This is going to be fun! This week on the 5 Circles Series we’re going to be discussing email marketing. Email can be used both B2B and B2C, it can generate sales, create brand awareness, build relationships, share ideas, inspire people, and grow your business.
But should you be using it?
The short answer: yes.
The long answer: yyyyyyyeeeeeeeeessssssssss. (That was longer, wasn’t it?)
Seriously though, there is literally no reason not to use email marketing in your business. Every email you send is a form of marketing, if you’re smart enough to include business info in your signature! So let’s get down to it:
Should you use email marketing?
Marketing Circle: Social
You’ve heard about Twitter. You know about Facebook. The value of networking with people is unsurpassed. I have personally helped brands to grow their following using all of those mediums. But do you know which tool in the social arsenal worked the best – out of every possible method? Email. If you do nothing else from the social circle, make email your focus – you will *not* regret it.
Best-fit Archetype: Communicator
Do you love writing? Is creating new content one of your favourite parts of running your business? Have people told you that you have a knack for communicating your ideas in a way that reads, and flows, very well? Then you are likely a communicator – the archetype of most writers, bloggers, and media moguls. Sharing information (yours, or someone else’s) is your favourite past-time, and email marketing is an amazing way to share your information with your newest raving fans!
Secondary Archetype: Expert
If you love being the centre of attention, then email marketing might be the right fit for you. Experts are well suited to informative newsletters that position them as the source of must-read information on the topic at hand. Be sure to use other mediums (video, images, audio) in your email marketing if writing isn’t your forte!
How does it work?
Essentially, you create an “opt-in” or “landing” page – a place where people who are interested in your business can gain more information in exchange for their email address. Offering free, helpful information is a great way to get people to subscribe. If your brand is well-known and trusted, offering a discount can be effective as well.
Once they subscribe to your email list, you have the ability to send them information, special offers, new content, and anything else your heart desires. If you use ecommerce in any way, or have online response mechanisms (like appointment scheduling, for example) email marketing is likely to drive a high percentage of your sales.
- Let people opt-in! I see so many companies, especially product companies in FMCG/CPG sectors (but some service-business owners, bloggers and online entrepreneurs as well) hiding their opt-in form. Put it in your header, put it in your sidebar, put it in your footer, include a link in your content, do a popup – make sure that if someone lands on your site and wants to be on your newsletter, they can. I’ve seen 4 blogs this week alone that expected you to follow them on Twitter for their latest posts. << Don’t do that.
- … But don’t force it. Yes, email marketing is likely to be one of the biggest drivers of your business moving forward if you utilize ecommerce or have an online response mechanism in place – but because the costs involved in email marketing services (I use Mailchimp) increase pretty much with every subscriber you have, you really want a responsive, engaged list of subscribers… Not a huge list of people who could care less about your existence. Engagement doesn’t only come from the content of your newsletter, it also comes from the sources of your subscribers. Make sure that everyone who subscribes to your list really wants to hear from you.
- Offer something of value in exchange for their info. Seriously, nobody wants your “newsletter” (or at least, they don’t know yet that they want your newsletter.) They want the answer to their prayers, the solution to their problems, the “more, better, faster” to their “less, worse, and slow”. Offer them something they can’t resist – something you would/should charge for – for free, in exchange for their information.
- Segment your lists. Don’t send the same offers to someone who is a loyal buyer of your products that a brand new, wet behind the ears subscriber gets! Your most loyal people get your best insights and info, and get the opportunity to move up to higher and higher levels of investment in your products and services. It’s called a sales funnel, and it works.
- Give a [email protected] That number, from 0 to infinity, staring back at you from inside your email marketing dashboard is not a magic machine that spits out more and more money the bigger it gets. That number is the number of people who have bothered to give you time and attention out of their valuable day. Maybe they’re reading your email instead of playing with their kids, doing their chores, finishing work for a client, I’ve even gotten responses from people who thanked me for my inspirational messages while attending a funeral (not kidding.)
You don’t know what those 10, 300, 6,000, 250k people are doing today, but they’re not digits and email addresses – they are people. Write to them, share with them, and treat them and their time with respect. Earn their respect. That is how you generate money from email marketing – use it to build relationships with people whom you can help.
- Write epic sh!t. << Enough said. (Thank you, Corbett.)
- Stop using Feedburner. I know, they’ve improved their features and you can now X, Y, and Z. That doesn’t matter. Stop using Feedburner/blitz/deliveryguy/razzledazzle/whatever today. Be professional, use branded email marketing that comes from your own email address with your own spiffy signup form and confirmation emails. Nobody is impressed by your Feedburner follower count more than they would be impressed by your newsletter subscriber count, and with the RSS-to-Email capabilities (Google it) that exist today, you’d be crazy to put all of your eggs in the soon-to-die Feedburner basket.
- Don’t beat your subscribers over the head with offers, unless that is what they signed up for (which is really only true if you’re Groupon. And you’re not Groupon [probably. If you are, hi Groupon!]) They signed up for value, deliver them value – and if you can add to that value with well-placed, timely offers of additional help and support (aka your products and services) then do so. Train your subscribers to expect regular content and offers, and lots of value. They’ll love you for it.
- Ignore everything on this list (except the Feedburner thing. Seriously guys…) Don’t do email marketing the way anyone says you “should”. Some people say to email daily, others say monthly. Some people say you should include 10+ images, others say none. Do it your way, test, track, monitor, and improve – and who knows, you might actually end up learning what your ideal clients and customers really want along the way!
So there you have it. Is email marketing right for you? If the sky is blue and bears are you-kn0w-what-ting in the woods, then yes. Do email marketing. Build a database of people who want to hear from you, who find you valuable, and want to learn more about what you can do for them. You will not regret it!
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An ex-corporate marketing maven gone rogue, Cheryl Woodhouse is a Business Growth Mentor and Certified Master Law of Attraction Practitioner who helps small business owners to use their business growth as a tool to design their ideal life – one that includes plenty of profit. She has the uncanny ability to pinpoint the perfect business model for your goals, using your unique skills and abilities as a guide to create a strong foundation for your success. She then uses her mad skills in marketing to eliminate the overwhelm and frustration in your business, guiding you to choose 5 highly profitable core activities, and ditching the rest. You can find out more about your ideal marketing methods on her blog at CherylWoodhouse.com