E-mail Marketing For Beginners – Part 2

The Money’s In Showing You Care

Overview

If you have not done so, it is recommended you read over Part 1 – The Importance Of E-mail Automation first.

Welcome to the second tutorial in the e-mail marketing series. In this module, we will begin to look at some more advanced e-mail marketing ideas and concepts that you can apply to your own marketing efforts.

In the previous tutorial, we looked at the ‘nuts and bolts’ of setting up your back office automation, the autoresponder system that enables you to build a mailing list of subscribers to whom you can begin marketing via e-mail.

As we are going to focus on e-mail marketing in practice from this point on, I will start this tutorial by considering one of the most oft-repeated clichés that is heard in e-mail marketing circles (and why it is wrong)…

“The Money’s In The List” – Is It?

One of the most commonly uttered or written clichés in e-mail marketing, one that you will hear or read time and again throughout your online marketing career is that ‘the money is in the list’.

You have almost certainly heard or read this phrase and you may already have an idea of what it means as well.

However, to be certain that we are both coming at this from the same angle, let me explain what I take this to mean…

The basic theory behind ‘the money is in the list’ concept is that once you add e-mail details of a new subscriber to your list, you are in a position to mail product information and recommendations to them thereafter.

Moreover, you have their permission to continue to do so unless or until they decide to unsubscribe from your list.

So far, so good.

As far as it goes, this is perfectly true. Nevertheless, based on my own e-mail marketing experiences, this is only part of the full story.

If you really want to maximize the profitability of your e-mail marketing efforts, you must understand that ‘the money is not in the list’ in reality, or at least the big profits aren’t.

This idea stops a few deadly inches short of the ‘maximum profits’ winning line. It doesn’t go quite far enough. Let me explain…

Imagine that you have 5 million names on a subscriber list.

According to the ‘money in the list’ brigade, you’d be made, right? You couldn’t fail to make a fortune with this number of subscribers.

Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true.

Of course, you should be able to make a huge amount of money from this number of subscribers.

But…

You can only make money if you can put moneymaking offers in front of their eyeballs.

So what happens if they don’t open your e-mail messages? How much money do you make if not one single subscriber reads what you say?

You don’t make a single brass penny, do you?

This is why the money is not in the list!

It is not having a list that makes money for your business.

It is having a responsive mailing list of eager subscribers who are keen to open your messages every time they see one in their inbox that puts money in your bank or PayPal account.

Now, this might seem like a very small change to the phrase that you know and love so much but the practical implications of the difference are huge.

Building a list is useless per se. You must focus on building a responsive list.

If you grasp this concept and follow it, you will become a more successful e-mail marketer than 95% of the (clueless) ‘wannabe’s’ out there who are flogging their guts out trying to build a list in the vain hope that it will somehow enable them to make money.

The fact is, they don’t understand that if no one ever opens their e-mail messages, they cannot buy a single darned thing!

It doesn’t matter how good the offer itself is, they can never make any sales because they are so focused on list building that they forget to keep their existing list members happy and therefore responsive.

Can you see why this is so important now?

It’s a quantum leap from the ‘build it and they will come’ notion behind ‘the money is in the list’ cliché.

Build as many (lists) as you like but, ‘no’, they still won’t come unless you give them a very good reason to.

This is the way you have to think as an e-mail marketer.

Every e-mail that you ever send out must be written from the ground up with the one goal of making your prospect as excited and responsive as possible.

You must write to communicate with your prospects and answer their inevitable ‘what’s in it for me?’ question.

In every outgoing message you must give them value and quality, the kind of materials that they want, the kind of things that will force them to open your e-mail messages.

Do this and you will be successful. If however you follow the crowd and just whack mindless messages out there on a never-ending treadmill, you’ll get nowhere.

How do you engineer this fundamental change?

How about starting by thinking about it…?

‘Leeching’ The Expertise Of Others

There are millions of people striving for online marketing success, and 99.9% of them are trying to build a mailing list because they’ve heard that e-mail marketing is a great way of making money.

Some of these individuals are genuine ‘experts’, the guys (and girls) that everyone in the online marketing fraternity has heard of and looks up to.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are millions of wannabe’s who are struggling to get anywhere.

Experts or beginners, they are all building their lists in the same way (because it works).

They give away a free gift to entice a site visitor to give up their e-mail contact information by subscribing, after which the autoresponder kicks into action to send the first ‘welcome’ e-mail message.

In short, it is extremely easy to add your name to hundreds of e-mail lists owned by other marketers at no cost.

Perhaps surprisingly, this is a good idea. This is therefore what I would recommend you do.

Start by opening a ‘freebie’ e-mail account which you can use to collect all of the incoming information from your competitors and other marketers. I would recommend opening a free Gmail account because of all of the free online e-mail providers, Gmail seems to offer far better deliverability than every other one I have tried.

What you are going to do is use this e-mail account and the information that arives in it for research purposes.

More specifically, you are going to look for the e-mail titles or headlines that work for you, the ones that make you open some incoming messages whilst ignoring the majority (you don’t have time to read them all).

Okay, so scan the first page or two of your inbox every day searching for headlines that really ‘do it’ for you.

Grab those that work, copy and paste them into a headline ‘swipe file’, a file where you keep all of the most effective headlines stored in one place.

Most top copywriters in every area of online marketing keep a copious collection of ‘swipe files’, files to which they can return any time they need inspiration for a job they are working on.

What is more, most marketers also use these files for building their own copy by taking stuff that works, modifying it just enough so that it is no longer recognizable as the original before using it in their own marketing.

Remember that what you’re doing here is building a library of e-mail headline titles that successfully persuade people to open them.

Consequently, by creating a headline swipe file of all of the best titles you come across, you build a database of headlines that you can use that you already know to be highly effective.

But of course, the concept of copying what works does not stop here…

Copying What Works, Part 2!

When you find headlines that almost force you to open the message, don’t resist the urge to do so.

Instead, read through the message and apply some of the lessons taught in the Copywriting For Beginners tutorial series to find the sections of the copy that really work for you.

Create a body text copy ‘swipe file’ and copy those sections into it for future reference.

Creating your own ‘swipe file’ series is a great way of shortcutting the process of writing a highly effective series of outgoing e-mail messages.

As suggested in the ‘Copywriting’ tutorial series, when you find copy that works, there is no shame in ‘borrowing’ it for your own subsequent usage.

Understand that some marketers (especially the multimillionaires at the top of the online marketing industry tree) employ extremely expensive copywriters to write their e-mail messages for them, so why not steal their best ideas and most effective copy?

By doing so, you will quickly build up a library or database of highly effective e-mail copy.

You have a list of headlines or titles that provably force people to open the message (you did, didn’t you?) and a file that contains ‘chunks’ of highly effective body text that you can combine in your own outgoing messages in the future.

Remember how I suggested in the first tutorial that writing your outgoing e-mail message series is one of the most time-consuming elements of setting up your autoresponder but that it is possible to shortcut it?

Well, now you know how you do it…combine ‘chunks’ of other people’s best copy in your own mails and you can cut the job time in half whilst creating messages that you know to be effective.

Accumulating ‘swipe files’ is a massively effective technique for creating highly effective and profitable e-mail messages but it is also something that very few e-mail marketers can actually be bothered to do. That is their loss because accumulating a collection of the best copywriting creates an asset that you can use for years to come in your own marketing efforts.

In fact, many experienced marketers suggest that the ‘swipe files’ that they have amassed over the years are amongst the most valuable assets their businesses own, so you should not underestimate the value and effectiveness of this ‘shortcut strategy’.

Great Copy Is Not Enough

Being able to write a super persuasive headline is only half the battle. You can have the best headline in the world but if the content of the message (i.e. the substance rather than the words) does not excite the prospect or convince them that what you are offering can help them, you still won’t get very far.

It doesn’t matter whether the message sender is one of the top dogs in the online marketing industry or a complete beginner, the substance behind the content of your mail message must genuinely connect with your reader, convincing them that you offer a solution or an answer to their problems.

This is an important concept to understand, one that you must apply in your own e-mail marketing efforts. A great headline is important and it helps if you are a well-known name, but your success ultimately comes down to the substance behind the content of your messages.

It doesn’t matter who sends the message, no-one but a complete beginner makes an automatic connection between someone being a big-name and the fact that they must therefore offer quality and value.

As an example, I receive five or six e-mail messages per week from one of the best-known names in online marketing, a multimillionaire of whom everyone has heard.

I never open a single message because the way the guy writes leaves me cold, half of them are incorrectly formatted (e.g. ‘hey {name}’ as the addressee on one recent example!) and most importantly, the substance of the body content never offers anything of value to me. In fact, almost every one is little more than a blatant sales pitch.

Now, this guy is rich so it’s clear that lots of people do open his messages and take action on his recommendations. Obviously, his style works with others where it does not work with me.

For me however, there is no genuine connection and there never has been, which is why I have never opened another e-mail after the first one or two.

This is an incredibly important concept to take on board.

You must, absolutely must connect with your prospects if they choose to read your first few e-mail messages.

If you manage to make this connection, you could well have a dedicated reader (and almost inevitably a customer) for life whereas if you fail, they will stop opening your e-mails around about message #3 or #4.

How To Make The Vital Connection

People deal with people

As suggested in a previous section, many less experienced marketers miss the ‘trick’ of using top-copy swipe files as an easy way of ensuring that their copy does what is necessary whilst ‘shortcutting the workload’.

But once you see why this concept works and understand the thinking behind it, an interesting query or thought might occur to you.

If you have an inbox that is packed with 100 or 200 incoming messages from other marketers that you scan every morning for headlines that look like they might offer something of genuine value, what you are in fact doing is looking for headlines that appeal to you.

In other words, you’re making a personal decision that the headlines that you choose to follow are the ones that offer value and quality. These are the headlines or titles that ‘talk’ to you.

And of course, every individual e-mail recipient is different.

What appeals to you won’t always appeal to others in the same way that stuff that ‘talks’ to them will leave you cold.

Naturally enough, you cannot please everyone all of the time. That’s fine, it’s accepted that not everyone is the same.

What you should therefore try to do is attract people to your business who are going to be happy doing business with you. In effect, you need to market in a way that attracts prospects that are going to like you.

This is important because people like dealing with real people, and they particularly like dealing with people they like.

In an effort to ‘connect’ with your prospects, it is therefore essential to do whatever you can to put your personality and character stamp on every e-mail message that you send to them.

Now, it constantly amazes me that the majority of would-be e-mail marketers seem to spend an inordinate amount of time removing every trace of character and personality from their messages.

This sometimes goes as far as receiving five or six identical e-mail messages from affiliate marketers who have all chosen to use a standard ‘cookie-cutter’ message because they are too lazy to write their own.

Nevertheless, the fact that so many marketers ignore the importance of personality and character is a major plus point for you.

Think of it like this and the reason will become clearer.

E-mail marketing is an incredibly competitive business as most of your prospects will receive a mass of incoming e-mail every day from which they have to select a small handful to read.

Once you start to make a conscious effort to inject your personality and character into every aspect of your e-mail marketing activities, you also begin to ensure that your e-mail messages are the ones that get opened every time.

We will consider a few specific ideas for injecting personality in the third and final tutorial.

However, before doing so, there is one other vital aspect of ‘personalizing’ your e-mail marketing activities that you must incorporate into your own activities.

You must show that you care…

A few paragraphs ago, I referred to a top marketer whose e-mail messages to me never get opened. Above all else, there is one very specific reason why this happens…

Having read a small handful of his mail messages in the early days, one thing became abundantly clear extremely quickly.

Every single message was about him, his business, his success and all of the great things that he had achieved in online marketing. This guy was (and still is) a top marketer and yet there were basic schoolboy errors in the two or three messages that I could be bothered reading…

Firstly, there’s little or no personality here. All you are telling me about is your business and how much money you make which tells me absolutely nothing about you as a person (we’ll expand on this one next time…).

Secondly, it was all about him and his business. There was absolutely no feeling that he cared for me or what I want or need, no connection and definitely no attempt to answer my ‘what’s in it for me?’ question.

This second point is absolutely fundamental to your own e-mail marketing efforts.

You have to make your prospects believe that you are a sincere person and that you care about what they want instead of being completely egocentric and self-centered.

They will be no more interested in you and your business than I was with this guy back in the day unless you give them a reason to feel good about dealing with you.

Providing value and quality equates to demonstrating and ultimately proving to them that you care and that you can and will help them.

They want to know that you offer solutions that they can use and that you are a real person who cares about other people as opposed to being a faceless ‘machine’.

Every net-savvy prospect who is on your list understands that each individual e-mail message that you send is not sent by hand.

They know that you use an autoresponder but that does not mean that they want to be treated like a machine.

It reminds your subscribers that it is actually a machine communicating with them rather than you and a mistake like that tells them that you don’t even check the messages that you send.

Your prospects will become customers only if you connect with them and this will only happen if they believe that you care and that they matter to your business.

If you make it obvious that you don’t (either through a stupid error or by writing your e-mails badly), you guarantee that they will never buy off you no matter how good the offer you present is.

Conclusion

From this tutorial, you should absorb the all-important concept that as an e-mail marketer, your primary and perhaps only objective is to force your prospects to open your mails, to read them and take action on the content.

If in all your e-mail marketing activities you use this concept as a guiding principle and question everything you write in terms of these objectives, you are already way beyond the majority of your competitors who are trying to profitably market via e-mail.

In the third and final tutorial: Part 3 – Building Your Reputation, we will analyze and pick apart this concept to an even greater degree.