This is a recent interview that I had with Aweber’s Director of Education Marketing Justin Premick about how to use email marketing for your online marketing.

1. Is email marketing still relevant with social media, blogging, video marketing, and other forms of online marketing?

It seems like every couple years, a new marketing medium or technology is pointed to as the replacement for email. In the past decade, we’ve seen blogging, video, text messaging and social media touted as “email killers.”

What these technologies have in common is that they each pair quite well with email to multiply their effectiveness. They represent an opportunity for marketers to increase their usage of email, rather than move away from it.

Take social media, for example. It’s a great way to increase the reach of your marketing campaigns, but what’s more valuable:

  1. Someone who likes your page on Facebook and then ignores your posts in their feed (or hides them)?
  1. Or someone who gets to your Facebook page, sees that you have an email newsletter with great content and special offers, and signs up?

I say it’s the latter. Once someone is on your email list, you can communicate with them in a more personalized, 1-on-1 fashion. You can also encourage them to spread your message to other people – via social media – which can help you grow your list even more.

2. How does your email marketing campaign fit in with the rest of your online marketing strategy?

I regularly talk to businesses who say that their entire operation is essentially built around 3 things:

  1. Getting people to their website.
  1. Getting them to sign up to the email list.
  1. Sending them emails to build trust and sell products.

Think about it: if you could talk directly to each of your potential customers, wouldn’t you make more sales?

Anonymous visitors to your website can’t tell you much about why they’re on your site, where else they’ve looked for similar solutions to their problem, or what their objections to purchasing from you are. Without email, people come to your site and they either purchase from you or they leave – maybe forever, or maybe to buy from the next guy.

Email is your direct line to your customers and prospects. It’s how you ask customers what problems they’re having and show them how your business can solve those problems. If your emails deliver value, they will lead to customers purchasing from you.

3. What is the best strategy you have seen from email marketers?

The most consistently successful strategy is to create and deliver high-quality content to your subscribers. We all want to use email to sell more; sometimes it’s easy to forget that in most cases, our subscribers didn’t sign up to our lists just to be sold to. They have problems that they want our help solving, and it’s up to us to provide those solutions in a way that makes them want to do business with us.

While you can certainly dive deep into advanced tactics, at the core all successful email marketing comes down to delivering valuable content to your subscribers. If you do that, the other pieces fit together much better.

4. I know personally I get a lot of emails that I have no clue who the sender is and what they are talking about with their email. Can you describe what are the best practices (preferably legal) for collecting emails and also how to make sure that your subscribers know why they are receiving emails from you?

While few legitimate businesses set out to send spam, sometimes they’re not well-informed about how to build their list and conduct an email marketing campaign without spamming people.

The good news is, it’s actually quite easy to adhere to legal requirements and to also follow best practices for delivering email newsletters and other campaigns.

You’ll get far just by following this principle:

Only send emails people want, to people who tell you they want them.

This means you:

  • Only email people who ask you to add them to your mailing list.
  •   Only send them emails that are valuable to them. This usually means sending them emails that are closely related to what people asked for and were expecting to receive when they signed up.
  • Don’t add people to your mailing list unless they directly ask you (in person, for example, or by filling out a signup form on your website) to do so.
  • Make it easy for them to unsubscribe.

From a legal standpoint, you also need to provide your valid postal address in your messages (this is required by the CAN-SPAM Act, which is US law). There are other legal regulations as well, but they center around making it easy for people to unsubscribe and not adding people to your email list without their permission. So if you follow the above principle, you’ll be in good shape.

5. Why is a service like Aweber valuable to email marketers? What is the difference between Aweber and just sending emails from a Gmail account?

AWeber helps businesses set up, manage and automate their email marketing campaigns. We make it easy to:

  • Collect subscribers through a signup form on your website.
  • Create, schedule and deliver email newsletters.
  •  Automate your sales messages through a sequence of messages you set up to be delivered to each new subscriber (we call these messages auto-responders).
  • Automatically unsubscribe people who don’t want to hear from you anymore.
  • Track how your emails perform so you can improve future campaigns.

All of those are things you can’t do if you’re just sending your email campaigns through Gmail or Outlook.

Additionally, we help you succeed through live customer support 7 days a week and resources like our email marketing tips, videos and webinars.