email marketing

People often steer away from email marketing because they think it’s ‘spammy’.  But that’s missing a huge opportunity.

Of course, nobody wants to receive spam and you certainly don’t want to be the sender of anything that would be categorised as spam.  But you do want to promote your products or services, so how can you tick both these, apparently contradictory, boxes?

There are several factors that come into play:

  1. The right list
  2. Know your audience
  3. Deliver value
  4. Get the message right

The power of the list

You’ve probably heard people say ‘the money is in the list’.  That can be true, but it depends on the list.  Who have you got in your list?  Are they everyone you’ve met networking or a random selection of contacts collected over many years?

A powerful list is made up of people who have actually demonstrated an interest in what you offer. 

The easiest way to get these people to self-identify is to offer a free download that is highly targeted at the needs of the people who fulfil your ideal customer profile.  People who are willing to provide their name and email to get this download are saying ‘I want this kind of information’.

If you don’t really know who the people are in your list some of them are likely to view what you send them as spam, if they don’t want what you’re offering.

However, those who do will value what you send out if you get your messages right.

Big companies who do this well are B&Q and HomeServe, who both send out marketing emails promoting their products and services, but attach links to useful articles featuring ‘how to …’ advice with captivating titles.

Less is more

Or, to be grammatically correct, ‘fewer’.  A few accurately targeted contacts are worth far more than hundreds of random contacts.

If you think about the best client you’ve ever had and what was important to them, ideally you need people who are a close match to their profile.  That way you’ll be preaching to the converted – they’re the ones who want what you’re offering and value your expertise.  That means they’ll usually be happy to hear from you.

Lead with value

In today’s fast-consuming world people are looking for value.  If you can deliver value that is a massive step towards long term engagement.  This only works if you know what people want (read the last section again!)

Assuming you know your audience and what kind of information they will find valuable, this step should be simple.  It’s not about selling – it’s about giving.  When you consistently give great value you’re opening the door for future sales.

This might be in the form of useful advice, tips or processes – share your expertise and your readers will realise how good you are at what you do.  Guess where they’ll look when they need your kind of help?

Get your message right

The best email marketing doesn’t ‘feel’ like a sales pitch.  The really good ones make the reader feel like they know you, that you’re talking directly to them and the message isn’t just useful, it’s entertaining too.

Nick Stephenson ( is very good at this.  He shares his family trials and tribulations in a humorous and self-deprecating way that leads into something he’s offering completely free of charge.  The free courses he runs are exceptional value, and he offers upgraded versions that you can pay for with even more great value.

You may need to be creative to come up with your version of this approach.  Whether you write your own emails or get a professional copywriter to do them for you, they need to sound like you’re talking directly to the recipient.

When you’ve got all these features organised you can write amazing email marketing campaigns that deliver profitable results.