Email is dead.

At least, that’s what the marketing pundits and freshly minted “gurus” would have you believe.

But when you take a closer look at the data (and at the businesses who do email correctly), you quickly realize nothing could be further from the truth.

Email is still alive and well in 2019. In fact, it’s one of the best marketing channels available to the modern entrepreneur and is a crucial component required to scale to 7-figures+.

In today’s article, I’m going to show not only why email marketing should become a cornerstone of your digital strategy, but, more importantly, how you can use it effectively to grow your business and increase your profits.

Let’s dive in.

Why Email Marketing is STILL the Best Way to Make Sales and Grow Your Business

Before I share some of the reasons that top experts (like Joel Marion, Andy Frisella, and Gary V.) believe email marketing is still one of the best ways to engage with your audience and generate sales, I want you to look at the below chart from OptinMonster, one of the leading SaaS brands in the world.

Although these numbers might surprise you, they shouldn’t.

Email is a superior marketing channel for several reasons. Namely:

1 You Have 100% Control of Your List

To run a successful Facebook ad campaign, you must adhere to strict, and borderline draconian rules and regulations put forward by the company.

You can’t share “before and after” pictures of your most successful clients, must make every income claim very carefully, eliminate all profanity from your copy (admittedly not a problem for us here at ETR), and follow very specific guidelines for what can and cannot be published.

One misstep or wrong turn and your account gets shut down. And this is very problematic if paid traffic forms the backbone of your marketing strategy. (I had a client who’d spent more than $300,000 on Facebook ads have his account banned without any explanation as to what he’d done wrong).

With your email list, you don’t have to worry about any of this.

Unlike Facebook or Instagram which can shut down your account or decrease your reach for petty infringements, you OWN your list and are allowed to use it however you see fit.

After some consideration for spam and deliver-ability, you can email what you want, when you want, how you want without worrying about incurring the wrath of a social media ad algorithm.

2. Email is 100% Trackable

Although Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube all offer some modicum of tracking and analytics, they barely scratch the surface of providing you with what you need to know to execute campaigns with the highest degrees of efficiency.

With email, you can track everything. Even the most rudimentary email solutions will show you exactly how many opens, clicks, and conversions every single message generates.

You can pinpoint with laser like accuracy exactly what elements of your copy and creative resonate with your audience members and which ones don’t.

Which allows for…

3. Email Marketing Allows for Robust Testing

Unlike other platforms, email marketing allows you to conduct robust testing to determine exactly what your audience wants.

From split testing the subject line of your email to the stories that you tell to the exact verbiage of your call to action, you can do all of this inside of one campaign and set up your ESP (email service provider) to automatically review the test results and send out the winning email to your entire list after a few hours.

You can easily and effectively maximize each message you send and ensure that the brunt of your list receives only the highest converting copy and subject lines.

To conduct these types of split tests with Facebook, you would need thousands of dollars and at least 1-2 weeks of consistent data.

With email, you need $0 and about three hours.

Building Your Email List for Fun and (Lots of) Profit

At this point, you might be thinking to yourself, “Ok, this sounds great…I’m sold on email as an effective marketing channel, BUT I don’t have a big list…what am I supposed to do?”

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s how to get started building your list, step-by-step.

1. Create Your Lead Magnet

Before you even think about running paid traffic, posting in Facebook groups, writing on Quora, or publishing guest posts, you need one thing.

A free piece of content that gives readers a reason to share their email with you.

This lead magnet or “ethical bribe” gives new leads a taste of the value you have to offer and the expertise you can share.

Although many online marketers offer long-winded 40+ page eBooks or 2-hour video courses, I encourage you to keep this simple.

When someone makes the transition from an audience member to a lead, they are not yet engaged enough with your brand or personality to invest serious time into whatever solution you’re offering.

They want something quick and elegant that will help them get results FAST.

For example, at Early to Rise, we acquire leads by promoting Craig’s free “90-Day Reality Maker Blueprint” (which you can get here).

This one-page lead magnet has no bells or whistles. But, if implemented, it gives our new subscribers a simple and actionable strategy to reverse engineer and achieve their biggest goals in 12-weeks or less.

For your business, you might create a checklist, an audit, a “quick start guide” or short video series (less than 15 minutes total) that they can consume fast and implement faster.

Take a look at your top performing Facebook/Instagram posts and/or articles from the past 12-months to get an idea for what your audience wants.

Create 2-3 lead magnets (again these should take you less than 2 hours to create and should take your audience less than 20-minutes to consume) and then get ready for step two.

2. Split Test Your Lead Magnets on Social Media

Once you have your lead magnets created, it’s time to run a low-budget Facebook advertising campaign to determine which one your target audience desires most.

Start small with a daily ad spend of less than $25/lead magnet. Run your ads for at least two weeks and then review the data to determine which lead magnet you will use moving forward.

3. Run Paid Traffic to Your New Lead Magnets

Once you’ve identified the winning lead magnet, the next step is to setup another Facebook or Instagram ad campaign promoting the lead magnet to cold traffic.

For this campaign, you’ll want to set up 2-3 split test with different copy and creative to ensure that you’re maximizing your ad spend and generating the biggest bang for your buck.

To execute this strategy effectively, you’ll need to take the time to know your numbers.

Specifically, you should identify the:

  • Cost per click: How much it costs to get someone to click on your ad. This will help you identify which ads are performing well and which ones aren’t.
  • Ad Conversion Rate: For every 100 people who click on your ad, how many of them convert by giving you their email address?
  • Lead Conversion Rate: Out of every 100 leads you acquire, how many of them will convert into paying customers within the first 30-days of joining your list?
  • Life Time Value (LTV): How much will the average customer spend over their lifetime with your company.

These numbers will inform your strategy and help you determine exactly how much money you can spend on each ad while remaining profitable.

4. Leverage Guest Posting to Generate New Leads

In addition to paying for new leads on social media, you can also generate new leads by writing amazing content for other people’s websites and including a link to your landing page in the author bio.

Let me be clear.

As the Editor for multiple online magazines, getting through our inboxes and winning a guest posting slot is not easy.

I receive dozens of pitches (sometimes closer to hundreds) each week. Most of which are promptly deleted or simply ignored.

To stand out and earn the attention of the gatekeepers, you must create content that does three things:

It Makes the Editor’s Life Easier:

Listen, most Editors are overworked and underpaid as it is. And the last thing they want is a crappy guest post pitch that makes their life harder. As such, any content you submit should be aligned with the central theme of the website where you want it to be published.

It should be written in their brand voice, adhere to their formatting, and be congruent with their message. Ideally, you’ll want to identify the 1-2 topics where a company is lacking valuable content and then offer something to help them plug the holes.

I encourage you to send the article, in its entirety instead of sending proposals for potential pieces of content…again, make our lives easier, not harder).

It Provides Unique Insight on the Topic:

No one cares about or wants to read your rehashed article about goal setting and affirmations. That topic has been published to death and no savvy content marketer will want to fill their silo with cliche and worn out content. Do your best to provide a unique angle and insight into whatever topic you’re writing about and avoid cliches at all costs.

It Establishes Your Credibility:

When writing guest posts, your goal should be to provide so much value and tactical insight that readers think to themselves, “Wow, this is above my pay grade…this guy/gal knows their stuff.”

The more in-depth and valuable your content is, the more likely it is that Editors will accept it and that reader’s will follow up on it.

Guest posting as a list-building strategy is not easy. However, when done correctly, you can generate 500-1,500 new leads (I’ve seen entrepreneurs do as many as 3,200) in a single week…for free.

But you must do it correctly.

Follow the three rules I just laid out for you and you’ll be well on your way to scoring a lead-generating guest post in no time.

Leveraging Your New List to Grow Your Business

Once you’ve put in the work to build your list (you only need a few thousand people to generate 6-figures/year if you know what you’re doing), it’s time to flesh out your strategy and start emailing.

Here are a few simple rules and ideas to help you do this effectively.

1. Consistency

The first, and most important rule of email marketing success is to be consistent.

It doesn’t matter whether you email once a day or once a week (although, in my experience two-three emails a week is one of the best frequencies to follow) what matters is that you have a schedule and you stick to it.

Don’t make the mistake that so many marketers make and allow weeks or months to go by where you don’t connect with and provide value to your list.

Remember: Email marketing is, like anything in business, about relationships.

And you need to be present to make any relationship work.

2. Alternate Giving and Asking

Joel Marion, the “King of Email” follows a simple rule in his marketing.

  1. 33% of his emails are VALUE ONLY: He asks for nothing in return and doesn’t even mention a product. He simply offers value with no expectations.
  2. 33% of his emails are PROMOTIONAL: In these emails, he doesn’t share content. He simply informs his list about an offer and asks them to invest.
  3. 33% of his emails are BOTH: In these emails, he will tell a story, teach a lesson, or provide some sort of value and then transition and ask for the sale.

The exact ratio you follow may vary, but the key to long term success with email is to follow Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice and ‘Give, give, give, ask.’

Don’t make the mistake of sending too many pitches or sending too few. Either way, you’ll be leaving money on the table.

A good rule of thumb is to send one promotional email for every three value-centric emails.

3. Segment Your List and Rid Yourself of “Emotionally Disengaged Subscribers”

One of the most egregious email marketing sins one can commit is to send every email to every subscriber.

Listen, no matter what you’re offering, there are people on your list who desperately want it and people on your list who couldn’t care less.

Your job is to identify who is who and tailor your marketing to them.

If you are’t taking the time to segment your audience so that you’re sending the right offers to the right people you’re missing out on a ton of revenue each month.

Segment your audience based on their engagement, past purchases, the specific lead magnet they joined with, and their average purchase value.

This will allow you to present the right offer to the right person at the right time.

Which of course, will lead to more and more sales.

Also, be sure to set up parameters that automatically unsubscribe disengaged individuals (i.e. people who have not opened an email from you in at least 3 months) to keep your list “clean.”

The more people who open your emails and click on your links, the more likely you are to land in your subscriber’s inboxes (vs. their promotions tab).

It might seem counter-intuitive, but culling the disengaged subscribers from your list is one of the fastest ways to grow the profitability of your list.

4. Treat Your List Like a List of Friends

As I’ve already stated, email marketing is first and foremost about relationships.

And a good litmus test before you send any email is to ask yourself, “Would I send this to a friend or acquaintance?”

For example, Ramit Sethi, one of the top email marketers on the planet, is notorious for sending emails that seem wildly unrelated to his business.

He’ll talk about biddets, his favorite hot sauce, his pet peeves, and funny memes he encountered throughout the week.

However, he’s able to spin these topics into valuable content that his readers (like myself) LOVE.

Treat your email list like a mailing list filled with old friends.

Share your unique personality and thoughts even if they don’t immediately relate to the product or service you’re selling, and I promise, your readers will love you for it.

5. Use the P.S. Line to Promote Your Offers without “Promoting” Them

If you scroll to the bottom of any email you receive from Craig, you’ll notice a simple P.S. line that says,

“P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are four ways I can help you double your income while working less.”

It’s not a hard promotion and it doesn’t interfere with any of our value-centric emails.

However, it allows engaged subscribers to identify ways they can work with us to achieve their goals.

Every month, this simple “Super Signature” as it’s known, generates thousands of dollars without any input from Craig or myself (it’s pre-formatted into our weekly emails).

To generate more sales and interest on your top offers, be sure to leverage the P.S. line to tell people how they can follow up and work with you.

It’s a simple, but wildly effective way to sell more without actively selling.

Conclusion

Email is far from dead.

In fact, it’s one of the most valuable and important marketing channels of 2019.

But… you MUST know how to use it effectively.

Take what I’ve taught you in this guide and go implement it into your business. I promise, the results will surprise you.

What did you think of today’s article? Do you use email in your business? If so, what’s the first thing you’re going to implement from this guide? Let me know in the comments below.

Austin Gillis

After dropping out of college at 18, Austin set out to travel the world and turn his passion for sharing big ideas through writing into a full time income. Today, he's succeeded at his goal and is the Editor for Early to Rise, Director of Content for Knowledge for Men, and a highly sought after freelance writer whose ghost-written work has been featured on Forbes, The Huffington Post, Inc.com among other major outlets. When he isn't exploring new cities, writing game-changing content, or devouring his latest stack of books, you'll find him kicked back in a hammock on the beaches of Mexico with his girlfriend and two-year old Pomeranian, Zelda

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