Growing a mailing list can be one of the best ways to also grow a following and start a new career or business in the process. With so many websites and social media outlets out there, it’s easy to get lost in the mix. However, email is still one of the best ways to grow a list of individuals who you can still get in direct contact with. Even with all of the changes across the internet over the past 20 years, email is still the one constant that most businesses and brands invest their money and time in.
With that being said, it’s extremely important to know what’s working in email marketing and list building today. To help with this process, we have a new and exciting guest to add to our email marketing experts interview series, in Kayla Hollatz.
Kayla is a coach, blogger, and entrepreneur who has not only built a nice following and business for herself online, but she’s also done it through the power of email marketing and content creation. Let’s take a look at how Kayla has grown her brand into what it is today, and her advice for you to do the same.
1 – Please briefly tell us about yourself and how you got started with online marketing.
I’m a copywriter and social media strategist for visual creative brands who want to make a lasting impression with their words. I got started in online marketing when I started my blog while in college when I was pursuing my degree in Public Relations and Creative Writing. During that time, I also started the first Twitter chat for creative bloggers and entrepreneurs called #createlounge which grew my personal brand exponentially and became the catalyst for my online business.
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’d say it’s at least one of the most effective marketing platforms. The rise of social has been incredible in building public facing brand communities but the special thing about email marketing is it’s a private line of communication you own. The difficulty of social media is if you build a large following on a specific platform and it goes under, what do you do with that audience? If they are already on your mailing list, it’s much easier to connect with them consistently no matter how the digital landscape shifts.
3 – With so many different email platforms to choose from, what should marketers specifically be looking for?
First, you have to know what your goals are. While there are many email service providers, it’s easier to narrow them down once you know what you need the tool to do. Why pay for features you don’t need or underpay for a tool that doesn’t include what you need?
4 – What is your preferred method of collecting emails and building your list?
I use ConvertKit exclusively and it’s one of the best investments I’ve made in my business to date. I love its ability to create user-friendly automated email sequences and easily track conversions. I hold both my business and #createlounge community mailings lists on the platform so it’s nice to tag and segment my audiences so I always send the most relevant content to them.
5 – What are your best tips for writing effective email titles/content that get opens and clicks?
A great, effective subject line must be two things: clear and concise. Too many times marketers try to get too cutesy or clever but then the title ends up being vague so no one clicks on the email. Subject lines are so important because it’s the gatekeeper in front of the excellent content inside the email you’ve spent a large amount of time crafting. Invest a similar amount of energy in crafting your subject line for maximum results.
6 – Based on your own experience, is it better to send long-form or short form written content in emails to your mailing list?
For my list, I’ve found my sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. Too short and it doesn’t inspire subscribers to take action. Too long and people stop scrolling or click out of the email altogether. I like to blend personal stories with actionable advice that’s easy to skim and digest for those who want the most important points.
7 – What is the best way to setup an effective autoresponder series?
I like using the suggested “formula” that ConvertKit gives its users. I sometimes make a few tweaks in the days in between but most of the time I stay pretty true to what they’ve tested and proved works. I always start with a few emails of only educational content and then start to soft sell. Then I return to educational content and end with a hard sell. I like to follow up after the sequence too to see if they have any additional questions.
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 spend a good amount of it on ConvertKit still and would probably splurge for LeadPages, a tool that allows you to create beautiful landing pages to collect email addresses.
9 – Lots of site owners and marketers have mailing lists, but they aren’t making money with them. What are they doing wrong?
People need to know what you’re selling in order to convert. Many times I see business owners who don’t want to be seen as salesy let that fear keep them from explaining their offerings or products in their emails. I’ve been guilty of it from time to time too! Sometimes we just need that extra nudge to remember we have something valuable to offer and it’s okay to let our most dedicated tribe know about it.
10 – If you could tell online marketers and brand one thing that could improve their email marketing and list growth, what would it be?
When you’re starting from zero subscribers, use the channels you already have to build up your mailing list. Your blog, social media, any marketing channel that’s getting traffic should be utilized to start building your list. Also, try to spend more time focusing on the engagement of your emails than just the numbers. Of course, it’s great to have large numbers of subscribers on your list but if they stay silent and don’t convert, that doesn’t help you.