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4 Lessons I’ve Learned From Sending 3 Million Emails

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As an entrepreneur, the heart of your business lies in your email marketing efforts. Sixty-four percent of small businesses use email marketing to reach their customers. Each year this percent will grow because email marketing can turn a fledgling business into the leader of the pack. What you do with those emails matters. Whether you’re a branding coach that helps newly service-based women or you’re like me – an expert content freelancer helping others learn to make a business online –at the end of your email marketing efforts, you’ll hopefully come away with lessons for improvement. I learned these lessons from sending three million emails.

Why Email Matters

There are 36% of small businesses worldwide that aren’t using email marketing tactics to grow their business. With 59% Millennials and 67% Gen Z checking their emails on mobile, this means people of all ages are still reading emails and still using emails to make informed decisions. With a welcome email followed by a targeted funnel, your email marketing plan begins to shape. Learn from my lessons on nurture tactics you can use for your email marketing.

1. It Doesn’t Matter When You Send Your Emails

Send too many emails and ruin the chance of creating brand ambassadors. Send too few emails and your brand won’t exist in the eyes of your subscribers. What I learned from sending my emails every week at 11 am or doing A/B testing on whether to send it at 10 or 11 am., is that it doesn’t matter when you send your emails. Your open and click through rates should be relatively stable any time of the week.

If you’ve spent the time delivering valuable emails, when doesn’t matter. I often take a few weeks off during the summer and winter holidays. This hasn’t hurt my open rates when I email them four weeks later. Why? Because I provide value. This year I offered a 15-page free Business Plan template. After a four week hiatus, I had a 33% open rate and a 4.4% Click-through rate for 24,000 subscribers. If you have any number of subscribers on our list, treat them with value, and they will be excitedly waiting for your next newsletter.

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.” – David Newman

2. There is No Need For “Bro” Marketing Tactics

There could be a “bro” hiding in your business, and you wouldn’t even realize it! Bro marketing is a coined term that describes sleazy, manipulative, over-the-top marketing tactics. It’s the pop-ups everywhere on your website, the every hour email you send, the hyped-up scarcity tactics you use all the time, and more. Many entrepreneurs had a bro hiding and didn’t realize how toxic this strategy is for them and their business. Listen to me: No More Bros! 

Fortunately, I did not use “bro marketing” tactics or any email templates you see online that screamed dude marketing.  While everyone was throwing this down my throat in Facebook groups, I chose a very different approach: The Human Approach. I shared snippets of my life in my email (for example, this past summer there was a wasp that got stuck in between my 1940’s window panes – twice! It was a scary sitch) and then provided action tips that my subscribers could use that day to propel their freelance business even more. I also used simple language (what my subscribers say to me in replies), and I was tactful when it came to promoting my products. The Human Approach helped me build a six-figure business.

3. One Newsletter Can Change Everything

An unexpected business lesson I discovered was on how an email could change everything. There are a few lesson-generated emails that I can remember. The first one was an accendial $1k email. I used the AIDA (attention-interest-desire-action) principle without realizing it, and within hours I earned $1k. This shows how to cultivate a raving fan base that will patiently wait for your emails. 

The second business-changing email was when I opened up and told my subscribers a personal story about my health and stress. Any marketer would advise you not to get too personal, but that email generated hundreds of replies. I started to develop a closer connection with my subscribers simply from letting my guard down and taking it all in. 

The final email that changed my viewpoint on business was a promotional deal outside of my standard promotional campaigns. This email tanked and made me realize that too many deals hurts your overall conversion rates. My subscribers waited for my yearly deal and did not take my out of season deal. With your email, condition your subscribers to wait for your amazing deals. In your entrepreneurial journey, you may find that your emails aren’t connecting or that one line you mentioned in your Instagram Reel generated a hundred new followers. Take these little bits of highs and lows and use them to make better decisions next time around. 

4. Your True Subscribers Only Want You

I thought my subscribers only wanted the latest tips and resources to help them find clients for years. I also thought they didn’t care about my twins or what I do behind the scenes of my business. I was wrong! When I started sharing tidbits about my life, my subscribers suddenly became actual people and not random people on my list. This human element is missing in a lot of business emails I receive. Storytelling is a solid copywriting skill and by tapping into the emotions of your subscribers, you are better able to provide what they need the most. Don’t hide, just share your experiences and watch your conversions improve.

As an entrepreneur, it’s a standard practice to cultivate a strong email readership with raving fans. Traditional marketing tactics aren’t doing it anymore. Don’t waste your time on print media, or trying to serve en masse instead of your core avatar. Instead, focus on what will bring in the most significant ROI for your business. And, that one thing is email marketing. Luckily, 59% of B2B marketers know that email is the most effective revenue generator. What are you waiting for? Develop an email marketing campaign that is filled with intense value and storytelling that will make all your subscribers wait for your next newsletter.

Elna Cain writes insanely useful and valuable guides on content marketing and entrepreneurship. With two businesses under her belt, it's her passion to help people learn how to turn their writing into a profitable business. For more help grab her free Business Plan for freelancers.

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