With strategic email marketing, you can ignite — and retain — customer relationships

By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur. 


In the new episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur, Emily McGuire talked about email marketing. She’s a Customer Evangelist of AWeber, which is an email platform with over 300,000 entrepreneurs and businesses enrolled.


Image from LinkedIn


The Power of Email Marketing

Email marketing sometimes seems like a bit of black art. However, when done right, it can be used to help entrepreneurs get noticed and retain relationships with their customers.

If you’re on a particular social media platform or some other specific way to get in front of your audience, you might not always have the means to follow up with them. But if you have an email list, you have contacts that you own and you can use these to follow up with people in a timely way, frequently, or when you have offers that you want to present to them to get them converted.

You may meet folks through whatever channel is your preferred way. But email lets you stay in contact with those people in their inbox as opposed to being at the whim of social media algorithms.


Image from Unsplash


Defining a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

One of the primary hallmarks of successful email marketing is having relevant engagement with your audience. You have to send them content or offers that they really care about — don’t just make it about you and your business all the time. You need to think about the challenges that your audience has and how can you offer them information and solutions to help them address those.

Then, you also have to be consistent. Don’t just send emails randomly or when you feel like doing it. When you’re starting, doing that may be understandable. But you have to work that muscle out and build it. Emily’s recommendation is to send an email weekly to your audience. Your email doesn’t have to be fancy or super polished. It just has to be relevant and personable.

You should also use automation to send relevant messages to people, according to where they are with your brand. For instance, if somebody signs up for your emails — which is one of their highest-engaged periods; a stage where they’re very interested in you — it’s crucial to send at least one welcome email to introduce yourself and your business and how you help people solve their challenges. To make it even better, you can create a series and drip out your information over the course of three to five emails. This will help you set your relationship with them off on the right foot.


An Entrepreneur-Friendly Tool

How can a non-technical entrepreneur and their team retain a good kind of engagement, consistency, and frequency over time?

One of the things that AWeber has focused on is keeping their tool simple so that people can take advantage of it. They understand that if it’s too complicated or if it takes too much work, then people aren’t going to use it.


Screengrab from AWeber


Like most products in the marketing technology (MarTech) space, AWeber has drag-and-drop builders for your emails. They have lots of email templates and they also provide 24/7 customer support that walks people through how to use their tool and how to create simple landing pages, among others.

People often forget about landing pages but these pages can be a fantastic and simple way to create an email signup form that you can easily share with your audience. Subsequently, you can make it easier for your audience to provide their email address to you. Many people find it hard to build an email list but the key is to make it easy on yourself and easy for your audience to sign up — and a landing page is a great way to do that.


Image from AWeber


AWeber has over 700 integrations. If the website that you have is one of those, you can integrate your website forms into your AWeber account so that people can automatically get imported into it without you having to think about it.

However, you can also opt to create a simple landing page for email signup, which you can share with your social audiences or even with the audience of a podcast where you’re featured. Instead of directing them to go to your homepage and sign up for your emails, you can instruct them to go to a very specific page where the only thing that they’d do is fill out the signup form. Doing this can clarify the action that you want your audience to take.

Relying on a landing page builder tool is also a good option if your web designer is working on other higher-priority projects for your site or if you’re not just that comfortable with doing anything on your site.

What AWeber offers is a low-risk, easy-to-do, flexible alternative. You have the ability to make changes depending on whatever campaign you’re trying to run. You can also have a custom domain name specifically for the landing pages you built via their tool. This way, your page will be branded and it will still look like it’s your business, helping you retain that trust factor from your audience.

Today, as over half of the digital traffic is from mobile devices, AWeber also made sure that everything they offer — from email templates and drag-and-drop builders to landing pages and signup forms — are mobile responsive.


Image from AWeber


Ideas for Effective Lead Magnets

Emily has had experience generating over $80 million worth of revenue through email marketing. For her, when it comes to lead magnets, it’s essentially about offering something for free in exchange for an email address. That encompasses a number of things and it depends on your business and what makes sense for you.

Keep in mind that it should provide value to your ideal customers. If you’re an e-commerce business, your lead magnet could be a discount on their first order. Quizzes and assessments — where you’re helping somebody figure out a specific challenge or the next step that they need to take — are also great lead magnets. If you’re looking for a quiz-making tool, Typeform is an example and you can also integrate it with AWeber.

You can also create guides on how to solve a specific challenge, worksheets to help people work out any thoughts or strategies that they might be dealing with, and checklists.

All these are powerful lead magnets and the main thing that they have is that they’re designed to solve a common challenge for your ideal customer — not just any customer, but the customer that you’re really trying to speak to. And you can identify such challenges and concerns on the most frequently asked questions. What are people asking you the most about? What do you hear people talk about in your industry the most? What challenges are they having? Can you provide a solution to that?


On Embedding Video in an Email Campaign

Across any digital channel, video is powerful. The engagement that video generates is through the roof. However, the challenge with video and email is that you cannot play a video in an email.

Though Emily knows one tool that lets you do that, it’s rather very expensive. You may try to incorporate into your email a thumbnail of your video or a GIF and embed a link that will direct your audience to the actual video. However, the problem with this is that it takes your potential customers away from where you actually want them to end up (for instance, your website, where they can view more information, schedule a call, or buy your product).

What Emily recommends if you plan on sending a video to your email list is to create a landing page for that and embed your video on that page along with other relevant content — like how can people contact you, schedule a call with you, or view your pricing. Simply put, you have to include any information that will help guide people down your sales funnel.

Through AWeber, you can also embed your blog’s RSS feed into the landing page that you built to help you dynamically populate your most recent blog post. You can also embed social feeds. Additionally, you can integrate PayPal or Stripe to collect payments. With that, you’re essentially putting a little shopping cart on your landing page, allowing your ideal customer to avail of recurring subscriptions, make one-time payments, or choose payment plans.

Apart from that payment integration, AWeber can also be integrated separately with e-commerce players such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. They also take pride in being the preferred email marketing platform for Etsy. With their deep integration with them, you can automatically pull your Etsy customers into your AWeber account — you don’t have to download any spreadsheets and re-upload them separately.


Image from AWeber


Some of AWeber’s Customers

AWeber has different kinds of clients and for Emily, it’s fascinating to see what their customers are doing in their entrepreneurship journey.

For instance, they have a photographer who came to AWeber. He was able to grow his list by over 300% using the tools that they have, such as the landing page feature and the signup forms. They also have users who are bloggers and content creators who have dramatically increased their list size not just by leveraging their tools but also by harnessing the information they provide on their blog content (e.g. how to grow your list, how to do email marketing effectively).

AWeber is one of the oldest email service providers out there and, over the years, they were able to produce a lot of educational content when it comes to this marketing technique.


Getting AWeber Noticed

AWeber is now 25 years old and they have more than 300,000 customers around the world. And they know that as the world evolves and things change, so does public relations (PR). To promote their tool, they always try to get in front of their ideal customers and talk to them about who they are, what they value, and how they help.

One of the ways they do that is by joining podcast interviews. Emily personally loves the format because it’s an organic kind of conversation; it doesn’t feel forced. And as a human being trying to help other human beings in their entrepreneurship journey, focusing on human connections through podcasts, for example, is key.

They also participate in speaking engagements and creator events where they get to talk to people face-to-face — which remains the best way to let others learn how AWeber is helping people and how they can do better by enlisting their company’s help.


The Future of Email Marketing


Image from Unsplash

During the pandemic, the world has rapidly become more digital and Emily saw a huge uptick in the adoption of email marketing.

In the future, the email will continually be heavily relied on. But the challenge is articulating and measuring its value. Because as the digital world expands, the emergence of many digital touchpoints will go on and they will be diversified even more. Tracking how people are getting converted and becoming customers — and attributing it to the appropriate channel — is going to be the main challenge and the evolution of email marketing.

To learn more about Emily McGuire, you can find her on LinkedIn where she shares email marketing insights. To know more about AWeber and create a free account, visit their website at www.aweber.com. You can avail of their free 30-day Pro trial for podcast listeners at go.aweber.com/podcast.


This article is based on a transcript from my podcast The UnNoticed Entrepreneur, you can listen here.

Cover image by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels


Emily McGuire
Emily McGuire
Customer evangelist