Sean Si – Email Marketing Expert Interview

Email marketing is a lot like SEO, in the fact that both cater to their audience based on what they are looking for. When someone subscribes to your mailing list or newsletter, there is a very good chance they are interested in what you have to say or offer. At the same time, keywords in Google and SEO offer the same value — delivering specific results based on what someone is searching for.

With this concept in mind, it’s always important to put as much focus and quality within your email content and marketing efforts as possible. To do this, you must provide your audience with what they are looking for, while also knowing how to market and sell your services effectively. This is where email marketing comes into play, as it’s simply one of the most effective ways to gain the trust of your audience, while also increasing engagement and buyer confidence.

As we often do, we’ve sought out some of the best email marketing experts in the world today and asked for their expertise on what’s working for them in the world of online marketing and email. This week’s featured expert is Sean Si, who is the founder of SEO Hacker. In addition to finding success with email marketing, Sean is a master at ranking content in both Google and YouTube. As mentioned earlier in the article, the core focus of all marketing is to get your content and message in front of the right audience, then hook them in for the final lead or sale through the use of follow-up emails.

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

sean-si-email-marketing-expert 1 – Please briefly tell us about yourself and how you got started with online marketing.

Hey, I’m Sean. Digital marketing guy. I started with SEO. I needed more traffic to come in my blog and it wasn’t too long before I knew I needed to learn the ropes of search. Started an SEO company called SEO Hacker soon after and that’s how I got here.

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?

One of the best converting digital marketing platforms is still email marketing. I believe it has only improved with the advent of social media and mobile. The funnels have widened and there are more people to be had in your email list.

There are new technologies today that you might want to look into though. Push notifications are definitely super helpful. I wrote a case study about it on how I applied it in SEO Hacker and it has done wonders for me.

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

Send rate. Good mail servers that are whitelisted on almost all email platforms. I personally use Aweber because of the high send rate.

It really depends on the purpose of the individual though. For our SEO Services website (You could see Drip pop-up on the lower-right section with the tab named ‘Our 24/7 Quotation Promise’.), we use Drip because of the ability of Drip to score leads and create ‘if else’ statements within its workflow feature. That’s been amazing for me and my sales team. It has automated our analysis/proposal step completely and saved us countless of hours of time.

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

Pop-ups, scroll-ups, giveaways, and good old signup forms.

Scroll-up forms work best for blogs. I have data to prove it. I’ve used pop-ups and it works okay if you know the 1 best thing that your audience wants to take home from your site. Unfortunately, my blog is too broad for it to be just 1 thing. So we segmented pop-ups to per-article that has high volume of traffic.

For example:

These get lots of emails from the pop-ups because people who land on these pages are already eager to download something about the said topic.

But if you don’t have a per-article giveaway segmentation capabilities (that leaves lots of ebooks, whitepapers and infographs to be developed) you can go with a site-wide scroll-up. it works. I use (and pay) SumoMe for that.

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

Be relevant. This is defined by where you get your email leads. if you got them because you gave them value, chances are you are 80 – 90% relevant at the get-go.

Build authority. Don’t send out crap. And if you have been sending out crap, stop it and start sending them something of value. Consistent value increases open rates and clicks. There’s no shortcut to that.

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

Short form. That way, you get more clicks if you cut off the email at the right moment. If you send long form content, they might not click through because generally people nowadays try to save time whenever they’re in their email inboxes.

Keep it short, sweet, concise and full of value.

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

Days in between in my experience. I send out a welcoming 5-email series when you sign up at the SEO Hacker blog. I send out an email of value every 2 days. And when I say email of value I mean emails that link to our most read pieces of content or our most shared case studies. Things that I know people who sign up in our newsletter would find interesting 100% of the time.

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?

Build a site, spend most of that money on amazing design that has a strong first impression. Put in a scroll-up form by SumoMe, write kick-ass content, turn it into an e-book or infographic to be given away in exchange for their emails and lastly, start collecting emails.

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

Either people see through their content as primarily for building up the list – which means there’s not much value to be had. Or they aren’t asking their subscribers to give them money.

At the end of my 5-series welcoming emails at SEO Hacker, I send an ‘ASK’ email wherein I ask the subscriber to try Qeryz which is a SaaS tool that I own. While that doesn’t put money in my pocket right away, it does so somewhere down the line if they think Qeryz is a tool they can utilize for their site or for their clients.

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

Build your authority. That’s what I put in my Slideshare deck entitled “Social Media, Affecting the World at Large” that got over a hundred thousand (100,000+) views. There simply is no other way than to build your authority.

Special thanks to Sean 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!