Email marketing is a big deal in the business world. With social media algorithms constantly changing and platforms coming and going all the time, email marketing is the most reliable way to stay in touch with your audience.
This is also a great skill for VAs to know so you can offer it to your clients and make more money!
But how do you get started? It seems so complicated!
Don’t worry, I’ve got you! I’ll answer all of your burning questions about email marketing in this post and give you some simple tips for getting started without the overwhelm.
But before we get started, here’s my first tip: You don’t need to worry about this if you’re a brand new VA. Right now, you want to focus on keeping things simple and getting some clients, not building an audience.
So if that’s you, you can let yourself off the hook for now!
But if you want to learn more about email marketing, this post is for you!
This article may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through the link, I get a small percentage at no additional charge to you. See my disclosure for more info.
GETTING STARTED WITH EMAIL MARKETING:
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a great way to promote your VA services or digital products.
You’ll need a freebie to offer your subscribers in exchange for their email address and an email service provider to send your freebie and other emails.
Once these are set up you’ll focus on growing your email list and consistently keeping in touch with your subscribers. By sharing your expertise and inspiring your list, you’ll create strong connections and fans. These fans are the people who want to hire you or purchase your products!
What’s So Great About Email Marketing?
LOTS of things!
- You have a direct line to your fans/people who want to hear from you.
- You can build a relationship with your audience and get to know them.
- You own your list. You don’t own your social media followers, so your ability to communicate with them could *POOF* be gone one day, or algorithms could change so you can’t reach them like you used to (a-hem, Facebook). With your email list, you never lose access to your audience.
- The people on your list are considered “warm leads” and they’re typically easier to convert into customers.
- Email marketing is a quick way to share and receive info fast – share a new post, a new product, or ask a question in a simple email!
What is a Freebie?
Also known as an email opt-in or lead magnet, it’s something of value that you offer in exchange for somebody’s email address. The freebie should somehow relate to the service or product that you want to promote. For instance, when I was a Pinterest Manager, I created a checklist of things people could do to boost their traffic and sales with Pinterest.
Once you get the person on your list, you’ll send a series of automated emails taking them through what’s called a sales funnel, eventually offering them a paid product or service.
What kind of freebie should I make?
Freebies will help you grow your email list, so it has to be something that people want and need. Its purpose is to help the person with a problem that they’re having and also show them how amazing you are!
The best freebies are those that:
1) Are fast and easy to consume. People don’t have much time these days so the quicker they can use it and get results, the better.
2) Are valuable. This is not the time to be chintzy. You want your subscribers to be impressed, not underwhelmed.
3) Has your ideal client or customer in mind. If you can impress them with your freebie, then they are more likely to buy from you.
So think about what your ideal client is struggling with and how you can help them. What is something you can offer them that can lead them to working with you or purchasing your product?
- Cheat sheets
How Do I Create a Freebie?
1) You can create a simple freebie using Canva, Pages, or Word.
2) Once you’re done designing it, turn it into a PDF.
3) If you want to make it digitally editable, use PDF Escape.
4) Upload the PDF to your website (in WordPress, you would upload it to your media folder) or Dropbox and share the link with the people who sign up for your freebie.
(OR you can simply add your info and edit the colors in the Lead Magnet Template inside the Introvert VA Club. You don’t even need to write the text!)
Should I Create a Freebie for Every Blog Post I Write?
You might have heard online marketing gurus say that we should create a freebie for every blog post we write. I’ll be honest, that’s a tough thing to do! It takes time to create a freebie, design an opt-in form, and write an email funnel…
Sure, in theory, yes, a freebie for every post would be pretty awesome for growing your list fast.
But if you can’t manage it, don’t. And also don’t just throw some freebie together. People do not like handing over their email address for something that is meh.
You’re not impressing anyone with meh.
Instead, focus on creating a freebie or several freebies for a particular service or product and placing its opt-in form in relevant blog posts.
Which Email Service Provider Should I Use?
You’ll need to sign up for an email service provider to deliver your newsletters, freebies, and sales emails.
Here are some popular ones:
- ConvertKit – (this is what I use) I like Convertkit because you can label, or “tag” subscribers based on their actions, they’re only counted in the system once, so you only pay for them once and you don’t have to merge lists (like Mailchimp) to avoid higher fees. (You’ll find an in-depth training on ConvertKit inside the Introvert VA Club.)
- Mailchimp – Free to use up to 2000 subscribers, and pretty simple to figure out.
- MailerLite – I’ve never used them, but a lot of people really like it. This one is also free up to 1000 subscribers.
- Active Campaign – This one is also popular, but I’ve never used it myself.
- Flodesk – This is a new service provider that a lot of people are talking about.
I recommend choosing a provider based on your budget and needs, learning how to use it, and seeing if you like it. Each service provider will have tutorials you can use to learn how to use their service.
Keep in mind that you can always change providers, so don’t stress out about picking the right one. I originally started with Aweber then moved to Ontraport and then finally settled on ConvertKit (which I’ve been very happy with).
Don’t let this decision trip you up! Choose one and run with it.
What is an Email Sales Funnel?
Also called a welcome sequence or nurture sequence, this is your opportunity to share more about yourself and how you can help your subscriber.
When someone signs up for your email list you’ll want to 1) give them your freebie, and 2) send them a few emails so that they can get to know you.
There are a variety of email funnels and strategies out there. Some people will tell you not to introduce yourself in the first email or don’t mention your service or product in the first email or wait till the 5th email 2 weeks later to promote your service or product.
I recommend giving different strategies a try and seeing what works best for your business. What works for one business doesn’t work for another and vice versa.
As I mentioned above, there are a variety of email funnels you can set up, but below is a simple sales funnel you can start out with:
- Email #1 – Welcome & here’s your freebie (send immediately) – Thank them for signing up, share the link to your freebie, tell them a little about yourself, and let them know what to expect (like how often you’ll email them or when they’ll hear from you next).
- Email #2 – (send about 3 days later) – Remind them about the freebie, ask them what they’re struggling with when it comes to whatever you do, and invite them to reply to your email and ask a question.
- Email #3 – (send about 3 days after email #2) – Share resources or one of your blog posts that relates to your freebie and their problem, and/or tell them how they can work with you to help them with their problem.
- Email #4 – (send about 3 days after email #3) – A call to action to work with you, schedule a discovery call, or buy from you. Explain your service or product and ask them for the sale
(OR you can access the email templates inside the Introvert VA Club!)
I Feel Shy About “Selling” in My Emails
I say this with complete love…you’ve got to get over feeling like a used car salesman! You have a business and you have to promote it to make money.
It’s time to change your mindset. You are helping, not selling.
People need your help! It’s your job to get in front of them and tell them how you can help them.
How you go about it matters though. Be sincere and authentic, not pushy.
However, keep in mind that no matter how sincere you try to be, some people will still think you’re being “salesy”. And quite frankly, that’s okay. They’re not your peeps.
Your tribe, the people you want to help, will appreciate your emails and your solutions to their problems.
How Do I Create an Opt-in Form?
The process will depend on your email service provider, your website platform, and/or the plugin you use. You’ll either grab a code to add to your website (for instance, at the bottom of a blog post), use a plugin, or your website platform will integrate with your email service provider in some way.
What Does an Opt-in Form Look Like?
The look of an opt-in form will depend on the tools you use. For example, the email service provider, the plugin, or the website platform you use.
Below is an example of an opt-in form created in Convertkit:
Where Should I Place My Opt-in Form?
You’ll want to put opt-in boxes in various places on your website.
Here are some ideas:
- Blog posts (in the middle or at the end)
- About page
- A bar across the top of your site
- Landing page (create a page just for your opt-in so you can promote it, like this one or this one)
Where Else Can I Promote My Lead Magnet?
Be sure to share your freebie on social media too! You’ll need to create a separate landing page for your freebie first. Then you can share it on:
What About Newsletters? How Often Should I Send Them and What Should I Say?
Consistency is key with any kind of marketing, so you should send newsletters regularly. But this might mean different frequencies for different businesses.
Some people will tell you that you have to send emails weekly. I know from experience that this can be challenging. It wasn’t until I hired a VA to create and send my weekly newsletters that I was able to send a newsletter each and every week.
So if every other week works for you, do it. If monthly works better, do that. Yes, it’s best to stay top of mind and send weekly newsletters, but if you can’t manage that, choose a schedule you can get behind and make it happen.
As far as which day and time you should send your newsletters, think about your ideal reader. When do you think they’ll likely read your emails? If you have no idea, ask some of your ideal clients. Or just choose a day and time and give it a try.
What you send in your newsletter is up to you. It could be a tip, a new blog post, a relatable story…lots of different things. Whatever it is, make it valuable and something that people look forward to reading.
Add graphics, photos, or GIFs to make it interesting. Keep your paragraphs short, bold your headings, and make it fun and easy to read!
Also, add a call to action. Ask a question and tell them to respond to the email. It helps you get to know your audience better which, in return, gives you ideas on ways you can help them more.
Want more ideas? Sign up for some email lists and see what they put in their newsletters!
Why Did People Unsubscribe From My Email List?
No matter how helpful, funny, or cute you are, some people won’t connect with your message and will unsubscribe.
It might feel painful and like you’re the only person out there who has ever had an unsubscriber. You might feel like throwing in the towel and abandoning your other subscribers.
But listen…everyone gets unsubscribes. Yes, everyone. And it’s actually a good thing.
You don’t want people on your list who don’t want to be there. It’s like holding on to a cat who is clawing to get away! (You also don’t want to pay for subscribers who aren’t into you!)
You want your list to be full of fans, not people who ignore your emails. Don’t take it personally. Just focus on the people who are on your list, looking forward to your emails, and make them the best damn emails you possibly can.
Ready to start email marketing? Here’s a quick summary of your action steps:
1) Create a freebie
2) Sign up for an email service provider
3) Write your email sales funnel
4) Create an opt-in form and put it on your website
5) Promote your freebie to grow your list
6) Nurture your list with amazing newsletters and don’t be afraid to tell them about your service or product
Email marketing is an excellent way to find clients and customers. Start small, do what you can, and don’t stress about it! Keep with it and you’ll grow your subscribers and fans like crazy!
Want more support as you grow your Virtual Assistant business? Check out the Introvert VA Club! We have templates, trainings, and more to help you with your email marketing!