12 Easy Ways to Boost Your Email List 100K in Under 6 Months

Need to know how to build an email list fast? Get big results in little time by following proven list building strategies. In this guide, we’ll share how to get 100,000 subscribers in 5 months even if you’re new to this whole lead generation thing.

You’ve probably heard that email marketing is the #1 way to grow any business online.

But here’s the catch:

Your email list degrades by about 22.5% every year. 

This means that you always need to be adding fresh email subscribers to your list if you want to keep your list healthy. And, under no circumstances, ever buy an email list. It’s bad, m’kay? You can learn why you should never buy an email list here.

Honestly, with these 12 proven list building strategies, from 3 case studies, you won’t have to.

Let’s get started growing your email list, right now.

Case Study #1: How Groove Doubled their List to 50,000 in 6 Months

Groove is a SaaS company who decided to put a big focus on list building.

Groove discovered that their blog is the single biggest source of new trial signups, and learned that blog subscribers overall are more than 2X as likely to sign up for a trial as non-subscribers.

So, they decided to optimize their blog for email optins. Here’s what they did to double their email list to 50K subscribers in just 6 months:

1. Install a Scroll Box

To start with, they tested adding different optin forms in different places, from popups to buttons embedded within posts.

They wanted to find the best “mix” of different optin types so that they wouldn’t annoy readers.

The first successful optin was a polite slide-in scroll box that appeared when the reader reached the end of a post.

This optin converted around 1.4%, and they received nearly 2,000 email signups from it. 

2. Install a Floating Bar

Next, Groove started experimenting with highly noticeable floating bars, which attach themselves to the top (or bottom) of the reader’s screen and scroll along with them.

Their floating bar converted at just under 1%, also receiving around 2,000 signups.

3. Turn Your Homepage Upside-Down

After getting their blog posts optimized for email subscriptions with a couple of optin forms, Groove turned their attention to their homepage.

Instead of keeping the traditional top navigation bar, they decided to move the navigation to the bottom of the page. This way, visitors would see their optin form right away and would have to click on the link at the bottom to actually read the blog.

To add social proof, they included a couple of testimonials below the optin form.

As a result of this homepage redesign, they saw their conversions go up from 0.8% to 1.9% – a 1.1% increase.

Note: They also used cookies to ensure that visitors who already signed up or clicked to “Read the Blog” wouldn’t see this upside-down version of the homepage again. Pretty sweet!

4. Add Inline Optins

Groove also optimized their blog by adding an inline optin form to their blog posts.

This turned out to be the highest-converting place for them, resulting in about 7,300 downloads.

5. Host a Giveaway

Finally, Groove used Rafflecopter to host a giveaway. In the giveaway, they gave visitors the chance to win 13 of their favorite books.

This resulted in 1,500 new subscribers at a whopping 9.8% conversion rate.

Bonus Tip: To increase your conversions, you can embed giveaways like this inside a lightbox popup using OptinMonster’s Canvas theme.

Case Study #2: How The Hustle Got 100,000 Subscribers in 5 Months

The Hustle is a unique email newsletter that pulls the latest news and condenses it into a short, snarky, daily commentary.

Since their business relies completely on email, they needed to really “hustle” to grow their email list.

And, wow, they did! In the first 5 months, they grew to about 100,000 subscribers.

This also resulted in growing their web traffic to 1 million monthly pageviews.

How did they do it? They used one brilliant strategy:

6. Build a Subscriber Referral Program

To see such massive list growth, the Hustle built a program to reward subscribers for referring their friends.

This program gave their existing subscribers a unique URL that they could share with their friends. The URL went to an optin landing page that looked like this:

To educate their ambassadors and encourage them to share, they sent out an automated email to any subscriber who hit the 3-week mark.

In the email, they explained all the prizes for referring a specific number of subscribers. If they get 5 friends to sign up, then they get access to their private community. 20 signups and they’d get a t-shirt. Next is a hoodie, and finally is a free ticket to their convention.

Ambassadors could also log in to see how many subscribers they have referred, so they could track their progress:

All of this was coded using tips from Tim Ferriss’s post here.

Case Study #3: How Kate McKibbin Got 25,000 Subscribers in Under a Year

Kate McKibbin is a full-time blogger. When she first started out, her business consisted purely of an email newsletter, similar to The Hustle. So of course, she had to make growing her email list a priority.

Here are the strategies she used to grow her list to over 25,000 subscribers in under a year:

7. Add Content Upgrades + 2-Step Optin Technology

The first thing Kate did was to create an irresistible lead magnet. This first lead magnet was “evergreen,” meaning it was content that most of her target audience would be interested in and that would stay relevant over time.

But the real breakthrough that allowed her to ramp up her email list growth was adding content upgrades.

Content upgrades are lead magnets created specifically for a particular blog post. Adding content upgrades to her blog posts on a regular basis was a game-changer for Kate.

Especially when she paired them with 2-step optins.

2-step optins work by asking the reader to click on a button or a link before they see the optin form. These use the psychology principle known as the Zeigarnik Effect, which states that folks who start a process are more likely to finish it.

So, once you click a button saying, “Sure, I’ll sign up,” you’re more likely to follow through with signing up. Simple.

Want something similar on your website? Start using OptinMonster to convert website visitors into subscribers and customers.

When combined with content upgrades, 2-step optins can increase your conversions by as much as 785% (without A/B testing)!

8. Promote to Your Existing Subscribers

Another really smart strategy that Kate used was to repurpose her content upgrades by promoting them to her existing email list.

Since she was creating new lead magnets on a regular basis, she wanted to make sure that her existing subscribers were receiving the benefit from them too.

Keeping your existing subscribers happy is a great way to spread word of mouth, and attract even more email subscribers.

9. Create a Resource Library

Yet another way that she repurposed her content upgrades was by creating a resource library to house them.

This was simply a page on her website which included all of the links to download each of her various lead magnets. This page was not publicly visible, so only people with the URL could see it.

Then, whenever someone new subscribed to her list, Kate would send them the resource library page to download all of her lead magnets.

Bonus Tip: If you want to keep this page public so that it has the chance to go “viral” on social media, you can use OptinMonster’s content lock feature to hide the content of the library until someone enters their email address.

10. Update Your Popular Posts

By now you can tell that Kate’s a very smart lady. She knew that updating her popular blog posts would result in even more email subscribers.

First, go into Google Analytics (or your OptinMonster analytics) and find your 10-20 most popular posts over the last 6+ months. These are the posts that get traffic all year round, not just when you first publish them.

Then, add content upgrades to those posts.

For even higher conversions, use a combination of slide-in boxes, inline forms, and 2-step optins in the post using page level targeting to display the specific content upgrade offers on specific blog posts.

11. Set Up a Recurring Sharing Schedule

Do you promote your posts on social media after you publish them? What happens after that?

Kate not only promoted her posts once but over and over again to get more email subscribers.

To do this, she used some of these awesome social media tools to set up a recurring sharing schedule. This way, her blog posts with their optin offers would be shared with social media at least 2-3 times per week on Facebook and Twitter.

Kate uploaded at least 2-3 different versions of each post to share, mixing up the image, heading, and post description.

12. Link Guest Posts to Your Optins

Last, Kate used guest posting to drive additional traffic to her lead magnets.

The key that she found was to link to her optin form from the guest post, either in the byline or in the actual body of the post.

Also, make sure to avoid these 6 guest blogging mistakes that could cost you thousands of subscribers.

That’s it! You’ve now seen 3 case studies with 12 list building strategies to grow your list to 100,000 subscribers in 5 months.

Now it’s your turn. We recommend starting by following the strategies from Case Study #1 to optimize your blog posts with multiple types of optin forms. You should also add an exit-intent popup to all of the pages on your website because this will boost your optins by an additional 2-4% right off the bat.

From there, you can use the strategies in the other two case studies to double, or even triple, your results.

Enjoyed this guide? You may also want to check out 25 Proven Strategies to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic by 1064%.

The post 12 Easy Ways to Boost Your List 100K in Under 6 Months appeared first on OptinMonster.

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The Secret to Writing Addictive Email Content

Top marketers use the same strategy to craft addictive emails. And it’s not beautiful email design or flawless writing. (Although these are both important!) It’s sending valuable emails that your subscribers actually want in their inboxes. Not sure if your emails are addictive? Follow these 5 rules, and you'll craft addictive content your audience won’t be able to find anywhere else. Prefer to listen to this blog post? Check out the podcast adaptation of this post or watch the YouTube video:

1. Solve your audience’s problems.

Addictive content is helpful. And the best way to create helpful content is to brainstorm topics that address your audience's needs. Not sure what your audience needs? Figure out their biggest "pain point" — or the problem that keeps them up at night. After all, people don't buy a product or service because of it's flashy features. They ultimately purchase a product because it solves a problem for them. By understanding your subscribers' biggest pain points, you can more effectively promote your product and write convincing marketing copy. Here's how to find your customers' pain points.

2. Keep your subscribers interested.

Addictive content is interesting. To create interesting content, there are a few writing principles to keep in mind. First, choose a tone that works best for your audience. In many cases, taking a conversational tone can improve readability and make your brand more relatable. However, if your audience expects a serious tone because it’s more appropriate for your industry, then keep it formal. Regardless of whether your tone is light-hearted, witty, irreverent, or formal, you should treat your subscribers with respect, says John Corcoran, founder of Smart Business Revolution. "I don’t talk down to people," says Corcoran. "I make it worthwhile to read my emails. I even bury jokes in the ‘P.S.’ and small font at the end just to delight and surprise people who are paying attention.” Second, organize your email content in a way that’s easy for subscribers to read and skim. In today’s fast-paced world, you may only have a few seconds to showcase the value of your email. Structure your content so the most important information is at the top. Additionally, use headlines, subheadlines, and bullet points to break up large chunks of text. (It's so much easier to read on mobile devices. At AWeber, we recommend paragraphs being 2 to 3 sentences max.) To emphasize important parts of your message, try bolding, italicizing, or underlining words and phrases. Related: 8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer Emails

3. Craft unique content.

Addictive content is one-of-a-kind. In order to make your content stand out from the rest, try taking a new angle on a topic. This will also help establish you as a thought leader in your niche. For example, many people think that you need a ton of email subscribers to be successful with email marketing. But this isn’t the case! So AWeber's Product Marketing Manager Tom Tate wrote a blog post which explained that a small, engaged email list is better than a huge, disengaged one. This post was extremely successful because it provided a unique angle on an important topic. You can also try new content mediums where your competitors may not have big audiences. If your industry is flooded with blog posts and ebooks, experiment with other forms of communication, like podcasts or video. Not sure what to write in your emails? Check out these 45+ free email writing templates to get you started.

4. Keep your promises.

Addictive content is transparent. A big reason why subscribers disengage with an email list is because the emails no longer deliver the value they were expecting. So don't try to get readers to open an email with "click bait" — or a subject line that's enticing, but has very little to do with the content inside the message. The first step to transparency with email: Explain what content you'll send and how often you'll send it on your sign up form. By telling people what they can expect before they sign up to your list, they’ll know what they’re getting into. Plus, you’ll be more likely to attract the right subscribers (which are more likely to engage with your content and purchase your products or services). The second step to transparency: Stick to your promises! If you say you'll send an email once a month, don't bombard your readers with emails every two days. If you say you'll send helpful tips and advice, don't send advertisements. If you do, you'll see your unsubscribes and spam complaints increase almost immediately, which will ultimately hurt your business in the long run. Related: 9 Inspiring Sign Up Form Ideas to Grow Your Email List

5. Create connections.

Addictive content builds relationships We enjoy doing business with people we know, like, and trust — as opposed to a large faceless corporation. Humanize your message to increase connection and engagement with your subscriber. The deeper a connection you make with a subscriber, the more likely they are the engage with your emails, buy products from you, and tell their network about your business. One way to do this: Ask questions. The more feedback — good and bad! — you gather from your subscribers, the more likely your business is to succeed. By asking your subscribers questions, may discover a flaw in your product that is stopping them from purchasing. Or maybe they all mention one feature that they absolutely love, and that you can capitalize on in your marketing material. Or maybe they'll tell you their biggest business challenge, which leads to your next great product idea. Or maybe you gather a bunch of fantastic testimonials and case studies that you can promote on your website. Feedback is fuel for your business. Another way: personalization. You don’t need to be pen pals with each of your subscribers. But you should make them feel as if you’re sending them personalized emails. Here’s why: 74% of marketers said that targeted messages and personalization of emails improves customer engagement rates. Try including your subscriber’s name in your message. You can add their first name in the middle or end of the email copy instead of at the beginning, which draws your reader’s eyes downward and keeps them reading. Or you can collect your subscribers’ birth dates on your sign up form. Then send them a celebratory message or a coupon on their birthday. The more you try to connect with your readers, the more successful your email marketing will be. For more ideas on how to personalize your emails, check out this post on engaging subscribers with contextual emails.

Ready to learn more about email marketing?

Check out The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing. It’ll give you an A-to-Z plan to launch an email marketing strategy that’s valuable to your audience. Additional reporting by Liz Willits and Jill Fanslau.

The post The Secret to Writing Addictive Email Content appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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The Ultimate Guide to Email A/B Testing

In a world where people are bombarded with countless emails on a regular basis, it’s more important than ever to craft emails with purpose. According to Statista, 269 billion emails were sent in 2017, and that figure is expected to rise to a staggering 333 billion by 2022. These days it’s not enough to assume you know what type of email your audience will want to open — let alone read through it entirely. You have to be certain. Creating great emails requires a lot of hard work, researching, and strategizing. The best emails are crafted not only with goals in mind, but also with the target audience at the forefront. From subject line strategies to sound design principles, there are many components that make up a successful email. But how can you be sure that one version of an email will be more successful than others? You’re not the first person to ask that question. What if there was a way to be sure that one version of an email would generate more engagement, lead to more landing page views, and/or provoke more sign ups? Well . . . there is. Email A/B testing or split testing is a brilliant way to determine what resonates with your audience and what sparks their interest. With email A/B testing, your team can gather data-backed proof of the effectiveness of your email marketing. (AWeber just released a new email A/B testing feature that allows you to test more than just your subject lines — like send times, copy, templates, buttons, and more! Try out AWeber for FREE for 30 days — and split test away!)

Getting Started with Email A/B Testing

Conducting an email A/B test is simple. Create two or three identical versions of the same email, but change one variable like the subject line, the lead image, or the CTA button. You can test variables as distinct or as nuanced as you see fit. For example: You might test the color of a CTA button versus testing the subject line. Related: 6 Email A/B Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minutes If you think that creating multiple versions of the same email with a tweak or two sounds tedious or time-consuming (and wonder how much insight can you gain from changing the text on a CTA button), consider this. AWeber customer and photo sharing community Light Stalking split their email subject lines to gauge the success of one versus the other. As a result, they were able to increase their web traffic from the winning subject line email by 83%. How’d they do it? The founder of the community, Rob Wood, wanted to run an email A/B test on the subject line of the Light Stalking weekly challenge email, which asked subscribers to send in a photo of a silhouette. The test was simple: Wood created two identical versions of the same email, changing only the subject lines. The first email used a straightforward subject line, “The Weekly Challenge is Live!” and the second email was just one word and hinted at the nature of the challenge, “Silhouettes.” The email with the shorter headline (“Silhouettes”) was the winner, which Wood sent to the remaining 90% of his list. From there, the email yielded an above-average click-through rate, which drove more people to the Light Stalking website and increased overall engagement levels. Impressive, right? And simple. This is a perfect example of how email A/B testing helps you make data-backed decisions. With that, let’s talk a bit more about the basics of email A/B testing and how it can help you optimize your next email campaign. Related: Should You Capitalize Your Subject Lines? This Marketing Expert Found Out

Setting Goals for Email A/B Testing

Anyone can split test an email, but like anything in digital marketing, having a clear goal and purpose for testing is essential. Sure, you can run a quick email A/B test and obtain useful results, but having a more precise testing strategy will yield more powerful data. Email A/B testing is a great tool to use at any time, but it can be especially useful if you want to gain insight on a new campaign or email format. Before you begin your test, it’s essential to establish what you are testing and why. A few questions that can help guide your team at this stage include:
  • Why are we testing this variable?
  • What are we hoping to learn from this?
  • What is the impact this variable has in relation to the performance of this email?
In theory, you could test any element of an email, but some variables will give you more insight into your subscribers' minds than others. The beauty of split testing is that no variable is too small to test.

Copy Elements

Copy elements such as subject lines, headlines, body copy, and calls to action immediately come to mind when thinking about what variables to test. After all, copy elements are some of the first things people see when your email pops into their inbox (as well as after they open it), so it’s important to optimize. For example, a personalized subject line that reads, “Ben, did you see this?” versus “Did you see this?” could be the difference between a subscriber opening and deleting the email. But just how important are a few words? We wanted to get to the bottom of this, so we added an extra word to a call-to-action button in one of our promotional emails. Doing so subsequently increased our trial subscriptions by 12.8%. Talk about the power of words.

Design Elements

Design elements like colors, fonts, images, templates, and spacing are just as crucial to an email as the copy and links. Did you know that 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices? With this in mind, think about how your email visually appeals to subscribers and what they need to get the best reading experience. These two emails have the same copy and messaging, but are presented in very different ways. One puts a bit of written copy up top, while the other relies on a central hero image as a visual cue. This simple tweak in formatting could yield wildly different results. Email A/B test different templates, layouts, and formats to see which yields the best results for your email campaigns. Related: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget

Additional Elements

Aside from the visual and copy elements within an email, you can A/B test a few other variables as well. Testing when you send an email could be just as important as what your email says. When measuring the success of an email as it relates to the time it’s sent, consider:
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day
  • Relation to the time of year (e.g., holidays, industry events, seasons, etc.)
Testing the time you send an email can provide a valuable understanding of your subscribers' behavior as well . . . not just their interests. Not sure about what font to use for the body of the email? Test it. Going back and forth between a few colors for the CTA button? Test it. The bottom line: You can and should test different variables of your email campaign before launch so you can optimize for success. Just be sure you’re testing only one variable at a time to get the most accurate and useful results possible.

How big should your test sample size be?

It’s important to note that when conducting your email A/B test, you’re testing on only a small percentage of your subscriber list. You want your test list to be large enough that you can gauge how the rest of the subscribers will likely react without using the entire list, but just small enough that you can send the winning version to a large portion of your audience. The goal is to get accurate, significant results, so bigger lists (minimum 75 to 100 subscribers) typically work the best. However, keep in mind that you should be using a sample that represents the whole list, not just a specific segment. Related: Your Start-to-Finish Plan to Get 1,000 Subscribers So what does a sample look like? There are many ways to approach this. You can figure out a generic sample size with a calculation that factors in your email list confidence level, size, and confidence interval. Or, if you’re an AWeber customer, you can manually select the percentage of your list that will receive each version of the split test. Either way, make sure you select a viable percentage of your list to send your test emails to so you have enough data to analyze. Often this is in the 10% to 20% range.

Best Practices for Email A/B Testing

Email A/B testing seems pretty straightforward, right? It is, but like any experiment, if you don’t solidify the details and ensure your test is valid, your results may turn out to be useless. Keep these things in mind when creating your split test:
  • Use a large enough sample to get as close to statistically significant as possible
  • Make sure your sample group is randomized
  • Test early (like before a campaign launch, so you have time to interpret the results) and test often
  • Identify each variable you want to study and test one at a time
The important thing to remember when it comes to creating an email A/B test is that it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Email A/B testing is designed to deliver powerful, straightforward insights without a bunch of confusing variables.

Email A/B Testing Set Up

You have the basics of email A/B testing down, so let’s next discuss how to set one up properly.

Determine your goals

First things first: Identify the intentions behind the campaign you want to test. Your goals will act as your compass when figuring out the details of your email A/B test. Every component of your campaign should trace back to your end goals.

Establish test benchmarks

Once you have defined your goals, take a look at your current email data and examine how your previous email campaigns have fared. From there, use your findings as benchmark numbers. These numbers will be significant when it comes time to analyze your email A/B test data so you can gauge early success. These numbers should also help you decide on the variables you want to test moving forward.

Build the test

You have your goals and your benchmark data; now it’s time to build your test. Remember to test only one variable at a time. (Refer back to our best practices — above — if needed.) Bonus: Did you know AWeber customers can automatically split test their email campaigns (and can test up to three emails at a time)? It’s true. Here’s how it works: 1. Log into your AWeber account. 2. Hover over Messages, then click Broadcasts. 3. Click on Create. 4. Name your split test. Be as detailed as possible when naming them so you can make sure you select the right one when it comes time to run the test. 5. If you’d like, you can send your split test to a segment a.k.a. a group of subscribers. Click on the drop-down menu and select the segment. 6. Using the slider, define your split segments into their two or three groups. (You can change the percentages to make sure you’re testing with only a small percentage of your list. So if you were sending to two groups, you could have 10% of your list get one variation and another 10% get the second variation. Then, you can send the winning message to remaining 80% of your list.) Once you are satisfied with your settings, click Save. 7. Then, to select the message you want to test, click Select a Draft on the right hand side menu. 8. From there, select the message you want to use and click Select. 9.You will then see the selected message added into one of your split test segments. Click Schedule to schedule your split test message. 10. Schedule your message just as you would with any other Broadcast message within your AWeber account. Once your Broadcast settings are set, click Send Message Now. There you have it! Repeat these steps each time you want to send a split test message.

Email A/B Testing Inspiration and Examples

It can be tricky to identify what variable test can help you improve key metrics. Here are a few examples that can help you figure out which variables to test.

To improve your open rate…

This one is easy! To improve your open rate, you need to test different subject lines. We recommend trying a few different types of subject lines like questions, capitalization, long vs. short, subject lines with emotional value, emojis, etc. You can also test different preheaders — the preview snippet of text that is next to your subject line or below it (on mobile) in your inbox. In addition to testing subject lines, try sending the test emails at different times of day and see if that has an impact on the open rate. Your subscribers may be more inclined to open an email in the morning on their way to work or at night after dinner instead of during the middle of a workday. The better your subject line, the more likely your subscribers will open the email and read through. Having a solid subject line is like getting your foot in the door. Related: How Do I Avoid the Spam Filter?

To improve your click through rate…

Keep subscribers interested in the email by providing eye-catching, engaging content throughout. If it’s your click-through rate you want to improve, make sure you create clickable content. Consider how interactive content, information gaps (missing pieces of info that spark a reader’s curiosity), or contests could boost your in-email engagement. There are also many variables you can test to optimize for click-through rate — a strong CTA, intriguing anchor text, personalization, spacing, or bold imagery. Just remember to test one at a time to ensure you know precisely why subscribers are clicking more (or less).

To improve your reply rate…

Many marketers tend to overthink this one, but it’s actually pretty simple. If you want your subscribers to reply to your emails, ask them to! It’s that easy. Try testing a “From [your name] at [your business here]” approach, which can make an email feel like a personal note instead of an email blast. (For instance, “From Andy at AWeber” would be the sender name that appears.)  Think about it: If subscribers think they are replying to an actual person, they are more inclined to do so. You also might try testing long-form vs. short-form emails with a call-to-action that encourages subscribers to reply to the email with their thoughts, opinions, or questions. Leverage that P.S. line, too. That last line can be an opportunity to encourage conversations and replies from subscribers.

Tracking and Measuring Email A/B Testing Success

We’ve covered a lot of ground so far around email A/B testing. With so many elements to test, you might be thinking, “How can I verify that a campaign is successful or that a test yielded helpful data?” The answer: Think back to your goals. Your goals will tell you what metrics you should pay the most attention to and what you should work on improving. For example, if generating more leads from email campaigns is your goal, you’ll want to focus on metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and form fills. It’s also important to look at your metrics as a whole to see the big picture of how an email performed. Being able to track that data and refer back to it will also help you optimize future campaigns. Another question that might be top-of-mind for you: How long should you let an email A/B test run for before ending it and analyzing the results? According to Zapier, after about four to five days the effectiveness of an email dies out. They claim that if your email isn’t seeing any other significant activity after five days, it’s likely it won’t see any other activity. However, digital marketer Neil Patel recommends running your A/B test for at least two weeks with 100 subscribers to determine any statistical significance of your results — or that they aren’t due to chance. If you run your test for too short a period, you run the risk of not allowing enough subscribers to open the email. With that being said, why not test how long you run your test? If you see engagement with your emails die out after 48 hours, then you can cut the tests off around that point. Once your test has ended and as you begin analyzing your data, keep detailed notes of your findings. Ask yourself:
  • What metrics improved?
  • What elements of the email flat-out didn’t work?
  • Were there any patterns that correlated with past tests?
Maintaining records and tracking results will help guide future campaign optimizations. Put together a testing roadmap or a detailed record of what you’ve tested, the results, and what you plan on testing in the future. That way, you’ll have a detailed account of your tests and won’t leave any stone unturned in the process.

Get Started with Email A/B Testing Today

Email A/B testing is imperative to the success and optimization of any email campaign. It allows you to gain real insight that can help you make decisions about existing and future emails. Email marketing is always changing, and as subscribers’ attention spans seem to get shorter, it’s vital to know what will yield the most success. Get started today with AWeber. Our email A/B testing tool allows you to do more than just split test subject lines — you can test almost anything (calls-to-action, colors, templates, preheaders, images, copy, and more!). Give AWeber a FREE spin for 30 days.  Want to learn even more about email A/B testing? Download our free guide here.

The post The Ultimate Guide to Email A/B Testing appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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2019 Email Marketing Statistics: We Analyzed 1,000 Emails from Today’s Top Experts

Nearly every business with an email marketing strategy wonders how to write the perfect email. They question the length of their emails. (Short or long?) They wonder how they can get more people to open their emails. (Should I capitalize my subject lines or not?) And they debate even the little things. (Emojis or no emojis?) And there isn’t a simple answer to these questions — until now. With the help of AWeber’s data scientist, we analyzed 1,000 emails from 100 of today’s top marketers. Our goal? Gather email marketing statistics that will answer these questions. The 100 experts we analyzed are the best of the best. Their email strategies engage thousands and drive millions in revenue. Many of them see unheard of results (like 80% open rates and 30% click-through rates). In this post, we answer 4 important questions: And more!

Want to skip to a specific section? Click on one of the questions above.

Email marketing statistics: Words in an email

The average email length

Of the 1,000 emails we analyzed, we found that emails have 434.48 words on average. 434 words takes approximately 3.3 minutes to read.  

Why some pros go with shorter emails

However, more than 50% of the emails we analyzed contained 300 words or less (a 2.3 minute read time). With people receiving more emails than ever before, it makes sense that experts are sending shorter emails. Email marketers need to stand out to captivate their readers. Short emails might be a good strategy for doing so. Henneke Duistermaat is the founder of Enchanting Marketing and one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we analyzed. She often sends emails with less than 300 words. “Have you ever heard someone complaining they're not getting enough email?” Duistermaat said. “Everyone’s inbox is overflowing. We’re all time-starved. So, we love succinct messages that help us make a quick decision: whether to reply or not, whether to click through or not.”

Why some pros send long-form emails

Yet, 24.1% of the emails we analyzed contained 601 words or more. And 11.4% of them had more than 901 words, a read time of approximately 6.9 minutes. These experts stand out by sending long emails packed with valuable content, like Ann Handley. Handley is the Chief Content Officer at Marketing Profs, a marketing education company, and one of the top 100 marketers we included in our research. She sends her newsletter TotalAnnarchy via AWeber every other Sunday. On average, her newsletters contain 1,838.5 words, which takes roughly 14 minutes to read. Handley said, “It's not that long-form emails are effective. Rather, what's effective is emails that have value for the people on your list. I don't set out every other Sunday with a goal of writing the longest email I possibly can. But I do have a goal of writing an authentic, valuable, fun letter to each and every subscriber on my list. I put my heart and soul into it, and that's why people respond.” Matt Kepnes, author and founder of travel blog Nomadic Matt, is also on our list of top marketers. He sends long-form emails as well. On average, they contain 802 words. Instead of linking off to posts on his blog, he includes entire articles within his emails. These messages see high open and click-through rates. “People will read longer emails if the topic is important enough," Kepnes says.

How to choose your email length

So how do you decide whether to send short or long emails? It depends on your unique business goals, according to Andy Crestodina, a top email marketer and the founder of website consulting company Orbit Media. “If your goal is simply awareness, long or short is less important. If subscribers see it, like it, and smile, you met the goal! If your goal is traffic, then give the recipient the minimum amount of information needed to decide to click. The CTR (click-through rate) is everything and more text just means more noise in their inbox.”

Email marketing statistics: Characters in a subject line

The average character count of a subject line

Email subject lines play a huge role in whether your messages get opened. In fact, 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone, according to research done by Business2Community. After researching 1,000 subject lines, we found that email subject lines have 43.85 characters on average.   82% of experts send subject lines with 60 characters or less. Which makes sense considering most desktop email clients, such as Gmail and Yahoo!, only display approximately 60 characters before a subject line gets cut off.

Why you should consider using short subject lines

46% of emails are opened on mobile devices, according to research conducted by email testing service Litmus. So it’s important to consider how mobile devices affect the ideal subject line character length. Most email clients stop displaying an email subject line on mobile devices once it reaches between 33 and 43 characters. The exact number varies from one email client to another. Since they don't get cut off in the inbox, shorter subject lines may outperform longer ones. And because only 10.9% of subject lines contain 20 characters or less, it may also be an opportunity to stand out. Brian Dean, founder of SEO company Backlinko and one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we analyzed, sends subject lines with an average of 15.1 characters. “After lots of testing I've found that short subject lines get much higher open rates,” Dean said. He believes these results are due to two factors:
  1. Short subject lines reach the inbox more frequently.
  2. Short subject lines are more mysterious.

“I used to try to outline the entire message in my subject lines. And it gave people no reason to actually open my email,” Dean says.

Email marketing statistics: Emojis in subject lines

The percentage of emails with emojis

Only 6.9% of the 1,000 email subject lines we analyzed incorporated emojis. That leaves a whopping 93.1% of subject lines without them.  

Why only 6.9% of emails contain emojis

Experts might see emojis as a risk, since they can display differently, and sometimes incorrectly, in email clients. In fact, subscribers opening emails on old computer operating systems may not see emojis at all. “Windows 7, which holds a major market share of 48.4%, offers very limited support for emojis, displaying in black and white or not at all,” email testing company Litmus says in its research on emoji support in email. [caption id="attachment_88494" align="aligncenter" width="800"] [Image source: Litmus][/caption]

Why you should consider using emojis in your subject lines

While only 6.9% of subject lines included emojis, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. In fact, this may mean you should test them with your own audience. It could be a huge opportunity to be unique. And emojis might actually increase open rates — as long as you use the right emoji, according to Mark Asquith, marketing expert and founder of Rebel Base Media. (Asquith is one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we included in our research.) He frequently uses the icons in his own subject lines. “A well-placed smiley, timer, or contextual emoji used alongside a well-thought-out subject line will really make your message stand out within someone's already very busy inbox,” he said.

Try a/b split testing two email subject lines — one with an emoji and one without. The results from your split test can help determine if emojis boost open rates with your own audience.

Related: How to Split Test Your Emails

Email marketing statistics: Subject line capitalization

The 3 capitalization formulas for email subject lines

To find out how top marketers use capitalization in their email subject lines, we examined the subject lines from our 100 experts to see if they relied on a particular capitalization formula. We found 3 common formulas: sentence-case capitalization (the first letter of the first word is capitalized), title-case capitalization (the first letter of every word is capitalized, except for articles like “the” and “an”), and all lowercase capitalization (every letter is lowercase). As an example, here is the same subject line with these 3 different formulas applied to it:
  1. Sentence-case: This is an email subject line
  2. Title-case: This Is an Email Subject Line
  3. All lowercase: this is an email subject line

How experts capitalize their subject lines

60% of email subject lines use sentence-case capitalization, 34% use title-case capitalization, and only 6% use all lowercase email subject lines.  

Are lowercase subject lines an underused secret?

The majority of the experts we analyzed use sentence-case capitalization. But a few experts consistently send emails with entirely lowercase subject lines, like email marketing expert Val Geisler. Geisler is a freelance consultant and writer who specializes in email marketing, and we analyzed her emails for our research. Geisler points out that people are more likely to open an email if it’s from a personal connection or friend. “If you're writing an email to a friend, are you going to title-case the subject line? Probably not. You likely won't even use sentence-case capitalization," she said.“I write my emails like I'm writing to a friend so my subject lines follow the same principles. Does it work? I'll let my ~80% open rates and ~30% click rates speak for themselves.”

How should you use these email marketing statistics?

Use these findings as a guide the next time you’re writing an email. Want to stand out? Try a strategy that most people aren’t using — like emojis in subject lines or lowercase subject lines. Want to follow a proven strategy used time and again by the experts? Use the findings in this report to follow time-tested email copy strategies used by the majority of experts. Ready to start using this data to send better emails? Sign up for your free 30-day trial of AWeber today. And to receive more research like this, subscribe to our weekly email newsletter FWD: Thinking.

About the data from this research

We analyzed 1,000 marketing emails from 100 successful businesses and entrepreneurs. While we didn't randomly select these businesses, we chose experts across multiple industries and from numerous countries. See the complete list of the 100 businesses we included in our research (and follow them!) here.

The post 2019 Email Marketing Statistics: We Analyzed 1,000 Emails from Today’s Top Experts appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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The 7-Day Challenge to Jump-Start Your Email Marketing in 2019

Every year, 80% of new year's resolutions fail by the time February rolls around. Launching your email marketing strategy shouldn’t be one of them. That’s why we created a simple, 7-day challenge to help you dominate email marketing in 2019. By the end of it, you’ll have launched the most important parts of a successful email marketing strategy. And the best part? You only need 30 minutes or less each day to complete this challenge. (Don’t have an email marketing platform? You’ll need one. Set up a FREE email marketing account in AWeber.)

Day 1: Choose your email template and brand it. (30 minutes)

This step is often overlooked. Many people use different email templates every time they send an email. Or, they never fully customize a template to match their brand. But branding an email template and using it consistently are important. Your brand sets you apart from your competitors. It allows you to be unique and develop a personality for your business. It builds credibility and trust between you and your subscribers. Your subscribers can see your content and immediately tie it back to you. Step 1: Choose your email template. Find an email template that works with your brand and your message. A plain template is often better than one already filled with colors and background images, because it’s easier to make it your own. Then, add your logo to the top or bottom of the email. (Inside AWeber, there are 8 NEW email templates you can easily customize to fit your branding. Choose the template format you'd like. Then drag and drop to add your images and build the layout you want.) Step 2: Add your brand colors to your template. Don’t overdo it! Too many colors can be distracting. Try adding your brand colors in just a few places, like your call-to-action buttons, header image, or headlines. For example, in the welcome email of AWeber’s FWD: Thinking newsletter, we incorporate our brand colors by using a header image with AWeber’s green and blue gradient and a call-to-action button with our brand’s shade of blue. Homework: Watch this video on How to Design an Awesome Welcome Email. To do: Choose an email template and add your logo and brand colors to it.

Day 2: Customize your confirmation message. (15 minutes)

A confirmed opt-in message is an email you send people immediately after they fill out your sign up form. It asks them to verify they want to subscribe to your emails by clicking a link or button in the message. Confirmation messages are optional but strongly recommended. They serve as proof that your subscribers definitely want to be on your list. So internet service providers (like Gmail and Yahoo!) may deliver more of your messages to the inbox when you use confirmation messages. Plus, it prevents subscribers from signing up using fake email addresses. To make your subscribers more likely to confirm their subscription, you can follow these common best practices for confirmed opt-in emails:
  1. Keep your content short.
  2. Explain the value your subscribers will receive by subscribing to your list.
  3. Tell them what they need to do to confirm.
Homework: Read Writing Confirmation and Welcome Emails People Love. To do: Set up and customize the subject line and content of your confirmed opt-in email. (If you’re an AWeber customer, you can follow these directions to complete this step.)

Day 3: Create a sign up form. (30 minutes)

Sign up forms allow your subscribers to easily join your email list. You can promote your form by adding it to your website and sharing a hosted sign up form with your audience. Hosted sign up forms allow you to share your form anywhere, even if you don't have a website. Homework: Read 9 Inspiring Sign Up Form Ideas to Grow Your Email List. To do: Write your sign up form copy and build your form using ideas from the homework post you just read.

Day 4: Write your welcome email (30 minutes)

A welcome email is the first message subscribers receive after joining your list and confirming their subscription. And it gets a lot of attention — on average, open rates are 4 times higher and click-through rates are 5 times higher than other emails, according to marketing research company Experian. You can take advantage of this above average engagement by crafting an excellent welcome email. Your welcome email should:
  • Welcome subscribers to your email list.
  • Deliver the lead magnet you promised on your sign up form.
  • Explain what kind of content you’ll send subscribers, how often you'll send it, and what they'll learn.
  • Introduce yourself or your business.
  • Ask subscribers to add you to their address book. (This is called whitelisting and it can help more of your emails bypass the spam folder.)
Once you draft your welcome email, take some time to personalize it! Personalization makes your subscribers feel you’re writing a message specifically to them. Something as simple as including your subscriber’s first name in the subject line or body of your welcome email can boost opens and clicks. Homework: Read The One Email You Should Always Send and How Personalization Can Help You Connect with Subscribers. To do: Write and build a welcome message for your subscribers using AWeber’s Drag and Drop Email Builder.

Day 5: Automate your welcome email. (10 minutes)

You wrote your welcome email. Your next step? Automate it. That way, your subscribers will receive it immediately after they sign up for your list. Simply create an automated series for new subscribers in your email marketing platform. Here's how:
  1. Build a new automation series in your email marketing platform. Make sure it's set up to send to every new subscriber.
  2. Paste your welcome email content into the template you chose on day 1.
  3. Add your welcome email to the series.
  4. Activate your series.
Your email marketing system does the rest! Homework: Read Email Automation 101: How to Use Automation. To do: Create a welcome series using AWeber’s automation platform Campaigns and add in your welcome email. (Here are step-by-step instructions for setting up your own welcome series in AWeber.)

Day 6: Publish your form on your social media channels. (20 minutes)

Your list is set up and your confirmation and welcome messages are ready to go. Now it’s time to put your hard work to the test and start to grow your list! An easy first step is turning you social media followers into email subscribers. People who follow your brand on social media have already shown they want to hear from you. And there’s no better way for them to stay up to date on your latest content and sales than joining your email list. Post a link to your hosted sign up form on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and ask your social followers to subscribe for exclusive updates. Homework: Read 7 Expert Tricks to Grow Your Email List with Social Media. To do: Add your sign up form to your Facebook profile and tweet out the hosted URL to your form.

Day 7: Share your sign up form with your connections. (20 minutes)

Reach out to the people you already know, like colleagues, friends, or family members. Ask them if they want to sign up for your email list. Let them know what content you are offering and explain the benefits they would receive if they sign up. If they say no, maybe the content you’re offering just isn’t for them. But maybe they know someone it would be perfect for. You never know until you ask! Homework: Read How To Get Your First 50 Email Subscribers in Less Than 30 Days. Use the fill-in-the-blank copy template in this post to easily reach out to people. To do: Contact 5 people you know. Send them the hosted URL to your sign up form and ask if they’d like to join your email list or share it with someone they know.

Ready, set, go!

Congrats! If you completed this 7-day challenge, you’re well on your way to launching a successful email marketing strategy. Want more content like this? Subscribe to our FREE weekly email newsletter FWD: Thinking for email marketing tips from the pros.

Bonus challenge

Ready for your next challenge? Then try this: Create a lead magnet — a freebie you give subscribers when they sign up for your list. Lead magnets can increase the conversion rate of your sign up form. For example, author and productivity expert Paula Rizzo offers a free List Making Starter Kit in return for signing up for her email newsletter, which she sends via AWeber. Homework: Read How to Create a Lead Magnet in Less Than a Day. To do: Build a lead magnet, add a link to it in your welcome email, and mention it on your sign up form.

The post The 7-Day Challenge to Jump-Start Your Email Marketing in 2019 appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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How To Create Your First Email Course or Email Challenge

Has your email list stopped growing? Can’t figure out what’s going on? It’s called the subscriber growth plateau and it happens to the best of us. Simply saying, “sign up for my email newsletter” isn’t going to do the trick in 2019. In this guide, you’ll learn how email courses and challenges can kickstart your list growth and convert new subscribers to paying customers with simple, automated emails.

The Solution

Developing a compelling email course or challenge can revitalize your digital marketing, boost your subscriber growth, and generate a ton of sales for your business. Email courses and challenges uniquely attract a relevant and eager audience by tapping into human psychology. Courses and challenges draw on our desire to learn, achieve goals, feel accomplished, and connect with a purpose. Not only is this strategy effective at growing your email list, it’s also a logical pre-purchase step for your prospective customers. People that engage with your course or challenge are primed to become perfect buyers for your paid products or services. The best part: As email automation tools like AWeber become more powerful, accessible, and easy-to-use, building a simple course or challenge is a breeze. In the following sections, you’ll learn: Don’t have a product to sell yet? Read on and learn how to develop a product, service, or revenue stream to serve your new subscribers.

What is an email course?

An email course is a simple series of automated emails that deliver educational or instructional content. (See our newest course, Everyday Email. You get 30 tips in 30 days sent to your inbox. It's the MOST FUN way to learn email marketing. Ever.) We’re in the age of online courses, where successful entrepreneurs are making a living using robust, affordable, and accessible course platforms like Thinkific and Teachable. These platforms help you build, deliver, and sell text, audio, or video-based courses to your audience. Online educational courses are effective because they deliver valuable instructional content that people need to learn and grow. With an email course, you don’t need to pay for extra software or find a new service to learn. You’ll simply deliver your lessons by email. ? For example, you might offer a 1-week email course to your website visitors. When someone signs up, AWeber will automatically deliver a sequence of emails at a frequency of your choosing. This could be one email per day, or one every other day. It all depends on your course content. Here’s a quick view of how a daily course might look for someone selling a guitar lesson bootcamp: If your email course is free, you can use it as a lead magnet a.k.a. an incentive to invite lots of people to join your email newsletter list. Just let them know that by signing up for the course, they’re granting you permission to send them newsletters later. This is a great way to skyrocket your list growth. You could also put it behind a paywall. Charging for an email course using PayPal or another payment processor is a great way to monetize your email marketing efforts. If your subscribers start telling you they loved your course so much they’d pay for it, you might want to consider charging for that content. Keep that in mind as you’re developing your course.

What is an email challenge?

An email challenge is similar to a course in that you’ll still deliver an automated sequence of emails. Instead of teaching your subscribers a skill or craft, however, the purpose of these emails will be to challenge your subscribers to accomplish goals and take certain actions. Your tips, tactics, and guidance throughout the challenge will help them set and crush their goals. You’ll also be building up your position as a mentor or coach for your subscribers. Here are a few examples:
  • Simple Green Smoothies offers a free “7-day Green Smoothie Challenge,” which offers daily emailed recipes and shopping lists to help you introduce greens into your diet.
  • David Siteman Garland’s “Outline Your Darn Course” Challenge, which offers daily emailed tasks to help future online course creators map out their content.
Challenges appeal to our human desire to improve ourselves. A good challenge encourages participation by playing up the benefits your subscriber will reap if they follow through. Let’s say you’re running a 30-day clean eating challenge. You should promote the positive health and energy changes your subscribers are likely to experience from shifting their diet on your webform or landing page. If your challenge is to help subscribers land their first freelancing gig, paint the picture of what financial freedom looks like after they’ve built their own business. Email challenges can be sent at a schedule of your choosing — just let your subscribers know what to expect. If your 30-day challenge is one email a day for 30 days, let them know when they’re signing up and in your welcome email. But if it’s easier on you and your subscribers, your 30-day challenge could simply consist of one weekly email (so 4 emails total over the course of a month). Not sure where to start? Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal subscriber, and ask how they’d best like to receive these emails, or find a current subscriber and ask them personally! (We asked our subscribers how often they wanted to receive our email course, What to Write — which led to a 150% increase in engagement! See how we did it here.)

Should you start with an email course or a challenge?

It depends on a few key factors.

What will resonate most with your audience?

Think about your audience and the typical content you deliver. Is it already educational? Have you poured hours into building a blog or creating content that teaches your tribe how to be better at something? If yes, an email course might be a great place to start. You already have the content, you might just need to repurpose it and package it into a course. If your brand objective is to be an authority in a specific area, delivering a course can help you achieve your goal. Maybe your content appeals to people’s aspirations. Do audiences flock to your content because it’s inspirational, or motivational? Then an email challenge might be just what they need. Capitalize on your motivational tone and push your audience to accept a challenge and meet a specific goal.

What will be easier for you to create?

As an entrepreneur or business owner, you have plenty to do. Buckling down to create an email course or challenge from scratch may not be on the top of the list. Using content you already have might deliver the most impact for your effort. If you are a content creator, or you have a content team, your course or challenge may already be out there. You simply have to repurpose your content to fit the format. Do a quick content audit to see what exists, what is still relevant, and what is most popular with your audience. These bits of info can help you figure out how much you can pull into your course without reinventing the wheel.

What will help you sell the most stuff?

Courses and challenges are wildly effective at growing and engaging your email list, but what about revenue? How can a free course or challenge make your business more money? How you make money might determine whether you build a course before a challenge, or vice versa. For example, if your current source of online income is educational products, like a paid course, eBook, or physical book, you can use a free email mini-course to introduce your audience to a preview of the paid product. Give your audience a taste of the value your premium products will provide and they’ll be more likely to buy. If your current source of income is selling physical products or one-on-one service, or promoting products/services as an affiliate, you might benefit from an email challenge. An email challenge can uniquely position your products and services as the keys to successfully completing it. At the end of the challenge, whether your subscriber succeeded or not, you can pitch products or services as an aid to try again, or keep on going. There’s no rule that says you can’t do both! Maybe start with an email course to build up your audience and later in the year, re-engage the same group with a challenge. What’s important is that you get started.

Step One: Crafting your content

Use the tactics below to make this part of the process as painless as possible, especially if you don’t fancy yourself a writer.

Creating an awesome email course

Email courses help you and your subscribers grow! Teaching a new subscriber what you know is a great way to kick off a long and profitable relationship. But what should you write? And how do you get started? First, create your pitch… Determine what it is you’ll be teaching your subscribers. Condense this down to a simple value-packed statement. This statement will be helpful when you are writing content for your landing page or web form. A great email course can:
  • teach a subscriber how to do a certain task.
  • demystify a confusing topic.
  • introduce your audience to an exciting new topic.
  • help subscribers make more money, save time, or solve problems by enhancing their existing skills or knowledge.
The perfect pitch for your course should include what you’ll be teaching, how that can impact your subscriber’s life, and how long it’ll take. Here are a few examples:
  • Enroll in our "7-day Email Copywriting Course" and never worry about what to write in your emails again.
  • Kick-start your side hustle with our "14-day Find Your First Client Course."
  • Plan your Disney vacation like a pro with our 7-day guide.
Once you’ve nailed your pitch, you’ll have a sense of what the content should be. Next, write your emails… We’ve studied a ton of email courses to learn how they craft their content. Here are a few different styles you might consider emulating. The Traditional Course A traditional email course consists of long-form emails that have both a full, in-depth lesson and a homework assignment in each email sent. These courses are great when diving into a complex topic. Use images and diagrams as needed, and be sure to write in a style that is familiar to your audience. Even if you’re covering a technical topic, you risk losing your audience’s attention if you assume they understand technical jargon and terminology. When structuring your course, you can also list them out as lessons in your subject lines and content (lesson 1, lesson 2, lesson 3, etc.). This will help give subscribers a reference point for where they’re at, and where they’re going. The Snackable Mini-Course A snackable course offers bite-sized bits of information delivered over time. These can be simple tips, 5-minute lessons, quick exercises, or links to short resources or tools. Here is a great example of a snackable course email from Henneke Duistermaat. Each day you receive a short tip about copywriting. The Multimedia Course Perhaps you have educational content in different formats, like video, audio, or long-form blog articles. If you plan to deliver your course content using different mediums, simply use email to direct the user to a video, audio, or article on your website, or another service (like YouTube.) Here’s an example from Donald Miller of how an email might look using this style: Drive your subscribers to take action No matter what format or tone your course takes, it should definitely be actionable. Be sure that your audience has a clear call-to-action to apply what they’re learning, interact with you or a larger group, and stay engaged throughout the course.

Creating an awesome email challenge

Crafting an email challenge can be a bit easier than a course. It requires less educational content. But you still need a pitch… Challenges are all about transformation. At the end of a challenge, your subscribers should be in an improved state. Your challenge transports them from A to B — from unhealthy to fit, from novice to pro, from start-up to profitable. To successfully attract email subscribers to accept your challenge, you need to pitch that transformation. Craft a short statement that explains the beginning and end state your subscribers will move from if they take you up on your challenge. Here are a few examples:
  • Launch your own successful food blog in just 7 days!
  • 10x your email list with this 30-day challenge!
  • Drop 2 sizes in 60 days!
Your pitch will become the compass for your challenge emails. Now about those emails… Yes, you still have to write them. Fortunately, writing challenge emails is a breeze. Focus on one action per email. Give your subscribers enough details to know what they’re expected to do, and why they’re expected to do it. For example, on Day 3 of David Siteman Garland’s “Outline Your Darn Course” challenge, he explains how to draft your course’s “modules.” A quick video explains what a module is, why it’s important, and how to do the task at hand. Sell them on the value of completing the task. Give them insight into how this single feat plays into the big picture and helps them achieve their larger goals. Example: David Siteman Garland shares that once your course is outlined, you’ll build significant momentum to help you get a real course completed and ready for sale. Here are some tips to make your challenge emails shine:
  • Include numbers in your subject line to let your audience know where they are in the overall challenge (i.e. Day 1, Challenge 1, Task 1)
  • Offer a teaser of how much effort each challenge might require to encourage subscribers to carve out time to complete (i.e. 20 minutes to complete.)
  • Don’t let your tribe feel lost. Link to other resources, an online community, or your contact info to encourage them to keep moving forward.
Remember to play the role of the coach. Be equal parts demanding and inspirational. Push your subscribers to do their best, and keep them focused on the benefits of your program.

Step Two: Building your automated campaign

Delivering your automated course or challenge emails with AWeber is as easy as it gets. There are just a few steps to upload your draft emails from Google Docs or Microsoft Word (or pen and paper, if that’s how you roll) to an automated sequence — or campaign — inside AWeber. (Haven't tried AWeber yet? Use this link and try AWeber for 30 days.)

Designing your emails

Don’t let designing your emails slow you down! There are hundreds of template designs to choose from, so how do you know which one is right for your course or challenge? all that choice might have you questioning which one is right for you. Pro tip: the best design for courses and challenges are as little design as possible. You want your automated emails to feel personal, like a direct message someone might send from Gmail. There are a few stationary style templates in AWeber that will help you send simple personal emails. These will enable you to focus on your message and on building a strong relationship with your subscribers, rather than get distracted with images and formatting options. Here’s an example: When you simplify your email design, you can build your drafts in minutes rather than hours. Simply transfer your email content into your new template using AWeber’s Drag and Drop Email Builder. Add any logos, images, video thumbnails, or links, and you’re set to begin building your automated campaign.

Creating your automated campaign

Head on over to Campaigns in AWeber. Just click the Campaigns link in the Messages dropdown. Create a new campaign and choose “On Subscribe” as the trigger, this will deliver your automated emails to all new subscribers. Now, just drag and drop your messages and wait times (the time in between each message.) If you want to send a 30-day challenge with one email being sent each week for 4 weeks, simply drag in four messages with a one-week wait time in between. If you want to send a 7-day email course, drag in seven messages with a one-day wait time in between. Here’s an example: When you’re ready, save and activate your campaign. That’s it! Any new subscribers to this email list will immediately be enrolled into your automated email course or challenge.

Step Three: Attracting Subscribers

Once your course or challenge is live, it’s time to attract the right subscribers to join. Focus on these four elements to build a high-converting incentive: signup form, traffic, visibility, and value. Let’s dive into each element!

Create your signup form

Your signup form is the entry-point to your course or challenge. This is the form that people will fill out to sign up! To encourage sign ups, you want to make sure your form copy (the actual words describing your course/challenge) is clear and compelling. Be sure the design fits your brand, and it’s easy for anyone to fill it out and submit. Related post: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget This means you should limit your form to just a few fields, like name and email. Asking for too many details up front might decrease the number of people that actually fill it out. When crafting your form, focus on the pitch you drafted earlier. What’s the value that your course provides, or the transformation that your challenge promises. Here's a few great examples (from Henneke and Pete from Do You Even Blog): There are many best practices to pull from these. Some use color to highlight key words and value propositions. Others use images to showcase yourself as the instructor, or a happy student with a positive end result. As your list grows, use social proof to show new visitors that others have found success after opting-in. Social proof is evidence from a real user that your course or challenge worked. This could be a statement like: “Join the 4,000 subscribers that [did the thing your course or challenge promises.]” This could also include course reviews, quotes, or photos from your fans. Another important element of your form is the call-to-action, or CTA. Related post: 8 Ways to Improve Your Call-to-Action Copy to Get More Subscribers Many forms simply state “subscribe” or “sign-up,” which is a bit dull. If you want your future subscribers to be as excited about your course or challenge as you are, dial up the tone of your call-to-action! Here's a good example from Simple Green Smoothies: You can easily create a form in AWeber, or use a third-party form tool, like OptinMonster, or a form Wordpress plugin. Don’t have a website? You can also host a signup form with AWeber and we’ll give you a link to share.

Drive traffic to your form

The best form in the world won’t generate sign ups if no one sees it! Getting people to see your course or challenge requires traffic. You can think of web traffic as you would real traffic. There are a lot of vehicles potentially driving to your website or sign up form. They can arrive at that destination through a variety of “on-ramps.” These “on-ramps” are typically referred to as channels. These could be Google searches, paid ads, social posts, blog articles, YouTube videos, or even a billboard or radio ad. There are a variety of ways to tell people who you are, what you do, why you do it, and where to go to learn more (your website or signup form). Many marketing channels are free (like posting on Pinterest, or optimizing your content for Google,) just some time and effort, while others might require a small budget, like running a paid Facebook ad campaign. One of the best ways to drive paid or organic traffic to your form or website is to publish relevant content. This can be written, audio, or video content. You can start a blog, podcast, or YouTube series, which might require a lot of effort if you don’t have one of those things already. An alternative to this is guest posting on other people’s blogs or appearing on other people’s podcasts. You can also publish content on public networks like Medium.com. We published a great article sharing 6 ways to get more website traffic that’s super helpful.

Increase your form’s visibility

Here’s the reality: Your sign up form won’t do much good at the very bottom of your website. Position your sign up form where people are most likely to see it. This could be in the middle of a popular blog article, or at the top of your site. You might also experiment with pop-up or slide-in forms that appear after your visitors are on your site for a few seconds. Your form should be working for you, not against you. Here are more examples of forms to provide some inspiration.

Promote the value

Your subscribers are going to ask, “What’s in it for me?” WIIFM! Be sure your incentive clearly answers this questions. If you have a challenge, appeal to their desire to improve themselves. If you have a course, stress the value of gaining advanced knowledge or a new skill. Not everyone is willing to share their email address if the value they’ll receive isn’t clear. Make sure your visitors are left thinking, “How could I not sign up!?” Remember, attracting users to your course or challenge takes time. Focus on your form, traffic, visibility, and value and you’ll give your content the best chance to be seen!

Step Four: Converting participants to paying customers

Alright, the course or challenge is built, form is functional, people are joining, lives are changing… what’s next? In this final step, we’ll take a look at how to convert your new subscribers into paying customers. Before you can make a sale, you must have something to sell. Related: The Beginner's Guide to Making Money with Email Marketing Here are two quick options to put you on the path to profitability.

Option 1: Develop a paid solution to a relevant problem

If you are already an established business, you likely offer a product or service. This product or service should ideally solve a problem that is relevant to the problem your course or challenge addresses. For example, if you produce fitness content or run a fitness challenge, you may sell paid fitness videos or home gym equipment. Maybe you have customized workout plans that can be sold digitally, or you have a gym or training service that caters to local customers. Or if you produce a mini-email course on a specific topic, you might have a more robust paid course offering, a book, or one-on-one consultation sessions that you can sell. Here are a few common products you might consider developing:
  • A premium email course, delivered by AWeber
  • A digital course, hosted on Thinkific or Teachable
  • A physical book, sold in stores or on Amazon.com
  • Digital products (like a PDF or eBook)
  • A physical product, sold through an eCommerce store
  • Consultation services via Skype or in-person
Pros:
  • Because you developed your own paid product or service, you retain the revenue!
  • Your happy email subscribers are now more invested in you and your brand after purchasing one of your products or services.
  • Expanding your product and service line offers future opportunities to make more revenue.
Cons:
  • If you don’t already have a product or service, you’ll have to develop one, which can require time, money, and resources.
  • If you sell physical goods, you’ll have to handle production, fulfilment and delivery, customer service, and returns. If you sell a physical service, be prepared to invest your time and manage administrative tasks and customer service.
  • If you sell a single one-time purchase product or service, you’ll always need to find and convert new customers, since your existing customers don’t have a reason to be repeat buyers.

Option 2: Sell someone else’s products or services

Okay, so maybe you don’t have an established business, service, or product. You might not have the time and energy to invest in starting from scratch. Here’s the solution: You can promote someone else’s products or services to your new audience and earn money for any sales you might refer. This is typically called an affiliate, partner, or referral program. Not all products or services will offer one, and you’ll have to sign up and agree to the terms of the provider if you want to pursue this route. The key to successfully earning revenue as an affiliate or partner is to make sure that the products and services you promote are super relevant. What you promote should speak to the same pain points and needs that your course or challenge addresses. For example, if you are doing a 30-day fitness challenge, you may consider promoting health food or nutritional supplements. Perhaps your favorite paid workout programs have a referral program — a perfect “next step” to promote to anyone that reaches the end of your challenge. You may have a mini-course on learning a new computer skill, like digital photography or video editing. Promoting the physical products you’d recommend using — like a camera, tripod, light kit, or software, can also be very relevant and rewarding, as you gain the trust of your new subscribers. Pros:
  • You don’t have to develop any products or services. You can spend more time building your audience and less time building a new business.
  • You don’t have to worry about product or service fulfilment, or customer support. You still need to stand behind the products you promote, so make sure the brands you partner with treat your subscribers’ with exceptional care.
  • Your income is mostly passive! If you build a successful magnetic course or challenge that promotes someone else’s products or services, your revenue generated is mostly passive, meaning you’ll do the upfront work of setting things up, and email automation will keep things running.
Cons:
  • As an affiliate or partner, you only take home a slice of the total sale, as the majority will go to the seller.
  • You don’t have a lot of control over your revenue stream. You’re subject to the terms of the partner, who can adjust their payout percentage and frequency, or even cancel their program altogether.
  • You’re sharing your audience with another brand. By promoting someone else, you’re missing an opportunity to serve your core audience in a meaningful way and continue to deliver value to your subscribers.

How to convert your subscribers into paying customers!

Regardless of which option you choose to monetize your efforts, you’ll have to successfully lead your subscribers to a point of sale. Here are two tips to help you sell more through your course or challenge. Conversion tip #1: Tease the problem. A strong conversion strategy is to always tease the problem, or shine a light on what your audience might be struggling with, even as your course or challenge moves them towards the solution. Related: How to Find Your Customers' Pain Points Your content should provide real value, solve real problems, and transform customers into a better version of themselves, but the result should never be the final destination. Even after a 30-day fitness challenge, or a mini-course to learn a skill, your subscriber will still need to maintain their health, or practice their skill. Or, maybe take the leap and seek out the next level of their development. Paid content, products, or services can help your subscribers continue to move forward. By teasing the problem, your paid solution is always the logical next step. Conversion tip #2: Show, don’t tell. It’s easy to tell your subscribers that a product or service could solve their problems or change their world. But keep in mind that your subscribers are likely asking themselves these questions:
  • “How much does it cost? Is it worth the money?”
  • “How complicated is it? Can I do it?”
  • “Do I need it? Can I be successful without it?”
  • “What are other people saying?”
Instead of answering these questions directly or with a Frequently Asked Questions website or email, consider creative ways to show your subscribers the answers. Here are two assets to leverage: Demo videos Your subscriber needs to understand what they’d be purchasing. They need to feel confident that they have the time, ability, and confidence to do their part. For example, if you’re pitching a software product, they need to feel savvy enough to use it, or that they can set things up in the limited time they have. One of the best ways to help subscribers overcome any doubt is to present a demo video. In your demo video, showcase the product or service, highlight the value to the subscriber, and mostly focus on how easy it is to get started. Here’s an example of a great demo video for a software product, Asana. Social proof Another valuable tool when promoting a sale is social proof, or the use of customer testimonials, stories, quotes, or social media posts to promote the value and credibility of your products. It’s more assuring for your future customers to hear about successes from actual people like them. When pitching your product, use this content to reduce doubts that your subscribers might have, or answer specific questions. Having stories delivered by your happiest customers, rather than you, can help the sales process feel more natural and less salesy. Note: Be sure to ask your customers if you can use their testimonial content to promote your products. You may want to get written permission before doing so.

Never stop learning.

Go forth and build your online course or challenge, but be sure to keep on learning what's working as marketing continues to evolve. Want to continue growing as an email marketer? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter FWD: Thinking to get the latest and greatest content in your inbox. From attracting new subscribers to sending emails that just work, we’ll help you crush your business and marketing goals.

Get started with AWeber

AWeber is the perfect platform to deliver your online course or challenge. Easily match your brand with one of our customizable email templates, and build your automated campaigns with easy using our drag-and-drop Campaign editor. Need a hand? Our email experts are ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get started with AWeber today, free for 30 days! 

The post How To Create Your First Email Course or Email Challenge appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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4 Easy Ways Podcasters Can Use Email to Grow Their Audiences

As technology continues to improve, it’s never been easier to start a podcast.  But it's also never been harder to build an audience. Bringing in new listeners is no longer just about producing remarkable audio content. We have to find new ways to reach and engage listeners in an increasingly saturated industry.  That's why Hack the Entrepreneur has put a consistent emphasis on using email as an audience-building tool for the past four years. We use email automation to promote our new episodes, and we use our weekly newsletter to provide additional value to our listeners. Email has helped us garner 5,000,000+ podcast episode downloads, grow our listener base, build deeper connections with our audience, and get closer to our goal of helping 10,000 people start side hustles and live a lifestyle of their own design. But we're just one podcast in one market. Let’s take a look into how other podcasters are using email to grow their audiences. Related: The 30 Tips You Need to Know to Succeed with Email

Create conversations

Alistair Clay, of Famous Business, has a great technique that you can implement immediately: Replace your stagnant  stagnant “subscribe to my show on Apple Podcasts” call-to-action with a supercharged CTA that triggers action. Here's exactly how Clay does it: “My audience is made up of small business owners looking to get media attention. This is an urgent problem that they need solved fast. To help them, I offer to answer their burning questions immediately," explains Clay. "The only catch is they need to sign up to my email list and then hit reply! I call this a win/win/win situation. It gets them an answer fast, gets me a subscriber, and it also gives us a chance to make a deeper connection." Through email, Clay is offering quick, personalized advice — something that most other podcasters do not offer. His listeners get individual attention, which automatically inspires loyalty. They'll keep coming back to Clay, again and again. Then, Clay can continue to communicate with his listeners through email. Their interactions don't just end with a podcast episode. Related: How to Get Your First 50 Email Subscribers in 30 Days Clay also gains important insight from these Q&As. Their questions may help him come up with his next podcast episode or next product idea. "This one technique has been an essential element to the growth of my podcast," Clay says.

Do the extra legwork

In order to grow your audience from scratch, you need to put in the extra legwork in the beginning, according to Jane Ellen, of Glistening Particles. That's why Ellen solicits feedback via email as much as possible. “I’m Googling the heck out of the topic of each episode and sending direct emails to people who might be interested in the episode," explains Ellen. "My goal is to send 50 per episode. I have had people reply back – even one to be a guest!" It's not a long-term, scalable solution, but it's crucial to the initial growth of your audience, explains Ellen. That's because feedback is fuel. "I’m of the belief right now that ANY engagement is good. I’m even open to hear my show stinks or my interview style is annoying or whatever — it means someone’s listening.” Using this intel, Ellen can react and iterate, too. As she implements positive changes to her show based on this feedback, she'll be able to bring in more listeners and more guests down the road.

Follow up with past guests

One of the unspoken powers of hosting an interview podcast is the potential connections you can make with your guests, and, by extension, their audience. By staying in touch with past guests, you stay top of mind and increase the chance of introductions to their network, who may also be great guests for your show. Unfortunately, many podcasters fail to follow up and stay in touch with their guests to nourish and grow these relationships.   Related: How Do I Avoid the Spam Filter? Andy Wang, of Inspired Money, builds an email list of past guests he’s had on the show and keeps in touch with these guests. “I periodically send an email to past guests letting them know what's new with my podcast and highlighting recent higher-profile guests," says Wang. "A little PR never hurts, especially to past guests who are the real stars of my show. This is a way to express gratitude and keep my show in their minds. This can also lead to an introduction to another guest.”  

Syndicate your podcast

When you format your podcasts for radio, you can unleash the powers of syndication for yourself. Jerod Morris and the team at The Assembly Call have managed to not only syndicate their podcast on local radio, but also leveraged it to significantly to build their email list. Radio syndication is not feasible for all podcasts, but if your show is focused on a specific niche (like a sports team), location (a city or neighborhood within a city), or demographic, then this is a possibility. To get started, you can reach out directly to your local talk radio or sports stations and ask them about syndication. “On The Assembly Call, we have mostly used our podcast to grow our email list, but that changed last year," explains Morris. "We started syndicating our weekly news roundup on one of the biggest Indiana University sites. In exchange for the ability to post our content on their site, the site owner included an email form for visitors and readers to sign up for our email list so they could get the roundup via email. We've gotten 1,000+ subscribers since this began.” Related: Your Start-to-Finish Plan to Get 1,000 Email Subscribers

Use email to turn listeners into fans

As an on-demand medium, podcasts have the potential to connect with new people when and where they want. But connecting with them via email is how you deepen the relationship from a passive listener to a loyal fan.  Want to get started building your podcast audience via email today? Create a free account with AWeber. You can try the award-winning email marketing platform for free for 30 days.

The post 4 Easy Ways Podcasters Can Use Email to Grow Their Audiences appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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The 6-Step Plan to Escape the Spam Folder

You're not a spammer — but your emails can still land in the spam folder. And once they’re stuck there, it’s difficult to reach the inbox again. That’s why we asked AWeber’s Director of Deliverability Karen Balle to explain how you can escape the spam folder. Multi-million dollar companies seek Balle’s advice on reaching the inbox. This is the same 6-step plan she lays out for them. And now, you can use it too.

Step 1: Make sure you have permission.

It’s illegal to send emails to people who haven’t subscribed to your list. It’s also a great way to go to the spam folder. So, if your emails are going to spam, review your email lists to make sure all of your subscribers opted in to receive content from you. If you purchased one of your lists or all of your lists, delete those subscribers from your email marketing platform. They’re just hurting you. Plus, they didn’t give you permission to send them emails anyway, so they are much more likely to mark your emails as spam or not open them at all. If you’re not sure whether your lists are purchased, review subscribers to see how they joined. (You can see these details under Subscriber Management in AWeber.) Look for large lists of imported subscribers. Make sure you have a record of how you acquired these subscribers. Related: The Ugly Truth about Buying Email Lists Balle also recommends using confirmed opt-in (COI) emails for every new subscriber. A confirmed opt-in email is a message that’s automatically sent to people who fill out your sign up form. It asks them to confirm they want to join your list by clicking a link or button in the message. Internet service providers, like Gmail and Yahoo!, are more likely to deliver your emails to the inbox when you use COI emails. And on top of that, COI messages keep spam robots off your email list. Spam robots are automated computer programs designed to find sign up form code on your website and submit fake information to join your list.  (Nobody wants a robot on their list. It’s difficult to tell them apart from real subscribers. And they decrease your open and click-through rates.) Related: Writing Confirmation and Welcome Emails People Love

Step 2: Find the type of content your audience loves.

Often, your email reputation is damaged because your subscribers aren’t engaging with your emails. If your open rates are below 15% and your click-through rates are below 5%, you’re in the danger zone, says Balle. To rebuild your email reputation, you need to boost your open and click-through rates. There’s a simple way to accomplish this: Send content your audience can’t wait to open and read. Take a look at the emails you’ve sent in the past, says Balle. Are there certain messages that earned more opens and clicks? If so, you should send more content like this! Jot down a list of related (but new) content ideas for future emails. Related: 8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer Emails You can also ask your subscribers what kind of content they’d like to get from you. Simply send them a brief email asking what questions they have. Once you know what kind of content interests your audience, draft a few emails around those topics. We’ll use these messages in step 4! Related: 18 Tried-And-True Ways to Improve Your Email Content

Step 3: Build a segment of your most-engaged subscribers.

Using your email marketing platform, build a segment of subscribers who have clicked a link in one of your emails in the last 3 months. This is your most engaged group of subscribers. They are more likely to open and click future emails. You’ll use this segment of people to begin rebuilding your email reputation with internet service providers. With a good email reputation, more of your emails will reach the inbox! Related: How to Create a Segment in AWeber

Step 4: Send value-packed emails to your segmented audience.

For the next 2 weeks, focus on sending high-value emails to the audience you identified in step 3. Aim to send 1 to 2 emails each week. Use the messages you drafted in step 2! Make sure that your audience likes the content you’re  sending. High open and click-through rates and low spam complaints are a good indicator that they do. But fair warning: You won’t see high rates right away. When recovering from spam folder placement, your open and click-through rates will start low, according to Balle. “You want to make sure that those metrics are increasing. Many companies give up too early during this step. It will be around two weeks when you really start to see a difference,” she says. Once your open rates are above 15% and your click-through rates are above 5% with your engaged segment, start gradually increasing your segment size. Add people to your segment who clicked an email in the last 4 months. As you send emails to this larger segment, watch your open rates and your click-through rates for about a week. If they hold steady, then add people who clicked an email in the last 5 months. Watch your open rates and click-through rates again. Keep going until you’re sending to people who clicked your emails in the last 12 months. One of the biggest mistakes Balle sees is adding people to your segment too quickly. Each time you add more people to your segment, make sure you don’t increase your segment by more than 50%. For example, let's say you have a list of 10,000 engaged subscribers. When you increase your segment size, add 5,000 subscribers or less. Send for about a week. Then, add the next segment. And if you add a new segment and you can’t increase your open and click-through rates, stop adding new segments. Move on to step 5. Related: The 7 Questions Everyone Has about Email List Segmentation

Step 5: Create a re-engagement campaign for unengaged subscribers.

Now, it’s time to try to re-engage subscribers who aren’t opening and clicking your emails with a re-engagement campaign. A re-engagement campaign is a group of emails that asks people to confirm they actually want to be on your email list. For your re-engagement campaign, build a segment of people who haven’t clicked on a link in your email for the last 12 months or at the point where you could no longer increase your opens and clicks. The segment size for this re-engagement campaign should be no more than 10% the size of your newly engaged list. If it’s larger, it could sabotage the work you’ve done so far with your engaged segment. So if you have a list of 10,000 subscribers who have recently clicked a link in one of your emails, your engagement campaign should only include 1,000 people.  You may need to send multiple engagement campaigns to cover all of your less-engaged customers. Once you build your segment, send a re-engagement campaign to them. Send one email. Wait 7 days. Then, send one more. Don’t send a third. According to Balle, a third re-engagement email often ends up in the spam folder. Related: How to Win Back Subscribers with a Re-Engagement Campaign If you have subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked an email in more than a year, you might want to consider excluding them from your re-engagement campaign. They are less likely to re-engage, and they may sabotage your re-engagement campaign by decreasing subscriber engagement.

Step 6: Delete subscribers who don’t re-engage.

If a subscriber doesn’t re-engage or hasn’t opened an email in years, it’s time to delete them. They’re just hurting your email deliverability and your bottom line. Related: How to Delete Unengaged Subscribers

Stick to the plan. Reach the inbox.

Improving your email reputation takes time and patience. But by following this plan, you can increase your chances of reaching the inbox and build a healthy email list of people who want your emails! Want to use an email marketing platform that helps more people reach the inbox? Create a free account with AWeber.

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The 3 Best Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a recipe to follow when it came to writing your emails? A recipe that not only sparks interest among your subscribers, but also encourages them to complete a call-to-action? You can! Many marketers use copywriting formulas, which are proven structures to help you write more effective copy faster. Copywriting formulas provide a starting point to help you organize your message for the most persuasive impact. It’s how you turn so-so copy into killer copy, and convert subscribers into buyers. Take a look at three tried-and-true copywriting formulas that are perfect for email marketing, below. You can also use them on your social media feeds or in blog headlines, too! That way, you reach your audience no matter where they are.

Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing

Formula 1: F-A-B

You understand your product or service from the inside out, but it can be tough to communicate all the important details about it in an email or two. Plus, you run the risk of losing your reader’s interest if you drone on too long about your product features. Yes, it’s important to explain the features of your product — but where the magic happens is when you connect those features with the advantages and benefits they bring to your customers. With the F-A-B formula (which stands for Features, Advantages, Benefits), you can touch on your product’s bells and whistles, but you focus on why a person would find your product beneficial. Here’s the breakdown:
  • Feature: Briefly explain the elements of your product. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Advantages: Highlight why these features are unique and how they can make a difference in your customer’s business, life, etc.
  • Benefits: Showcase the value of your product and how it can solve your customer’s problems.
The emphasis is on why your product’s features are great and how they can help your customers rather than dissecting each feature ad naseaum. So, how can you implement this formula? It might look something like this:

Insert feature will help you insert advantage so you can insert benefit

Example of F-A-B in a Tweet: Our wireless Smart Robot Vacuum will clean your pet’s hair off floors and carpets, so you don’t have to spend time chasing down hairballs.

These same principles can be used in subject lines or stretched out to serve as body copy. For the latter, you may expand on the advantage and benefits in multiple paragraphs to really drive the value home.

Formula 2: P-A-S

It may not come as a surprise that P-A-S made our list, but it’s a tried-and-true copywriting formula that works for just about every scenario. In fact, marketing legend Dan Kennedy calls it the most reliable sales formula ever invented. Let’s take a look at how it works:
  • Problem: State your audience’s issue.
  • Agitator: Agitate the problem by talking about why it’s a problem in the first place.
  • Solution: Solve your audience’s issue by presenting your product or service as the solution.
This copywriting formula works best if you focus on the "A" aspect. To “agitate,” you need to stir up all the negative emotions attached to their problem. Make the reader squirm in their seat. Get inside their head. And just before they’re ready to scream “Enough!”, present them with a solution (your product or service!). (Not sure what your audience’s "P" — a.k.a. their biggest problem — is? Here’s a great guide to finding your subscribers’ biggest pain point.) Here’s how you could use it: State a problem: Got pet hair all over your carpet or floor? Agitate the problem: More pet hair means more time sweeping your floors. You're already busy enough. Do you really want to spend all this extra time cleaning when you could be doing other things? (Like napping or reading or watching Netflix.) Present the solution: Or you could control your pet hair problem with our new Smart Robot Vacuum. Just charge it, turn it on, and get back to your day. Like the F-A-B formula, the P-A-S formula translates well on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or in headlines because of its directness. Using this same example, you could send a Tweet that says:

Pet hair everywhere? Spending more time cleaning up pet hair means less time for the things you want to do — like napping or watching Netflix. You could spend time sweeping every day, or you could let our Smart Robot Vacuum clean it up FOR you.

The P-A-S formula is excellent for subject lines, but it’s also a fast and easy way to explain your value proposition in a quick way. Many email marketing geniuses use this formula in their own emails. Here’s an example from Paula Rizzo, an AWeber user and a TV producer who has an entire side business called The List Producer. Through this business, she helps customers stay organized with various checklists and courses. Subscribers who sign up for Rizzo’s email below have stated they’re feeling a lack of control in their digital world. Their inbox is overflowing and they can’t keep up! In her first email, Rizzo welcomes her new subscriber, tells them a little bit about her business, and then launches into agitating their problem. The agitation section is shown below: Then, Rizzo hits the reader with a solution: a paid course “Take Back Your Inbox: Stop Drowning in Unread Messages, Respond Quicker and Finally Achieve Inbox Zero.” (Check out all that’s included in her $47 course.)  

Formula 3: A-I-D-A

A-I-D-A is arguably one of the most-used copywriting tactics of all. First, here’s what it stands for:
  • Attention: Catch the reader’s eye.
  • Interest: Pique their interest with a compelling setup.
  • Desire: Make them crave the thing you’re offering.
  • Action: Tell them how to get the thing.
This is a classic formula for selling, so it makes sense to deploy it in an email environment where you want readers to take action and move from their inboxes to the next stepping stone in the conversion path. Here’s how you could use it: Attention: No matter how much you love your pet, there’s probably one thing that drives you nuts. Interest: Pet hair is a never-ending battle (and it’s one you’re always losing). Right? Desire: Smart pet owners know it doesn’t have to be that way. The Smart Robot Vacuum is always on top of hairballs (so you don’t have to be). Action: Click here to get 20% off your purchase today only! With a simple, actionable setup that solves problem and reduces a customer’s pain points, this formula is a sales-driving machine not only in emails, but also on landing pages and in video scripts.

Stretch it out!

You can use these copywriting formulas in one email — or you can expand it over a series of automated emails. For instance, with P-A-S, you could use it over the following 5-email series: Email 1: Introduce the reader’s biggest pain point Email 2: Agitate the problem Email 3: Really get in there! Agitate the problem some more. Start to hint that there may be a solution for their issue... Email 4: Offer the solution — your product or service! Email 5: If the reader doesn’t convert, you can offer a coupon or special incentive to buy. Digital marketer gurus like Amy Porterfield, Henneke Duistermaat, and Jeff Walker have used similar email series when they launch a new online course or product.

Additional copywriting tips

Once you find a copywriting formula that works best for you, keep these tips in mind as you begin writing. Avoid jargon Using words that your customer may not understand is a quick way to lose their interest. Make sure they understand your message and what value you can provide them. Nail the subject line It’s been said a million times, but it rings true. Having a solid subject line that piques the interest of your subscribers will ensure the email content you worked so hard to create has a chance to be seen. Be sure to deploy A/B testing to find your strongest option. Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute Be conversational Being personable with your copy is a great way to engage with your customers and show them that there are real humans behind your brand. Conversational tones not only make your brand sound more relatable, but it’ll ensure your customers understand what you’re saying, too. For more email copywriting advice, check out our full list of copywriting tips.

Formulas save time and maximize ROI

Copywriting formulas are an excellent way to make sure you communicate your message clearly and present it in a way that will be most receptive to your audience. Different formulas work for various products and messages, so keep testing and tracking what you learn from each formula use. Ready to see a greater ROI on your email marketing? Sign up for AWeber today or contact a Customer Solutions member. (Our team is available 24/7 at our Pennsylvania headquarters!)

The post The 3 Best Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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How to Write a Sales Email That Sells

Making the sale is one of your top priorities in business.

Your sales growth will be one of the biggest determining factors of the success of your business. And while it’s great to increase your social media following and website traffic, if it doesn’t positively affect your sales, it isn’t helping you scale.

How do you get better at making the sale? One area to focus on would be your conversion copywriting. When a lead takes action or becomes a customer, we call this a conversion.

When you create a conversion-based sales email template, your goal is to have the person who receive your sales emails take an action. This means they might jump on a phone call to discuss your proposal, schedule a video call to walk through a demo presentation, or meet you in-person to talk about customized solutions for their business.

These tactics are most commonly used in the B2B world, meaning businesses who sell products and services to other businesses, but conversion copywriting is still important in B2C (business to consumer) markets. The outreach process just looks a little different depending on your industry.

We want to focus more on the B2C side of conversion copywriting with our sales email examples today. As you read through what should be included in every sales email, you’ll have the opportunity to test it out for yourself. Practice makes perfect, especially when you create your first sales email template.

A step-by-step guide on how to write a sales email

Before you craft a sales email template, it’s good to start with market research. If you don’t understand your potential customer base, it will be more difficult for you to make a connection when you send a sales email.

Some executives and entrepreneurs get dozens or sometimes hundreds of sales emails sent to their inbox each day. With so many sales pitches coming their way, you’ll want to find ways to make yours stand out.

One of the best ways to do this is to personalize your emails. You don’t have to create each email from scratch, but you will want to leave a little wiggle room for personal details.

By doing your research, it shows that you didn’t just copy and paste the same sales email you sent to someone else in their industry. Personalizing your sales emails takes some extra work, but you’ll have an easier time convincing the person to call or email you back if you put in the initial work.

Once you have done your research, you can begin to outline your sales email to create a reusable template that can be easily personalized. Inside each sales email template, you’ll want to have a few key elements.

Write an enticing subject line

You can put a ton of work into crafting the perfect sales pitch inside your email, but it’s wasted effort if the person never clicks on it.

When you open your inbox, what is the first thing you do before opening an email? You probably read the subject line to see if it’s relevant to you.

Subject lines tell your customer lead what your email is about by teasing them with a little information. If they are intrigued to learn more and open your email, you’re doing it right!

Subject lines can be one of the trickiest things to write. You only have so many characters to entice them to open your sales email. This is even harder now that 40% of people open emails on their mobile device first, which usually shows four to seven words of your subject line before it cuts off.

How do you write a subject line that is short and sweet, but also gives a compelling reason for your audience to open your sales email? That’s the million dollar question.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule to what will work, here are a few things we’ve gathered and noticed.

These commonly used words can actually tank your sales email open rates if you aren’t careful. Tread with caution when using any of these (or, better yet, just strike them from your list!):

It’s great if you can put the person’s name into the subject line to show that you personalized it. You could also put the name of a mutual connection that suggested you should both connect. This will build trust with your audience member before they read your sales pitch.

Here are some other good subject line examples from Hubspot:

  • [Prospect name], question for you re: [topic]
  • [Mutual connection] suggested I say hi
  • Strategies for achieving [result they want]
  • How are you [leveraging, responding to] [recent trigger event]?
  • Question about [prospect’s goal]
  • Just read your post on [topic], and …
  • Have you considered [idea or strategy]?

When you write your subject lines, don’t forget to measure your open rates. This stat will quickly tell you how successful your subject lines are. Most companies shoot for a 30-50% open rate, but we recommend looking into your industry standards.

As you compare subject lines, you can create an A/B test to see which variation performs the best. During an A/B test, you can take a small subset of your audience to send one subject line to while sending another subject line to another small subset. Once you determine which subject line does best, you can use the winning one for the rest of your sales emails. (Psst, it’s one of our favorite ConvertKit features, too!)

Write an engaging email opening

Someone has clicked on your email based on your subject line… now what?

The first thing they’ll see is your opening line. Sales emails can sometimes get a bad rap because of how cheesy or overused email opening lines can be.

Some of the worst ones sound like:

  • “You don’t know me but I’d love to talk to you about…”
  • “Can you spare a few moments of your time to talk about…”
  • “Are you currently looking for a solution for…”
  • “I have a special offer for you…”
  • “It’s your lucky day because…”
  • “I was looking at your website and…”

And our all-time least favorite: “Hi, my name is…”.

Instead, you want to open our sales email with a more engaging opening line.

This is the greatest place to show that you’ve done your homework. The more you personalize the opening line, the better.

You can:

  • Congratulate them on a recent promotion within the company
  • Share that you’ve read one of their recent blog posts,
  • Introduce yourself based on a mutual connection you both have.
  • Chat about other interests you share with one another (maybe you check their social media to find these out)

Once you have personalized your opening line, you can transition into the body copy of your email. This is where you’ll introduce your company, the solutions you offer, and how it is relevant to their problem.

Write concise body copy

Your body copy is essentially the “meat” of your sales email sandwich.

While it can be tempting to put all of the information you possibly can into your body copy, most people will simply skim your emails.

You don’t want to take up too much of their time in the body copy. Instead, you can create sales copy that directly addresses their pain point, share that you have a solution or strategy to help, and transition into your call-to-action.

You can start by asking an insightful question that relates to the research you’ve done on the company. Make sure your body copy speaks to the overall business goals of your prospect.

We recommend keeping your body copy to about five sentences max. This allows you to give a taste of the information you’ll share with them on a phone call or in-person meeting without your email turning into a novel.

It’s especially important to have short body copy if your sales email is your first real interaction with the person. With cold pitches, you want to make your case and quickly get to the call-to-action.

If you are having a difficult time getting to the five sentences mark, you can always add a sentence that states you have more information to share with them or that they can request more information if they are interested.

That way, your customer leads can decide how much information they want from you before you send it all upfront. That’s the surest way to overwhelm anyone!

By giving them the decision on whether or not they want more information, you’ll also be able to see which customer leads are “hotter”, meaning they are more interested in learning about what you offer.

Create a clear call-to-action

Now that you’ve primed your audience with the body copy, you can move on to one of the most important parts of your email: your call-to-action (CTA). You may have heard of a CTA before, but it simply persuades your audience to take a specific action.

In this case, your call-to-action could be scheduling a phone call, in-person appointment, or simply replying back to your email if they want more information. We often see that phone calls garner the highest conversions because of how easy it is to jump on a phone call, but choose whatever method works best for you and your prospects.Having a strong and clear CTA is essential to your sales email. Without it, you may have a great sales pitch but your lead won’t know what they need to do next if you don’t clarify which action will help them move forward in the process.

When you think about your call-to-action, keep your overall sales funnel in mind. What are the next steps after someone takes action on your sales email? How does it relate to the bigger picture of your sales and onboarding process? Once you map this out, you’ll be able to confidently choose a relevant call-to-action.

You can also add link triggers to your call-to-action so when it is clicked, you are able to tag interested members within your email list. You can do this easily in ConvertKit with our automated link triggers. Then you can keep up with your connections and ensure they get the most relevant information sent to their inbox.

Pro tip: You might want to add a deadline to your call-to-action to increase urgency. This is a good element to test to see how well your audience reacts and participates with it. Deadlines can often get people to act quickly if they are interested, so it may be worth implementing into your sales email strategy.

Add an easy-to-access email signature

After placing your call-to-action in the email, you can sign off with a simple email signature. It usually will include your name, your company (or the company you work for), and possibly your position title if it is important to what you do.

Some salespeople put links to relevant articles or add social media handles to their email signature, but we recommend keeping it simple with the elements above. You can create email signatures with free tools like Hubspot’s Email Signature Generator or create a branded email signature with Wisestamp for as little as $2.99/month.

Respond with a timely follow up

Just because someone doesn’t reply back to your first email doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. It may have gotten buried in their already full inbox, or they simply forgot to take action. This is a great opportunity to follow up with your lead to see if they are still interested in talking with you about a collaboration or opportunity.

If you sense that the person is busy, you can follow up after a week to see if they got your email and had a chance to look it over. You can restate the call-to-action and sign off with a personal note about how you are excited to talk with them soon.

This follow-up email should be shorter than the initial email, but you can include that you are happy to send more information their way if they are still contemplating if your product or service is the right fit. Anything you can add to make taking action easier is great!

Before you send your first sales email, download this sales email template

Remember that it should be more about them than it is about you.

Instead of focusing on all that your business can offer them, address their pain points and help them feel seen, heard, and understood. This will help you create a stronger connection, even with a few short sentences.

Your first sales email template is just that: a template! You can continue to experiment with it and test each element to see what performs best. Your first version is only the beginning. The more you test, the better off you’ll be in seeing conversion improvements over time.

And if you want a little extra direction, download our sales email template below to help you get started.

Start testing your sales emails today!

Download template

The post How to Write a Sales Email + Sales Email Template Download appeared first on ConvertKit.

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