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Guest post by Rachel Allen of BoltfromtheBlueCopywriting.com

Email marketing is one of those pillars of the online small biz space. After all, “the money is in the list!!” right? But look past the people who are always banging on about how they have 300 zillion people on their list and get open rates of 164% (and they can teach you how to get that too for just three payments of $1499)! You’ll see the real story: the many small business owners that just don’t get results from it.

A lot of people will tell you that it’s because email marketing is a spent force.

If your email marketing efforts have been struggling, it may not be your product - it may just be how you're approaching your emails! Rachel shows you the best practices for creating an email campaign that actually WORKS! Read her article and find out how to improve your own email marketing.

It’s true that email marketing isn’t working the same way that it did a few years ago. People have gotten incredibly savvy to the kind of commonly taught manipulative churn tactics as “the right way” to do email marketing.

But writing off email marketing just because the tactics that worked before aren’t working anymore is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It can still be incredibly powerful as long as you approach it with the right mindset and tactics.

How to Create an Email Campaign that Actually Works

It starts with realizing that access to your list’s brain space is a privilege — every single time.

When you’re talking to someone in real life, you have a natural sense of how the conversation is flowing between the two of you. You would never stand and just talk at someone because that would be obnoxious. Similarly, you wouldn’t only talk about yourself, because again, obnoxious. You have respect for the person you’re talking to, built on your empathy for them. You know what it’s like when you’re stuck in a conversation with a bore, so you have conversations, not lectures.

OK, but nobody from your email list is taking to you … so it’s not a genuine conversation, is it?

It’s not quite the same, but it doesn’t have to be. The point here is the foundation of respect and empathy. If you start off creating your emails with a real sense that there are real life, 3D, in living color people on the other end — and not just subscribers or segments — you’ll already be set up to write in a way that’s more human, and more appealing.

Now let’s talk tactics.

Crafting Your Effective Email Campaign

Once you have that foundation of empathy and respect in place, you can start to think about your strategy for creating and executing the campaign. The first thing to do is to decide on your goal for the campaign. It sounds stupidly obvious, but so many people just send out email campaigns without truly thinking about what they want the campaign to do for their business, and then feel like it’s failed when it doesn’t meet vague expectations.

So start out by deciding what you want people to do as a result of your email campaign.

The result needs to be something that you can track, because again, how else are you going to know if it’s working or not? But other than that, your goal can be pretty much anything you want. You usually hear about email campaigns being used to sell something, which you can totally do, but you can also use them to increase engagement, grow a social media following, get referrals, etc.

The next thing most people do is sit down and write the first email — but this isn’t the best way to go about it. You should work backward instead.

The best email campaigns are coherent, with each piece working together to move your audience closer to whatever it is you want them to do. So instead of drafting a campaign from scratch and then seeing if the pieces fit, look at your goal and then reverse engineer your email sequence.

Think about where your target market is now, and what they need before they’re ready to say yes to your call to action. Your target market could require more information about you, your business, or your product/service. It could be a deeper relationship with your business. It could be a mindset shift: maybe what you’re trying to sell is so far out of your customer’s realm of possibilities right now that you have to help them see it as an option before you can ever start selling it to them.

Once you know what you need to give your customers so that they’ll be able to respond to your call to action, look at what you already have created.

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. If you’ve created a product or service around something, then chances are you’ve talked about it before. Look over your blog posts, any other materials you’ve created, and any sections you can pull from the product itself if you have something like a course. Take that content and modify it, so that it helps you get your audience closer to yes.

Finally, think about that first email.

This concept is counterintuitive for many people. But now that you have a clear goal, you know where your readers are, where you’re going to be taking them, and how you’re going to bridge that gap, you can think about the best way to get them started with this process. All that empathy and thought you’ve put into the journey your readers are going to take with you should make it pretty easy to figure out what’s going to appeal to them as they’re starting this process.

It could be a scaled down version of the end product or service. It could be something that introduces your audience to the way you work. It could be audio, a mini course, a meditation, a book of art, anything. As long as it’s genuinely useful to them — remember access to their brainspace is a privilege — and matched to where they are at the beginning of the campaign, it’s fair game.

And once you’ve done that, all that’s left is to schedule your emails, schedule a time to check in with your metrics, and let the campaign do its thing!

TL;DR for Creating an Email Campaign that Works

The quick and dirty version:

  • Mindset has to come first. Empathy and respect for the people on the other end will give that magic touch to your emails.
  • Then decide on your goal for your sequence: what you want people to do as a result of the campaign. This has to be something you can track, because otherwise, how will you know whether your campaign is working or not?
  • Reverse engineer your campaign based on that goal. Think about the information, process of learning, mindset shift, and sense of your business they’re going to need before they can say yes to your call to action.

It’s all about making it as easy as possible for them to say yes.

And by going into it like a human, creating a campaign that’s designed to bridge the gap and get them ready to respond, and starting them off with a trigger that meets them just where they are now, that’s just what you’ll be doing.

Now it’s your turn: What was your biggest takeaway from Rachel’s tips? Are you ready to create your effective email campaign? Tell us about it – we’d love to see the final results!

About the Author:

Rachel Allen Guest BloggerRachel Allen is the founder of Bolt from the Blue Copywriting, where she helps small and brave business owners like you shake up the world one industry at a time with devastatingly incisive copy and content that gets right to the heart of who you are and makes your readers’ synapses sparkle.

Like what you see? There’s more at BoltfromtheBlueCopywriting.com, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

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