This post was contributed by Vincent from Empire Flippers, the leading marketplace for buying and selling online businesses. He’ll how to grow your revenue, as well as the value of your FBA business, with an email list.
As a reader of Landing Cube’s blog, you probably already know that email is still relevant in converting traffic into qualified leads. And you’re not alone in believing in the value of email marketing. According to Oberlo, 81% of small businesses still rely on email marketing as their main acquisition channel.
At Empire Flippers, we also recognize how important email marketing is, which is why we include email lists in our valuation formula (check out this guide we wrote if you’re curious about how much you could sell your FBA business for).
FBA sellers in particular benefit from building up an email list, perhaps more than other monetizations, such as Amazon Associates. Email marketing creates a traffic channel that’s entirely independent of search engines or paid advertising, which means you’ve got an addressable audience to send a newsletter to at a time of your choosing. Your subscribers are more likely to open those emails as well, since they’ve already indicated interest in your services by opting into the mailing list.
Being able to address subscribers at any time you want is largely why email lists are so valuable. For example, having an addressable audience can really help to accelerate the FlyWheel effect when you’re trying to grow your FBA brand. As long as you continue delivering value through your newsletter, you can nurture brand loyalty among your subscribers.
In addition to creating a valuable traffic driver, another advantage of a built up email list is how cost-effective this traffic channel is compared to PPC campaigns. eMarketer claims that email marketing has four times the ROI per dollar spent compared to other digital marketing channels, such as social media or search engine paid advertising.
After analyzing over 350 FBA businesses sold on our marketplace, we found that businesses with an email list had a 13.88% increase in monthly revenue, and a 19.24% increase in monthly net profit compared to FBA brands that didn’t use email marketing.
Furthermore, having an email list helped FBA brands sell for 27.84% more than businesses without!
We know that having an email list is useful, but many FBA owners aren’t sure how to go about building one. Naturally, it takes time to nurture an audience through email marketing (as well as plenty of trial and error).
We’ll go through some core tips to keep in mind when you’re starting to grow your email list.
4 Tips on Building an Email List
Here are some key tips to help you use your email list for good – and ensure that it actually helps you grow your business.
Concentrate on value
So you’ve decided to start an email list, and you’ve signed up for Klaviyo or Mailchimp. Now what?
Perhaps the most important step is figuring out what to put in your newsletter.
Anyone can start an email list, but FBA owners often miss the mark when it comes to deciding what purpose their email lists should serve. If your email list isn’t delivering value as originally advertised, unsubscribe rates will increase.
The key is to think about what your brand’s USP is, and how you can help your customers become better at a skill or hobby through educational content. Consider creating a newsletter that’s easy to digest and answers a specific question so that readers can walk away having learned something new. This might look like a series of newsletters featuring educational content that teaches customers a new skill, reviews of new product launches, or comparisons to help a subscriber make a purchasing decision.
The frequency of the newsletter depends on you. Whether it’s weekly, biweekly or monthly, focus on consistency so your subscribers know when to expect your emails in their inbox.
Avoid common copywriting errors when crafting the copy, such as making your brand the focus of your content. Nurturing an audience largely depends on the quality of your storytelling skills. Many customers will disengage from your copy if a good story doesn’t pull them in. But if you craft a story around them as the main character, you’ll immediately establish a rapport with your subscribers, who will find it easier to understand how your products or services stand to benefit them.
Once you’ve honed your copy so that it revolves around your customers and how your brand helps them achieve their goals, you can start delivering value through your newsletter.
Leverage a lead magnet
Now that you have an idea of what to include in your newsletter, you’ll need a way to entice people to opt-in to the newsletter in the first place. Enter the lead magnet.
In the same vein as delivering great value through your newsletter, your lead magnet should be something that provides such great value that customers can’t believe you’re giving it away for free.
A popular choice is to offer a free downloadable resource that you could charge for in exchange for someone’s email address. This type of high-value lead magnet is effective because it leans heavily on the rule of reciprocity.
Research shows that people feel obligated to give something of equal value in return for something they receive. Giving something away for free helps you engage with potential subscribers, so think about what you’re willing to offer before you ask for their commitment to your newsletter.
Honesty is the best policy
You may be focused on crafting clever subject lines and engaging copy with great offers that are hard to turn down, but all your work will go down the drain if you’re not compliant with the law.
An easily overlooked requirement of newsletters is openly sharing what you’re intending to do with your customers’ information. You’ll need to adhere to the guidelines outlined by different regulatory bodies, such as the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR.
Things you’ll need to be transparent about include asking if you can email your subscribers, clearly indicating where the opt-out option is, and being open about who you are and what your brand is, as well as what your offer is. Misleading subscribers or ignoring any of these rules could lead to your email list being temporarily suspended, or your FBA business being fined.
Avoid tunnel vision on vanity metrics
After implementing all of the above tactics, you’ll be well on your way to building up your email list.
Keep in mind that a large list doesn’t mean it’s a good list. It’s important not to get caught up in keeping tabs on certain vanity metrics that can be misinterpreted when it comes to how effective a newsletter is in converting potential leads into actual customers.
The most common vanity metric for email lists is the open rate, otherwise known as the click through rate (CTR).
To be fair, CTR isn’t a terrible measure of success, but it doesn’t really give enough context on its own to reflect the ROI of an email campaign. For example, a high CTR with a low conversion rate of subscribers clicking on the links in the email shows that the subject line might be excellent at raising intrigue, but the copy isn’t holding up to the same standard.
A large subscriber base also doesn’t mean much if the majority of them don’t bother opening your emails in the first place. Mailchimp’s study shows that the average open rate is 21.33% across all industries. While your expected average may be higher or lower depending on your niche, single digit open rates should be a cause for concern.
You can tweak your newsletter through A/B split testing. By crafting two versions of the same email, you can experiment with subject lines or call to action (CTA) placements to see what generates better results.
Over time and with enough testing, you’ll learn how to optimize your emails to increase the success rate of your marketing campaigns.
Keep calm and continue posting
Email marketing is an interactive process and it takes time to nurture an audience. While it can be discouraging when your subscribers aren’t increasing as expected, remember that this is very much part of the process.
In the same way that it took time to build your FBA brand, land your first sale and get an Amazon’s Choice badge, creating an email list will require patience and constant revision.
Remember to keep going and keep adding customer-focused content regularly. With email lists in particular, slow and steady definitely wins the race. Once you’ve grown your email list, you’ll be in possession of a highly valuable asset that will drive growth in your FBA business in many ways.
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