How to Make Email Marketing Work for Any Business

If you run a business, any kind of business at all, and you don’t have an email list, you are missing out. Period. I often see a lot of business owners make these two mistakes:

NO-NO #1: They don’t have an email list at all.

This could be because they think it won’t work for them, they “don’t have the time”, or they worry about seeming spammy.

NO-NO #2: They do have an email list, but they never send anything out.

If you fall under this category (blog post feed emails don’t count), then you totally aren’t using this tool to its full potential.

Email marketing is not something to avoid or ignore. It’s powerful stuff. I promise. Here’s why:

  • It helps develop a tribe of people that like you and your brand.

  • It develops relationships with future clients/customers. Even if they don’t need your product/service now, they will probably need it in the future. Longevity investments in marketing are essential to long-term business survival.

  • It gives access to a larger audience. Not everyone has an Instagram or Facebook, but almost everyone has an email address.

  • It has high conversion rates. Well-written, engaging emails can be super effective in making sales. They allow for deeper connections with your target clients, which can really make a difference in our purchasing decisions.

  • It’s less competitive than social media. Regardless of how many frantic emails from their boss or clients a person gets, they likely see fewer emails a day than the social media posts that they scroll through (think 40-100 emails vs. 500+ tweets, grams, statuses, etc.)

  • It’s FREE marketing. Depending on the size of your email list, your email campaigns can be totally free. Try MailChimp to get started.

  • It helps establish your identity as a professional or expert. I’m all about anything that elevates your identity and builds your reputation. Be selective about what you send (only send your best), and make sure you edit thoroughly before you broadcast!

The myth out there is that email marketing can only work for B2B businesses (businesses that sell to other businesses or business owners). This could not be more bananas!! The truth is that any business, whether it’s a B2B or B2C business, can utilize email marketing profitably.

Below are a few tips to make your emails more effective and really make email marketing work for you:

1. Understand your target audience and give them value!

The 80/20 rule applies to email marketing as well. 80% of what you provide in your email content should be epic, valuable, actionable content for your subscribers. This could mean different things for different industries. If you’re in the wedding industry, you might offer exclusive wedding planning tips (as it pertains to what you offer). If you work in health/fitness, you might provide weekly advice for healthy eating. People might be interested to see a case study of someone who’s actually bought your product or used your service. The important thing is that you don’t pitch anything until you’ve provided that value. Otherwise, you’re just spamming your subscribers.

2. Don’t be afraid of unsubscribers.

If you’re doing everything right in your email campaign and providing a ton of value, then the unsubscribers you may get are not the end of the world. Your list naturally curates itself over time to only have people that 150% are into your brand voice and style. These are the people that might actually become clients or customers one day.

3. Make a schedule and stick to it.

I’d say that the optimum frequency of emails is one per week. However, this isn’t viable for everyone’s schedule or business model. Find the sweet spot of emailing and stick to that schedule. The more people know when to expect your emails, the more effective those emails will be.

4. Images aren’t totally necessary.

If the reason you’ve been avoiding email is because you don’t want to have to create yet another set of graphics & formatted images, don’t worry. While images can definitely amp up the look of your email, emails without images can feel a lot more conversational and personal. These kinds of email naturally feel less spammy. If you’re pitching a product, however, you definitely want to add in photos of that product. Check out this list of epic email marketing examples with images for inspiration.

5. Create an enticing opt-in.

The options are endless for content upgrades and sign-up incentives! Again, be specific to your industry. Offer something really epic that your exact target market needs/wants! Free meal plans, checklists, guides, resources. Something that would’ve taken them forever to hunt down on the internet. Something that they could’ve paid for, but you’re giving it to them for free. That’s value.

Here's an example of an opt-in that I use for my email list (which I use ConvertKit for):



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Spam is not chic, so we won't give your email out to third party websites. Powered by ConvertKit

6. Be conversational.

People want to feel understood. Whether it’s the reassurance of somebody else feeling the same struggle you’re feeling, or the encouragement we get from someone calling us out on our problems and providing a solution. People love motivation. Even though you’re communicating to hundreds, maybe thousands of subscribers, you still should try to write as though you’re communicating to everyone individually.

7. Create a call to action.

Once you’ve provided that 80% value, you need to make sure there’s somewhere to go other than the delete button. Connect your subscribers with your latest blog post (tie it into the email to make sure it’s relevant). Pitch your latest product or course after you’ve pointed out why there’s a need for it. Encourage them to come out to a meetup or event. But only after you’ve been useful.

How have you made email marketing work for your business? If you haven’t, what’s been holding you back? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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