Why email marketing should be at the top of your agenda

Did you know that email marketing is one of the most effective, if not the most effective way of delivering new sales for your agency?  So, if you don’t have a list, this should be the top of your marketing priorities this year.

Email marketing has been around for a while, it’s not some trendy marketing fad that will come and go.  And it promises to continue growing even further in the future. If you happen not to have tapped into its wealth of possibilities already, then let me give you a few reasons why you should do so.

Why Should You Invest In Email Marketing

Setting up the systems and running your own email marketing campaign certainly is an investment, so should you bother?

Well, let’s have a look at a few key stats provided by Campaign Monitor and HubSpot:

  • The ROI of email marketing for every $1 spent was $44 in 2016. That’s a 4,400% return on investment!
  •  Automated emails generated 320% more revenue than non-automated emails in 2016.
  •  Email marketing delivered 174% more conversions than social media marketing in 2016.
  •  73% of millennials prefer email for communications with business.
  •  Over 50% of respondents check their personal emails over 10 times a day.
  •  99% of consumers check their email at least once a day.

  • You can find plenty of other fascinating stats like this, but the points listed above should give you a solid idea of why email marketing is worth considering as a key sales & marketing strategy in 2020.

    With that said, doesn’t all this sound too good to be true?

    The Challenges Of Email Marketing

    The catch with all the figures above is that such results do not come overnight. A successful email marketing campaign requires financial investment, plenty of time, and a clear plan, not to mention that you have to deal with a couple of challenges.

    Firstly you need to choose an email marketing platform to work with. While not the most difficult step, choosing the right automation platform is key to having a successful email marketing campaign since it alleviates many of its challenges.  If you are not clear about what Email automation is you can learn more here from this excellent guide from Campaign Monitor.

    Then you also need to be mindful of privacy protection laws like the GDPR in the EU or the CAN-SPAM in the US. Such legal acts actually require that email marketing be permission-based – that is, your subscribers need to grant you explicit permission for sending emails.

    Thirdly, you have to actually build a list of emails to send promotional emails to. You can find online sellers offering email lists for what seems like a good price, but these often come from questionable sources and with very low return on investment/engagement since they didn’t sign up to your list (so they will feel they are being spammed). So I don’t recommend this approach but instead, recognise that the best email list is the email list that you’ve built with your own efforts.

    A crucial point that many beginner email marketers do not realise is that you cannot successfully promote your blog, services, products, or whatever you want to promote with just occasional emails. Those business owners who claim that email marketing doesn’t work most likely haven’t had a systematic approach toward their email marketing campaign.

    Consistency Is Key

    So to be successful you need to be consistent and systematic in your approach.  It’s safe to say that the lack of consistency is the main reason why people fail to build a list of engaged and enthused ‘fans’.

    Your email list is one of the most valuable internal assets so you should invest time in building it and engaging with it.

    And the key here is consistency.

    Think of the sales funnel of your email marketing campaign as a KNOW – LIKE – TRUST process. Simply put, you need to create awareness first (KNOW) and then need to get your audience to LIKE and TRUST you before expecting to make a sale. It’s highly unlikely that someone will buy from you immediately upon appearing on your email list and receiving one email!

    You can find plenty of other fascinating stats like this, but the points listed above should give you a solid idea of why email marketing is worth considering as a key sales & marketing strategy in 2020.

    With that said, doesn’t all this sound too good to be true?


    If you send an email once a year or once a quarter, your sales funnel will not work. As I said earlier, the lack of consistency is the main reason why people fail with email marketing. The three-step funnel works only if you regularly send educational, value-add and helpful emails to your subscribers. So you need a content plan and a calendar of value-added content that you know will engage your audience.

    Stuck for ideas for your content?

    Grab your copy of a free 'content twister' to help you develop a range of content for each theme

    Aside from building trust, you should be sending emails regularly because your audience’s needs change over time and only a tiny percentage of your audience will have a need for your service when you mail them.

    Keeping Your 'Sand Timer' Filled

    sand timer

    To highlight this point, let’s say you have 1,000 subscribers. If you send them all 1 email you will be fortunate if 5 of your leads happen to need your services when they receive the email.  So you could expect to eventually win 5 sales. The remaining 995 subscribers will be indifferent to your email because they don’t need your services now (i.e. they are not suffering from the ‘pain’ right now that your services can solve for them). So, what are you doing to stay engaged with the other 995?

    Now because you are building a TARGETED list of your ideal clients in your email list (read all about defining your customer avatars here) the other 995 will undoubtedly need your services in at some point in the future. This means that you have to be in front of your target customers when they have ‘pain’ that you can solve!  I liken this to a ’sand timer’: every time you communicate with your audience you refill the sand timer yet if you haven’t communicated with them before the sand timer runs out then they will forget about you.

    So if you are consistent and send out emails regularly, then you will hit 5 other people, and then 5 more. Furthermore, your older customers who have purchased from you already will become repeat customers and advocates.

    This is what the power and challenge of email marketing are about. Email marketing isn’t merely about winning one-time clients – it is about building trust, nurturing your customers until they are ready to buy from you, and establishing long-term connections that are much more valuable than one-time interactions.

    Delivering Value - Don’t Sell

    Finally, one serious mistake email marketers often make is pushing too hard on sales-oriented emails. Needless to say, your goal IS to make sales, but you will put people off if you make your emails too sales oriented. Think about the person who sends you a connection request on LinkedIn and immediately you have accepted you get a sales email from them. I don’t know about you, but I would never buy from this person and I usually remove them as a connection.  The same applies to email marketing. Nurture first and build trust before trying to sell.

    Instead of pushing your products, tell your customers personal stories and share case studies.  Give them useful tools, tips and approaches. Encourage them to chat and share their challenges with you. Trust me, if you build customer relationships this way, you will be at the top of your subscribers’ mind when they need a solution to their problems.

    What’s The Role Of Email Marketing Platforms In All This?

    It’s a challenge to manage an email list with thousands of people and regularly deliver educational or promotional emails to them.

    This is where email marketing automation platforms come into play.  

    If you are trying to send out your emails manually, your time is going to get sucked up focusing on the wrong things and there is little chance you will do it consistently and regularly! So, here’s where email marketing automation systems are a must.

    As I said, the key to success (and a significant challenge) is consistency and regularity of content.

    If you are trying to send out your emails manually, your time is going to get sucked up focusing on the wrong things and there is little chance you will do it consistently and regularly! So, here’s where email marketing automation systems are a must.

    Below I have shared a few email marketing tool options to consider (with a focus on beginners and SME agencies).

    If you are trying to send out your emails manually, your time is going to get sucked up focusing on the wrong things and there is little chance you will do it consistently and regularly! So, here’s where email marketing automation systems are a must.

    Best Tools For Email Marketing


    Mailer Lite

    MailerLite is pretty a good option if your budget is limited and want a free email marketing tool. There are some limitations, of course, but MailerLite provides an easy way to get started.

    As long as you have fewer than 1,000 subscribers and are sending out fewer than 12,000 emails per month, you are eligible for the Free plan. Above these numbers, the monthly cost of MailerLite goes from $10 to $1,915, depending on the number of contacts and monthly emails (this is the model that most email automation systems use).

    What I like about MailerLite is that you are getting the same features in all paid plans. In most other email marketing tools, you usually have several price tiers with varying features to choose from. With MailerLite, you only have Free and Premium tiers, with the Free plan offering the necessary functionality for automated email sending – most importantly, email automation, interest tagging, and segmentation based on behaviour. 



    Mailchimp is also a great option if you want a free email marketing tool. In fact, Mailchimp allows you to use its services for free if you have up to 2,000 subscribers!  This is the tool you may well have heard of.

    However, Mailchimp segments its services and features into 4 tiers, meaning that you have less flexibility than with MailerLite. With that said, you won’t be paying for features that you don’t really need.

    While Mailchimp and MailerLite offer the same basic services (automation and segmentation), Mailchimp is superior in a few departments. One of these is reporting – aside from raw numbers, Mailchimp provides tools for testing, send time optimisation as well as comparative reports.

    Mailchimp also offers social posting features with scheduling, which may be just right for you if you are also active on social media.


    convertkit-long (1)

    Next comes ConvertKit, which is the tool I use personally. While ConvertKit’s plans aren’t designed for tens of thousands of subs out of the box, it has got a few things for which I absolutely love this service.

    What I really like about ConvertKit is that it doesn’t impose any limits on the number of emails sent per month. This definitely makes this service more flexible. Other service providers typically start to do so at some point – MailerLite, for example, starts limiting monthly mails once you get over 50k subs.

    I also like that the features in all plans are nearly identical, meaning that you won’t miss out if you have only a few subscribers. The only thing that’s not available in some plans is the Free Concierge Migration feature that allows you to migrate for free if you have over 5,000 subs.

    ConvertKit may not be the very best email marketing platform when it comes to reports or the sheer number of features, but it’s been working great for me. I don’t really need the additional features of the other platforms on this list, which is why I give my vote to ConvertKit.  I am not paying for stuff I won’t use. ConvertKit also integrates with most other tools I use (e.g. Teachable).

    What Should Your Email Marketing Sequence Look Like?

    In part 1 of this blog, I emphasised the importance of not just sending sales emails but actually building trust with your audience by sending value-added content. This could include top tips, case studies, how-tos, cheat sheets and many other things. Since each agency is very different, it’s fairly difficult to give specific tips on how you should layout your email strategy.

    With that said, here are 5 points to consider (including how to start your email marketing sequence):

    1.     Welcome Your New Subscriber

    Send out a welcome email to new subscribers. In this email, give the subscriber the promised incentive (if that’s the reason for subscription), let them know how often they should expect emails, tell them more about yourself, and point them in the direction of other useful content (e.g. your blog, podcast or YouTube channel).

    2.     Communicate Regularly

    Then send out bi-monthly emails. Remember that while your goal is to make a sale, you should deliver value with your messages. Provide tips, how-tos, useful information, share stories, encourage replies, and let the subscriber know about important news in your field.

    3.     Be Consistent

    Send out emails consistently. Keep an eye out on stats provided by your email automation tool. If necessary, make corrections to your templates and track how they work out.

    4.     Test to see what works best

    Try A/B testing subject lines to see which ones resonate best with your market (tools like ConvertKit make it easy to do this)

    5.     Ultimately make the sale

    Once you sell something to a subscriber, you may send out a trigger-based email that would provide the customer with specific tips on how to make the best use of their new acquisition.

    Now I dive into a ton more detail in the accompanying eBook connected with this blog, so make sure you grab your FREE copy.

    How Often Should You Mail Your Audience?

    How often should you email your audience? Well, not too often and not too infrequently. Anywhere from once or twice per week to once or twice a month would probably work for you.

    But depending on your business, you may want to get in touch with your subscribers more or less frequently. For example, if someone has purchased from you, you may want to send daily emails to ensure they are using your tool correctly and successfully.

    How often you should send out emails also depends on your ability to generate unique and original content.

    With this in mind, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for a few weeks or even months (I work with a content plan of 9 months).

    You need to create a content calendar. Here are three-steps to help you get started:

    1. Stand in your customer’s shoes and think about 6 challenges they have (that you can solve)
    2. Approach the structure of your content by
      • Stating the problem
      • Agitating the problem to emphasis the pain
      • Presenting your solution (to that pain)
    3. Create your content plan, considering keywords and creating engaging titles (and a/b test where you can)

    In Conclusion

    Planning ahead and having a clear strategy is vital if you want to make email marketing work effectively for you.  It is one of the most cost/time effective ways to engage with your target audience yet there are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid, as outlined across these 2 blog posts.  Select the best tools, have a plan (and plan ahead), send engaging and regular content and you will soon start seeing ROI with an engaged audience ready to buy from you.

    I have captured a ton more information about best practices for email marketing & automation in my brand new guide, so fill in your details below and I will send it right over.

    Strategic Email Marketing

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