Email Marketing

Email Marketing: 7 Ways to Build Relationships and Get More Customers

With the so much emphasis on social media, many believe digital newsletters and email marketing are less valuable as a marketing tool. I disagree.

When done properly, email marketing can complement other online and traditional marketing tactics. Most email platforms offer options for automation, landing pages, integration with e-commerce and list segmentation. So it’s an effective and affordable way to generate new business and keep current customers engaged and buying more.

Whether you want to stay connected with customers, build your reputation as an expert or generate leads and sales for your business, success (a.k.a. results) with email marketing is in your reach. Here are a few things to consider, so you get results.

How to Get More From Email Marketing

Build a permission-based list. Customers and prospects that choose to receive your emails are a goldmine for small businesses. Make it easy for people to sign-up by including a ‘join our mailing list’ option on your website, blog, email signature, etc. Invite people you meet at events to join. Invite customers who visit your location to join. Make building your list a priority.

Deliver what you promise. People sign up based on what you communicate: the value and the frequency.  If you promise tips and articles, include them. If you commit to specials or savings, offer them. If you promise something free, make it easy to get it. If they expect something monthly or weekly, be consistent. And remember, more is not always better. Set the expectations and deliver what you promise. Otherwise, people will unsubscribe or not open your emails.

If you use email marketing for multiple purposes, allow people to choose what they wish to receive. Most email marketing platforms allow for options or subscriber preferences. For example, a reader may sign up for your monthly newsletter only, everything you send or something in between. They have control and you have readers who want what you send.

Use a compelling ‘subject’ line AND headline. You need both. The subject line get’s it opened, the headline get’s it read. Too often, the subject line is almost an afterthought. Give it the same attention you give a headline – make it compelling and recognizable. One way to do this is to include your company name such as ’10 Tips for Better Living from Company XYZ’ or ‘Upcoming Events from John Smith’. If you do a monthly newsletter, give it a name and include it in the subject line each month. The headline in your email is a key to getting people to read it and works the same as other print advertising. Make it benefit focused – what’s in it for them or why should they read more?

Stay True to Your Audience. Be clear on your target and always write with them in mind. Since most email marketing lists begin with customers, you should have a good idea of who they are, what challenges they face, what they like and dislike and why your products and services are the best choices.

As your list grows, you may have less intimate knowledge about your audience. That’s okay because you can assume they are looking for the same value and information. Why else would they sign up? So stay true to your target and you’ll enjoy greater success with your email marketing.

Make Content Count. If you are writing promotional copy, keep it concise and make sure your message – value/benefits, offer, and call to action – is clear and understood. Bullet points and sub-headlines work well. Write copy in the present tense, not passive voice. Avoid weak words like can, may, and maybe since they dilute your message.

If you write newsletters, make sure the topics are relevant and timely for your audience. Select topics that tie-in with what is happening in the news, in their lives or in their business – at this time. Include links to your website, blog, special offers, or other resources – to create additional traffic.

Encourage sharing. Ask readers to share directly or via social media. It’s a easy way to get your message to others, grow your list and generate additional leads.

Use Customer Quotes. Adding a brief but compelling customer quote creates a third-party endorsement and added credibility to your email marketing. Make the customer ‘real’ to your readers by including the customer’s name, city, company (if applicable) or even a picture. If you have testimonials on your website or online reviews, include a link and invite your audience to check them out.

It’s Measurable & Actionable

Email marketing is highly targeted, low-cost and measurable. Most programs include reports to show you how many subscribers opened, clicked on links to your website or other URLs, and bounces.

But here’s the best part. You can get a list of WHO opened and then clicked through to learn more. It’s actionable. You can follow-up or send additional information to create more sales opportunities.

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7 Ways to Make Your eNewsletters Pay Off

7 Ways to Make eNewsletters Pay OffFor more than a decade, small businesses have used newsletters to stay in touch with customers and prospects. It’s a proven method to build relationships, generate repeat business and get some coveted referrals.  But with ever-changing technology and the rise in social media and blogging, eNewsletters have also evolved.

So what are some of the keys to success today? I posed this question to Nancy Sipera, President of First Impressions Marketing.

Get More From Your eNewsletters

  • Have a clear purpose.  What do you want to accomplish with your newsletter and why would people want to receive it?  Clarity here will make it easier to define your target and develop your content.
  • Be relevant.  Your list can be segmented into smaller groups based on subscriber preferences, type of relationship, buying habits or other demographics.  This makes it easier to deliver relevant content if you stay true to your targets.
  • Keep it brief.  Newsletters typically have multiple elements, including articles, case studies, promotions, and announcements.  Keep the content brief for easy scan-ability in order to build interest.  Use links to lead readers to your website, blog, or landing page for more information.
  • Be a resource.  Demonstrate your expertise and provide useful information that will help your target audience solve problems or improve something in their life or business.  Mix in education with promotional messages or special offers.
  • Include video.  Most email marketing platforms allow for a video done by you or others. Depending on your business, videos can be educational, motivational or simply entertaining.  But do keep them relevant to your target.
  • Use a clear call to action.  Tell your readers what you want them to do using action verbs like Read More, Learn More, Buy Now, Call Us For a Free Quote or Sign Up Today.
  • Be consistent.  Decide on a frequency, set an expectation with subscribers and stick to it.  If someone subscribes to a monthly email, avoid sending them stuff weekly or they will likely unsubscribe.
eNewsletters: Professional and Easy

Email marketing platforms such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, and iContact make professional newsletters relatively simple.  The reporting allows you to track key information such as open, bounce and click-through rates.  And here’s a real bonus.  The reports also tell you who opened your email and what they clicked on. A nice feature for follow-up if you choose to use it!

If you are on the fence or need help getting started, contact Nancy Sipera at (856) 667-4882 or visit her website to learn more.

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For additional ideas to improve your small business, visit my article library.  For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter.  When you do, I’ll also send you my FREE eBook, How to Build Profit Through Leverage.

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Email and Social Media: Better Together

With all the attention on social media, have you given up on email marketing to build relationships and grow?  Do you view them as an either-or strategy for your business?  If so, you might want to re-think this   When they work together, the combination is far more effective.  Here’s why.

It’s all about the customer!  Some prefer email, some prefer social media – and yes, some prefer both so they can choose each week or month.  By eliminating one of the channels of communication, you may actually do more harm than good.

Why Together is Better

  • Subscribers vs. Likes or Contacts.  With permission based email, subscribers choose to receive your emails – and will continue on your list if you deliver quality content that meets or exceeds their expectations.  Not all social media contacts or likes actually receive your feeds – so building up those likes on your business page may give you a false sense of delivery.  According to Facebook, about 15% of your ‘likes’ receive them.  They need to opt-in for this, it’s not automatic.  By doing both you reach more people using the channel they prefer.
  • Targeted vs. Mass Distribution.   Email marketing is typically more targeted if you allow for various list options at sign-up.  Social media has the potential for mass distribution through search engines and sharing.   Most email marketing programs allow for expanded reach through simple or automatic sharing on social media and friend forwarding.  Depending on your purpose, they can complement each other and improve your marketing efforts.
  • Amount of Content.  Email marketing allows you to provide more information to encourage subscribers to act – in most cases, visit a landing page.  Social media is designed to be brief; it’s a tickler to entice people to click for more information like a blog post or offer.  When used together properly, they can draw more visitors to your website or business.
  • Quality of Content.  Consistently poor content is a killer regardless of the channels you use.  Think helpful and relevant to build relationships and eventually sales!  Email marketing tends to work best with unique content at a regular frequency – determined by you and your subscribers!  Social media requires a lot more posting to be effective.  But by design, social media allows you to combine your unique content while sharing helpful tips and ideas from others.  You are not under the gun to create ALL the content you use on social media.  This can be a time-saver if done right.
  • Reporting.  A good email system provides plenty of information down to the subscriber or contact level which can be a valuable learning and improvement tool.  While some social platforms provide sharing, click and reach data, you have difficulty finding your advocates – those who viewed and shared posts on your Facebook business page?  But using what you learn through email marketing can help you improve the other.
  • Video, Surveys and Events.  All are very popular today – and both platforms allow for use of them.  Whether you utilize email, social media or both will depend on your goals and who you want to reach.

Looking to re-start your email marketing efforts?  Then check out my article, 7 Ways to Build Relationships with Email Marketing, for some tips and ideas.

As an advocate for integrated marketing – using a variety of methods to get the word out – I recommend you use both email and social media within your marketing mix.  They build off each other and work together to drive traffic to your website so prospects can learn more about your company or offers and take the actions you want to make them a customer!