December 3, 2020
An email list of targeted customers is arguably the most important asset any business should build.
Think Amazon, Netflix, Dollar Shave Club. What makes these companies so valuable are their databases of customers and subscribers.
Your business will thrive if you have access to a pool of engaged customers. That’s why you’ve likely heard the phrase, “the money is in the list.” (I like to say that the money is in your relationship with your list.)
To get the most out of your subscribers, you need to provide a ton of value, build relationships, listen to their feedback, and answer their questions.
An email newsletter is simple to set up. It’s free or inexpensive to send out, and it can generate dramatic results for your business. According to an email study by Mailchimp, who scanned billions of emails, the average email open rate across a wide range of industries is 21.33%. Meaning, out of every 100 emails, 21 people will open your email to read what you have to say.
Now compare that to a 5.5% organic reach across Facebook these days.
Perhaps you’re thinking about starting an email newsletter for your business but have some doubts about whether they’re still useful in today’s dynamic world.
Here are 15 reasons your business must (not should) start an email newsletter in 2021:
So much of what we do online today is out of our control. Built a huge following on YouTube? Not your platform. Grown a massive group on Facebook? Not your platform. Developed a million-dollar business on Amazon? Guess what? Not your platform!
As small business owners, we’re continuously running the risk of losing our entire businesses overnight.
That’s why starting an email newsletter gives you the chance to ‘own’ an email list of potential customers.
You generate your leads via a well-crafted lead generation offer. Those leads are stored in an email provider you pay a monthly fee for (Mailchimp, Aweber, convert kit, etc.). And the only way to lose leads is if they unsubscribe or become wholly disengaged with your content.
You can quickly move your contact list from one provider to another if you choose to use another service, and in a worst-case scenario, you can save your contact list as a .csv file and store it on your computer or upload it to your new email marketing tool.
Just like building a website, you’re in control of your email list. These two assets (website and email list) are perhaps the only elements you’re in full control over when it comes to your online business.
When you take time to craft your email newsletter, you’re not just connecting with your subscriber. You’re building a relationship.
Showing up in their inbox once or twice a week with valuable and insightful information that meets your customers’ needs builds trust and a feeling of familiarity.
Be sure to ditch the corporate-speak, however, and get personal. Your subscribers want to hear from you!
It’s a crowded world out there; take a look at the number of sent/received emails per day globally. It’s huge!
To stand out from the crowd and get your emails opened and read, your subscriber needs to feel good when opening your emails.
Subscribers need to know, like, and trust you. Relationships are like houseplants in that they need constant nurture and care.
With every newsletter you send out, you're keeping in touch with customers and growing the trust they have in you.
Numerous business studies have concluded that it costs a lot more to acquire new customers than retain those you already have.
This makes sense, as content marketing, advertising, and all online efforts to attract potential customers cost time and money.
Wouldn’t it be great then if there was a way to attract someone once and be able to reach them again and again and again for free?
Once you’ve secured a lead from your email marketing campaign, you can now email them as often as you like until they decide to unsubscribe. (I’ve had many of my email subscribers for over ten years!)
If you’re already building a blog or a social media presence online, add a lead-generating offer to your marketing efforts.
If you use an email provider like Mailchimp, for example, it’s free for your first 2000 subscribers, and they have the facility for creating opt-in forms and basic landing pages, so you can get started building your email list for free!
Yes, email is personal. You know that feeling when you receive an email from a friend, a family member, or even a company you love (who are great at making you feel as if they’re writing just to you)?
Personalization is what gives life to your email marketing campaigns. It takes it from being average to outstanding. It drives 6X higher transactional rates.
Popular email marketing services like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Drip, and SendInBlue allow businesses to personalize the emails they send out.
Not only can you personalize the subscribers’ name, email, phone number, etc., but you can also send segmented campaigns based on specific interests, demographics, time zones, shopping preferences.
The depth at which you can cater to a prospect's needs these days is phenomenal and can make each email feel as if you have indeed written it just to that specific person.
Email subscribers aren't bots or a generated list of email addresses. They are humans with blood running through their veins. As such, they have questions, challenges, and objections.
As a business, you can use your email newsletters to give people something of value. The greater the perceived value, the more your subscribers will open your emails.
Dr. Axe uses his email newsletter to provide a ton of ‘health-related’ value to his audience. Here, he’s giving away the “Superfood Super You” eBook for free.
Notice I said ‘perceived value.’ You don't have to break the bank to be insanely useful to your subscribers.
There's no need to give away free samples of your product or offer free coaching sessions unless that’s part of a bigger picture.
You can share tips, advice, and exclusive information that your subscribers can't get elsewhere.
For example, Tim Ferris sends out a newsletter called ‘5 Bullet Friday’. It has links to things he finds interesting, which you won’t find him recommending anywhere else. Only in his weekly newsletter, from which, I have to be honest, I regularly find myself going down a few rabbit holes!
Remember why people subscribed to your newsletter, and be sure to focus on the value you’re providing every time you send out an email.
Starting an email newsletter is an effective way to get the word out about your products and services, and the beauty of well-crafted email campaigns means you don’t have to send any aggressive sales pitches.
Suppose you’ve been offering insane value, nurturing your subscribers, and communicating regularly. Emails about upcoming launches, new product lines, offers, and discounts will be welcomed with open arms.
A great way to drive consistent sales with your newsletters is to add links to your products and services at the bottom of all your informational and educational emails.
As an example, Tim Ferriss subtly advertises his books at the bottom of each email.
Similarly, successful blogger Jon Dykstra (who sends out some of the best newsletters in the blogging industry, by the way) includes affiliate links to some of his favorite tools, plus a link to his course at the bottom of each of his newsletters.
These guys are never overtly ‘selling.’ They’re sending out hugely valuable information, which then mentions their products or products they recommend unobtrusively at the bottom of their emails.
They know that the more people consume their content, the more likely they are to purchase!
As I mentioned in point four, technology these days allows us to segment our email lists to send highly targeted emails.
Here’s an email newsletter tailored to a customer who previously checked out Zivame collections:
Always remember, not all your subscribers will want the same things.
There’ll be a segment of subscribers that don't care about your latest book launch, regardless of the buzz and bonuses you're offering. Sad but true!
There’ll also be a group of your customers that always invest in your premium courses and products, no matter the cost.
It’s a good idea to segment your list as you grow, so you’re always sending the right information to the right people. Therefore minimizing unsubscribes and ensuring you’re making the most of your email database.
If you want to build a profitable and predictive business that will stand the test of time, you need to embrace feedback.
Here’s an email newsletter from Shopify, soliciting feedback (via a survey) from recipients.
You can try posting surveys on social media or asking for blog comments, but by far, the easiest way to encourage feedback is via email. Especially if you offer an incentive as Shopify did in their email above.
What’s great about email is that many of your subscribers know you. Some will have been on your email list for months or several years.
You can test new products, post types, a book you're launching, and even a new business you intend to start. Your email list is a goldmine, don't neglect it.
Here are the number of clicks (visitors) from Neil Patel’s email newsletter to his post on marketing trends.
I’m sure it took Neil a few years to get to these kinds of numbers, but from day one, by including links in your emails to great content you’re publishing elsewhere on the web, you’ll start to generate more traffic and engagement.
If you’re building a blog, you can send your subscribers back to blog posts. If you’re growing a social media account, you can encourage subscribers to click, like, comment and share.
Provided you’re consistently offering value; your subscribers will be more than happy to share your content with others, increasing your exposure.
Make sure the posts & pages you’re linking out to are relevant, compelling, and valuable, and be sure to craft a persuasive newsletter, giving people a reason to click your links and dare to explore beyond the walls of their inboxes.
Online consumers are battling with distractions.
Every second of every day, we’re bombarded with news updates, marketing messages, cat videos, clickbait, memes, and so on.
It’s tough these days to get seen above all the noise.
When you send regular email newsletters, you stay fresh in your audience's mind. You become visible on their radar.
So many times, I’ve only found out about a new blog post by one of my favorite bloggers because I opened their email. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.
No matter what content you’re producing, blog posts, videos, podcasts, your email subscribers want to know you’ve published it, so be sure to tell them!
Facebook Groups have grown in popularity over the last couple of years because social media is so big and broad that groups make people feel like part of a tribe.
It’s the same with email. Your subscriber is part of an exclusive group of people who signed up to receive your free offer and to ask for further information from you. You need to treat them as such.
Many marketers get this part wrong, treating email like another way to blast announcements to just another segment of their market.
But if you put time and effort into your emails, your subscribers will come to feel like part of an ‘insiders club’ that only those who have exchanged their email addresses are part of.
As part of my email marketing strategies to ensure my subscribers feel special, I’ve sent Christmas cards, recorded birthday videos, and launched subscriber-only offers. Every week, I send my subscribers a motivational message that isn’t seen anywhere else on the web. It’s just for them.
Get closer to your audience, learn as much as you can about them, and always make them feel like part of your tribe.
A single email can bring customers back to your website.
Why are returning customers so crucial for any business? Because that's the most sustainable way to build a successful business.
If your business is based on a "churn and burn" approach, you'll burn out, and more importantly, so will your customers!
About 30 - 70% of people leaving your website never return. To confirm, just check your Google Analytics, take a closer look at the percentage of new vs. returning visitors.
Every visitor to your website is valuable. They have chosen to visit and stay on your website, out of all the websites in the world.
With this vote of trust in your website, you don't want to miss the chance to turn a visitor into an avid fan who returns time after time and tells all their friends about you.
The truth is, most of your one-time visitors will only return to your website when you remind them.
If your goal is to become an influencer of some kind, then growing a sizable email list will do you no harm!
As your list size grows, so will your influence.
Your subscribers will begin to talk about you, share your content, and recommend you to others.
Your social platforms, website traffic, and product sales will increase.
Brands and competitors/collaborators will start to notice you, and doors will begin to open.
What started as a humble newsletter could now become an online empire!
Co-founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin got started in 2012 and have shown just what can be achieved from an email newsletter, with some dedication and focus.
It doesn't matter what kind of business model you run or which industry you’re part of; email marketing is highly effective.
In a study run by Litmus, “Email marketing’s return on investment is 38:1 on average," meaning for every $1 invested, you can (potentially) generate $38.
And if you think email is old hat, think again. Radicati Group conducted research and found there are more than 3.9 billion email users. That's more than 50% of the planet. This number is expected to reach 4.2 billion people by 2022.
Given that 73% of smartphone users check their email several times a day, you'll be communicating directly with your customers when you send out a newsletter.
As you create helpful and engaging posts for your blog or social media platforms, take it a step further. Start capturing your audience’s email addresses: offer them a valuable lead magnet (e.g., eBook, white paper, video course) for free, so they feel excited to join your email list.
The best time to start your email newsletter is right now, and I hope this article has inspired you to do so!
Jo Barnes is the founder of Your Lifestyle Business, a blog dedicated to empowering solopreneurs to build a business they can run from anywhere in the world. As a globe-trotting lifestyle entrepreneur Jo has explored 30+ countries in the last 10 years while building 6 & 7 figure online businesses and is currently locked down in Thailand. 😎🏝