Cockrum’s Free Marketing Email Tips
In his book, Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business Online and Off, Jim Cockrum offers 102 chapters of marketing tips. The tips range in topics from building a reputation to leveraging the popularity of Ebay. For a complete summary of the book, read Part I, Part II and Part III on this blog. One other post is also related to the book and that’s Free Marketing Tools and Resources. Since it is clear from reading the book that the author’s forte is email marketing, this post is dedicating to summarizing the major part of the book that describes email marketing, which is pages 163 – 191. That includes the Part 13 introduction and Chapters 50 – 55. Here are Cockrum’s Free Marketing Email Tips:
The author believes that while other tasks can be outsourced to freelancers and crowd-sourced, email marketing is one task that business owners should do on their own. One of the strongest assets a business can have is a large and growing list of loyal followers. Email marketing costs about “$100” per month and it’s a process that can be set up and automated. Growing your list involves having the customer opt-in, which means that you’re not spamming anyone. They’ve asked to receive your content.
Here are some basic features of an email management program:
- Automatically accept new subscribers
- Automatically greet new subscribers with specific content they’ve requested
- The captured lead automatically receives further email, each delivered in a preset order, with preset gaps between the messages.
- Send a general message to some or all subscribers within one or multiple lists.
The author suggests Aweber.com as an email management tool which has free tips and resources listed on their website. Mirex Marketing also offers Mail Chimp as an alternative, which the author mentions. He also mentions getresponse.com, icontact.com and constantcontact.com.
Email Marketing Terms:
Subscriber – the one that has entered his or her name and email in the capture form and opted in to receiving your email. This can be a prospect or previous customer.
Email List – A list of your subscribers and a way to separate subscribers. You can create multiple lists in your email management program and separate your subscribers into categories. For instance, you may have a list of prospects and a list of previous customers and they may each receive different emails because one list receives a group of preset emails and the other list receives a different group of preset emails.
Spam – Any email that anyone receives and doesn’t want. The author distinguishes between “serious spam” and “not-so-serious spam”.
“Serious spam” – This a term that the author uses to describe email that is sent to a purchased list (which is not as targeted as growing your own list organically) or when emailing to people who have not opted in to receiving emails (which is illegal). There are software programs online that scan the internet to collect email addresses (called scrapping). The email addresses for people on these lists have not opted in.
“Not-so-serious spam” – Any email subscriber list is not 100% full of people who continue to want your emails, especially when the list reaches numbers as high as 10,000 subscribers. The entire list is comprised of people who have opted in, but some may get to the point where they want to opt-out. There must always be an opt-out option on every email. The author estimates that as long as the “not-so-serious” spam is only about 0.01% of your subscriber list, then you won’t have significant trouble with spam complaints.
Follow-up sequence – An automated preset sequence of emails sent to subscribers. These can be delivered over time. This allows you to build trust slowly over multiple contacts. (This is also called a drip campaign, although the author doesn’t use that term until later)
Broadcast – When you send a general email to one of your lists or to all your email subscribers. This is a unique message that you have written for one time and is not part of the automated process. It is usually time-sensitive.
Opt-in – Subscribers have “opted-in” when they enter their name and email in a form on your website. Double opt-ins are suggested to avoid spam. This means the subscriber must enter their name and email address in the form (first opt-in) and then confirm through a link in their email that they did indeed want to subscribe (second opt-in). This not only reduces “serious spam” to near zero, it also ensures that your email list has legitimate email addresses (which can also be secured by requiring the subscriber to enter their email twice on the sign up form).
Opt-out – Subscribers who have been on your list for a while may not want to receive your emails any more. There must be a clickable link on every email which allows them to indicate that they want to be removed from the list. This option is required by federal law. This is inserted automatically by the email management services listed above (aweber, mail chimp, etc.)
Web Form – This is a form on your website that captures the lead’s information and allows them to opt-in. It should require their name and email address, it’s better if they have to enter the email address twice.
Tips and Info from Chapter 51:
Keep it short and sweet
HTML is pretty, but don’t use it. The author suggests that HTML should not be used in email marketing because these emails are more likely to get filtered as spam and he wants the reader to forget that it’s being sent to thousands of other people. He wants it to look like a plain text email that the subscriber might receive from a friend or relative. However, you can include a link to a fancy HTML website.
Establish a series of short, powerful, informational messages that can be sent out in a series over time. There should be a gap of a few days in between each message. The messages should be 70-80% informational and only 20-30% sales oriented. The first few messages should have no selling at all and give away stuff to build the customer’s trust. Ask customers to interact by leaving their comments or opinions on a blog post. Ask open-ended questions. Try to make the messages blend in with the rest of the messages in the prospect’s inbox. Talk to the individual, not the list.
If you ever meet your readers in person, they may start talking to about an article they just read in their email, but it was one that you wrote a long time ago and delivered automatically to them. Email essentially duplicates yourself this way.
Automated email takes time for the set-up, then it runs on autopilot. This is a lot of work up front that gets stretched out (potentially over years). Dedicate a couple days to writing 20 emails on the most useful and relevant topics that your prospects are looking for. Don’t write a full article on these topics. Just write a description on how they can get more information. You may write the full article on your blog and then refer them there. Again, keep it short and sweet. Create quality content.
If you aren’t sure what to write about, then conduct a survey.
Marketing often requires multiple points of contact, much of which can be accomplished through automated email.
Basic Tools You’ll Need for Automated Email:
An email management service like Aweber.com. They host all your email and send email from their servers. Your IP address is not involved, you’re not storing anything on your own computer.
Squeeze pages and opt-in forms. A squeeze page is a one-page website with the opt-in (contact capture) form whose sole purpose is to get the customer to subscribe.
Established automation rules inside your account. Create lists as described above and have subscribers convert from one list to another. The start as prospects, then they become customers, then they become VIP customers. You can tie your website checkout system to your email management service and automatically move any prospect on the recent customer list when they make a purchase.
Follow-up messages. Create a drip campaign or a series of preset messages that arrive sequentially.
Your ability to establish trust and rapport with your audience over time. Don’t fire out a series of sales pitches constantly.
Unique tips and info from Chapter 53:
The word “unique” in the subheading means its something new from that chapter, not repeated in other chapters. The author repeats a lot of tips.
You will get personal messages from your subscribers. Respond personally and quickly. Write with a smile and let them know you value them. Never let a week or two go by without interacting with your people in some way.
Find a good partner that already has a large email list and work with them in creative ways to build your list quickly. Give their subscribers offers that make both of you look good. (Called Joint Ventures or JVs). You could write a special report for their subscribers and add their name as a co-author or interview them as an expert.
Submit quality videos to popular video hosting sites and drive that traffic towards subscribing by including an invitation to join your email list within the video itself and within the description of the video.
Maintain an active blog and swap blog articles with other bloggers.
Create simple information products for wide distribution online. Offer free info products.
Leverage the popularity of Ebay to drive traffic to your site and gain subscribers. You can have an “about me” page on ebay and when you list an email address it should be an email address with your domain name.
Search Engine Optimization will help drive traffic to your site so you can capture more subscribers.
When you have press exposure or time to give an elevator speech and you’re allowed to mention a website, mention the address to your squeeze page to capture leads.
Ask your email subscribers to forward your messages to friends, relatives, colleagues and associates. Have a message for the people that it gets forwarded to: “If someone forwarded this email to you, please a moment to visit [my squeeze page where I can capture your information too].
Invite every buying customer to join your email list. Have a sign hung near your register, print an invitation at the bottom of your receipt, or train your staff to invite customers to join.
When you join forums and other websites with accounts, use your squeeze page address as your user name, only spell out the (.) as “dot”. For example mirexmarketingdotcom.
Statistically you can expect a 50:1 ROI ratio for email marketing. This means that every dollar spent on email marketing earns you $50.
Put indicators in the newsletter that tell your readers that the content is current. (This is the opposite advice as the emails that go in the follow-up sequence and drip campaigns). The newsletter is a one-time relevant snapshot of current issues and events.
You don’t have to be a writer. The newsletter can consist of a short message and a link directing your readers to your latest video on YouTube. Or you can give them an audio recording.
The newsletter does not have to look fancy. Again, the author advises not to use HTML. You can direct readers through a link to a web-hosted newsletter that looks fancy.
Survey your readers for ideas on what to base your content on and what to write about.
Keep it short. If you want them to read a full article or multiple articles, then link to those articles in the email, don’t include them in the email. You can host the articles on your blog. Spam filters block long emails more than short ones.
Try not to go more than 2 weeks or so in between contacts with your email list.
There is no such thing as 100% delivery, 100% open rates, 100% happy subscribers or 100% “spam accusation” freedom. Work only with your organically-grown list. Grow thicker skin if it bothers you. This is all part of the game.
Your ratio of content-to-sales pitch should be about 80/20 (80% quality content, 20% sales pitch or less). Keep the content relevant. Don’t go into personal matters, stay on topic.
You can never be over-segmented with your lists. Your lists can invite people to join other lists/topics if they’re interested.
If you skip a newsletter, few will complain or even notice. It’s not something to stress about.
If the newsletter isn’t making you money or building customer loyalty that leads to increased sales, then it’s a waste of time.
As you add new newsletters, make sure you archive them online somewhere so they can be captured by search engines.
Tips and Info from Chapter 55:
Never buy email addresses or send email to a list that someone gives you. If you send illegal emails to lists you didn’t create then your website could get banned and your reputation tarnished.
It is much better to build your own list organically.
To build your list quickly you can also use traditional marketing and advertising to promote your newsletter. A common method is using a direct mail postcard which leads people to a contact capture page where they opt-in.
When I read these chapters, I had the same impression as the rest of the book. I’d wished the information was a little more organized and gave better step-by-step instructions. Yet, after sifting through the information there are a lot of marketing gems to be found. Also, the author mentions that he doesn’t get too technical because when you use an email management service like Aweber, the service will have educational and instructional materials that you can use, which may have the specific details that you need. Another resource from the author that may also be more helpful is www.SilentSalesMachine.com, which has been the author’s staple product for years. He also has a List Building Class which may also be helpful.
Some of the information may be out of date. Email services and applications are now called Email Service Providers (ESP) and they provide features that let you create emails that are both visually appealing and mobile-friendly.