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What I’ve Learned From Over 10 Years of Email Marketing

It’s been a long road traveled to reach this point in my internet marketing career. It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows either. I’ve had ups and downs just like many of you have had, but this has all helped me become what I am today.

Yes, I am proud to say that I own a successful internet marketing business that has given me the means to provide for myself.

Over the years I’ve made many mistakes, but from each mistake comes a learning experience. Though I’ve successfully created and launched numerous products, email marketing has been the bread and butter of my online endeavors for quite some time.

Email marketing is the perpetual king of internet marketing, making it the most lucrative route to pursue for any aspiring online entrepreneur. It’s true, the money really is in the list.

It doesn’t take a member of Mensa to set up a highly converting email marketing campaign. Unfortunately, if you’re like most people using email marketing, you’re probably just scratching the surface of what’s possible.

Today I’ve decided to take a little trip down memory lane and uncover some of the incredible tricks I’ve learned from working with email marketing over the many years. I hope you’re ready…

Google Analytics Can Increase Your Opt-in Rate (Huh?)

In the early stages of creating a site, you’ve likely cranked out tons of fresh, insightful content. Of course over time, these pages get buried deep within your archive.

The sad truth is, when first starting out, most marketers simply haven’t built up the following to make the most out of these blog posts when they were originally published. However, over time, these pages may begin to pop up for search queries, ranking for high traffic keywords. Other times, a popular site may link to it.

When this happens, it is awesome as it can drive massive traffic directly to that page!

The only way to find which pages are bringing you the most traffic is to use your analytics. Once you’ve found them, place an opt-in form somewhere on the page. No, I don’t mean at the very bottom or in the sidebar, I mean directly within the post.

The opt-in box should be horizontal and completely non-invasive. It should be seen, but not hinder the reader’s ability to enjoy the post. Here’s an example below…


You’d be surprised at how many additional subscribers you’ll gain from simply adding a box to your top pages.

Customize Your Thank You / Confirmation Pages

There are several pages that a reader will see once they’ve successfully subscribed to your email list. These pages are;

Thank You / Please Confirm – As soon as someone hits the “subscribe” button, they should be taken to a page that asks them to confirm their subscription to your list.

Thank You / Success page – Once someone has confirmed their subscription, they should be taken to this page for additional info of what they can expect from your emails or perhaps to give them a free offer.

Most auto responders allow you to use their pre-installed pages for this process, but often times they look generic and uninviting. The last thing you want is for someone to hit that “subscribe” button only to change their mind.

You want these pages to further engage the reader and ensure them that they made the right decision by subscribing to your list. It should also contain a call to action in order to properly instruct the reader on what to do next.

Personally, I think the use of images helps a great deal in this situation. Images can be inviting and evoke emotions that a few lines of text simply cannot.

For instance, I have a friend that uses this image on his Thank You / Please Confirm page…

almost done

It’s not the best image, and even has a cruddy watermark at the bottom, but works fairly well in ensuring that subscribers move on to the next step in the process instead of exiting out (which more people do than you may think).

The Greatest Email EVER

The best email in your entire auto-response sequence should be the very first email that your subscriber receives. This email needs to absolutely knock the socks off the subscriber from the get-go.

You want them so enthralled with this first email that they could never even imagine unsubscribing. You want that first email to create an experience for the subscriber that has them looking forward to receiving your future correspondence.

In turn, this will build trust with your subscribers and inevitably increase the open rates for all of your auto-responder and broadcast emails.

If your first email fails, then your entire series is doomed.

The most successful first emails that I’ve seen entail providing some sort of quick actionable tip. The tip shouldn’t take much time to implement and should be able to yield immediate results.

Of course, there are probably people out there that may think that there aren’t any quick actionable tips that apply to their niche, but they’d be dead wrong. It doesn’t have to be something groundbreaking; it simply has to provide a small “quick win” for the reader.

This will show the subscriber that reading your emails will add value to their life and hopefully create a habit of opening every email that they receive.

Content That Can be Quickly Scanned

In previous posts, I’ve provided research that conclusively shows that people do NOT actually read content on the web. Instead, they scan, picking up chunks of information and formulating an opinion as they go.

The easier it is for your viewers to scan a page, the better it is for you as they will be more likely to better absorb the information presented to them.

This is especially important for emails.

According to the “U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report: Q4 2013” by e-mail marketing technology provider Movable Ink, 64.75% of people read their emails via a mobile device first.

These devices have a smaller screen, which means that it is absolutely imperative that they aren’t bombarded with a massive wall of text in their emails as it will be much more difficult to read, causing people to click away or potentially unsubscribe.

Reading your emails should be an enjoyable experience and not burdensome on their eyes. Here are a few suggestions to help improve the readability (scannability) of your emails.

Break text up – See how my blog posts are written? I use this type of formatting on purpose. I intentionally break the text up into smaller, easy to read chunks to alleviate the pain of having to deal with a hulking wall of text.

Use Sub headings – If your emails are longer, use sub headings to further break your text up into sections.

Bold / Italics / Underline – Provide visual emphasis to words or sentences by bolding, using italics, or underlining them. This will draw the eye directly to the most important aspects of your emails.

Isolate Links – Don’t simply throw a link in the middle of a paragraph, but instead, keep it separate by allowing the entire sentence or just the link itself to have its own line. This will greatly increase your click through rate because it will stand out.

What Now?

Go forth and do great things my young padawan (Star Wars reference). Do as I have done and increase your earning through email marketing.

Email marketing is just another tool in your arsenal. It may take a while to master, but once you have it down, you will see just how powerful of a tool that it is.

As always, feel free to leave any comments you may have below!

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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