Finding long term success with email marketing is all about knowing your audience and what they want. At the same time, you will also need to offer something of value and have some form of monetization. While both of these components are quite obvious, how you will find success with your own list and marketing results will vary.
To help with this process, we’ve sought out some of the top email marketing experts in the world today and asked them for their best tips, tricks and working methods to find success with email. This week’s featured expert is Ben Settle of BenSettle.com. Ben Settle is an Internet marketer, entrepreneur, email specialist and author who writes about business, marketing and selling.
1 – Please briefly tell us about yourself and how you got started with online marketing.
Whenever people ask me what I do, I tell them “I’m like a bum, but who gets paid.” After they realize I’m not joking I tell them why. For me, most days consist of me getting up, writing an email, and then goofing off the rest of the day. That’s how I have my business set up — one email per day and I’m done. My main offer is a newsletter about email marketing called “Email Players”, and I also have part ownership in a golf company, write twisted monster novels, and have various other side projects going on because even though I can do my workday in 10 minutes, that would get boring fast.
2 – Is email still the most effective marketing platform today… and how has it changed over the years with the addition of social media and mobile?
I think it is. Although my bias is obvious. But I have yet to see a way to make sales faster, easier, and with more enjoyment than writing emails to a list people love to read and buy from, selling an offer that can change their lives. I don’t think it’s changed at all. Not since marketers started selling online. In fact, Ken McCarthy — the founding father of Internet marketing as we know it — still uses plain text emails to sell with. Nothing has changed. If anything, because everyone is so infatuated with the latest social media bright shiny object, email (for those of us who know how to use it properly — most people don’t) is more profitable than ever.
3 – With so many different email platforms to choose from, what should marketers specifically be looking for?
Ease of use. Whenever someone asks “which platform do I use?” I say, go to Google, find the reputable ones, use their free trial or use it for a month, and see which one is easiest and most intuitive to use. If you use something you think is too complicated it will get in the way of you sending emails.4 – What is your preferred method of collecting emails and building your list? (pop up forms, subscription boxes, co-registration etc)
4 – What is your preferred method of collecting emails and building your list?
However I can get them. I have a splash/squeeze page, I also have an opt-in at the top of my blog, at the bottom of each blog post, and at the bottom of each page. I don’t use popups mostly to appease Google AdWords, otherwise I would.
5 – What are you best tips for writing effective email titles/content that get opens and clicks?
My best “tip” (and it’s not really a tip, it’s a principle by which I do business) is to be consistent. Consistency trumps proficiency. Show up every day, write an email designed to sell your product, and send it out. Do this day in and day out and, as long as you have an offer people want, you simply can’t lose. Most people focus way too much on metrics. The only metric I care about is sales. Opens, clicks, etc don’t pay the rent or food, but sales do. I have seen many times how higher opens yielded lower sales, for example. The power is in consistency, not tricks and tactics. Just showing up every day with a useful email will do more for your marketplace positioning (being seen not just as an “expert” but a leader, people often buy sight unseen from leaders), your personal brand, and your sales than all the fancy software, tricks, and tactics combined. Make it a goal to write one email per day. Good, bad, ugly, it doesn’t matter. Just do it. Then do it again tomorrow, and again the next day… eventually, it gets very easy (emails beget emails), you get very quick at it, and your list starts to bond with you in a very unusual way that makes you the only person they really want to read each day.
6 – Based off your own experience, is it better to send long form or short form written content in emails to your mailing list?
I think emails should be like a woman’s skirt: Short enough to get attention, long enough to cover the details. If that’s 10 words, so be it. If that’s 1,000 words, so be it. The only thing you can do wrong is be boring. If you’re boring 2 words is too long. If you’re interesting 2,000 words will still sell.7 – What is the best way to setup an effective autoresponder series? (content, days in between, call to actions)
7 – What is the best way to setup an effective autoresponder series?
I apply Ben-o-nomics: I put 101 emails in, all spaced one day apart. Most sales come in the first week or so. But if you take a long-term view of your business, you realize how much money you leave on the table if you stop there. There will be a portion of your list that will buy on day 48, or day 87, or whatever. Those sales add up over time and compound on themselves — especially when you realize the average lifetime value of your customers, and if you have a good back end in place, those are even more sales.
8 – If you had to start over from scratch and only had $1,000 to start a new mailing list, how would you spend it?
I would write a daily email and turn it into an article and submit to all the good ezine sites. Then I’d turn that article into a YouTube video and put on YouTube. I’d rip the audio out of that video and put on iTunes as a podcast. I’d also turn it into an online press release, submit to the social media sites, and also offer it as guest posts to blogs and as user generated content on related forums. I would also compile my daily emails/articles into Kindle books. All these things will bring me leads. As for spending the $1k, I’d make myself available to as many podcasters as possible to get interviewed all over. Each interview I would then get transcribed and then I’d hire 3 writers who don’t know each other to go through the transcripts of those interviews and turn the content into 5 articles and 5 press releases. Since writers are mostly inexpensive I’d be able to get a ton of articles up that I can then turn into youtube videos, podcasts, Kindle books, etc. It would snowball pretty fast from there. And I’d keep doing that perpetually.
9 – Lots of site owners and marketers have mailing lists, but they aren’t making money with them. What are they doing wrong?
Two things — they are either bombarding their lists with blatant pitches or they are timid and rarely sell at all. Those are the two biggest mistakes people make.
10 – If you could tell online marketers and brand one thing that could improve their email marketing and list growth, what would it be?
I’ll take it back to consistency. Showing up every day, without excuse, and sending an email out. Take the story about Jerry Seinfeld as an example. One of the highest paid comedians of all time. When he was starting out his goal was to write one joke per day, every day, no excuses. Didn’t have to be a good joke, it could be any joke, but he always wrote one. Every time he did, he put an X through that day on the calendar. As long as he never broke that chain he knew he was going in the right direction towards his goals. His jokes got better, he got more experienced, and he made a lot of money that way. It’s the exact same in email. Don’t get bogged down in nonsense. Keep your eye on the goal: Write each day, go for sales, rinse and repeat over and over. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you have to write an email every day or you’ll feel miserable. At that point, you will be living a lifestyle most people can only dream of.
Special thanks to Ben for taking the time to share his email marketing tips and expertise. Check back weekly for a new interview in our Email Marketing Experts series!