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This next series of posts focuses on the practices and resources I can’t do my business without. In part one, I want to talk about email marketing and share six reasons why yoga teachers need an email list.

You might be thinking, “but emails are dead.”

They’re not, my friends. If they were, I wouldn’t have filled two paragraphs with information, let alone create this epic post about why an email list is crucial for growing your business.

Grab your favorite beverage and enjoy your read!

  1. What is email marketing
  2. Email marketing terminology
  3. Why you need it (and the whole purpose of this post)
  4. Ideas for collecting information
  5. How to use email marketing
  6. Different email service providers
  7. Final tips

1. What is email marketing?

Think about visiting your favorite shop or website. As you’re checking out, the cashier asks for your email address to add you to their “VIP list.”

Or on a website, you receive a pop-up window asking for the same information.

In both examples, you’re most likely providing the companies with your email address in exchange for a discount now and in the future.

Once that the company has your email address, it begins communicating with you. First the promised coupon, then announcements about upcoming sales and special events.

This is a form of direct marketing that allows the company to promote its business and products to you. If you want to grow a business, you’ll want to include this strategy as well.

Teaching yoga is one hour a day. Marketing is what you do in the other 23 hours.

2. Email marketing terminology

Like any industry, email marketing has its own lingo. Understanding the terminology will provide some basic understanding for the rest of the post.

This small list represents general terms associated with email marketing. Keep in mind, though, different email service providers might use similar lingo, but in a different way.

  • Email Service Provider– a company that provides a way for you to collect and organize email addresses as well as send out communications without having to go through your own personal email account
  • Subscriber–a person who provides their email address to you
  • Opt-in–usually the fields or box on a website which allows a person to give you their email information
  • Mailing list, subscriber list, contact list–the collection of people who have opted in to receive emails from you
  • Workflow, automation, autoresponder–a series or sequence of emails sent automatically after a person subscribes or opts in
  • Segmentation, tagging–a way of further identifying your email list such as by location, previous purchases, and links clicked

For more detailed explanation of 120 email marketing terms, click here.

3. Six reasons for an email list

Without an email list, you can’t do email marketing, and trust me, this is a part of your business you want to start NOW, even if you don’t have a website. And you don’t need to wait until you have a “legitimate” business to start one, either.

Here are six reasons why you need an email list:

Reason #1 | Email is the easiest way to stay in touch

Not everyone scrolls the same social media sites as you, and many people flat out refuse to join any social networking or data collecting sites. However, most people have an email address, even if their grandchildren had to set it up for them.

Now with that email address, you have a direct path to your customer. No gatekeepers, no pay to play.

So not only is it the fastest way to communicate with your customers, you have a higher chance of them seeing the information.

Reason #2 | You can’t rely on social media

Again, not everyone is on social media. If they are, the algorithms constantly change, so you never know if your intended audience will see your message.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Plus many platforms expect you to pay if you want your posts to show up in someone’s feed.

If you’re just starting out you might not have the extra cash for promoted posts. Of if you do, you’re not comfortable setting up the ads correctly.

Social media has its place in your business, but don’t use it as your sole means of connecting and communicating with your audience. Let social media be a starting point, one where you guide your potential customers to your website.

Reason #3ย  | It helps you build relationships and credibility

Consumers like to purchase from businesses, or people, they know, like, and trust. By landing in their inbox on a regular basis, you can be more personable. You can tailor your message based on different segments in your email list.

Email gives your customers a way to contact you directly and privately. Over time, you build rapport which may eventually lead to that person purchasing something in the future.

Reason #4 | Your list is a warm market

If someone is on your email list they’ve either purchased from you in the past or they’re interested in what you’re doing.

By handing over their personal information, that potential customer is telling you, “I like you enough and am interested enough in what you do to want to hear more.”

Sort of like dating.

And like dating, you don’t want to get someone’s email and never send them a message. If you wait too long to communicate, they’ll forget who you are and hit unsubscribe. Or worse, mark you as a spammer.

Reason #5 | You own your list

With an email list, you “own” those names. You don’t have to worry about algorithms or keeping up with the latest, trendiest platform.

When you own your list, you also don’t have to worry about ending up in social media jail, or the platform going down in the middle of an event promotion.

You’re in control of when you communicate with your audience, and by using an email service provider, your audience has the best chance of seeing your message.

Reason #6 | The profits are in your email list

The email list is where most of your paying customers come from. Outside of word-of-mouth referrals, my email list is where I see the most engagement and the most sales.

According to Hubspot, it’s estimated that for every $1 you spend in email marketing you get back $38, a 3,800% ROI (return on investment).

Of course this is only an estimate, and your mileage may vary.

Awareness and trust are two key components of gaining a new customer. Once you have both, they’re more likely to purchase from you if they perceive your product to solve a problem for them.

4. Ideas for collecting email addresses

Even if you don’t have a website, start collecting email addresses. Perhaps you use liability waivers, registration forms, surveys, intake or feedback forms. Make sure there’s a space to include their email address.

If you have a website, provide a way for them to not only contact you, but also plenty of opportunities to join your email list. Splash it on each page, in the sidebar, and on in each blog post, like the one I use below ๐Ÿ‘‡

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Include opt-in opportunities on your social media sites, too. Put it in the description of your Facebook page and the side bar links. Both Pinterest and Instagram allow one clickable link, so make it your opt-in.

Be aware, consumers are savvier and inundated with marketing and advertising noise. Gone are the days of offering your regularly published newsletter in exchange for their email address.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Before customers commit their coveted information, they need to feel like they’re receiving something of value in return.

In the marketing world, these little value-adds go by a lot of different terms: lead magnet, freebie, pink spoon, incentive, ethical bribe, content upgrades, or freemium.

What could you offer in addition to your newsletter to potential subscribers?

Perhaps you could make a video of a yoga class, record a guided meditation, teach a lesson through a series of emails (a great way to use your ESP’s autoresponder), or invite them into a private Facebook community.

And regardless of how you collect their information, include a statement about privacy, spamming, and/or never selling to third party companies.

5. how to use email marketing

You have all these names on a list, now what? This is when you start communicating with them.

  • As soon as they sign up, have your ESP send an automatic thank you.
  • Start them on a nurture journey.
  • Have an upcoming yoga event to promote? Create a general announcement email in your ESP and set it to send on a certain day and time.
  • Don’t limit your communications to sales only. Your emails should also inform, educate, and entertain.
  • The more of your personality you inject into your emails, the more your customers will feel like they know you. (And people buy from people they like.)

In this section I mentioned several ways using an email service provider can help you better communicate with your subscriber list.

Now let’s chat about some ESPs.

6. Email Service Providers

Email service providers are the companies that help you automate the collection of email addresses and sending out regular messages.

Without an ESP, you’ll have to manually track and communicate with those names and addresses. Think spreadsheet and using your own personal Gmail account. That might be fine for small lists, but what happens when you have hundreds of names?

Plus, Gmail doesn’t really like to send out mass emails like that. And who wants to dig through endless names on a spreadsheet?

Another great benefit of using an ESP is the analytics. Get real-time information so you can adjust based on how your customer interacts with the email you sent.

There are hundreds of options out there, both free and paid, when it comes to email service providers. You’ll need to do your own research before deciding which is the right one for you.

The four I’ve included are the ones I’ve used and have experience with. Let’s look at the free ones first.

Mailchimp

I think Mailchimp has been around forever, and many, many business owners start their email marketing journey with Mailchimp.

Mailchimp offers both a free and paid version. You pay no monthly fee until you reach 2,000 subscribers. But, if you want certain features, like workflows, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid version.

I used Mailchimp for several years and found them more than sufficient for my basic needs–collecting email addresses and the monthly newsletter I sent out. If you maintain a relatively small list, you may never need more than what they offer.

Mailerlite

Mailerlite also has both a free and paid version. The free version works for up to 1,000 subscribers, and once you reach that threshold you’ll need to upgrade.

I used Mailerlite for about a year and a half and found the system easy to navigate and to set up different segments. As a small business, I also appreciated their low monthly fee structure: $10/month once I hit 1,000 subscribers.

I’d probably still be using Mailerlite if I hadn’t discovered the email service provider I’m using now. More on that in just a moment.

Now let’s look at paid options.

ActiveCampaign

After using Mailchimp for several years and feeling like I needed to “get serious” about my email marketing, I switched over to ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign was more robust than Mailchimp and came with a price tag I could manage. Some of the big names in email service providers, like InfusionSoft and ConvertKit, were 3X the cost and had more features than I knew what to do with them.

I used ActiveCampaign for several months, but realized I was paying for features I wasn’t using, and that had been my whole purpose for switching. Plus, at the time, I didn’t have the headspace for the learning curve that would get me comfortable with all the features.

This was when I switched over to Mailerlite which gave me very similar features as ActiveCampaign, but without the initial monthly cost. I could figure out the features while I got to 1,000 subscribers.

With all the email service providers I’ve mentioned, as your list grows, so does your monthly fee, and this is how most email service providers operate.

๐Ÿ‘‰ The more subscribers = the more you pay each month.

Flodesk

The number one reason I moved over to Flodesk was because unlike other email service providers, Flodesk doesn’t penalize you for growing your list. Whether youโ€™re looking to start small or build an empire, you pay the same monthly price.

AND you get access to all the features.

AND their email templates are so pretty and make it super-simple to match them to your branding.

If you’re on MY email list, you’ve seen these aesthetically pleasing messages since around April.

(You can join my VIP list above and get access to class sequences and meditation scripts too.)

Flodesk offers a one-month trial, then with an affiliate link, you can join at 50% off which right now is $19/month.

7. Final Tips

Be consistent with your email communications. Don’t post and ghost. You don’t have to send something every single day–cause that might get spammy–but you can send once a week and no one will complain.

๐Ÿ‘‰ And if they don’t like the frequency, they’ll unsubscribe.

Know your audience and send content they’ll find beneficial and valuable. If your clients are mostly fur-parents they might not appreciate a 5,000-word dissertation about what your kids did during summer vacation.

Like teaching yoga, be authentic. Be yourself. You’re not a corporation, you don’t have to be stuffy and formal in your communications. Write like you’d talk to a friend so your audience gets a true sense of who you are.

Finally, encourage interaction. Ask a question in your P.S. because a lot of people skip to the bottom. Direct them to some action (conveniently called a Call-to-Action or CTA) and get to engaging with your list, and ultimately converting lurkers into clients and customers.

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