Five Ways to Use Educational Emails to Engage Your Customers
If you want to kill your email campaigns before they even get off the ground, blindly blast offers and deals and see what happens.
Spoiler alert: it won’t be pretty.
But If you want to create effective email campaigns that consistently encourage new opt-ins and build an eager list that’s willing to spend, you’re going to need to take a different approach.
Become a teacher, not a salesperson.
The Importance of Educational Messages
The most tried-and-tested means of list-building happens through education and problem solving. This was true in the days of direct mail with copywriting gurus such as Gary Halbert and it still rings true today.
Educational emails come in all shapes and sizes. This provides marketers with the freedom to figure out how to best speak to their respective lists in need of help.
And when we talk about educational messages, we’re not talking about sending dull, boring emails that send your prospects straight to sleep.
We’re talking about real, actionable advice. Messages that speak to psychology and the pain points of your base.
What keeps your readers up at night? What are the most common problems that plague them? What resources do you have in your back pocket that you can share with your prospects?
Your prospects have questions; so why don’t you provide the answers?
Not only do educational emails help focus your content strategy and build trust with your base, but also position you as an expert within your industry.
From ebooks that dispel the greatest marketing hacks to technical how-to guides for niche industries, there is no one way to do educational emails “right.”
There are, however, five distinct strategies you can use to engage your list that can be leveraged by marketers of any experience level.
Cheat Sheets, Checklists and E-Books
Lead magnets have become email marketing’s “old reliable,” offering valuable information in exchange for your prospect’s personal information. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to coming up with lead magnets. There are however, enticing offers such as cheat sheets, checklists and e-books which are standard across any given industry.
The beauty of informational products is that they won’t cost you an arm and a leg to create and distribute. Similarly, your prospects and competitors alike will view you as a leader if you’re able to leverage your knowledge to the masses.
Remember: someone who trusts you enough to download your free information can be warmed up to purchase your products down the road.
Lead magnets are the perfect segue into drip campaigns. They essentially serve to nurture your leads through a series of emails once they’ve opted in to your offer. Drip campaigns are totally customizable, allowing you to implement any number of emails ranging from personal stories to helpful hints.
The purpose of drip campaigns is to warm up your prospects, making sure that they understand who you are and demonstrating your value accordingly by reading your educational messages.
Jeff Goins does an awesome job when it comes to crafting a killer drip campaign from A to Z, starting with his initial opt-in offer:
Beyond the initial guide, the drip campaign follows up with a series of five emails. As you can tell from the subject lines below, Goins takes advantage of personal tales to help speak to the pain points of his audience and show off his human side. Educational doesn’t always mean facts and figures, as in this case where Goins is leveraging his real-life experience to teach lessons to his readership:
Drip campaigns aren’t just fluff, though. At the end of the series, Goins concludes with a call to action for his course tailored for freelance writers.
Perhaps the best part about drip campaigns is that you can basically put them on autopilot and ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck for your email automation. Once you find an offer and drip campaign that works, you can use them time and time again to build your list for the long-term.
Webinars and How-To Videos
It’s well-documented that videos have one of the strongest ROIs of any marketing tool out there. That being said, many email marketers ignore the power of video at their own peril.
Serving as an alternative to autoplaying video may annoy your base, webinars are a fantastic way to build leads and show off your know-how. Webinars are commonplace in the marketing world to show off reveal tips, tricks and actionable advice. Think: “How to build your traffic” or “How to create a WordPress site in 10 minutes” in a visual, sometimes interactive setting.
Many marketers squeeze the most they possibly can out of webinars by sending the replays as part of an autoresponder series. Doing so makes the webinar seem more exclusive to viewers versus a static YouTube page. Likewise, your subscribers can continuously refer back to the replay message to engage with your brand.
If the world of webinars seems like a bit too in-depth for your business or you’re not comfortable in front of the camera, fear not. You can play the role of teacher through screen-capture software and funnel your email subscribers to your own how-to tutorials hosted via YouTube. Your prospects will appreciate the visual format as an alternative to text-heavy blog posts.
An added bonus of funneling your subscribers to YouTube is that you reap the SEO benefits of video and provide yet another channel to keep in touch with you.
Ask Questions (and Answer Them, Too)
Sometimes the best approach to educating your audience is the direct approach.
Many brands struggle to figure out what their subscribers want; however, what’s keeping you from asking?
Whether you’re trying to determine the hot topics on the tongues of your prospects or are looking for future content ideas, it never hurts to touch base with your list by posing a question or survey to them. Through seemingly simple, informal subject lines and straightforward messages, Ed Gandia of B2BLauncher regularly reaches out to his audience for insight.
These answers not only show that you’re looking out for your audience, but also provide you a direct approach to create relevant content for your base. Email provides a private platform where your users won’t be afraid to spill their guts and tell you what they’re really thinking.
Content Updates and Blog Posts
There’s no easier way to keep your list engaged than by reminding them of a fresh piece of content.
Ideally, you can encourage your subscribers to opt-in rather than hope that they constantly stumble on your blog week after week.
Your company blog is the perfect place to teach your audience; however, email promotion ensure that your content gets seen by more than just tepid organic traffic or stragglers from social media. Check out body copy from CoSchedule which details a killer new blog post:
By saturating your content through as many channels as possible, you’re more likely to see a stronger ROI for your blog posts.
The Bottom Line
Educational emails are about more than talking at your prospects.
Instead, strive to serve as a resource to your subscribers, providing them with multiple avenues and options for educational content that actually works to solve their problems.
Through email automation you can sew the seeds of your business’ authority and make sure that your hungry subscribers never miss your messages. Whether you haven’t started building your list or want to give any of the aforementioned strategies a shot, try giving Sendlane a spin and get started.