Why do you think websites are always asking for your email? Surely they know that social media is the big thing right now, right?
It seems that website owners will do anything to get you to “Sign Up”. You need to enter your email whenever you download an eBook, create an account, or buy something online.
Many websites allow you to sign up using a social media service such as Facebook or Twitter. What a lot of people do not realise is that the website owner is doing this to make it easier to get your email address. When you sign up through a service such as Facebook, the Facebook API passes your name and email to them. Allowing you to sign up via Facebook just makes the process of giving them your email address easier.
If you want to talk about numbers, email is the biggest social network online. Do you know anyone who uses the internet who does not use email? Neither do I. And while your social media tastes may change over the years, you will probably continue to use the same email address for many years. This is why email marketing is such a powerful tool for website owners.
Today I would like to talk about the importance of email and explain why your website needs to have an email newsletter.
People Check Their Emails
Despite the odd complaint about spam, most of us check our email every week.
This seems like a small point, but it is actually quite significant. When someone logs onto Facebook, they may only see five to ten per cent of the updates from pages they subscribe too. The situation on Twitter is no different. Even if you use Twitter frequently, when you login to check your home page feed, you will probably only see Tweets from the last hour or so.
Email is different.
There is a risk of your email not getting opened if your headline is boring and there is a small risk of being placed in the spam folder too; however you can be guaranteed that your email message will be sent. And if someone has been on holiday for a week, your email will still be there for them to read when they return. That illustrates how powerful email marketing can be.
You Can Connect with Your Readers & Customers
The secret to making money online is to develop relationships with people. Blogs build relationships with their readers. Online stores build relationships with customers. A good relationship can lead to more sales. On the other hand, a bad relationship could lose you a customer forever.
Experienced marketers understand the need to connect to their target audience. They know the success of their campaigns depend on it.
By emailing readers and customers on a regular basis, you can connect with them on a level that you could never reach with one hundred and forty characters on Twitter. This helps you develop trust and loyalty.
It Offers Targeted Customer Communication
Email marketing services and applications allow you to send emails to a select group of people from your list. You can customise emails so that an email is only sent to those who clicked on a link in your last email, or target people from a specific region. This gives you a huge amount of control over who sees your messages and who does not.
Surveys can also be sent to your email list to learn more about who they are and what they do. For me, one of the best things about sending out an email to subscribers is that it happens in real time. I can send an email to thousands of people and see my website traffic increase immediately.
You Can Analyze Everything
John Wanamaker, widely considered to be the father of modern marketing, famously noted:
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.
Email Marketing is not something you need to do blind. If there is something you would like to know about your audience, you can track it.
You can track important metrics such as clicks, emails open rates, subscription rates, unsubscribe rates, return on investment (ROI), social media shares, and more. You can also do split testing within your group to see what email subject lines get the most opens.
Email Marketing is Cost Effective
The average price of email marketing services for each subscriber is between half a cent and one cent (rates get cheaper as you gain more subscribers). For example, Aweber charges $149 for up to 25,000 subscribers; and the plan allows you to email subscribers as many times as you wish.
When compared to other advertising mediums, email marketing is not only the most effective way of targeting customers, it is also one of the cheapest.
How to Get Started
Top bloggers and marketers use professional email marketing services to send email newsletters. Over the last few years I have used Aweber, MailChimp, and GetResponse. There is little difference in price between them. Each service has their pros and cons, therefore it is important to test a service and see if it does what you need.
Alternatively, you can send emails directly through WordPress. Free email WordPress plugins include Subscribe2, SendPress Newsletters, and Sendit Newsletter. MyMail ($39) is another great option.
Emails sent from your own server will probably have a much lower delivery rate than emails send by a professional email marketing company. However, you can use one of the WordPress plugins above with a service such as MailJet to ensure emails are not send to the junk folder. Their prices are based on the number of emails that are sent; with prices starting from only 0.10 cent per email.
Be sure to display your newsletter sign up form prominently in your website design. I currently display my newsletter sign up form in my header, sidebar, and underneath posts and pages. I also promote it on a dedicated newsletter page that gives information about subscribing.
Once you have set everything up, I encourage you to email your subscribers at least once a week so that they do not forget you. Most email marketing services and plugins allow you to send emails to subscribers directly through your phone, so you can send an email to your followers wherever you are.
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Article thumbnail image by Bloom Design / shutterstock.com
Very interesting post! Thanks!
Does anyone know a plugin or service (besides MailPoet, which is great but has some design limitations and no API that I’ve found) that will allow you to set your RSS parameters such that, for example, you pull the most recent 12 posts into your email newsletter and they’re split out into 4 text boxes of 3 posts, with a non-RSS’d image in between each box?
Thank you for the lovely article. I was debating on starting this, and I know some bit about email marketing from helping a friend once, and your article only drove home the point.
I just need to sketch out some details and hopefully I can start one in the holidays. Or maybe I should wait till New year.
I would like to add a pop-up to notify subscribers when I add a new post. Is that the same thing as a newsletter? I’m not sure what I need for that. Would subscribe2 notify people who have signed up, that I have published a new post? I’ve had a few readers write me asking if I would let them know when I post again. Thanks.
Great article. I did not know about this in such detail. Thanks for giving this information.
Would I say I’m a bit disappointing, was expecting your article to include ways of integrating the newsletter on the website. Be it in form of widgets, plugins to make it simpler or better still Popup list builders.
Never mind me; I’m only challenging you to write on that. I’m sure a lot of us are expecting.