Creating an effective email marketing strategy is essential if you want to sell more online courses and build your personal brand. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered.
An email marketing strategy lays the groundwork for an effective campaign. If your strategy improves, your sales are likely to experience a simultaneous spike.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t give email marketing the attention it deserves. They send out sporadic announcements and other content, but they don’t track the results of their strategies or refine their techniques as their brands grow.
Don’t make those mistakes. Instead, you can follow our 11 tips to improve your email marketing strategy and boost your sales.
First, though, let’s explore what makes an email marketing strategy so valuable for marketers and entrepreneurs.
What Is an Email Marketing Strategy?
An email marketing strategy is a system by which you stay in contact with potential customers via email. You build a subscriber list, then send targeted emails to every address you collect.
It's easy to attract new subscribers on Kajabi. Include an opt-in form on your blog, sales pages, landing pages, and other parts of your site. You can then use Kajabi's built-in email marketing platform to will make the process faster, easier, and more compliant with email regulations. If you already have a mailing list with MailChimp or Active Campaign, Kajabi integrates with those services.
At the end of the day, you want your email marketing strategy to serve as a catalyst for conversions.
Why Are Email Marketing Strategies Essential?
When someone signs up for your email list, he or she has expressed interest in your online course and other digital products. Your subscribers are already brand-aware, which makes them extremely valuable when it comes to marketing.
Once you’ve captured an email address, you can continue to make contact with the person behind it and slowly (or quickly!) build toward a sale.
Without a solid strategy, though, you could easily turn off your subscribers. You might send the wrong email because you don’t know the recipient’s position in the sales funnel or because you’re not attuned to your audience’s needs.
Developing a solid email marketing strategy lets you avoid those mistakes and market successfully to your audience.
How Does Email Marketing Convert Leads?
You’ve probably experienced this phenomenon yourself. You open your email account and see a subject line that catches your eye. A brand has sent you a message, and you click on a link inside the email that takes you to a product you want to buy or an article you want to read.
At its simplest, that’s how email marketing works.
You can use it to convert leads by building trust with your audience, explaining how your subscribers can benefit from your digital products, and nurturing subscribers toward the “buy” button. It might take just one email, or you might have to send 10 before you get a subscriber to convert. Either way, your efforts bear fruit.
Will you convert every subscriber? Probably not. However, you’ll convert far more leads than you would if you didn’t have an email marketing strategy.
But how do you create a winning strategy? That’s what we’re going to explore in this article. Use the following 11 tips to start building your list and connecting with your audience.
1. Personalize Your Message
When brands personalize their messaging, they get an average of 27 percent higher click-through rates and 11 percent higher open rates than those that don’t use personalization. That’s a pretty big incentive to add the personal touch to your emails.
It’s also easier than you think. For one thing, you can typically add the subscriber’s name to the email (either in the subject line or in the body) if you use an email service. The recipient feels as though you’ve written a specific email to him or her.
However, personalizing emails with first names isn’t the only way to forge a more personal connection with your subscribers.
Send the Right Message
Email marketing works best when you send the right message at the right time. A lead who’s sitting on the top of your sales funnel probably won’t respond well to a hard sales pitch. That person needs an email that demonstrates your authority and credibility. Free content works great for leads at the top of the funnel.
Similarly, if you’re emailing someone who has already bought from you, the email content should remind him or her of your brand and encourage a subsequent purchase.
By targeting people with the right emails at the right time, you almost look like a fortune teller. You’re reading your subscribers’ minds, which ultimately translates into more conversions.
Use Your Real Email Signature
A corporate-looking email signature sends the wrong message to your subscribers. Most people don’t like to be marketed to. That’s why they use ad-blocking software on their Internet browsers and watch Netflix instead of live cable television.
In short, people are tired of brands telling them what to buy. They respect brands more when they’re honest, relatable, and approachable.
You don’t want to remind your subscribers that you’re selling a product. Ditch the corporate email signature and go with something more personal instead. If nothing else, just include a complimentary close, such as Best Wishes, and your full name. Below that, you can add your phone number and website address. Just don’t let your signature steal the show from your CTA.
Write in a Conversational Tone
When you write your email messages, pretend that you’re chatting with a stranger you met in a park or with a friend over a cup of coffee. Use contractions and other informal language to convey a sense of intimacy and personalization.
That doesn’t mean that you should spill your deepest, darkest secrets. Just make the copy as casual as possible. Consumers have become tone-deaf to marketing speak, so breathe a little fresh air into your email marketing strategy by taking the opposite approach.
You’ll also want to create a consistent voice that spans your email marketing campaign as well as your other content marketing efforts. In other words, you want people to recognize your voice immediately, which will increase brand awareness and allow others to trust you more.
Don’t concoct a fake voice that you think will please your audience. Instead, be yourself, and use whatever wording sounds natural. If you’re inauthentic, your audience will sense the disconnection and begin to doubt your sincerity. That’s the last thing you want.
2. Segment Your Subscribers
We touched on segmentation a little earlier, but it deserves its own section. Segmenting your subscribers allows you to send the right message at the right time, and to the right person. Without it, you risk alienating part of your audience.
You can segment subscribers however you see fit, but the most effective strategy distinguishes subscribers by their position in the sales funnel or buying journey.
In the beginning, you want to provide informative, educational content that portrays you as an authority and establishes your credibility. As your relationship with your subscribers grows, you can add stronger CTAs and a few sales pitches. When subscribers get ready to buy, your emails can target pain points and address potential objections.
There are a few other ways to segment your audience:
If you create courses or other digital products for a B2B audience, consider segmenting based on industry. Maybe you teach courses on marketing software, for instance. You could add subscribers to different email lists based on their specific industries.
By Sales Cycle
The typical sales cycle looks something like this:
Your email marketing strategy can involve a series of emails that takes the subscriber through the sales cycle. You can start by establishing a relationship, as discussed above, by providing free content and showing that you’re knowledgeable on the subject.
Subsequent emails can hit the pain points, show why your digital product offers the best solution, close the sale, and invite the customer to purchase other products or refer their friends.
You can also segment your email audience by their specific demographics, such as age, income level, experience level, geographic location, and more. Collecting this information can help you send extremely targeted emails to your subscribers.
By Past Purchases
If you’re targeting people who have already bought products from you, consider segmenting them into their own category. Your emails to them will focus on upselling and similar strategies, and you can skip the formalities since they’re already familiar with your brand.
By Recent Interactions
Similarly, you can devote an email segment to specific recent interactions with the prospect. For instance, you might put prospects onto different lists based on how they signed up. If they filled out a form on a landing page, they might get sorted into a different list from someone who first made contact on social media.
3. Send Mobile-Friendly Emails
Depending on your target market, between 20 and 70 percent of the emails you send will be read on a mobile device. That’s pretty significant, even on the lower end.
That’s why your emails must prove easy to read on a mobile device. The text, images, and other elements should look just as attractive on a smartphone as they do on a desktop or laptop.
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to make your emails mobile-friendly.
Implement Responsive Email Design
A responsive email is one that adjusts itself to the screen on which it’s viewed. You might already be familiar with responsive design for websites. It works the same for emails.
MailChimp describes how you can make an email responsive with HTML code.
If you use an email service like MailChimp, you can easily create responsive emails that will look great no matter what screens your subscribers use.
Keep The Subject And Lede Short
Going along with the mobile theme, you want to increase open rates. To do so, make sure your subscribers can see the full subject line and the lede — also called the pre-header — in their entirety. Brief phrases will ensure that your most valuable words don’t get cut off.
Short subject lines can also improve open rates on desktop computers. They’re easy to digest in a glance and they demonstrate that you’re not interested in wasting your subscribers’ time.
Additionally, don’t play too coy with your subject line and lede. Get right to the point, leading with the benefits your subscribers will derive from your email and its contents. Avoid plays on words and cutesy verbiage if you want people to read your messages.
Make The CTA Big And Obvious
Your call to action serves a valuable purpose. It’s what you want your subscribers to click after they read your email, so make sure it stands out from the other elements of your email.
A common strategy is to put your CTA text on a big button that contrasts with the other colors in the email. However, if you’re using a text-only format, you can draw attention to the CTA by changing its color, making it bold, and using strong verbs to capture attention.
4. Always Test Copy, Design, and Buttons
Testing proves extremely important for your email marketing strategy because you won’t know what works until you try it. Test one element of your emails, such as the copy or the design, at a time. That way, you don’t have to guess which change made a difference.
For instance, if you send one email with a green CTA button and another with a blue CTA button, you can compare the two based on open rates or conversion rates. However, if you change the copy at the same time, you won’t know whether it was the copy or the button that inspired higher engagement.
You can also test other elements of your emails to make sure you’re getting your message across effectively.
When your subscribers see your email address or name in their inbox, you want to make a favorable impression.
These days, from addresses rarely appear in an inbox. Instead, subscribers see the name that you’ve attached to your from address. If your entire brand revolves around your name, include your full name in your emails. If you have a business name, use that instead so that subscribers recognize it.
You can also use both your name and your business’s name, such as “Julie From XYZ Courses.” Test different formats to see how they impact open rates.
Plain Text Vs HTML Campaigns
A plain-text email doesn’t include fancy HTML code. Anyone with an email address can read it properly, but it’s also a little boring.
HTML campaigns, on the other hand, include designed emails with HTML code. You can add backgrounds, graphics, buttons, and other visual elements to make your email more visually compelling.
The only problem is that HTML emails don’t always display properly. Some email providers handle them better than others.
Test both plain-text and HTML campaigns, but always include a plain-text version of your email. That way, you won’t irritate subscribers who can’t see the visual elements and get confused.
Long Vs Short Emails
You’ll find plenty of debate about this topic in online marketing circles. Some marketers swear by short-and-sweet emails that don’t take up their subscribers’ time, while others favor long-form emails that include more information.
You can test both formats to find out which your audience likes best.
Longer emails work well when you want to educate your audience. Theoretically, you can include an entire 3,000-word article in an email. It packs lots of value, which your subscribers might appreciate.
Alternatively, you can get the best of both worlds. Send short emails that include excerpts from longer-form content that you host on your blog. Interested readers can click through to read them, while others don’t have to scroll through endless copy to get to your CTA.
The other problem with this strategy is that it can dilute your CTA’s power. If you give subscribers too many options, such as several links to click, your conversion rates might suffer.
Again, test different formats. Your audience is unique to you, so figure out what they want so you can deliver it.
5. The Best Content Is Free Content: Give Something Away
Everyone loves the word “free.” Although it’s a dangerous word to include in your subject line or pre-header because it can trigger spam filters, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give something away as part of your email marketing strategy.
Use content as a lead magnet to get people to sign up for your email list. It’s called gated content. To read the article, white paper, or other piece of content, the visitor must give you his or her email address.
You can also give away free content to existing subscribers. On your opt-in form, let potential subscribers know that they will receive free content that other people don’t ever get to say. It’s an extra incentive to sign up.
However, you have to make sure that your free content delivers plenty of value. Don’t lure in subscribers with content they could find anywhere else on the Internet. Make it unique, actionable, and relatable.
If you want to try something different, give away a tool, calculator, or video instead of a piece of written content. Make sure it’s professionally designed and appealing to your target audience.
6. Re-Engage an Inactive Group Of Subscribers
When your subscribers stop opening your emails, it’s time to give them a little nudge to re-engage them. Create a separate list for inactive subscribers, then start a short email series designed to lure them back into the fold.
For your first email, consider using a subject line like “We miss you!” or “Are you still interested in hearing from us?” Explain that you’ve noticed that they haven’t opened your emails in a while, and that you want to make sure they’re still interested in getting content.
You can follow that up with an email that includes an incentive to visit your sales page, such as a free white paper or video.
It’s also important to give your subscribers the opportunity to unsubscribe. It sounds like a negative thing, but it actually cleans up your email list.
People who don’t want to receive content from you should have the chance to opt out. You’ll benefit in a couple of ways:
- Minimizes spam: Some people will simply mark your email as spam instead of unsubscribing. That’s never a good thing for your reputation.
- Reduces bad feelings: A customer who isn’t interested in your digital products now might become interested in the future. You don’t want to ruin the chance to connect again.
If the subscribers on your inactive list continue to avoid opening your emails or interacting with the content, you can unsubscribe them manually.
7. Offer Exclusive Content and Sneak Peeks
You want your email marketing campaign to feel like an exclusive club. Your subscribers are the members who get to hear from you about upcoming products and other fascinating announcements. Plus, they should get access to content before everyone else.
For instance, you might open courses to subscribers five days before you make them available to the public. That’s a great way to foster a sense of unity and trust.
You can also offer sneak peeks of your upcoming course material. Don’t give away all the goods, of course, but just enough to entice people to click through to your sales page and sign up.
8. Never Stop Growing Your List
It’s easy to become complacent once your email list as reached a certain number. But remember that subscribers can unsubscribe and become inactive. Plus, why would you want to miss out on potential customers?
The great thing about courses and digital products is that you can sell them over and over again. Keep growing your list no matter how many email addresses get added to your database.
Try changing up the language on your opt-in forms to capture new leads, for example, or mention your list on your social media accounts once or twice a week. Keep encouraging people to sign up so you have a consistent stream of leads pouring into your sales funnel.
9. Pay Attention to Send Times
Whether you’re running an email drip campaign or another type of series, you want to send your emails when you know they’ll get read. Many marketers have sworn that they’ve discovered the perfect time to send emails, but the truth is that it depends on your audience.
Test different days of the week and times of day, then scrutinize your open rates. If you notice that emails get opened more often on a specific day or during a certain time period, you’ll know to send future emails based on what you’ve learned.
10. Consistently Test Specific Features
Earlier, we talked about the need to conduct testing on individual email features. Don’t just do it once, though. Keep testing different images, copy, buttons, CTAs, and other features to figure out what works best for your existing subscriber list.
Believe it or not, preferences change over time. Some marketers have experienced stratospheric improvements in open and click-through rates by testing seemingly inconsequential details. Use split-testing (also known as A/B testing) to find the perfect combination of email features.
11. Automate Email Campaigns
The great thing about an effective email marketing strategy is that it takes some of the work on your plate. Using MailChimp or a similar service, you can automate the entire process, from collecting email address through your opt-in form to the actual sending of emails.
Of course, you still have to write the content, but you can use the same email series over and over again as you attract new clients. You might have a “welcome” series, for instance, that targets new subscribers. Introduce them to your brand, welcome them to your community, and educate them on the products you offer.
Use Kajabi In Your Email Marketing Strategy
We’ve made it easier than ever to implement your email marketing strategy within Kajabi. Our integrations allow you to set up your email list, create opt-in forms, design and write emails, and promote your brand right from the app’s dashboard.
Plus, our new Kajabi Assistant can help you find the tools you need to create a fantastic email campaign. There’s nothing to stop you from promoting your online courses and other content through email, so why not get started today?
Your email marketing strategy can make or break your online business. If you want to generate income from your online courses, you must connect with your audience, and email offers one of the least expensive options. It’s also one of the most effective.
Start by personalizing your messages and segmenting your audience. You’ll connect with people on a more intimate level and serve up content that appeals to each potential buyer.
Make sure that your emails are mobile-friendly and that you’ve consistently tested different features of your emails. Offer free content to whet your subscribers’ appetites, and don’t forget that email can bring inactive customers back into the fold.
Then it’s just a matter of growing your list, automating the process, and adjusting your techniques to suit your audience.
Have you tried email marketing? What strategies have worked well for you in the past?
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