Email Marketing: What I Learned After 11 Months of Consistency

November 8, 2023

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Almost one year ago, I decided to get serious about email marketing and incorporate it into my overall digital strategy.

At the time, I was already pretty familiar with email lists. In fact, I actually had one of my own…I had just neglected it for so long that it had begun to collect virtual dust! More and more, though, I kept hearing other small business owners rave about email marketing and its growing popularity among brands and readers alike, and I knew I was missing out. So, after checking out a few options, I decided to relaunch my email list using Flodesk. I named it “The Mighty Bean Talk,” and I got to writing.

And the rest is history.

Yeah, right — if only it were that simple!

Like pretty much everything in the world of small business, my email marketing strategy has taken a lot of trial and error. But more than that, it’s taken a lot of consistency. Nearly a year later, I’m hitting my stride and finding my footing. Below are some of my biggest takeaways from the last 11 months.


But first…What is email marketing?

Simply put, email marketing is exactly what it sounds like: using email to market your business.

Of course, on a strategic level, it’s much more than just sending emails to a group of subscribers. Email marketing is as much about promoting your business as it is about attracting your ideal customer, building relationships with them and creating long-term brand loyalty.

And while email may not be as well known as social media marketing, it’s still the most effective marketing channel, with no signs of slowing down. The number of email users worldwide has increased every year since 2017, and it’s expected to grow again in 2024 — which brings me to my first key lesson.


1. People love email.

A lot of people are quick to say that “email is dead,” but make no mistake, email is alive and thriving. Worldwide, the number of email users hit 4 billion in 2020, and that number has only grown since the pandemic as more marketers have begun using email.

So, what is it about email marketing that makes it so popular?

For one, the return on investment (ROI) is unmatched — literally. For every dollar you spend on email marketing, on average, you get $36 back, making it the highest ROI of any marketing channel. This massive ROI can be attributed to the fact that subscribers voluntarily sign up to receive your emails. They’re already interested in what you have to say and are more open to buying what you have to offer.

And while email marketing has impressive quantifiable value, it also has a ton of qualitative benefit, which I’ll get into next.


2. Email marketing is a great way to humanize your brand

For me, personally, The Mighty Bean Talk has been a powerful tool to get more personal with my audience. Unlike Instagram (where I’m mindful that everyone can see how many views and comments I got on my last Reel!), email is a safe space for me to share personal stories, be more vulnerable and really experiment with my content.

To my surprise, my best-performing emails have rarely been related to my business; stories about my wedding saw the most engagement from my readers. After 11 months of consistent email marketing, I’ve learned the importance of mixing personal stories with promotional content, and I’ve really relied on Flodesk’s analytics to help me find that balance.

Here’s a peek at what 11 months of email marketing has looked like for The Mighty Bean Talk:

Email marketing results

 

3. Analytics are good, but context is better.

Most e-marketing platforms include built-in analytics to help you measure the impact of your emails. You should be checking these insights regularly; by staying on top of them, you can make sure your email marketing strategy is working effectively. But as important as it is to be across your analytics, it’s also important to put those numbers into context.

Let’s take open rates, for example. This metric measures the percentage of people you send your email to, to the percentage of people who actually open it. A high open rate is a good indicator that people are interested in the content you send. It’s also a great way to test the impact of your emails’ subject lines.

But a good email marketing strategy needs more than just a high open rate. Ideally, you want engagement, too — a click on your website, a purchase from your digital store or even a direct response. Constant Contact, another popular e-marketing platform, has a really good article about this and how you can measure the success of your emails beyond open rates.


4. A lot of subscribers ≠ engaged community.

Building on takeaway #3, as important as analytics are, there’s one metric I’ve learned not to stress over:

Subscriber count.

When I launched my first email list in December 2020 (before The Mighty Bean Talk), I was fixated on growing my subscriber count. So much so, that I wasn’t even concerned about who was signing up — I just wanted the numbers. I would often ask friends and family to subscribe, knowing full well that as much as they wanted to support me, they weren’t my target audience.

Naturally, my list grew, but my engagement levels stayed the same. It wasn’t that my content wasn’t good or valuable; it was that I wasn’t targeting my audience. Essentially, I was crafting really good messages but sending them to the wrong people.

Over the last 11 months, I’ve been really intentional about attracting my ideal client. While I still sometimes cold pitch The Mighty Bean Talk, it’s now to women who I believe would genuinely benefit from my content and services. And while that means my list doesn’t grow as quickly as it once did, my audience is actually engaged and interested in what I have to offer.

The valuable lesson? Having a lot of subscribers doesn’t necessarily mean you have an engaged community.


5. Give more than you take.

As an incentive to join their email list, a lot of brands (Mighty Bean Co. included) offer some sort of free item in exchange for a person’s email address. Freebies are a great way for small businesses to tease the value of their offering and encourage new signups. But what about after the person’s given their address and joined your email list?

We’ve already talked about how many people are using email marketing. With that in mind, you want to give people a reason to stay loyal to your brand and keep engaging with your content. You have to give more than you take, and that goes beyond freebies: every single email you send should always be with your audience and their needs in mind.

For the Mighty Bean Talk, for example, on top of creating three free resources this year, I also offered exclusive discounts and helpful DIY branding tips. If you’d like to get your hands on those freebies and level up your brand, you can sign up for The Mighty Bean Talk here!


Before I go…

Like all marketing tactics, your email strategy needs a clear and strong brand strategy to be effective. Are you ready to create a solid foundation for your brand so that you can take full advantage of the benefits of email marketing? Reach out to me, and let’s get started!

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I'M ADRIENNE, CORPORATE GIRLY BY DAY AND BRAND DESIGNER BY NIGHT.

I help passionate and multi-faceted 9-5 women scale their side hustles into profitable side businesses with strategic and elevated branding that screams "main gig" energy. 

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