Last week, we talked about the benefits of content marketing, what it looks like and why it should matter to you. Do you remember those numbers I quoted showing that 90% of consumers find custom content useful, and that 78% of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships?
Email campaigns are a highly effective way to deliver interesting and valuable content to every prospective, current and past customer. They provide the perfect medium for the personal touch you need to create incredible relationships – the kind of relationships that build trust and earn you income, not just once, but consistently over time.
In developing an email campaign, an essential marketing rule to remember is that people buy when they are ready to buy. Most people won’t make a purchase until after the 5th contact with your company. That’s why it’s important to create not just one email, but an organized campaign, spread out over a period of time, that offers solutions to your clients’ problems.
Offering a solution that your reader really wants establishes you as an authority and gives them a reason to visit you again. Plus, a well-planned email campaign keeps you at the front of your customer’s minds so that you’ll be the first place they turn the next time they have a need for your product or service.
Build Your Contact List
Content marketing comes in many different forms. It looks like an email newsletter, a blog post, a special report, a whitepaper, a webinar, a podcast or a video. Even social media posts are considered content.
Of course, before you can send those emails out, you have to have someone to send them to! While emails from unknown business sources will usually go straight to the spam box, most customers appreciate emails from businesses they have developed a trusting relationship with. It’s relatively simple to collect referral leads through the connections you build in social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Slideshare, Quora, etc. Blogging about your expertise, and guest blogging for someone else, is another rich source for referral leads, particularly if you include a strong call to action to sign up for a free product on your website. One of the most effective method’s we’ve found for building our list is by offering free teleseminars and webinars.
As you determine where to focus your list building efforts, don’t forget to make it easy for prospects to sign up for your emails. Be sure to send people to a landing page where the only choice they have is to opt-in for a free gift that speaks to their needs (such as a video, audio or pdf of some kind). Their opting in should trigger and receive an email sequence of high quality messages that engage them and build their trust in you.
Tips for writing effective emails:
- Write like you speak and write with a clear purpose. Emails should always be sensitive to building a relationship. Two other basic reasons for your emails will be to ask for a sale (even if what you’re selling is free), or my personal favorite, to educate.
- Always give your reader relevant content. Remember, it’s all about your customers’ needs, wants and passions. It’s your job to be a reliable source, one that they can believe in and trust. Make sure your email is well-written and free of errors. You will lose your credibility if you have too many mistakes or inaccurate information.
- Give your prospect more than you ask for. In between sale requests, share tips of your trade, links to articles about your industry, invitations to webinars, newsletters, free gifts, or even a joke or two. Be creative and have fun.
- Expect to spend a significant amount of your writing time developing a really good subject line. It will not be time wasted as this is what will compel your subscribers to open your email.
- Provide a clear and urgent call to action that focuses on a benefit the reader wants.
- For smart phone users, an estimated 90% of messages are read within the first 15 minutes of being received. Be sure to optimize your email for mobile devices.
- Integrate your emails and your social media. Add share links to your content, and encourage the reader to pass it along. One of today’s most effective marketing strategies is to combine email marketing with blogging and then share pieces of your blog content on your social media profiles
Just a little note to wrap this up: You may come across articles claiming that email marketing is dead, but that simply is NOT true. The numbers continue to show that customers appreciate personal contact. It makes them feel important and cared about. Effective emails can give your client reliable information, solutions to problems and a reason to act today. In fact, we get a significant number of our clients from sending an email newsletter each week. So what are you waiting for?
Your Action Plan For This Week:
- Decide what you want to offer and create a compelling freebie. Remember: to make it compelling, your offer needs to address at least one of the top 3 questions your ideal client wants an answer to. And don’t forget to build a landing page specifically for your offer. This will significantly increase your conversions.
- Build your referral leads – Make yourself known on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Slideshare, Quora, etc. Invite your followers to visit your website and sign up for your free offer. Look for other list building opportunities like speaking at live or virtual events. Consider hosting your own free teleseminars and webinars as a strategy to attract more subscribers.
- Regularly survey your audience to stay on top of what they want and need – The more you know about your customers, the easier it is for you to customize the emails they receive. When prospects know that your emails apply to their needs, they are more likely to read them, instead of filing them in their “to be read” folder.
- Sign up for an email service. Utilizing a specialized email marketing program will save you hours of frustration and make your communications look more professional. Besides providing handy customizing tools and fancy email templates, an email service can help you track who is opening, clicking through, and sharing your emails. This gives you a way to test the effectiveness of every message you send. A few reliable email services we recommend are: Infusionsoft, Constant Contact, aWeber, and 1ShoppingCart (aka Net Office Toolbox).
- Carefully craft the subject line for each email. This is an often overlooked but critical step! A single word in a subject line can improve conversion by as much as 20%.