Answers to Your Top 5 Questions About Email Marketing

Email marketing is a hugely valuable part of your digital marketing strategy – or it can be if you’re doing it correctly. If you’re not getting results with your email marketing plan, you probably have a ton of questions. But what do you do when your questions about email marketing seem a little basic – or maybe even kind of dumb?

Whether you’re new to digital marketing or an established brand with years of experience, we have all had a moment (or two!) when we have had a potentially embarrassing question about email marketing. Sometimes the most basic questions can be hard to answer – especially if you’re feeling silly for asking them! So let’s look at those basic questions and get the answers you don’t want to tell anyone you need!

Email Marketing: Should I buy an email list?

I can just buy an email list, right?

The short answer is: no. The long answer is: absolutely not. Here’s why. Buying a list will get you an instant list of people who have no interest in you or your product or service. Sure, you may get a handful of new subscribers, but you’re not getting quality additions to your email list. It just doesn’t work, so there is no point in wasting your time and money on purchasing an email marketing list.

I know that sounds pretty negative, but there is hope – you can build your email marketing list organically! It takes time and effort, but you’ll fill your email list with people who want to be there. Those qualified email subscribers are your target audience – the very people who will eventually buy from you. Those are your people.

Email marketing: Illustration of a newsletter signup form

So how do I build an organic email list?

Easy! Give your ideal client something they want. Before they purchase from you, your ideal client wants one thing: information. So give them something that will solve a problem that they are having or teach them something new. You can share a downloadable file, a guide, a template, or some other information that solves a problem they are likely having. Offer that download in exchange for their email address. They get a solution to their issue, and you get a qualified lead who will be more likely to read your emails and, eventually, make a purchase. Win/win!

Email marketing illustration of a man running from flying envelopes

How often do I send emails?

Now that you are on your way to building your email list, you need to send out engaging content. But how often should you send them? Here’s the answer: it depends. You may need to send out a weekly email. Or you might need to send out a monthly email. It depends on your industry, the level of participation your engaged users are interested in, and how your emails perform. 

You’ll be able to monitor these aspects of your email marketing plan by checking out your metrics. You can test different types of emails, the frequency with which you send those emails, and which topics interest your clients. When you nail that down, you’ll know how often your clients want to hear from you and what they want to know!

If your metrics aren’t there yet or you want to try something new, you can perform A/B testing. It’s not nearly as complex as it sounds. You start with two emails that are the same except for one thing. For example, subject lines are often tested this way. Segment a small portion of your active email list and send out Version A and Version B.  See which one performs better, then send that out to everyone else. 

Screenshot showing an inbox focused on the spam folder

My emails are getting sent to spam! Why?

Ugh – the dreaded Spam Folder! There are a couple of reasons why your emails are landing in spam.

First, check to ensure you’re using a sender email that people can identify. Think of this like caller ID. If someone can identify who is calling, they’re more likely to pick up. If the number isn’t easily identifiable, that call goes to voicemail. It’s the same for your emails. If the sender’s email is identifiable as your business, your target clients are more likely to receive them – because if they don’t recognize the email address, they’re going to mark it as spam!

Next, watch out for spam triggers. Email servers will block suspicious emails and “bounce” those emails. Your bounce rate in your metrics will tell you how many of your emails are undeliverable and are bounced back to you. Email servers look for things like:

  • ALL CAPS
  • Lots of exclamation points!!!!!!!
  • Or too many emojis 🥳 😎💃🏻🔥🙌🏻🤩    (Some emojis are OK, be careful not to overuse them.)

Then, make sure you’re using a good image-to-text ratio. You want to have plenty of text and a few images. Sending one image with little or no text is a surefire way to trigger spam alerts and get your email blocked.

And finally, make sure you’re using a good email list. Offering a freebie helps you build an organic email list of people who want your content. If you’re using all organic contacts and still seeing emails being sent to spam, you can segment your email list to exclude the users who don’t open your emails. 

Illustration of an email system

What do I do if my email list starts unsubscribing?

If you have been sending out emails and your email marketing list remains steady but suddenly see an increase in unsubscribes, it’s time to review your metrics and see what is and isn’t working. You cannot, and should not, prevent people from unsubscribing to your email marketing list. But there are things to do to prevent readers from hitting the unsubscribe button.

  • Tailor your content to meet the interests of your readers. Review your email metrics to see which topics were well-received, and write more like those. There is no shame in jazzing up older, well-performing content and sending that out.
  • Experiment with email frequency testing. Are you sending too many emails? Too few? You can adjust and try different frequencies to see what your email readers like best. You can also offer a customizable option at the bottom of your email and on your unsubscribe page so that your readers can control how many emails they receive from you. Then you can segment your recipients accordingly and send them the emails they prefer.
  • Some email subscribers just cannot be saved. That’s OK, too. But in the unsubscribe process, let them know where else they can find you – social media accounts are a great way to stay in touch with your ideal clients.

So there you have it. Some of the most basic questions you may have had about email marketing are now answered. You have the knowledge you need to launch (or fix) your email marketing strategy and take your business to the next level. 

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