Email marketing is a very important part of your marketing mix, and is often the most neglected by small business owners. Why? Sometimes it’s the idea of writing an email to a big group of people that can be intimidating. More often than not, it’s just because we aren’t valuing email marketing as much as we should—we don’t realize the benefits of having an email list.
I don’t know how many times I have had clients who are either not emailing at all or have no system set up.
If you don’t already know this, your email list is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. These people are hand raisers, saying at some point, “I want to hear more from you.” That is a huge deal. So many business owners miss the opportunity to market to their most avid fans. I was one of those people! I was spending so much time on other parts of my business, including other forms of marketing, that I put building up my email list as a last priority. It was a huge mistake, one that my sales team never neglected to point out to me.
Emails allow you to connect, communicate and educate your client list, get them to know and trust you, and ultimately buy from you. Your emails become a monthly or weekly (daily for some businesses) conversation you’ll be having with your clients. Your “voice” will become known to them. The information you share (hopefully relevant) will create trust.
Buying from people we know and trust is a LOT easier than buying from someone we don’t.
It doesn’t take long to set up an email marketing program:
- Choose a provider (Constant Contact and MailChimp are free to use for a basic plan)
- Figure out what to say (at least one email per month)
- Create a template
- Add sign ups to your website or social channels
- Offer something to get people to sign up
Chances are you already have some email addresses and contact information of your customers that you aren’t using. That’s the start of your list! I enjoy using Constant Contact more than MailChimp, but that’s just personal preference. If you’re a small business or professional, chances are you will be set with a free account.
Get a notebook, and write out 12 topics that are in your line of business and would be helpful to your customers. Then write out 1-3 benefits for each of the 12 topics. At any point, write those emails! Make it interesting, make it brief, and get to the point.
In every email, make sure to include a number of things:
- a Call to Action (CTA): don’t be overly pushy on the sales. These emails are about your clients, not just you.
- Promo: give a discount or offer
- Calendar of events: are you a speaker? Attend important meetings in your industry? Hold events?
- Testimonials: increase your trust quotient with quotes from past clients
- Contact information, office hours
- Links back to your website and social channels
- Links to any products or services you might have mentioned
Remember, our ultimate goal is to establish a relationship with our clients, not to just sell them stuff. You want your clients to look forward to your emails. They will if you provide them with information that is relevant and interesting, that benefits their lives. Don’t forget to have someone else proofread your email content. You’d be surprised at how many errors we tend to gloss over, no matter how many times we check for them!
Bottom line: email your list!