How to Audit Your Email Marketing & Improve Your List Building

So your lead magnet (also known as opt-in, freebie, free download, etc) has been released to the world for a while. And you've moved on to focusing on other things in your business. But, do you wonder if your email marketing strategy is working for you?

I encourage you to carry out an email marketing audit to find out what's working, what isn't, and whether there's room for improvement. In this post, I'll walk you through the steps that will help you do just that.

(1) Sign Up For Your Own Lead Magnet

Be honest. When is the last time you've really taken a look at your opt-in form? What do you say to your new subscribers in your welcome emails? How about the lead magnet itself? Does it live up to its promises? Is it easy for new subscribers to download it?

It's time to take stock of all that and the first step is to sign up for your own list. Keep pen and paper handy to take notes.

Try to look at each piece of the process from your subscribers' point of view. How attractive is the opt-in offer? Is the headline catchy? Do you help your readers solve a problem with your lead magnet and the content you provide in your emails? Are you hitting on pain points in your copy?

As you're signing up, look at how easy and smooth the process is. Look at how much information you're asking for. If you use a dedicated landing page, is the copy on the page engaging and relevant? Are there things you could improve or clarify? Does it fit with the overall look and feel of the rest of your site? Do you have any distractions on the opt-in confirmation page and email? Do your readers know what to expect?

After signing up, you should land on a thank you or download page. Make sure you have it set up and are using it to your advantage. It should be clear to your new subscriber where to click to download the lead magnet, but this isn't the only thing you can do here. Start to think about using this space to create a relationship with your readers and to turn them into customers. We'll go into more detail on this in step 3. And, of course, you should make sure all the links on this page work. You don't want to make a bad first impression.

Next, head to your email account and review the welcome email you received. Going forward, look at each message in your welcome sequence (if you have one) as it comes in. Make sure all the links are working, the offers are still valid and the messages make sense. Change and tweak as needed.

(2) Take A Closer Look At Your Lead Magnet

It's important that your lead magnet is something of value to your subscribers. That's why it's vital that you start with your target audience in mind. You don't necessarily want to appeal to everybody. Instead, you want to attract the right people who will love your services/products and recommendations. In short, you want your mailing list to be made up of future customers. Do you know who those people are? If not, now is a great time to figure out your target audience and get it clear in your mind.

Once you know who your ideal customer is, think about the questions they have and the problems they face, as related to what you have to offer and where they want to be. For example, if you're targetting parents of toddlers who are just starting to potty train, their goal is of course to get the kid out of diapers for good. These parents may be wondering (a) "When's the right time to start potty training?" and (b) "What are the signs that my child is ready for potty training?"

Spend a little time to brainstorm ideas for questions and solutions for your own target audience. Think about how your existing lead magnet fits into that picture. Is it a good fit? If not, it may be time to come up with a new lead magnet. Think about format as well. Is a short downloadble report attractive to your market? Or would they prefer a short video or an interactive quiz?

Don't be afraid to create multiple new lead magnets and test them out to see which one performs best for you. It's time well spent when you find the opt-in offer that helps explode your subscriber list.

(3) Review Your Download Page

Your download or thank you page is where your new subscribers land on after they sign up, either being automatically re-directed or by clicking on a link in the welcome email. This page is prime real estate on your site for two reasons.

The first is that just about every single subscriber sees that page. They want their opt-in freebie, right? So they will click through to the download page to access it. In short, this will likely be one of your most visited pages.

The second reason is just as important and it's about the quality of the website visitors. These are red-hot leads. They are very interested in what you have to say and they trust you enough to hand over their email address. Take advantage of that fact and present them with an offer right on the download page while they are open to taking you up on it.

So, let's audit your download page and see if there's room for improvement.

How to Audit Your Email Marketing & Improve Your List Building

At the minimum, you want to have the following on your download or thank you page:

Thank your subscribers: Not only is it a nice thing to do, it also lets them know that their subscription was successful. This is also one of the first impressions you make, so make it a good one. Give them access to the lead magnet: Keep your promise and deliver the lead magnet. This could be a PDF download, an imbedded video, or the information they need to access a course. Make sure everything is clear and simple. Not only does this avoid frustrated subscribers, it also saves you on quite a few support emails.

A way to get in touch with you: No matter how clear you've made everything on your thank you page, some people will have questions. Make it easy for them to get in touch with you by providing your email and/or links to your social media profiles. Getting emails from subscribers is actually a good thing. It allows you to continue to build that 1:1 relationship.

Optional, but highly recommended extras to provide on your thank you or download page:

With the basics covered, let's talk about my favorite addition to the thank you or download page that has made a huge difference in my own business. It's to make an offer right there for a paid product. Ideally this will be your own product, but in a pinch, you can also make an offer for an affiliate product.

Right after they sign up, you have their full attention and you know exactly what they want and need. Come up with an info product that's closely related to the lead magnet they just signed up for. Using the potty training example again, a perfect product for the download page could be a short guide on how to potty train your child in 48 hours.

Keep this information product highly targeted and inexpensive. You don't want to offer a high ticket item here. This is the very beginning of your sales funnel. Offer something low cost (anything below $40) depending on your target market. Make it a no-brainer offer and get them on that customer list.

(4) How Welcoming Are Your Welcome Emails?

Let's now take a look at your welcome emails. These are automated emails that get triggered after someone signs up to your email list. Often, we write them up quickly while we set up our list and then never look at them again. That's a huge mistake because, in general, your welcome emails have the highest open rate, click through rate and engagement of anything you send. Most people who signs up to your list will open your welcome emails in order to download the free resources they've requested.

More importantly, every new subscriber is a potential customer. They've just signed up for your mailing list and your lead magnet. They've just found you and are very interested in what you have to say and how you can help them. In short, you have their full attention. Don't waste that opportunity.

By using their attention wisely, you can continue to nurture and grow the relationship with your subscribers. Let's quickly go over the different components of a good welcome email.

How to Audit Your Email Marketing & Improve Your List Building

The subject line should be to the point and let them know exactly what the email is about. Reference your site or your lead magnet in there to remind them why they've signed up. Next you want to give your readers a warm welcome. Tell them a little about yourself and your business. This is also a great place to set expectations. You can greatly improve your future email open rates if you let them know how frequently you'll be emailing them, what topics you cover and why they should open your emails.

If you publish a weekly newsletter, share a little bit about what's in those newsletters, what day of the week they usually arrive in their email inbox, and what tag to look for in the subject line. Let's say you publish a weekly newsletter for young parents. You may choose a tag like [Parenting News] as part of your subject line for each issue. Mention that in your welcome email so your readers can start looking for it.

If you have a welcome sequence set up, tease them about what's coming in the first email of the sequence and let them know when to look for it. You can also hint at exclusive content, coupons and the likes that are coming in the coming weeks and months.

Last but not least, encourage your subscribers to hit reply and email you. Ask them a question, suggest that they share a tip etc. Get them to engage with you. Not only does this allow you to take the relationship to the next level and give you a chance to get to know your audience better, it also greatly improves the overall deliverability of your emails.

Make it a point to review your welcome emails every six months or so to make sure they still serve you and your readers well.

(5) Are Your Messages Serving Your Customers?

If you have a email nurture sequence, look at each of your email messages from the point of view of your subscribers and customers. You want to look at both the content and the offers you are presenting them with. Let's run through some questions you may want to ask yourself as you read through each of the email messages. Keep your ideal customer in mind while doing so. This will be the person you're writing to as you work on all your email marketing strategy.

Does the subject line grab their attention?

Start by examining the subject line of each messages. It's what determines whether or not your subscribers open your email. It can be helpful to look at the stats in you email marketing software to find out what emails have high open rates and which ones don't. Rework the subject lines of under-performers and see if you can find a better way to grab your readers' attention.

Are you serving them with the content you're sharing?

Next, take a look at the content you're sharing in your emails. Examine each piece of content and ask yourself if it serves your audience. Are you helping your readers? Are you answering their questions, addressing their concerns, or entertaining them? Keep your ideal subscriber in mind as you work through the content. If something doesn't serve them, take it out of the email sequence or edit and change as needed.

Remember, you're building a relationship here and you have to earn your subscribers' trust before they will become an integral part of your customer base and your online business.

Do the order of the messages make sense?

As you work your way through your email messages, ask yourself if you're presenting your readers with information, tips and offers in a progressive order that makes sense? For example, you don't want to present the solution to a problem you haven't discussed with them yet.

Review the order and timing of your emails and tweak as needed. You'll be surprised how much difference a simple switch in emails can make when it comes to open rates and number of sales from your product recommendations.

What do they need or need to know next?

As you're editing your sequence, ask yourself what else your readers need and what they need to know next. Not only does this help with the order of messages, it will also help you come up with more topics you can help your readers with. That's something you want to continue doing going forward.

Is this the best service/product to recommend?

Yes, you want to make offers and start earning a nice little income from your list. But you should do so with your subscribers' best interest in mind. Are the services/products you're recommending worth the money? Are they a good fit for them? Don't make offers for offers sake. Make offers because you know this is something that will provide value to your audience.

Go through the messages one at a time and improve what you can. Don't be afraid to delete entire emails if they don't serve your subscribers and replace them with something else. Quality always trumps quantity here and you should be protective of your readers. Nothing kills a list faster than hitting them up with a bunch of crappy offers to make a quick buck. You're in this for the long run and that means taking care of the people who have trusted you with their email addresses.

(6) Are Your Messages Serving You?

In step 5 of this blog post, we looked at the message sequence to make sure it's serving your audience. In this step, you're going to go through the sequence again, but this time specifically as a business owner, making sure the messages are serving you and helping you make money. This means getting more people to look at the quality offers you've presented and taking you up on them.

Your best friend here is the analytics data from your email marketing service, plus any other tools that help you measure page visits and click through rates. Google Analytics is great for this. Setting up goals, for example, is a good idea to see what's working and where in your sales funnel you're losing people.

How to Audit Your Email Marketing & Improve Your List Building

There are a few metrics you should track. The first is open rate. If your subscribers don't even bother to open your emails, you need to do something. Start by looking at the subject line and see what you can do to improve it. If that doesn't work, it may be a problem with the subject matter. In that case, I suggest replacing the message with something different.

The second metric you want to keep an eye on is click through rate for any links in your email messages. If you're not getting clicks, chances are that you're either not writing a strong enough call to action or that the content and/or offer isn't all that interesting to your readers. In either case that's something you want to fix. Go back to what you've learned about your audience and what they need to solve their problems. Craft the offers and content with them in mind.

The third metric you want to take a look at is unsubscribes. Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that you panic and delete messages anytime you see someone unsubscribe. Instead I want you to look at the big picture here. You will always have some people unsubscribe from your list at various points in the message sequence. However, if you see spikes in the number of unsubscribes at particular messages, then you'd want to take a closer look at them and tweak as needed. Perhaps you try to sell too hard on a product you love? Or you're talking too much about yourself and not enough about how you can help them? Re-work those messages, tweak the copy, or even replace them with something that's better suited to your target audience and see if you can improve those stats.

There's a lot you can learn from your stats and from what your readers tell you. So, pay attention and take action going forward. You'll find yourself becoming a better email marketer as time goes by.

(7) Develop A Game Plan For The Future

While an one-off audit like this is a great way to update and improve things, it's just as important to keep an eye on things on a regular basis to keep improving your list building.

Let's say you're going to send your subscribers one new email message per week. You could put it on the calendar as a weekly activity that gets done every Tuesday morning, for example. Or, if you prefer to work in batches, you could set aside a day every couple of months where you write and add 3 months' worth of emails. Find a rhythm that works for you and then get in the habit of doing it regularly.

Next, make it a habit of looking at your opt-in conversion rate. What's the percentage of visitors who see you lead magnet and sign up for it? Play around with your opt-in forms and pages, the placement of the forms, and the copy etc. and see if you can get that percentage to go up. Most email marketing services give you the ability to split test your forms and pages. Take advantage of that.


Key takeaways

Conducting an email marketing audit helps you fine-tune your lead generation and list building process. Keep the following checkpoints in mind during your audit:

  • Review the sign up process and make sure it's easy for people to get on your email list.
  • Ensure your lead magnet solves a problem for your subscribers.
  • Make the best use of your download or thank you page.
  • Review your welcome email or sequence.
  • Check that your messages work for both you and your target audience.
  • Check the tech side of your email marketing for mistakes and/or inconsistencies.
  • Fix what needs to be improved, and remember to measure and test everything.

How to Audit Your Email Marketing & Improve Your List BuildingHow to Audit Your Email Marketing & Improve Your List Building

How to Audit Your Email Marketing & Improve Your List Building

How to Audit Your Email Marketing & Improve Your List Building

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