Filed in Content Marketing, Email Marketing for E-Commerce, Email Marketing for Service Providers — November 22, 2022

The 80/20 Rule of Email Marketing

Email marketing has the potential to be a powerful and lucrative tool for your business. By getting people on your subscriber list to like, know, and trust you over a longer period of time, you have more success moving them down the marketing funnel (and toward those conversions!). Making a hard sale off the bat likely won’t feel good to your target audience. Nobody likes the used car salesman vibes. 

That said, getting to the point where your audience likes, knows, and trusts you can sometimes feel overwhelming. What should I talk about in my emails? How much free information should I give? When can I promote my offers? Should I share my personal life? We’ve been asked all these questions before–and they’re valid questions to have! 

And this is exactly where the  80/20 rule comes into play. The idea behind it is that value-packed content and relatable stories nurtures and engages your audience more than sales pitches ever will. And while there’s no magic formula to keep your subscriber base coming back for more–it definitely depends on the business–the 80/20 rule has a pretty good track record when it comes to email marketing success stories. 

Keep reading to learn how to leverage the 80/20 rule in your email marketing content.

The 80% of Your Content

The vast majority of your content in your email marketing should be value-driven content and relatable stories. That means you’re offering free tips, resources, how-to guides, and other useful information that is genuinely helpful for your audience. ALSO included in this 80% is relatable stories and personal-life updates. People buy from people. The more your subscriber feels like they know you, the more they will trust you. And the more they trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you. 

You should give out a ton of free content to help establish yourself as a subject matter expert. This information tells your audience that you know what you’re talking about. Trust is built over time. In the case of email marketing, it’s built over months of consistently valuable information shared with your subscribers.

If you think you’re giving away too much free content, you’re NOT. Many of your subscribers won’t follow through with actually implementing your advice, probably because they don’t have the time or energy to do so. When that happens, they’re going to try to outsource the work–and your business will be top-of-mind, since they know you’re good at what you do.

The 20% of Your Content

While 80% of your content should be fully focused on providing value to your audience and sharing relatable stories, the other 20% should be dedicated to selling with integrity. 

Remember, you’re not a used car salesman, so don’t act like one! Most people don’t appreciate an in-your-face pitch, so be gentle with your sales, especially when your audience doesn’t resonate with the typical “salesy” content. 

Instead, focus on the benefits of your offer and the transformation your services provide. Let your audience know about any updates in your offer suite, and how they can get in touch. Invite them to learn more, and leave the door open for subscribers to ask more questions, follow up in email, or talk to you directly. 

And while it’s important to spend MOST of your time focused on serving your audience and supporting them with what they need, it’s equally important to actually market your services, too. If you never ask for business or put yourself out there, subscribers won’t know what you’re offering, and those sales aren’t going to magically appear.

The Whole 100%

You do have some freedom in how you implement your strategy. For example, you could send out each of your newsletters with 80% value-based content, with a little bit of sales at the end. Your other option is to send 80% of your newsletters with JUST value, then leave a few emails open JUST for sales. 

At the end of the day, using the 80/20 rule helps guide your content creation while providing your audience with genuinely useful information. If you only have one rule to live by when formulating your email marketing plan, it should be this one! Give it a try to see how it works, and be sure to let me know how it turns out.

Sign up for Acorn Digital Strategy’s newsletter for more tips and tricks on email marketing–and to see the 80/20 rule in action!

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