Emailing your customer database is free and it’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to increase the lifetime value of your customers. With no additional ad spend or acquisition costs, even small improvements in your email marketing conversion rates can make a huge difference to your bottom line.
Zak Columber helps online business owners increase their revenue through systematic customer research, well-crafted email copywriting, and authentic storytelling. His clients have routinely seen a 20 to 30 percent increase in sales through implementing his strategies, and some have even seen sales double. One client saw their revenue multiply by 2.66 without spending more money on paid traffic channels or burning out their email list.
Since email is the main sales channel for many online businesses, small improvements here can make a massive impact to your bottom line. I interviewed Columber to find out the five most important strategies online business owners can use immediately.
1. If you can’t send good emails, send nothing
If you send bad emails that don’t connect with your readers, you’re actually hurting your bottom line. Why? Because you’re wasting your customer’s time and energy, which makes them unlikely to buy from you in the future.
As Columber explained, “Imagine you’re meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time. You’re nervous, so you talk too much, and start oversharing your political views, religious beliefs, and other hot topics. As an awkward silence fills the room, you realize that you would have been better off not saying anything at all.”
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He added, “That’s what bad email marketing is like. It turns people off and repels them. You’d have been better off sending nothing at all.” So the question is, how do you send good emails? This brings us to strategy number two.
2. Do your homework
Doing your homework means conducting systematic customer research to make sure you understand your customer’s buying journey. You want to understand the pains that caused them to search for your solution, what goals they had when buying, and how they felt before and after the purchase. You should also seek to learn how their lives were impacted by their purchase, and notice the specific language they use to describe all of this.
“You might think that doing this is a lot of work, and it is,” Columber said. “But it’s an investment in your bottom line that will serve you for years.” To do this, you’ll first want to reach out to your best customers and ask them if they’re willing to chat with you for twenty minutes. Do so until you have at least seven interviews lined up. Why seven? Columber has found that you need at least five solid interviews to create a customer avatar, and inevitably one or two of the calls won’t be as useful as the others.
On the calls you should ask the key questions that will reveal the buying data you need. Key questions include “What’s the number one reason that you bought?” and “How has your life changed for the better since buying our product?”
Compile these interviews into a customer avatar; a fictional profile of your ideal customer. Find the common patterns in your customer buying journey.
3. See your emails as reusable assets, not disposable messages
Since you’ve taken the time to do your customer research, you’ll now find it much easier to craft emails that drive sales. You’ll know exactly the angles, hooks, pain points, and desires to address in your messaging.
And since these emails are based on solid data, you should view them as sales assets, not “one and done” messages. As Columber said, “if you create a really amazing evergreen email sequence, you can set that up once and let it run for years.”
But what about launches? Columber explained, “If you send the same ten email launch sequence to your list every month, you’re going to burn that list out. But if you only launch a certain product a few times a year, you could feasibly use the same emails every time.” Finally, for broadcast emails, Columber said, “At the end of each month, take the 20 percent of your broadcasts that convert the best and add them to the end of your evergreen sequence. Now, you’re getting tonnes of use from proven emails that will serve your business forever.”
4. Use a “hot list” during your launches and evergreen sequences
“This strategy will earn you more revenue from every promotion you do, without burning out your list,” Columber said. It works like this: whenever you do a launch, add a tag to every subscriber that clicks the link to your sales page. Then, in the second half of the launch, send extra emails to these subscribers and these subscribers only.
Why? Because these people are interested. They’re hot leads. They want to hear more. And as long as you know they’re interested, the more marketing messages you send, the better.
For example, let’s say you’re doing a launch for a product that you’re making available for a week. It opens on Wednesday and closes the next Wednesday at midnight. On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, you can send a second email in the afternoon to your hot list, while sending your normal, list-wide sales messages out in the morning.
These emails should tackle smaller angles that you don’t have space to address in your normal marketing. For example, your money back guarantee policy, any bonuses to your offer that might get lost on a sales page, or a short email asking if your audience have any questions about your offer. Write between 100 and 300 compelling words to get someone over the line.
5. Create urgency through your marketing
This strategy is simple, but as Columber said, “it’s more important than anything else on this list, with the exception of doing your homework.” To create urgency means that for every marketing campaign you send, you need to answer the question “Why should I buy your offer now, instead of later?” with something compelling.
If you don’t have a good answer to this question, your business is going to earn a lot less revenue than it could. The easiest way to create urgency is through doing a launch model where doors close to your offer on a certain date. Then you close the doors for at least a month or two. “It’s simple, it’s easy to understand, and it works.” Columber explained. “They either have to buy now or miss out.”
Another proven strategy involves offering a time-sensitive discount. Columber said, “It’s simple and effective. But you run the risk of creating a situation where people simply wait to buy until they see a discount.” Finally, a more advanced strategy involves offering special bonuses when customers buy before a certain cutoff time. Columber stated, “This is the hardest strategy to execute well, because you have to offer a bonus that people care about. I wouldn’t recommend making this the main strategy. Instead, use this as an add-on to one of the first two options.”
By doing your customer research, you can send excellent emails that drive both immediate and long-term revenue. By seeing your email marketing as an investment, you can create sales assets that will serve your business for years. By making sure you have urgency in your offers, you’ll ensure that customers buy, and you can use a hot list strategy to increase your sales without burning your list.