By Jim Daniels
Of all the ways to get website traffic and make money online, nothing tops email marketing. Of course, email marketing in itself means many things to many marketers. After all, it can take on quite a wide variety of formats.
\Today I'll cover the various forms of email marketing available to online businesses and reveal what works and what doesn't. Here's what we'll discuss...
- Unsolicited bulk email marketing
- Opt-in email list rental
- Email newsletter classified and sponsorship advertising
- Email newsletter solo mailings (text and html)
- Email newsletter network advertising
- Opt-in "series" email marketing
1. Unsolicited bulk email marketing
Let's jump right into that dangerous endeavor referred to as UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email). Most of you know my take on this. Sure, you can get some website traffic using bulk email. (Though a response rate close to the 10% rate some companies promise is not likely - .01% is more likely.) You can tackle the rigors of unsolicited bulk email marketing yourself (you'll need lots of ISP connections because they'll be canceled quickly!) or hire a company to do the dirty work for you.
But the fact is, since unsolicited bulk email angers a huge percentage of recipients, your risks can be rather high. Your domain will end up being blocked by many ISPs and you could even face some legal battles. In my humble opinion, unsolicited bulk email is not worth the trouble. Read on and you'll find that bulk email marketing isn't really necessary either.
2. Opt-in email list rental
A much "cleaner" version of bulk email marketing is "opt-in email list rental." There are plenty of companies on the web that will rent you email addresses that have opted in to receive commercial email. Actually, in most cases they are not really renting the addresses; that is, you never see the addresses. Instead, they charge you a per email address fee for mailing your message to a list under their management. But does it work...?
As long the recipients are not being paid to read the messages and they are genuinely interested in the offers they signed up to receive, this strategy can be profitable. The problem is that in most cases you'll pay from ten to twenty cents per address and mailing to a list large enough to get great results can get quite expensive. But if your budget can handle it, you can generate some great targeted traffic. I've tried a few list rentals myself, though not recently. The best was from the site postmasterdirect.com which has millions of addresses in a huge variety of categories under management.
3. Email newsletter classified and sponsorship advertising
Now let's jump to a more reasonably priced email marketing solution... "email newsletter classified and sponsorship advertising". In my opinion this one still gives the best bang for the buck, especially for small businesses with modest advertising budgets.
Some people think I recommend ezine advertising because I have an ezine and I'm trying to sell my own ad space. On the contrary, I've been trying NOT to sell my ad space for the last few years. That's why my own rates are fairly high! I can run my own offers or affiliate offers and make much more than I can selling the ad space. Many other ezine editors are finding the same thing. While this has resulted in rising ezine ad costs over the last few years, one fact remains... ezine advertising is still one of the most effective ways to get targeted traffic -- cheap.
Ezine advertising works best when you locate ezines that your target market actually look forward to reading. And that's not difficult to do... Just visit an ezine directory and search for ezines in your niche market. Subscribe to a bunch of free ezines and read them as they arrive. Look for larger circulation ezines that have a good following. If you like the content in any particular ezine, then hundreds or thousands of other readers probably do too. Place a classified ad and if your site and offer are up to snuff, you'll make a profit nearly every time. If you can swing a top sponsorship ad, that works about five times better than a regular classified ad! Here are two solid ezine directories you can scour and locate lots of ezines that target your particular niche...
Direct Email List Source
4. Email newsletter solo mailings (text and html)
An even better way to utilize email newsletters to drive traffic and sales is to purchase "email newsletter solo mailings." I've been able to locate both text and html solo mailing offers lately and some ezine publishers really underprice these. (especially compared to list rental costs.) I've found html email to be especially effective, returning 4-5 times the cost of the ad in most cases. Once again, the list should be tightly targeted to your niche audience for best results. Use the same directories above to locate ezines that reach your best prospects and you'll undoubtedly find some that offer this type of advertising.
5. Email newsletter network advertising
The next email marketing strategy which I've been using quite a bit lately is "email newsletter network\ advertising." In a nutshell, you pay email newsletter management sites to run top sponsorship ads across their network of newsletters. The traffic can be targeted to just about any niche and it's faster that finding each of the ezines yourself. Although this requires a larger initial investment than running ads in individual ezines, in the long run it is usually cheaper and it requires much less effort. The best advertising resource I've ever found on the web is an email newsletter network. It's one of the proven, super-resources I share only with my Make-A-Living-Online.com members!
6. Opt-in "series" email marketing
Finally, I'd like to cover one last email marketing strategy which very few Internet businesses use, and use properly. It's called "opt-in series email marketing." This is a secret weapon many of the big name marketers prefer not to talk about much. It works like this... You offer an attractive and irresistible freebie at your site, (in most cases this works best via a pop up or pop-under) and when your visitors claim their freebie, they are required to enter then name and email address. They then are subscribed to your series of personalized, scheduled email messages that you have pre-written. The best type of series is one that offers free valuable help and information about the subject they were looking for help on in the first place.
A well-written email series will form relationships with your best prospects, something that holds more value than most online businesses realize. The best part of this strategy is that once you do the setup work, everything is completely automated and personalized.
There are a number of sites that offer follow-up email autoresponder services. I use my Web Business Wizard service for my own follow ups and it has worked wonders for my business. When used properly, and with a bit of originality and flare, this email marketing strategy can be one of your top sales producers.
In closing... There you have it; six email marketing strategies and the results they yield. Of course there's one more email marketing strategy I highly recommend, but I left it off today's list. That strategy is "publishing your own email newsletter." I'll cover that in detail in the next issue of BizWeb eGazette. See you then!
* Tips by Jim Daniels - Read Jim's free web-based guide at Make-A-Living-Online.com, it reveals how he makes six figures a year online in his part time, and how you can do the same!