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Don’t call it a newsletter. Call it a comeback.

I know you weren’t planning for this, but sometimes listing pet peeves is just what you need for a mid-week pick me up.

That’s why I have to tell you this secret one. The one I avoid correcting people on, because it can get a little awkward.

So here’s my simple request:

Please, for the love of all that it is holy. Stop calling your emails newsletters.

I know. I know.

You’re like, “What’s the big deal, Emily? That’s what I’ve been sending to my adoring list for months.”

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I know it is. I. Know. It. Is.

But do you know what I hear from countless small businesses who have questions for me about their email programs?

I hear it over and over again. “I spend all of this time on a newsletter every month. My audience loves it, but I just can’t do it anymore.”

Why can’t they do it anymore?

Because they’re not getting any tangible results.

Email marketing is well beyond the world of newsletters.

I’ll repeat that again.

Email marketing isn’t newsletters anymore.

Is newsletter content great?

Yes, absolutely.

Do you need to jam it into one long AF email every month?

No. No, you don’t.

Instead of newsletters, how about this?

  • All of that awesome content you put together in one email? Break that up over the course of the month.

  • Post it in a blog so it LIVES FOREVER on your site.

  • And NEVER forget to include an offer or pitch for your services/products in your email. Stop expecting people to magically know what the next steps are to work with you.

IS YOUR MIND BLOWN?

If not, then you’re already a pro. Congrats!

If you’re only sending offers in your emails, consider some content. There has been a lot of testing out there about the value of content, conversions and customer lifetime value.

If your mind was blown, you’re welcome.

Goals, baby!

I’m not talking about how many sit ups you can do in 20 seconds or Instagram posts you get out per week.

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What else would I be talkin’ about?

Hint: It’s email.

Alright, that really wasn’t a hint. But I wanted to make sure you really got that picture that all I talk about is email.

 

When people ask me questions about their email marketing program, my response is usually to ask them what their goals are for their emails.

I know the primary goals for your business are to make more money. But what is the goal of each and every one of your emails you send out?

  • Is it engagement?

  • Is it orders?

  • Appointments?

  • Clicks to your blog content?

  • A reply to your email?

“What is it!? Tell me!”

And I know I talk a lot about welcome emails, but really the first thing you need to do when looking at your email program is determine what your goals are.

Your goals will help you determine what you need to be doing to set up your email program, your templates and your website.


So here’s a handy guide on the questions you need to answer in order to set up things for yourself appropriately.

What is the primary goal of each email you send out?

What action do you want your email subscribers to take from your email?

This will help you measure the success of your email.

If engagement is your main goal, then you’ll want to look at your open rates. This means people are looking at your content regularly.

If web traffic/blog reading is your goal, then you’ll want to look at click through rates.

If orders/appointments/registration is your goal, then you’ll want to look at conversions/conversion rate of your emails.

Do you have the right analytic tools to measure your campaigns?

If your email service provider (i.e. Mailchimp) is not giving you reports of these key metrics, you need a new email service provider.

If you are not tracking your web traffic with Google Analytics, then what you are doing with your life?

Sorry. That was a bit harsh.

But you NEED TO BE TRACKING.

If you are looking for conversions from an email, you should be able to see how many conversions came in from each and every email you send out.

If you are not tracking that, go and find the tools you need for that.

Tracking will help you fine tune all of your digital marketing campaigns and make sure you are achieving your email goals.

Do you have the right tools for your business in general?

If you do not systems in place that let you automate your booking/ordering/appointment process online, you need to invest in that.

I know it’s more money.

I know you’re a lean business.

BUT having these automated processes in place that let you track analytics on the back end not only frees up your time, but it lets you measure success.

There are so many inexpensive tools out there that will let you automate and track conversions.

I’ll put together a handy guide soon.


OK. OK. Enough lecturing.

I hope you can dig into some of these foundational questions for your email marketing strategy and figure out what’s right for your business.

I know I just gave you a list of things to do, but trust me, once you get these defined and set up, you’re life will be easier.

Having goals for your emails helps you hone in on what the priority is so you’re not obsessing about details that aren’t important for your goal.

I’ve been there and done that. Learn from my mistakes.

On Email Marketing Best Practices (a.k.a why they’re wrong)

I was recently asked about whether or not I could follow email marketing best practices for a new client.

I paused.

My first thought, “Wait… whaaaaaaaat?”

That’s such a vague term for any industry or field. Best practices are one of those buzz words that people throw around to see if you know what you’re talking about AND/OR to ask what the hell they should be doing.

And I think that last part is at the root of it.

When we’re trying to figure out a new field that we don’t have a lot of experience with, what’s the first thing you google? I know back in the day, I googled “email marketing best practices” when I was trying to figure out what I was doing.

I followed them as best as I could at my first job doing email.

But guess what I found out at my next job as an email marketer? To throw most of what I had learned out of the window.

It was an unconventional company doing marketing their way. There were some hard lessons learned but also some really incredible insight as well.

The most powerful lesson: best practices are what’s best for you, your business, and your audience.

I know that’s not a hard and fast answer, but it is very freeing. It gives you permission to find what works best for you.


I get a lot of questions from people about what they consider to be best practices: open rates, how many sends, etc.

Here’s the top 2:

1 | What’s a good open rate, clickthrough rate, conversion rate?

Answer: It depends. There are industry benchmarks to help you see how far behind or ahead you are of your competitors.

The truth is your open rate can vary widely. It depends on how you are segmenting your audience, how you collected your email addresses and who you decide should and should not stay on your email list.

Seriously. It varies so widely it’s hard to find a good benchmark.

My advice: find an average of your sends over the past 3 months. That’s your benchmark. See how you can move the needle from there.

2 | How many emails should I send per week/month?

Answer: It depends. Who is your audience? How many emails can you reasonable put together that are of quality and relatively error free?

Some brands’ audiences have a higher tolerance for more emails. Some do not.

You have to ask yourself – when do you get the hint that your subscribers are sick of hearing from you and how much is an unsubscribe worth to you?

Every email you send is an opportunity for someone to unsubscribe. Sending an email a day means you’re losing people from your list every day.

On the flip side, that is potential revenue.

What is each subscriber worth to you?


Ultimately, best practices are what are best for your business, your goals and your resources.

Finding out that perfect balance is the hard part.

That’s where testing really helps (more on that in an upcoming post).

If you’re in that boat, trying to figure out this whole email thing, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got this.

It’s all a learning process. Keep searching out information, ask for help and take some risks. You might stumble on something unexpected and delightful.

Not sure where to begin? Try here.