even better, e-mail can be systematized. AWeber does this well , and they offer a free trial. Mailings can be timed, results tracked, data sorted, and the content itself can be optimized.

So, what if you don’t have a mailing list? There are a few ways to get one.

1. Do everything possible to capture visitor information while they are on your site. You can remind them using a simple plugin available for WordPress and all the other major website builders. Hello Bar offers that. It provides you with multiple opportunities to capture their info, including names and e-mail addresses.

Some tips:

Make an offer. Give them something useful and downloadable.

Manage the timing. Give them breathing room. Don’t bombard them with pop ups after they have been on your site for five seconds.  Hello Bar has a timing feature.

In other words, never disregard the human experience. The more useful and less intrusive your site is, the longer your visitors will stay, browse and shop.

2. Content upgrade strategy. Using this method, you would write a blog post featuring something valuable to your audience. You would then create content that goes into greater detail into those features. Such premium content could be a video, e-book, or infographic. Premium content can be sold or given away in exchange for contact information. You then use the blog post as a way to promote the premium content. In other words, use the blog to “tease” the more valuable content you will provide. Blogging takes time and we recommend developing a content calendar; a healthy pipeline of ideas to educate your visitors about. What to write about? Once you have mastered some simple guidelines , this task becomes easy.

3. Host a webinar. Webinars are simple, can be created quickly, and can be used multiple times. It can be recorded in 15 minutes and can be part of a campaign. Webinars can create a sense of urgency and scarcity; we have all seen the “Tonight, James reveals the best techniques for publicizing your business and expanding your following” hype language. They also require a minor commitment from attendees; in many cases they must schedule their slot in the webinar using their name and e-mail address.

4. Social proof. Often, marketers try to entice people with social proof. This is how it works.

He may have 67,000 followers on a Facebook page, 20,000 on a LinkedIn page, 3,000 Twitter followers, and 116,000 followers on Instagram, plus 4,000 e-mail contacts. Add these together and the marketer now claims 210,000 “subscribers”.

Your initial reaction must be, “wow, this guy really is doing something right.” You may be tempted to sign up for any free webinar, book, or other offering.

That marketer hasn’t done anything you can’t do, but it takes time and work. You can run ads for people to like your page on Facebook. For relatively little money, say $5 per day, Facebook will invite people to like your page. You can boost posts too for a similar daily budget.  You could set an aggressive goal to add people on LinkedIn, perhaps 50 per day or if you really feel inspired, add 100 per day. You have to engage visitors to your pages, and this takes time.

Some tips:

  • Only add people relevant to your target market. If you need clarity on what that is, HubSpot has a buyer persona generator .  
  • A common technique is to add people from other countries in order to boost social media numbers. Be very careful with that. If they are not part of your market and in another country, you may have just taken on risk because there may be a few hackers with bad intentions in the crowd. Getting your site vandalized by someone in another country who is anonymous and utterly unaccountable will prove frustrating and expensive.  The last thing you need is malware spread from your site or mailing list to your customers or prospects. Protect yourself, and if necessary, block your site from countries where hacking is most common .

5. Collect business cards everywhere you go. While it is great to meet and collect new prospects, friends, and acquaintances, the business cards can pile up. Quickly follow up with them, add the e-mail to your list, scan them if you like, and then throw them away because they can quickly clutter your desk or Rolodex. If you get incomplete information about the person such as a name and website but no e-mail address, Hunter.io can help.

You now have a mailing list. Now what?

At the very beginning of this article, you read that $1 or e-mail marketing can return $38. That is return on investment (ROI), which is not to be confused with conversion rate. It is not uncommon for conversion rates for e-mail to average at 1%.

According to Mailchimp, your average email open rate should be between 15-25%. Assume that your conversion rate is also 1%. Out of every 100 e-mails that you send out, 15-25 may be opened and one may result in a sale. Are you satisfied with that? Either way, you are going to need a large list. If you are a novice, consider 800 e-mail addresses a basement-bottom minimum before you start an e-mail campaign.

Once you e-mail someone, what are you asking the recipient to do?

We want as many people as possible to open your e-mail and take some action. That, my friends, is what landing pages are for. Have a great landing page linked in your e-mail.

The average landing page conversion rate falls around 2.35%. The top 25% sites are converting at 5.31% and above, while the top 10% are at 11.45% and above.

Unbounce offers an easy, attractive, and effective landing page right to your website.

Finally, we would be remiss if you left here without your parting gifts.

  • Cold e-mails are a little easier if they have been written for you. Here you go.
  • If you are prospecting, some high-converting, pre-written e-mails could come in handy. Try these.

We wish you 3800% success.

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