Make the Most of Your Email List

So far in our series on email marketing we've looked at why freelance service providers need an email list and techniques you can use to grow your email list.

After you've created your email list, and grown a group of subscribers, what next? How can you make the most of the asset you've built?

Here's how you can use your email list to good effect.

Show that You're Trustworthy

Make the most of your email marketing list

An email list is primarily a marketing tool, not a sales tool. In other words, the core purpose of your email list isn't to sell your services. It's to build a trusting relationship with your subscribers. Why? Because people buy from businesses they trust. You need trust before you can make sales.

By signing up for your email list, subscribers have shown a baseline level of trust in your business. Your job is to grow that trust so they feel comfortable purchasing your services.

How can you do that?

  • Send out regular emails. You can email your subscribers daily, weekly or monthly. Any schedule you choose can work, as long as you stick with it. Sending out regular emails shows that you're reliable.
  • Share helpful tips and advice. You can't expect people to buy from you if they've no idea how good you are at what you do. Sharing advice demonstrates your expertise. You don't have to give away all your best tips - just some that will make your subscribers go “wow!” Being helpful in this way makes you stand out from your competitors.
  • Show you understand your subscribers' needs. If your subscribers feel like you "get" them, that builds rapport, which creates trust.
  • Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell. Occasionally using your email list as a sales tool is fine. Send out sales email after sales email, and your risk alienating your subscribers.

Make Your Emails Worth Opening

There's no point building a list then sending out limp and lifeless emails. No one wants yet another boring email to read. Your emails need to buzz with life! Subscribers should be excited to hear from you.

Most people's inboxes are inundated with emails - and many of those emails will be ignored. How can you make your emails stand out from the crowd?

  • Write attention grabbing subject lines. Your subject lines are the only thing standing between your email and your subscribers’ trash can. Writing good subject lines takes practice. Fortunately, most email service providers allow you to see which emails get the best open rate. By tracking this metric, you can discover which types of subject line work best at getting subscribers to read your emails.
  • Write in a friendly, personable style. Have you ever heard that radio is the most personal form of media? Radio listeners feel like they know the presenters of their favorite shows as friends. The same is true of email. It's a personal way of communicating. Make the most of this by writing your emails as if you're writing to a friend.
  • Always be useful. I've covered this already, but it's worth saying twice. Whether your emails offer a helpful piece of advice, a discount, or just make readers smile, there must always be something your readers take away from your emails. Fail to deliver value, and your emails will be ignored.

Get to Know Your Subscribers

Your subscribers are an incredibly valuable asset. They've joined your list because they're interested in you and your services. As such, it's worth listening to what they have to say, and finding out how you can best help them.

Of course you shouldn't bombard your subscribers with questions and surveys. If you do that, they'll quickly start looking for the unsubscribe button. But when you need inspiration on how to develop or position your services, asking for input from potential customers is really helpful.

You can ask:

  • What are you most struggling with right now?
  • How did you decide to sign up to this list?
  • If money wasn't an issue, what would you most like help with in your business?

Questions like this will elicit really helpful feedback you can use to develop your business. If these questions aren’t quite right for you, you can tailor them to fit your services and your customer-base.

There's also a more subtle way you can get to know your customers: observe how they interact with your emails. Pay attention to:

  • The emails that get the most opens.
  • The emails that get the most clicks.

Keeping track of these metrics lets you see what your customers want from your emails - and from your business.

Share (Occasional) Special Deals

In general, it's best to shy away from pushing for sales in your emails. That said, if you're running a promotion that's relevant to your subscribers, then email is a great way of letting them know about it.

You can further boost the power of email marketing by offering discounts that are available only to your subscribers.

Over to You

Do you have an email list? If so, how do you use it? What do you find works best for keeping your subscribers engaged?

Written by David Masters

David Masters helps businesses find their sweet spot of creativity, productivity and making money. He's been earning his bread as an online business writer since 2008.

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