You’ve heard it for years: the money’s in the list. But before you start imagining rolling around in all the money you’ve made in email marketing (P.S. does anyone really do that? If so, I need to know) it’s worth considering the right way to reach your ideal customers not just now, but well into the future.

If you want to get the most of your investment in time and money spent on email marketing, you have to avoid making the biggest mistake that costs other businesses thousands of dollars.

You see, the money is in the email list, but only if you’re consistent and address your reader’s pain points.

You have to view the lifetime value of every single person who joins your email list.

Your emails have to inspire them on a regular basis by providing amazing value such that when you do offer something to buy, your prospects can’t get the credit card out fast enough.

You don’t build value with a quick fix. (Cue images of all the marketers today touting claims of “I made $50k with cold traffic!” or “Make six figures in the next 24 hours.”)

Sure, it would be great if someone subscribed to your email list and bought your highest-priced offer the next day. But that’s like meeting someone for a first date and deciding to get married in Vegas tomorrow: it rarely works out.

There’s no trust.

The relationship hasn’t been built yet.

But it’s not just unrealistic – it’s way off the norm. That’s a one-time sale. To get another one-time sale, you have to start the process all over again to get the customer to opt-in, read your emails, and then take action.

Would you rather make $100 tomorrow and then never again, or $5,000 over the next few years from the same person?.

The answer is: DUH. Lifetime value.

So how does this process start?

You must, must, must know your customer.

The basic metrics like open rate and click through rate are, in a sense, vanity metrics.

What good is it to say that 80% of your list opened your email but not even one sale was made? Too many email marketers today focus on these metrics as an indicator of the trust they’ve built with their audience.

It’s awesome that your readers are opening your emails – but what are they doing next? What’s the call to action? Why are they continually motivated to let you into their inbox?

You need to take someone all the way through the trust and engagement process – they need to feel comfortable with doing something beyond clicking on your subject line.

Remember, we’re not going through the Elvis drive-thru chapel here and expecting results (and that’s no shade thrown to Elvis.) We’re courting the customer here, building a relationship, and then looking for results.

Action Steps

  1. Think about four different topics and subject lines you could use in your next email marketing newsletters.
  2. If you’re building up to a launch or product offer, consider the four biggest pain points or questions your customers would have, then design the headlines and emails around those four ideas.
  3. Now set expectations on frequency with your subscribers and be consistent.

Bonus: Always ask yourself if you’ve addressed your reader’s pain points.

Result You Will Achieve

Increase the lifetime value of your email subscribers.

Mentor: Michael Leander

Founder of Markedu, international speaker, marketing trainer & consultant focusing on CRM, customer strategy, customer loyalty, marketing automation & social media.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.