Mailing lists have first been scholarly mailing lists. The genealogy of mailing lists as a communication tool between scientists can be traced back to the times of the fledgling Arpanet. The aim of the computer scientists involved in this project was to develop protocols for the communication between computers. In so doing, they have also built the first tools of human computer-mediated communication. Broadly speaking, the scholarly mailing lists can even be seen as the modern version of the salons of the Enlightenment ages, designed by scholars for scholars.
While email is the most mature (that sounds better than “old,” right?) form of digital marketing, there’s no shortage of marketing technology innovation in this area. Both startups and established vendors continue to develop new capabilities for formatting, targeting, sending, and monitoring the impact of email messages, as well as functions like list building, inbox management, video email, deliverability, branding, custom email signatures and more.
Discussion lists often require every message to be approved by a moderator before being sent to the rest of the subscribers (moderated lists), although higher-traffic lists typically only moderate messages from new subscribers. Companies sending out promotional newsletters have the option of working with whitelist mail distributors, which agree to standards and high fines from ISPs should any of the opt-in subscribers complain. In exchange for their compliance and agreement to prohibitive fines, the emails sent by whitelisted companies are not blocked by spam filters, which often can reroute these legitimate, non-spam emails.
But if people don’t believe those reasons, they don’t buy either. As long as you seem like a friend who’s trying to help them, people are likely to believe that you’re sincere and that buying from you is a good decision. That’s one of the main reasons email marketing can work so well; it’s relatively easy to come off as a friend. Especially the other two email marketing strategies are good for making people see your good intentions. That said, if your offers don’t make people think you’re genuinely trying to help them, something is wrong.
The ideal type of opinion (unrelated to your expertise) is one that doesn’t offend anyone, but makes some people relate to you more. For example, I’m a vegetarian. I used to protest whenever there wasn’t a big piece of meat on my plate. But when I tried eating just veggies for a couple of months, I realized I felt a lot more energetic. Sure, it’s more ecological. And often animals are treated cruelly. But those aren’t the things I emphasize if someone asks why I’m a vegetarian. No one in their right mind has a strong negative reaction to someone eating food that makes them feel energetic, right? But for some vegetarians it’s a very meaningful choice, so it might have a positive impact on those people. That said, I highly doubt that my choice of diet have any direct impact on my sales.
Someone voluntarily gives you their email address either online or in person so you can send them emails. They may pick certain types of email content they wish to receive, like specifically requesting email alerts when new blog posts are published. Opt-in email addresses are the result of earning the interest and trust of your contacts because they think you have something valuable to say.
Creating a plan for your email marketing strategy may seem challenging at first, but by following the steps above you’ll have an effective and easy-to-follow email campaign plan in no time. This means you will be a lot closer to hitting your goals of increasing revenue, attracting new customers, and strengthening relationships with your existing audiences!
The downside of just making offers is that they’re not useful on their own. People on your list won’t receive any value from you unless they buy what you’re promoting, so they have little reason to stay subscribed. That’s why this email marketing strategy doesn’t work alone. And it’s why many e-commerce sites struggle to keep people interested. There are a few exceptions (e.g., Groupon) that rely entirely on making offers—but then the reason people joined the list was specifically to receive those offers.
Then, let's say you write 30 blog posts a month. That means you'd get 60 leads in a month -- 2 from each blog post. Now keep doing that for a year. The work you did to blog that first month will continue to drive leads throughout the year. That means you're actually getting 4,680 opt-in contacts a month by the end of a 12-month period because of the compounding effects of blogging -- not just 720 opt-in contacts (60 leads*12 months).
Be clear about what people can get and how to get it. This is the backbone of this email marketing strategy. Tell people about the benefits they can get. Write a separate email about each major benefit, if you want. Make sure those benefits come out clearly. But also keep it conversational. Don’t just list a bunch of benefits and expect people to buy. Also, remember to be clear about what they need to do to get those benefits. Tell them to “click here” or “apply for a consultation.” Don’t force people to think about how to move forward. It’s not that they couldn’t figure it out. It’s just unnecessary (and therefor annoying) when you could make it easy for them.
Use your real email signature: Just like using a real reply-to email address, you want to use real contact information within the email and the best way to do that is to include your contact details in the email signature. Giving your readers the opportunity to contact you or connect with you online is a great way to be personal and build a relationship with them.