Welcome to yet another post in the How to Make Your Blog Series. We have been through a long journey and are nearing the end of this series. Hopefully so far you have found answer to all your blog making question.
If you have any unanswered queries do not hesitate to write in the comments section below. I love to answer reader queries. That said, lets take this post ahead. In the previous post we had a look at how to Build your Email subscriber List. now that you have a email list in place the next step is sending mailer to your subscribers.
So in this post is dedicated to all about mailers.
Lets get started!
Step 14: Emailing to your Blog Readers
Building subscriber list is a big job, but sending quality mailers over and over again with will interest your audience, get great open rate and bring in sales for you is a much bigger task. Many bloggers find writing the right type of email to be a uphill battle.
- What makes or breaks a email?
- Once the subscriber has provided you his/her cherished email ID, what is he/she expecting?
- How can you make most of the email ID's you have in your subscriber list.
Lets discuss all this and much more in this section where we look at what goes into crafting a good quality email. How you should create different types of mails and most importantly how to create your first ‘Welcome mail'.
How to Write the Perfect Email
So lets get going. First we will look at how to write the perfect Email. Every email is composed of 3 parts namely – subject line, body of email, and signature. It is essential that all these 3 elements are presented in the right manner to ensure that the email is as effective as possible. Lets have a look at few things to keep in mind when crafting these 3 elements for any email.
- Keep it short and to the point. Aim for 50 characters. Unless required keep language simple.
- If you promised a incentive to subscribe, mention that in subject line – Example: “your free Ebook is inside”
- Do A/B testing of Subject Lines
- Design attention grabbing subject lines: Creating urgency. Asking questions. Explaining how the mail can benefit the reader; are some of the common attention grabbing techniques.
- Use numbers to drive home the point more effectively. Example: Increase your sales vs Inside is the secret to Increase your sales by 50%
- Do Not Over Capitalize. Follow Grammar rules.
- Be daring, experiment with different types of subject lines to see what interests your readers most.
- Mix your greetings. Always opening a mail with Dear…. or Hi creates a robotic feeling. Instead mix up things. Use greetings as you would with friends. Make it personal and warm.
- Keep sentences short and to the point. Mails are meant for quick browsing in most cases, so make it quick and focussed. Unless you are sending detailed mailers which carry entire post within themselves.
- Write as you would talk to your reader, keep the flow natural. Develop your own writing style, which will enable readers to identify and develop a connect with you.
- Always read and re-read your emails before sending them out. Spell check, grammar check and quality check.
- When writing your mailer keep in mind to focus on – how can the reader benefit from this mailer. Unless there is something in it for me, I am most likely to ignore or delete it. Keeping this in mind gear your content toward explaining the reader how they can benefit from your mail.
- Its ok to add occasional humor to your mailers. Not the smart, or depreciating type. Just some plain old joke that might bring a smile on your readers face. This relaxes your readers and makes them more receptive to your ideas.
- Nora Shack of Customer.io has done a great post about how to write emails that people actually want to read. Head over here to read it
- Pay attention to your signature at the end of the amiler. Make it personal, this helps in connecting with the reader.
- Adding a pen signature is a good idea to make it look personal and adds a human touch.
- Include your name,signature, address, phone number, office hours, and social media channels. It should carry all information that a reader might need to contact you.
Now that we have the email writing guidelines in place, lets have a look at few pointers about how to design your email. Combining these two elements you will be able to craft emails that will delight your readers.
Email Designing Guidelines
- Include your logo in all mailers.
- Every mailer should have contact information & social media links mentioned
- Unsubscribe button is a must in every mailer, this is healthy practice.
- Standardise the format of your mailer as far as possible, this saves time and helps develop a brand persona. For example: Headline, followed by 1-2 paragraph, followed by 3-4 bullet points, ending with the signature or Headline followed by 2-3 paragraph, ending with signature.
- Experiment and decide on what color combination to use in your mailer. Generally stick to the chosen combination, this will enable readers to develop a familiarity with your mailers. You can either use your logo colors in the mailer, or chose colors that complement it. Mailer should look soothing and clean.
General Mailer Guidelines
- When designing your mailer template, ensure its mobile compatibility. Today 66% of the emails are opened on mobile devices. This makes mobile compatibility a must for the success of your emails.
- Use professional management service like MailChimp, Aweber to manage your subscriber list. This will lend professional look to your mails, ensure more inbox delivery and make your list management hassle free.
- Autoresponder is excellent innovation. If you are using a professional email service provider like Aweber, Mailchimp, Mail mini autoresponder is a function you will get inbuilt in them.
- Learn how to use Autoresponder and set it to send welcome mail to every new subscriber. This will ensure that your new subscribers are welcomed immediately and you do not have to keep a track of every new subscription in real time either.
- Create a mailing schedule and stick to it.
- Apart from your post related mails, add some helpful mails which focus on only benefiting your reader asking nothing in return, for example Stuart Walker of Niche Hacks regularly sends out exclusive emails to subscribers only. These emails contains useful tips for readers, these tips are not published on his website and are available exclusively for readers only. Such mails endear him to his readers. Create your own unique blend of mailers.
Guidelines for Specific Types of Mailers
Mailer can be divided into different types based on their purpose. Each of these different mailer can benefit from some guidelines which are unique to its purpose. Welcome mailer cannot be written in same format as a sales mailer. Doing so decreases the effectiveness of both mailers.
So lets have a look at the few common types of Mailers that you will have to write to your subscribers; and how best to design and format these mailer to increase their effectiveness.
Type 1: Welcome Mail
This the most important mail, since it makes the 1st impression of you and your blog in front of the readers. So you need to work hard on crafting this mail. Once created you can set it on Autoresponder and forget it.
Avg open rate for welcome mail is 50-60%, which is significantly high; so make sure yours is designed perfectly. The better impression it makes on your readers, the more likely readers are to be engaged with your future mails.
- Subject Line: Make subject line impactful. A strong and intriguing subject line will boost the open rate of your welcome mail.
- Personalize: If you have collected the subscriber's first name, use it. Personalize the mailers by adding the subscriber's name in the opening line.
- Thank: Always thank the subscribers for choosing to join your email list.
- Privacy: Reassure The subscriber that their email will not be shared or misused, and their privacy will be taken care of adequately.
- Incentive: If during the signup process you have offered some incentive or freebie, make sure to explain in your welcome mail how subscriber can access that incentive.
- Set Expectations: Give the subscriber a brief outline about what they can expect from you. What type of content will you be mailing about and how frequently they can expect your mails in future.
- Ask Questions: Engage your readers by asking for their problem. If you are genuine in your questioning, you will definitely receive some feedback emails. When you get them be ready to answer them ASAP.
- Whitelisting: In Spite of the fact that the subscriber has himself/herself subscribed to your email list, still your future emails can land in spam box of the subscriber. Add to this the Gmail mail categorization feature, increases the chances of spam box landing tremendously Hence in the welcome mail itself, request your subscriber to whitelist your email ID, in order to avoid spam box in future.
- Social Media: Encourage readers to take their relationship with you ahead, and join and interact with you on other social networks.
Type 2: Sales Email:
Perhaps the most important mailer, from a blogger’s point of view. Effectiveness of this mailer directly impacts your bottomline, hence be very careful when writing them. Always A/B test them with a sample audience before sending it out to your entire subscriber list. Here are a few more sales mailer guidelines.
- Timing: Do not send it at the outset. First few weeks work on creating trust and rapport with your readers. You won't buy a product from a stranger, similarly a reader will not buy anything from you unless he has some amount of trust, and familiarity with you.
- Feature vs Benefit: Never sell product features. Always sell its benefits. How will the product help the reader. If the product can benefit the reader, then it will pique his/her interest. If it can not help the reader in any way, there is no reason for the reader to buy the product or even know more about it.
- End Date: Add a clear end date to the mailer – Offer for next 24 hrs only. This will encourage readers to take action. Open ended sales mailer, allow for procrastination.
- K.I.S.S: Keep the mailer very clean and simple. Focus on the benefits, and include a prominent Call to Action. Without a CTA, sales emailer are doomed to be a failure.
- CTA: Test mailer with multiple link to sales page, vs mailer with a single focussed CTA containing the link. Some readers prefer multiple links, as it reinforces in them the need to click on the link, while some other prefer uninterrupted reading followed by a clear CTA.
- Social Proof: Add social proof wherever possible. People are wired to take their cue from others social interaction. If other popular bloggers have reviewed and liked your product, or if 100 people have already purchased it; mention it. Positive reinforcement will make people more likely to take positive action themselves.
Type 3: Re-Engagement emails:
Time and again subscribers might stop engaging with your mail. Yes they did sign up for your email list themselves, but over a period of time due to myriad reasons like lack of interesting stuff, change of preference, boredom etc. Your readers might stop engaging with your email.
- Engagement can be in terms of opening your mails, making second/third purchase from you, upgrading/ renewing memberships. etc.
- To know more about how to design your own Re-engagement email, read the fantastic post by Sujan Patel at Get Vero blog
Type 4: Blogger outreach mailer:
Blogger Outreach mails are important for all bloggers. If you are currently not using blogger outreach, you ought to do so ASAP. Blogger outreach is an excellent way to gain more traction, exposure and viewers for your blog.
In case you are writing mailer to the A lister bloggers in your niche in effort to reach out to them for guest post, mentions or just to gain some interaction and opinion on your blog you should go through ‘How to write successful emails‘ by Ramsay of Blog Tyrant. He has explained the nuances of blogger outreach mails thoroughly.
8 Tips to Avoid Being Spam Marked
Imagine you have crafted the perfect email following all the popular email writing guidelines. It is formatted and ready to go. You hit the send button and get on with writing your next post. After a while you login to check your email's performance. Numbers look away and suddenly you notice that you have lots of spam complaints in your inbox!
Oops! What just happened.
You had created the perfect mail, and sent it to people who had subscribed to your email list voluntarily. Why are they marking your emails as Spam? Didn't they themselves sign up for your emails. What going on here.
Being spam marked is quite an insult to any email sender. If you have already faced this situation, lets look at what could be the possible causes for this. And in case you are yet to start sending emails to your readers, these points are for you to implement in order to avoid being spam marked. So lets get going.
- Ask Permission – Do permission based email marketing. If you don't ask, people might sign up and later when u mail, they will spam mark. Abide to (CAN-Spam Act)
- Ease of Identifying – Use professional email id, with business name, add logo and branded theme to email. All this helps with identifying sender, and causes fewer spam marking due to unidentified sender
- Be Relevant – Send relevant content to people. Do online survey to know what they want. Track email to know which content gets most clicks. If your blog is very wide, provide option to choose which type of content user would like to receive.
- Unclear Communication – At the onset explain users, what email they will be getting and how often. Assuming readers know, can cause miscommunication and lead to spam marking
- Over Promoting – Follow 80:20 rule. Information:promotion. Too much promotion can easily irl readers causing them to spam mark your mails out of frustration.
- Frequency – Too frequent = spam marking due to nuisance feeling. Too few = spam marking as they have lost interest, forgotten that they had subscribed, assume you don't have much information to give.
- Make Opt out Easy – Difficult opt out will lead to spam report. Those who don't want to stay will find ways to leave. Letting them off easy will make your life easy.
- Do not Cry Wolf – Creating urgency all the time with headlines. like ‘Offer ends today etc…' is irritating to the readers, and can lead to your mails being Spam Marked.
9 Areas on which to Test your Mailers
Mailers just like everything else need to be worked upon, tested, reworked and refined to get the product that will perform best. Lets have a look at the different aspects of mailer that should be tested.
- Text Presentation Style:
- Black vs Colored text
- Font Style
- Font Size
- Link Presentation Style:
- CTA button vs naked url vs designer url
- Color of the link
- Size of the text used in the link
- Rearrange Layout :
- Over time layout might become boring and constant. To shake things up try re-arranging layout, test different layouts for best performer.
- Placement of CTA button- Top vs bottom vs left corner vs right corner vs center placement
- Button design – Round vs square vs rectangle
- Button Color
- Font used in the Button
- Time/Day Test:
- Which time & days perform best for your email. Fine tune this as much as possible, 1 hour ahead or before can make substantial decision to open rate.
- Also test when which type of email performs best when. Promotional email might work better on weekend, and informative might work better on weekdays. So check combination.
- Content Test:
- Which type of content works best for your audience, post vs whitepaper vs video vs case study vs Q&A format.
- Subject Line:
- This requires constant testing, as reader preference might change over time. Keep a track of how different types of subject lines are performing over time.
- Q&A vs Statistics vs Curiosity vs Urgency
- Mail with image vs mail without image
- Image size
- Type of image, photo vs vector vs gif
- Writing Style:
- Wording used 50% off vs buy now at only Rs 500 vs Only for you at Rs 499/-
- Formal vs Casual
- Funny vs Serious
Tracking your mailer for Performance:
Tracking is essential for every aspect of your blog. Mailer need to be tracked too. Tracking enables you to understand how they are performing. This performance report will help you in improving your mailers and thus increasing its effectiveness and your email revenue stream.
Track every email you send for its open rate and click through rate. These are two most important metric which will help you determine what works and what doesn't when sending email to your subscribers.
- Open Rate – is the % of mailers that were opened from amongst all the mails that you sent. This rate is an indicator of how many subscribers are opening your emails. It can be enhanced by adjusting the subject line, timing of mail, previous mail experience, and sender info.
- Click through rate or CTR – as it is known is indicator of % of subscribers who clicked on the link within your mail, from amongst all the subscriber who owned your mails. This is an indicator of how many subscribers are clicking on the links within your mail. This ratio can be improved by improving the mailer content quality & presentation style. Also higher open rate will also help improve the CTR.
Use Google Analytics to keep a track of your most popular content. This is the content that your readers love. Create more of similar content. Gear your emails to tie in with this content. This will help you get better open rate. For example a Travel blog discovers that their most popular content is about budget travel tips. So when they send mailer, they should focus on how their mail is related to ‘budget travelling' or ‘travelling tips'.
6 Tips to get the most from your Mailers:
- Segment your users, and send targeted email to the different segments. You can segment subscribers based on conversion page, type of content they opt to receive, subscriber country location etc.
- Subscribe to competitors email. Follow them and analyse them. Keep track of their source code to know about latest innovation. Check for trends or personalization like ‘recommended post/product' etc, follow up which tools they are using for this.
- Keep reading up new coding and designing skills on Youtube to be a self reliant email marketer.
- Learn Photoshop. It will help you make your emails stand out by including design elements. Your subscribers will prefer a pretty looking mail over a plain one.
- Send one email per subscriber every week. Decide the exact frequency depending on your audience and niche. Some people prefer more frequent mails, while some others prefer more spacing between mails.
- Many popular bloggers use this technique and you can use it to- Create a set of emails around any theme, it can be around your most popular content, or a set of emails intended to guide new readers around your blog, or maybe just a set of welcome emails asking the reader how they are finding your blog and if they have any suggestion or recommendations. The idea for these set of mails is to establish a rapport with new subscribers. By being in regular touch with these subscribers, you will develop familiarity and engagement with the readers.
Also Read Email Marketing Best Practices to Loop Increase Subscribers by Kimsea Sok
Emails are what connect you to your audience. They allow you to take your blog,brand and yourself beyond your blog and into your audience's inbox. Emails offer tremendous potential. If used well email can get you more views, clicks, social share, sales, and revenue. So make sure to utilize the potential of your Subscriber list well.
In next post we will be looking at how to promote your blog and get more traffic to it. Until then Happy Blogging, and do write in below to share your blog making experience.