Below are my good friend, and email marketing wiz-kid, Ben Settle’s answers to your most important questions about email marketing.
Take a few minutes and really dig into this because after you’re done you’ll be so much clearer about the best ways to use email marketing to build your martial arts business.
OK– Here goes… questions generated from the folks on our email list with a little paraphrasing by me… After each question — Ben’s answers are below.
Sit back, relax – but read it all and pay close attention…
Q: Who are the best people to send emails to?
The only people you should ever send an email to are those who have opted-in to get them. In other words, someone has been to your site, willingly gave you their name and email address and opted-in to receive your emails.
You should use a reputable auto-responder company for this and there are many to choose from.
The best way to get people eagerly opting in is to offer them some sort of “bribe” for doing so. For example, if you own a martial arts school, you could put an opt-in form on your website that says you will give them a free video lesson (or something you know they want) in exchange for them giving you their name and email.
I also think you should tell them on that opt-in form how often you plan to send them emails.
On my own site, for example, I send out daily emails.
So I say on the opt-in form I want to send them a DAILY tip.
If you send an email bi-monthly, or 3 times per week or whatever it is… tell them on the form and in the “welcome” email they get right after signing up.
Q: How often do I send emails?
Daily (yes, daily!) is best if you do them correctly.
If you want to establish yourself as not only an expert, but a LEADER, in your particular industry, and you don’t have something (even something short, 100 words or so) to say every day, people unconsciously wonder if you’re the expert or leader you say you are.
This is especially true if you have a competitor who is contacting them more often than you are.
If you cannot swing daily, do what you can.
At the bear minimum send a weekly email (and work your way towards doing daily emails).
Q: Where do I draw the line between trying to sell my classes and not coming off as spam?
The thing to keep in mind is everyone else out there (for the most part) is doing email wrong.
1.) Hard pitch in every single email
2.) Only email their list when they have something to sell.
That’s no good.
That’s a great way to lose subscribers and get ignored by those who stay on board (or end up in their spam folder).
Instead, think of it like talk radio.
In fact, the great email marketer Matt Furey said it best when he said email is more like talk radio than “writing.” I will even take it a step further and say email is nothing more than “talk radio on glass.”
You are a personality.
Someone with something interesting and relevant to say each day.
Yes, you will pitch something in each email.
Just like talk radio shows pitch commercials during breaks.
But the entire email is NOT a pitch.
You are having a conversation with your list about something you are both interested in. Tie that conversation into a reason to go to your link. A good soft pitch at the end (or wherever it is relevant in the email) is fine and perfectly acceptable. Sometimes you can even be more aggressive, but remember:
If all Rush Limbaugh did was pitch for 3 hours, nobody would listen.
But if he didn’t pitch, he wouldn’t be able to afford to be on the air at all.
So you have to have that balance.
Be interesting, useful and have something valuable to share.
And always, always always… be FUN.
That way, people eagerly “tune in” to you each time, and you’re not an imposition on them, you’re a highlight of their day.
Q: Should I email my students more than my non-students?
Here’s how I would suggest doing it.
It’s not necessarily the “best” way, and it’s not the only way. But it does work well. And that is, mail your main list regularly. This would be students and non-students (do not remove students from this list just because they sign up).
Even if students are reading it, it’s okay if you plug your classes.
It will reinforce why they should be with you anyway.
And each time the non-students will be that much closer to wanting to pull the trigger and take the next step.
For students, you can email them, too, but I tend to only mail them special upsell offers (and not very frequently). In my opinion, you should use email to get them in the door, then DIRECT MAIL to upsell other offers to them once they are students.
You can use email, too.
But I would not go crazy with it, necessarily.
Especially if you do not have a lot of time to play with.
Again, this is not the only way, but it is a profitable way to do it.
Q: While running my school, I find it hard to get time to sit down and do emails, but I want to do this more – any ideas on that?
Yes, I want you to give yourself permission NOT to do anything.
Remove the pressure.
Yes, you WANT to do an email each day, but if you don’t it’s not the end of the world. Think like an athlete before a big event. The smart ones are not tensed up and freaking out — they are “athletically ready.”
They are ready to play, but still loose.
That’s how to do writing, too.
Make a time to sit down every day and do emails, and give yourself permission to do nothing. Maybe say, “I’m going to write one sentence” (small goals). Many times this leads to another idea… and another… and you’re off to the races.
Also, remember this Dan Kennedy saying:
“Money is attracted to speed.”
You don’t need to spend a lot of time on an email.
In fact, you shouldn’t!
15 or 20 minutes is fine.
Chances are you are not going to make many more (or any more) sales spending 3 hours on an email than if you just get one out fast.
Remember, it’s talk radio.
Just tell a story, or make a check list of stuff they should know, or do some questions and answers. Then give a soft plug (with a “reason why”) they should check out your school.
It’s really no more complicated than that.
Q: If I start using email more- what can I expect in terms of increased numbers of new students?
It depends on who you are, your market, what you are offering and a whole host of other components. However, if you do a daily email the right way, you should see an increase in sales fairly quickly. (You will also have a short term surge in unsubscribes and probably spam complaints — that will cease however, when the people who are not truly interested are all off your list).
It’s different for everyone, though.
The key is to show up every day and DO it.
That’s 99% of the battle right there.
Q: I have kids in my classes but I have to email their parents, does this fact make it different for me?
Not at all, always talk to your audience — their wants, needs, fears, desires, etc.
Find out what those parents want and each day demonstrate how you can give it to them.
Q: Should I use Facebook messages for this?
Social media is a different animal, and your FaceBook friends did not opt in or befriend you to be pitched. You CAN use FaceBook notes, though. In fact, there is nothing wrong with putting your emails on a blog, and having that blog automatically feed into your FaceBook notes (see FaceBook’s help desk for details on how to do this.)
Q: Sometimes when i send emails to my members they don’t open them, how can i improve that?
There will always be people who won’t open your emails.
Just like not every Rush Limbaugh fan (going back to talk radio) listens to all 3 hours of his show every day.
That’s why you want to email often.
Sometimes it may take 2 months for someone to make a decision to buy, and it was email #6 that got their attention, but email 35 that closed the sale.
You just never know.
Just keep showing up every day in a fun, interesting and exciting way and people will start looking forward to opening your emails.
Q: How long should emails be?
Emails should be like a woman’s skirt:
Short enough to get attention, but long enough to cover the details.
I think 250 words is ideal, but my personal preference is to keep them under 400 words. But longer ones can work, too. It all depends on what you have to say. I would suggest not worrying too much about it. Just get in there, say what you have to say, and get out.
If you can do that in 100 words — fine.
If it’s 1,000 words (which I do occasionally) that’s fine, too.
But you should always respect your list’s time.
So don’t be long winded, get to the point and show up again the next day.
That’s how the money is made in email
A note from Ben…
“If you’d like to learn my entire email system, and get a substantial discount (for a limited time) as a friend of Mike Dolpies, go to:”