Marcus Miller – Email Marketing Expert Interview

Whether you like it or not, if you have an online business or brand, you need to be using email marketing and SEO. Without these two crucial elements, you will simply get lost in the crowd of the other billion active sites floating around the internet.

SEO is great because it allows people to come to your site when they are searching through Google. Email is great because that is the best method to keep them coming back time and time again — simply by getting them to subscribe to your mailing list.

To provide you with the latest email marketing tips and strategies that are working for marketing experts in the world today, we’re fortunate to have yet another featured expert for you here today. This time we have Marcus Miller, the man behind BowlerHat — which specialize in expert PPC, SEO and digital marketing services. With 17 years of experience in each of these fields, Marcus has established himself as an expert in this space, while also helping thousands of website, brands and marketers with his services, actionable tips and expertise. Now it’s time for you to learn from him as well.

Let’s see what Sean had to say about email marketing in the world today.

1 – Please briefly tell us about yourself and how you got started with online marketing.

After studying computer science at university I started working for a small, e-commerce business circa 1999 as a developer. After building the eCommerce and internal order processing systems the question soon became – how do we get more sales? This drove me towards the world of SEO and online marketing. I then worked for a couple of other companies before becoming a consultant and contractor and finally setting up the SEO & Digital Marketing Agency Bowler Hat somewhere around 2010. The rest is pretty much history.

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?

Email is still very powerful and is an important component in the digital marketing mix. Really we have to look at your website and online presence, SEO & organic search, PPC and paid media, Social (organic and paid) and content marketing as well and we see the best results where all these components work together in synergy. Email though has a strategic outbound element so combined with these channels for lead gen and more often than not smart automation features we can build intelligent marketing systems that help us create new customers or sell more to existing customers. Unfortunately, most businesses do a pretty terrible job of their email marketing and simply expect that having a newsletter will deliver the goods. Strategy and integration with other channels is key here.

3 – With so many different email platforms to choose from, what should marketers specifically be looking for?

Simplicity. An alignment with requirements. Marketers need to understand the goal and what part email plays there and then find a platform that delivers the goods. In some cases, it can be as simple as a marketing focused email newsletter but in many more instances we will need automated drip campaigns, nurture campaigns, marketing automation – understand what is possible and see how to leverage these tactical tools in your marketing campaigns.

4 – What is your preferred method of collecting emails and building your list?

There are a whole suite of tools you can use here: pop up forms, subscription boxes, co-registration etc. The trick is to find the tool that suits your situation. I think the inbound marketing approach where you create a piece of content, promote it using social, paid content amplification, organic etc and then have a more detailed guide or incentive that then converts your visitors into list subscribers. Again, your distance may vary so ensure you fine tune this to your own requirements.

5 – What are your best tips for writing effective email titles/content that get opens and clicks?

I think there are some tried and tested strategies for writing better headlines: use a number, provide context and then align with popular culture. You just have to look at Buzzstream which does crazy numbers to see examples of this: 31 Jokes only Stranger Things Fans will find funny. Beyond that keep it simple and leverage what you can: controversy, humor, personalized subjects etc. The big takeaway here is less a given tactic and more about aligning it to your specific objective.

6 – Based off your own experience, is it better to send long form or short form written content in emails to your mailing list?

Depends on the situation. Both can work. Often a mix is best. Long, textual emails can work if you have an engaged audience. Short punchy emails are better when it’s more speculative and you have to grab your audience by the scruff of the neck. Test. Measure. Analyze. Define your strategy.

7 – What is the best way to setup an effective autoresponder series?

I just don’t believe in generalization – I want to customize each campaign. That is just how I work. However, I like to have an initial 3, 5 or 7 step campaign with an incentive at the end that likely delivers email daily or with a short gap at least. Then, a longer and more staggered approach that may work weekly or monthly. Integrate these two approaches and you maximize results.

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?

Research your audience. Create a piece of content that speaks to their immediate needs. Promote that content using social ads across all the right social media marketing platforms. Typically social media promotion with the correct demographic targeting will deliver the best results for that $1,000.

9 – Lots of site owners and marketers have mailing lists, but they aren’t making money with them. What are they doing wrong?

Signing up the wrong users. Not understanding their audience. Not having the right kind of products or back office services that can scale. It’s tough. It takes time and effort but having the business side of things dialed in before you get your marketing hat on always helps here.

10 – If you could tell online marketers and brand one thing that could improve their email marketing and list growth, what would it be?

Focus on strategy. Think less about tools and features. Get your strategy dialed in and the simplest of approaches will deliver the goods.

Special thanks to Marcus 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!