Email marketing is probably more relevant now, than ever before.
As Facebook gets tougher to use for a business (well, that’s a debate but let’s agree that it’s tougher than last year), and as new mediums emerge, email is still there as a mostly untapped resource.
Why do I say mostly untapped?
Here in New Zealand it’s mostly untapped. Not many companies are using it well. Some use it, but as far as I can tell, the outcomes aren’t great at this point.
Generally, when I look at a company with an email database, I see 2 key problems.
This is mostly here in New Zealand anyway… plenty of overseas companies with more background are getting it right, but for New Zealand business, these are the 2 key problems I see:
ONE – focal point is the wrong way around. The company email gets used to talk about the company, not the ideal client.
Send me an email that talks directly to the things I’m into, and I’ll open that email. Send me an email that waffles on about YOU YOU YOU, and I’m out.
Plenty of people feel the same way. Certainly in 2018, people are getting off lists and databases more frequently, so you have to talk to them about them, not you.
TWO – no clear call to action OR too many calls to action. The general idea is to provide value, interest, and engaging content, with ONE call to action.
That’s the model that I see working best anyway.
Good email marketing is targetted at the right people, it’s got engaging, interesting content, and it’s got a clear call to action.
Here are the steps I usually walk a client through when setting up an email marketing engine:
Define your ideal customer
This underpins everything you go.
Every piece of content that you publish, needs to be written for your ideal customer. It needs to be interesting to them, and written or produced with them in mind. Know who your ideal customer is.
If you aren’t sure, start with looking at your existing business, and find a few customers, that really are perfect fit. Customers that use you often, tell their friends, and are generally a pleasure to do business with. Real win/win types.
Decide what they want to hear – in relation to your business
This is the hardest part for some businesses, but it needn’t be.
There will be common things that come up in your business all the time. Talk about those things on video, or in a blog post, or create a downloadable PDF for your site that solves a common problem your customers have.
Talk to staff. What things come up again and again?
Research your competitors and similar businesses in other countries – what content are they putting out?
Have you had certain topics get more traction on Facebook than other topics? What does Google Analytics tell you about your site? Which pages are getting most traffic?
Once you have ideas about content, you are on the way to having something to offer.
Set up a list
This step scares some people, but again it’s not that hard to do. There are literally dozens of online guides about the set up of the various email providers.
There are quite a few around now. Aweber – Ontraport – Drip – Mailchimp.
Personally I recommend Mailchimp because it’s really well known and easy to use. Familiarity means people will open the email, and hopefully read it. Mailchimp is also easily integrated into your website and Facebook page.
To start up a Mailchimp account, just google “how to set up mailchimp” and you’ll find a page like the one below, as you can see on the left hand side, there is a really easy to follow step by step process:
Run Contests and start reaching out to build the list
Some people would do the next step first, setting up a lead magnet, but I like doing it this way just to start to get a bit of momentum and iron out any bugs.
You can use your Facebook page or other social accounts to run some contests – join the list today and you are in the draw for a prize type of stuff. I’d also reach out to customers, past customers, leads etc, and ask them to join in too.
At this point, you also need to have one key compelling reason to join the list. Think of what your business does in this format “we help xxxx do xxxx” as a nice short, elevator pitch. Do the same with your newsletter – this newsletter helps Merecedes Benz owners get the best out of their car OR our newsletter helps busy mums stay fit while working and juggling life etc etc.
Your compelling reason might even be “we’ll be sending out new release product info, and a discount card, every single week”
Get creative, talk to your ideal customer, but give them a key reason for being on that list, and test it out in this phase with the first contests and outreaches you do. If the key reason for joining isn’t clear or good enough, you’ll quickly find out and you can rethink your strategy.
This is crucial. Give something awesome away, in exchange for an email address.
A voucher, an ebook that’s really handy, a membership card, something really attractive that people would almost pay for, but you are giving away.
If it’s a voucher, or ebook for example, pay a designer to do it professionally so your business looks good right through the process. A good lead magnet can have a huge impact on your bottom line as a business, so make it generous, and professional.
PS – I get this done for clients with a professional designer, the cost is irrelevant. It’s a great thing to do.
Design your Template
Now this step is something you can also get a designer to do, because you’ll be using this newsletter to represent your company in many inboxes. Key for you is getting your topics or sections agreed upon, in a way that you know will bring most value to your customer.
For example. My first business kicked off back in 2001 – and in those days we used Hotmail for our email marketing. We could only send out 50 at a time! The business was a fitness training business, so our weekly news included a recipe of the week, workout of the week, research update, and something personal from our clients eg a success story.
This simple format worked incredibly well. We were located in Sydney Australia, and within a year we had subscribers across 4 continents! Sadly back in those days there was nothing I had to sell the overseas readers, but wow, was it cool to know that on Tuesday afternoons when I belted out that newsletter, people all around the world were benefitting from my knowledge!
Do not delay. Get some newsletters out, don’t sell, just give value and great content. This step is killer for some clients…. you just have to get that first one out, and watch what happens.
Watch the Data
This to me is the real fun. Your email provider will be able to tell you very handy information like open rates, click through rates, optimal times of day to send etc etc. Learn as much about the data as you can, most importantly open rates.
Tweak things next time to see what happens. Are you able to A/B test on your email provider so you can see for example if subject line A or B is better for open rates?
The more emails you send out, the more data you’ll have. Over time, you’ll get better and better at reaching more people, getting more clicks to the links in the email, and getting more shares. This is where it gets really cool because your list grows, you open rates grow, your click throughs grow, and before too long your email list is bringing you really good quality customers into your business.
Takes a bit of time but so so worth it. Email is here to stay, start using it today and watch your business grow!
Corey Hinde – The Good Oil Marketing Dept