You’ve heard us say it before: Having an email list is awesome because you own it. You don’t have to worry about fighting for virtual real estate, making sure you’re doing everything you can to work with a platform’s algorithm, and hoping that your strategies will pay off.
With an email list, you already know that these people want to hear more from you. That’s why they signed up, right? They think that what you’re saying is interesting, and they want to receive extra communication from you.
However, for some of us, managing an email list is daunting. It can especially be so if you aren’t very knowledgeable in the world of email marketing. You don’t know all of the ins and outs, or things you should and shouldn’t be doing. Because of this, we’re going to share with you the 8 most important steps to remember (plus a few bonus tips), so you can step up your email marketing game to the fullest!
Create a Freebie
As awesome as it would be if the average email list could grow exponentially without needing an incentive to get people to sign up, that’s usually not the case. This is where a freebie/lead magnet/tripwire/opt-in offer comes in, which are all the same thing. Not only is your freebie a way to get people to opt-in to your list but it also acts as a thank you. After all, an email address is a sacred thing. The least we can do is thank our audience for allowing us to borrow space in their inboxes! If you’re stuck on what your freebie could look like, check out this blog post where we covered 26 lead magnet ideas for wedding professionals.
Then, all you have to do is send it! You can create a simple automation in your email service provider that whenever someone submits your opt-in form, an email is sent out delivering that freebie to their inbox. It’s important that you fulfill your promises.
Take the Time to Introduce Yourself and Nurture New Subscribers
One of the quickest ways to get someone to unsubscribe is by jumping immediately into selling. It’s worth it to take the time to create a welcome sequence that starts automatically once someone signs up and has received their freebie. Inside, lay out 5-7 emails that focus on introducing yourself and your business, your mission, some background information about yourself, and then you can lead into a gentle pitch.
Bonus tip: An extra step you can take to make sure these people aren’t bothered by other email communication you have going out during the same time they’re going through your welcome sequence is by tagging them something like “Do Not Disturb”. That way, when you’re sending out your regular newsletters, you can exclude people with this tag, so they don’t feel bombarded with different kinds of emails.
Segment Your Subscribers
If you have multiple kinds of audience members, it would be a great idea to segment these people. For example, Ashley’s wedding planning business, The Simply Elegant Group, has segments for vendors, past clients, booked clients, and lost clients.
When you organize your audience into segments, you’re able to adjust your message based on the subscriber’s type and activity. Sending the same general message to everyone doesn’t allow you to really personalize your words to speak specifically to the type of audience members you’re emailing.
Bonus tip: If you’re able to track link clicks in promotional emails, create an automation that tags those people as warm leads or interested subscribers. Now you have a segment of all warm leads. Even if they buy, you know these people are interested, so you can be even more strategic in the message you send to them.
Scan Your Emails for Potential Spam Triggers
While it’s important to always double check your emails for typos, correct links, etc., you should also scan it over for potential spam triggers. Having your emails go directly to subscribers’ spam folders hurts your sender reputation and can also cause issues with your email service provider. Mail servers like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo will also blacklist your domain and IP address if too many of their users are marking your emails as spam.
If you aren’t sure how spam filters work, they score from 0 to 10. Anything over a 5 will likely get sent to spam folders. Points can be added or taken away for each element of every email that you send. Every spam filter has their own custom rules, so while it’s difficult to interpret what exactly will cause an email to go to spam, there are some things you can avoid:
- Common trigger words
- Having no validated DMARC DNS records with your domain or hosting site (Here’s an article that explains more about what a DMARC record is and what it looks like.)
- Having more than 5 images with no alt-text (with some ESPs, you can’t edit the alt text, so try to avoid having tons of imagery in your emails)
- Having more than 8 links (including your unsubscribe link and any buttons)
- Low text-to-link or text-to-image ratio
Bonus tip: In your welcome sequence, try to keep your emails as plain as possible. This will help build your sender reputation and make it less likely that the emails you send that do have lots of imagery, for example, will be less likely to land in spam.
Write Appealing but Not Misleading Subject Lines
Another one of the quickest ways to have people unsubscribe from your list is by having misleading subject lines. Clickbait subject lines could be ones that begin with “RE:” as if you’re replying to an email thread with this person when you aren’t, or subject lines that pique interest but are completely unrelated to the content of the email.
Also try to avoid subject lines that are:
- Over 50 characters (or else it will likely get cut off)
- IN ALL CAPS (Why are you yelling?)
- Just a few words/too vague
- Repetitive (if you send the same style of email often, try to at least rotate between different wording)
Being Fashionably Late Could Pay Off
If you commonly send your emails at 9:00 a.m., for example, try sending a few minutes later at 9:03. While everyone else may be sending their emails at –:00, sending yours just a tad bit later will land your email closer to the top of your readers’ inboxes. In this case, being fashionably late might pay off!
Pay Attention to Your Analytics
Most ESPs will have their own overall reports, and you should also pay attention to the data of each email you send. When you notice an email receives a higher click rate or open rate than usual, make note of the subject line, content inside, and time you sent it. You can then use this information to guide your future content. Also pay attention to your unsubscribe, bounce, and marked-as-spam rates so you can track common traits and avoid them later. Your analytics are the key to telling you whether or not your email marketing plan is working!
Exploring the land of email marketing doesn’t have to be a pain. Following the steps above will already put you a few steps ahead of the game. Do you have more tips for email marketing that have helped you as a wedding pro? We’d love to hear from you on Instagram!