Email Marketing: How Carrie Dils Makes It Work

Despite all the social media tools that come and go, email continues to be a solid option. But using it effectively isn’t always so easy. How can freelancers effectively use email marketing to grow their business?
carrie dils

Today we hear from WordPress developer and consultant Carrie Dils. She helps freelancers refine their tech and business skills. Carrie also hosts the podcast.

“The best advice I can give is to deliver actual value, not just fluff.” -Carrie Dils

This conversation covers consistency, delivering value and knowing your audience.

What are some of the most important things you need to do to have a successful email marketing strategy?

First things first: Start collecting email addresses via an opt-in on your website!

Seriously though, I’ve found that consistency is key to keeping subscribers around (even if you’re only mailing once a month). If you only send an email every six months, people forget who you are and unsubscribe.

How do you stand out in someone’s inbox when there are so many other things going on (both for the recipients of your email and for you)?

I wish I had a magic bullet for this one. The best advice I can give is to deliver actual value, not just fluff. Also, engage with your subscribers. Ask them questions and encourage them to reply. Knowing more about what your subscribers want will help you craft emails with content they find valuable.

It seems like a lot of people in this industry who are successful with email are actually targeting freelancers and not clients or they have a product to sell. When you’re a freelancer and focus on clients, how do you offer valuable content to people who need websites but don’t live and breathe websites?

For starters, you need to know who’s on your list, and a lot of that depends on your opt-in strategy. For instance, if your opt-in is a free ebook targeted at freelancers, then that’s probably who’s on your list. Alternatively, if your opt-in is something like “6 Things You Need to Know Before You Hire a Web Developer” (I just made that up), you’ll attract more end clients to your newsletter.

So assuming your subscriber list is targeting clients (or potential clients), focus on sending industry-related material (if you serve a niche) or maybe a digest of relevant news. There’s no rule that says you can only email out your blog posts. If your blog posts are targeting the same audience as your subscriber list, then tailor that content appropriately.

You’ve specifically transitioned from client services to coaching/consulting/education (primarily of freelancers). How has your email strategy changed with that transition?

I hinted on it above, but the biggest thing for me was changing my opt-in to something that specifically speaks to and attracts freelancers. I did this a few months ago and I’ve seen a notable uptick in new subscriptions and email engagement.

All that work targeting emails and delivering value takes time. How does Carrie pull it off? She’s got a few solid time management strategies.

For more from Carrie Dils, check out our previous interviews on best practices for WordPress freelancers and her first and best clients.

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