Freelancer Guide to Effective Email Marketing [15 Tactics]
When you’re looking to increase sales for your freelancing clients, I’m sure one of the most effective marketing channels you use is email.
According to Constant Contact, 60% of consumers say they make purchases after receiving an email from a brand.
Now compare that with the 12.5% that use the buy button on social media.
With email marketing being so important to business growth, you need to nail it down the right way.
The benefit of reading this resource is that you’ll read about:
- The current state of email marketing — including why it’s so important as well as some eye-opening stats.
- 15 effective email marketing practices that will have your clients’ digital sales surging.
- How to avoid annoying your newsletter mailing list — that way they don’t click that unsubscribe button.
Let’s get started ...
Current State of Email Marketing
An email list is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. Perhaps the most.
It’s why 64.1% of small businesses use email as a marketing channel, as reported by Campaign Monitor.
According to Constant Contact, the average return on investment (ROI) from email marketing is $36 for every $1 spent.
To put that in perspective, paid advertising, considered a pretty solid acquisition tactic, has an average ROI of about $2 for every $1 spent.
Email allows you to nurture your relationship with consumers and your existing customers.
And it also gives you a better chance to show off your e-commerce products or services than anywhere else on the internet.
OptinMonster says 99% of consumers check their email every day. Not only that, but it’s usually the first thing someone checks in the morning.
According to Constant Contact, the open rate, click rate and bounce rate across all industries are:
- 20.2% open rate
- 1.5% click rate
- 10.5% bounce rate
Unfortunately, your average email subscriber’s inbox is bombarded with unread messages from other brands.
In fact, HubSpot found that 40% of consumers have at least 50 unread messages sitting in their inbox.
So your job as a freelancer is to make your clients stand out from the crowd.
To do that, you’re going to need to learn some of the best practices for effective email marketing.
And the first way to generate more sales with email is ...
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #1: Optimize for Mobile Devices
According to Email Marketing Secrets, 63% of emails get opened on a mobile device.
Now that’s a pretty high number.
But you know what’s an even higher number?
The percentage of mobile users who will delete your email if it looks off on their screens — 72% among 14- to 67-year-olds, as per Adestra.
As you can see, mobile users make up a huge chunk of your email recipients, and they’re unforgiving.
So if you don’t optimize for mobile, you risk leaving a lot of sales on the table.
This means your emails must load fast on mobile and display properly in order to be effective.
Moreover, your landing pages and checkout process must also be mobile-friendly if you’re going to get your recipients to convert.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #2: Strategically Time Your Emails
Sending your marketing emails at the wrong time can have dire consequences.
As reported by Enginemailer, the chances of someone opening your email after 24 hours of it sitting in their inbox is about 1%.
That’s why it’s crucial you look over your client’s campaigns reports and see which days see the most engagement from your sales leads in the past.
The most effective timing for your marketing emails depends on your audience. You have to test different times to find the sweet spot.
But as a general rule, the middle of the workweek is the best day to send your emails.
At AutoGrow, we personally find that Tuesday and Thursdays see the most engagement from our newsletter, just as CoSchedule says.
To learn more about the best times to send your emails, read this article.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #3: Segment Your Audience
There’s a lot of constructive ways you can segment your audience.
Some ways you can break up your client’s email subscriber list into smaller segments are by:
- Demographics (age, gender, location)
- Past purchase history
- Usage of your products or services
- Device type
- Firmographics (for B2B)
- Most loyal customers
- Reminders or Milestones
By asking a few questions from your new leads when they exchange contact information, you’ll know how to follow up with them in a more helpful way.
According to The Direct Marketing Association, segmented and targeted emails account for 58% of all email revenue.
And Campaign Monitor says segmented campaigns can result in as high as a 760% increase in revenue.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #4: Reach Out to Your New Leads Quickly
In a study from Harvard Business Review, it was found that contacting a new prospect within an hour of a query resulted in being 7 times more likely to qualify the lead than reaching out an hour later.
And 60 times more likely than companies that wait 24 hours or longer.
Look, your leads are busy with their day-to-day life. They don’t have time to wait around for you.
Especially if your competitors are willing to reach out to them quickly.
As they say, the early bird gets the worm.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #5: Include a Winning Subject Line
An email subject line is the first thing people see with new emails in their inbox.
If the subject line doesn’t convey value to your leads, your email won’t be effective. In fact, they may even mark you as spam.
According to FinancesOnline, 47% of email recipients choose whether or not to open emails based on subject lines alone.
Programming your emails to display the first name of your subscribers in the subject line is a good start.
But you should also pay attention to the length of your subject line.
As mentioned earlier, a great portion of email users are on mobile. With that in mind, keep your subject lines short, around 17 to 24 characters.
Furthermore, some other things you can experiment with are:
- Power words
- Use of numbers
- Current events
- Sense of urgency
And one thing you absolutely must steer clear of, which a lot of freelancers don’t even realize they’re doing, is coming across as clickbait.
It’s easy for consumers to detect and it’s downright lazy.
With so many other emails in their inbox, customers and leads won’t give a clickbait subject line the time of day.
As reported by Gartner, only 23.9% of sales emails are opened. But with a killer subject line, you’ll increase those odds.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #6: Always Be Testing
So, when you’re sending an email campaign, it’s sometimes a little bit of a guessing game.
And if you’re not that experienced with your client’s target audience, even more so.
But why limit yourself to just one version of your email?
With A/B testing, you can experiment with the following elements of the email before sending it out to the rest of your list:
- Subject line
- Body copy
- Header images
- Color schemes
- CTA button placement
So, as you A/B test more and more, you’ll get a more accurate sense for what your email lists prefer when it comes to content.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #7: Send Emails Sparingly
Sending too many emails is a surefire way to get your recipients to click the unsubscribe button.
Even worse, if you keep it up, you could freelancing clients as they grow frustrated with your results.
Understandably, being bombarded with emails is annoying.
And you come off as too needy.
As found by HubSpot, 51% of consumers unsubscribe from marketing emails because they receive too many of them.
Since every email audience is different, it’s up to you to decide what frequency is best.
As a suggestion, you could ask your unsubscribers the main reason for their decision to do so through an opt-out survey.
If you find a pattern of many of your recipients feeling overburdened with emails, then it’s time to dial it back.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #8: Follow Up With Cart-Abandoners After an Hour
Consumers abandon the checkout process for many different reasons.
Maybe they got distracted.
Or maybe something confused them.
Whatever the reason may be, it’s your job to win them back.
And cart abandonment emails are one of the most effective ways to do so.
As effective as cart abandonment emails are in marketing, they’re even better if sent after an hour.
As mentioned by SaleCycle, cart abandonment emails sent after an hour see a 6.33% conversion rate as opposed to just 3.14% when sent between one and two hours.
By reaching out to customers or potential customers quickly, you can stay top of mind with them.
And it’s an opportunity to try and address any common concerns your customers usually have.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #9: Get the Most Out of Transactional Emails
Transactional emails are much more likely to be opened than other types of emails. And they’re also more likely to be opened multiple times.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to make the most of your transactional emails.
Look at your transactional emails as an opportunity to promote other streams of revenue.
For example, if your client has more premium offerings, then remind your customers in the order confirmation email.
Or you can suggest something that might complement the product.
According to Experian, order confirmation emails with a cross-sell section see 54% higher transaction rates.
As an example, take a look below at how Microsoft asks me about booking an appointment with their business experts after I purchased a video game. Although it’s not really relevant, it’s still good thinking to promote their other products while I’m checking the email.
Besides upselling and cross-selling, you can also use transactional emails to get more customers into your client’s loyalty program.
In the same Experian study, it was found that promoting your loyalty program in order confirmation emails results in 26% more acquisitions and 16% more in shipping confirmations.
Domino’s does this in order emails when a customer has earned reward points.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #10: Act Like You’re Writing to a Third Grader
Who really wants to think when they’re reading an email?
It’s supposed to be a passive activity.
As found by Boomerang, emails written at a third grade level receive a 53% response rate. That’s 14% higher than emails written at the college reading level.
So if you have a new lead that you have in your crosshairs, then simplify your email pitch with short sentences and eliminate unnecessary friction to reading comprehension.
And avoid using any jargon that isn’t common knowledge.
Basically, you want to dumb down your client’s product or service.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #11: Don’t Forget About Lapsed Subscribers
According to Neil Patel, about 60% of the average email list is inactive.
You can make up for this with win-back campaigns where you … you guessed it, try to win them back.
A study from Return Path found that 45% of recipients that received a win-back email read subsequent messages. Even if they didn’t read the first one.
That goes to show that you can’t give up after just one re-engagement attempt.
For best results, use subject lines such as “We Missed You” and “$ Off” to really entice your lapsed subscribers.
As reported by Omnisend, lapsed purchaser emails convert at an excellent 21.27% of the time.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #12: Carry Out Multivariate Testing
If you want to know how effective your freelancer tactics are when it comes to email, then test multiple versions of your emails.
With multivariate testing, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one option.
Instead, you can use multiple variations of your email to see what works best with your email list.
Some aspects of your email you can test are:
- Subject line
- Visual templates
- Body text
- Call-to-action buttons
- Clickable links
- Chronology of content
After carrying out an occasional email testing, you’ll get a better sense for what your audience responds positively to and what tactics you should avoid.
Another popular testing format is a simple A/B test. For that, it’s the same idea as multivariate testing, only you test two versions of your email instead of three or more.
For example, you might test two different versions of your subject line on a small sample of your subscriber list before sending an email to your entire list.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #13: Always Be Analyzing
There’s no better way to know your email subscribers than to review your reports.
Because when you can see what type of emails receive the most engagement, you can replicate your tactics in future campaigns.
At AutoGrow, that’s what we always do.
We’re constantly on the lookout to see what content resonates with our audience and leads to more sign-ups.
Some of the metrics you should track for email are:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Conversion rate
- Bounce rate (how many aren’t receiving your emails?)
- Subscriber growth rate
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #14: Send More Than One Welcome Email
The onboarding experience is crucial to the future of your relationship with a consumer.
It’s your chance to show them how much you care about them and how much value you offer. Or in this case, how much value your client offers.
Also, it’s part of the first impression that your lead will have on your client’s brand.
In a report from The Manifest, it was revealed that 43% of consumers say the onboarding experience influences their decision to make a recommendation.
If you’re using email marketing automation (and you should be already), then you likely send a welcome email soon after someone provides you with contact information.
But oftentimes, that’s where it ends.
Instead of just sending one welcome email, you should deliver a series of them to create a better onboarding experience.
According to Campaign Monitor, welcome emails have a 42% higher read rate than average emails.
And Mailchimp says sending a series of welcome emails results in 51% more revenue than a single welcome email.
Effective Email Marketing Tip for Freelancers #15: Use FOMO
FOMO (fear of missing out) can be applied virtually anywhere in your digital marketing efforts.
Because it leverages the need for humans to feel like they belong.
When products and services are perceived as really popular, others are more likely to make the same purchase.
To any of you freelancers out there that love video games, you may see this in action with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles. In the past, demand for new console iterations was relatively low for the first year after release.
But now, it’s an entirely different story and most consumers still haven't even been able to snag one over a year later.
A lot of this has to do with FOMO. Even though the older consoles are perfectly fine, people feel left out by not having the new one.
The same thing can be applied to your email marketing. Maybe just on a smaller scale.
Although anyone can experience FOMO, younger people are especially influenced by it.
According to TrustPulse, 60% of consumers have made a purchase because of FOMO.
Some ways you can use FOMO in your emails are:
- Adding a sense of urgency or making the offer time sensitive
- Using social proof, such as testimonials and expert quotes
- By offering bundles
- Rewarding consumers with early decisions
- Cross-sell and upsell your most popular products or services
- Show scarcity
With these FOMO tactics, you’ll be more effective at getting your client’s recipients to think twice before passing over an email or exiting after opening it up.
So that’s why if you’re going to use FOMO, make it clear in your subject line.
And don’t go overboard with your use of FOMO. Your email list will pick up on it pretty easily and could be turned away.
Below is a good example of FOMO being used.
Adobe uses a sense of urgency to get me to feel like I’ll regret not taking them up on their Cyber Monday discount for Creative Cloud.
Email is incredibly important for the business growth of all your freelancing clients.
If you don’t get it right, you’re just pouring money down the drain and your clients may drop you.
In this article today, I broke down 15 effective email marketing practices you can use to increase your clients’ sales.
Now, you might already be good with your email outreach. But it never hurts to hear some ways that you may not have tried yet.
Because you can always be improving your freelancing skills.
And if you feel like you need some help with implementing some of these best practices, speak with our sales team. An account strategist will explain to you how AutoGrow can transform your clients’ digital sales with email marketing. Besides, freelancers are one of the most common clients that we take on so we already know your pain points inside and out.
Now tell me ...
Out of everything you read today, what stood out to you?
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.