If you've read Part 1 of this series, Where Do I Start? A Step-by-Step Guide for the True Beginner, I'll assume you've chosen a great email marketing software provider, you have your email program up and running, and you're ready to go beyond sending just a newsletter or broadcast.
So, now that you've made that initial connection with a few people by welcoming them to your email community, you've found yourself feeling inspired. You're comfortable enough with the concept and value of email marketing and you really want to grow your reach. At this point, you've done the basics and are happy with your results but now you're asking, "Where do I go from here?"
Build a follow-up series
For the sake of example, let's say you own a dog grooming business which includes a blog centered around grooming, feeding, and more dog care advice. 2,000 people have signed up to receive your weekly email newsletter. So what can you do to make sure this semi-new audience stays loyal and interested in your content? Construct a follow-up series. A follow-up series is a string of emails, created in advance, set to automatically go out at a specific time. Your "welcome" email may have been first in the series. A coupon for 15% off of any grooming service may come a week later. Using the stockpile of content we talked about in Part 1, set up a few weeks worth of email newsletters to show your customers what you're all about and to provide them with information and deals that'll keep them wanting more.
These automated emails will give you peace of mind as you'll feel more organized and relaxed knowing that your customers are, in a sense, taken care of. You can focus on other aspects of your business knowing that each new person who signs up for your emails is being sent excellent content that you created just for them. With a steady stream of emails filled with pertinent information, they'll see your business for what it is: professional, reliable, and dedicated to its customers. At this point, your audience will begin to trust you more.
Research your way to success
Maintaining the loyalty of your current customers should always be something you're focusing on. But how can you grow? Buying email addresses is never an option. It's not only a cop-out of patience and hard-work, but good email marketing services also won't allow it. The best way to grow once you've already got your foot in the inbox, is to do your research. Track open rates, click-through rates and conversion events from the emails you've already sent. What trends did you see? Think about why. Make some adjustments and send again. This process takes time as there's not always a clear cut reason people are opening certain emails and scrolling past others.
This is the time to experiment. If everyone seems to be opening the emails with pictures of cute puppies attached, give the people what they want and send more along. But survey them along the way to see if you can be even more relevant. Make sure you're thinking with the mind of your consumers. You might feel like doggy dessert recipes are a great addition to your series, but if people aren't opening them or clicking through to your site to get more detail, you'll want to rethink things. If not, you run the risk of your content becoming irrelevant or annoying, hindering the ability of your audience to grow to its maximum potential.
Expand your horizons to expand your reach
You will also want to think about expanding by integrating your email marketing service with other platforms. Being connected to other popular websites and apps that your customers use will make you more relevant to them and will give your email marketing strategy a boost. If you're selling a product through Etsy or using PayPal to charge your customers for educational PDF guides or e-books, integrate your email marketing service with these platforms so that people who purchase from you will automatically be added to a segmented email list. You can use custom email content for different products or product categories so that each person receives content that's interesting to them specifically.
The goal is also to think about your audience in terms of quality, not quantity. You only want to keep your active members. Don't obsess over the size of your audience to measure success. Sure, you'd love to brag about how you secured 7,500 subscribers, but if 2,500 of them are inactive or uninterested in your content, they really won't count in the long run. You don't want your emails to bother people. These uninvolved people will skew the results of your tracking analytics as they'll always end up bringing you down.
Test the waters
You've already spent time building the initial group of people who believe in you enough to want to read the messages you've created. At this point, you'll really just want to explore to figure out what works and what doesn't. You should be well on your way to becoming a true expert. Keep an eye out for the final piece of this series to learn how to stay relevant to your growing audience while becoming a revenue generating machine.