Was that title too harsh? Sorry, not sorry. Are you looking for ways to grow your business in a meaningful way? Do you want to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry? Are you sick of posting to social media every day without seeing engagement and results? We’ve all been there. Do you have an email marketing strategy? Maybe you think email isn’t right for your business. Or that email is dead. No one uses email marketing anymore. I want you to rethink what you’ve thought about email marketing. It isn’t dead. It is alive and well, and you just aren’t using it right.
Fine, I will give you even more reasons to stop ignoring email:
- 58% of us check our email first thing in the morning
- For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect a return of $32
- Email is the most effective online marketing tactic and it’s algorithm proof. When you post on social media, about 6% of your audience will organically see your post. When you send an email, 100% of your audience will receive that email. You can deny those numbers. I’m not telling you to ignore social media to focus only on email. But in our world today, we focus our time and efforts more on social media because it is where we personally spend so much time and there is more of a “keeping up” mentality. Email is much more personal and it is about YOUR CUSTOMER, not you.
- You own your email contacts. When someone opts-in to your email list, you own that contact. When someone follows you in Instagram, Mark Zuckerburg owns that contact. Moving to a new email sender? You can take your contacts with you. Creating a new Facebook page? You have to ask all those people to move with you.
- Build the know, like and trust factor. Before you sell to someone, you need to warm them up and get them to know like and trust you. This is much easier to do through regular email marketing. When someone signs up for your email list, welcome them with a series of emails that provides value, introduces them to you and let’s them know what to expect from you.
- Email lets you stay top of mind. They say someone has to hear from you 7 times before they buy from you. By consistently showing up in your audience’s inbox, you are staying top of mind. Every time they see your brand in the inbox is a positive thing. Even when they delete your email, they are seeing you and interacting with your brand. When they are ready to buy, you want to be the brand they think of.
I don’t think email works for my industry
I hear this objection a lot. Whatever you sell, whatever industry you are in, email can work for you. Here is how to use email for three main industry categories:
Now that you know it WILL work, HOW do you make it work?
The three main steps to make email marketing work for your business include:
- Create a place (and a reason) for people to sign up and opt-in to your list
- Create a plan to serve before you sell to build the know/like/trust factor
- Serve your subscribers well, eventually selling to them
Choosing a provider
If you are starting from scratch, you need to choose an email provider. There are a lot of tools out there depending on your needs, number of subscribers, etc. Personally, I have been loving a new platform called Flodesk. I am also a fan of Mailchimp, but there are a lot of other services out there depending on your preference. Mailchimp is nice because it is free up to 2,000 subscribers. But there are limits to how many segments you can have and other limits with the free plan. Flodesk has more design flexibility and has a flat rate price no matter how big your list gets or how many segments or automation flows you have. You can also get a free month to test it out and get 50% off the month plan for life if you use this link (disclosure: affiliate link).
Other popular email companies include:
- Constant Contact
Don’t overthink this. Do research the pros and cons of different tools, but then when you have found the right one, stick with it. Do not waste time flip flopping and switching between services. You will constantly be starting over and drive yourself crazy.
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT
BUILD YOUR LIST
Once you have chosen a tool, you have to start to build your list. You have to get people to opt-in to your emails and sign up for your list. To do this you have to give people a reason to sign up, and a place to do it.
Someone’s email address is worth $15-$20 these days. So you have to give them something of the same value in exchange for their email. What can you give them for FREE in exchange for their email? You cannot just say “sign up for my newsletter”. What is your newsletter? I don’t know, so I have no motivation to sign up for that. You haven’t built that know, like and trust factor with me yet. Get me to sign up with something of value, and THEN you can send me your newsletter.
There are a few ways to add value:
- Educate (teach them something)
- Save them time
- Save or make them money
- Add joy
What does your audience value? What knowledge do you have that you can share? It doesn’t have to be complicated. If you spent a bunch of time researching something you were interested in, save someone else the time and put all your findings together and offer it. If you were interested in it, chances are someone else will be, too.
You have to own that you do have something of value to offer. Do not let self doubt creep in here.
What it might look like:
- A free download that shares a tool or process that has helped you in your business or your life.
- A template they can customize
- A quiz
- A discount code
- Nutritionist: free meal plan guide
- Retail: 15% off next purchase
- Bookkeeper: Top 7 financial tips for business owners
- Real estate: How to stage your home for sale on a budget
- Therapist: 5 ways to improve your mental health
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. This is the best way to grow your email list. And growing your email list of one of the best ways to grow your business.
Now you have to create the place for people sign up. You can do this right in your email provider. Create the list, build the form and copy the code or the link. It really is that easy if you choose the right tool.
Next – you have to put it out into the world and ask people to join. There are a lot of ways to go about this. Here are some ideas to start:
- Add a sign-up form to your website (using the code from your email tool)
- Post about it on social media with a link to your sign up form
- If you have an existing or past customer list, you can send them a personal email saying you want to continue to keep in touch with them, and include a link to sign up in that email.
- Add the sign up link/form anywhere else your audience may see it (think email signature, Instagram profile, etc.)
Wondering why you have to get permission? Long story short, it’s the law! But it also means your audience is more likely to stick around because they chose to be part of it.
One thing to keep in mind is that you have to continually share your opt-in. You can’t just post it once and that’s it. If you are sharing the link on social media, remember that only 6% of the people who follow you will see it. I don’t tell you that to discourage you. I tell you so that you understand you won’t be annoying people by posting multiple times.
NURTURE THE LIST
Now that you have your list starting to grow, what do you do? Do you just reach out when you “have a reason”? No – you need to continue to connect with them to build that know, like, trust factor.
Know this—If someone signed up, they are excited about what you have to offer. Do not make the mistake so many people do by not following up and staying in touch.
To immediately build that know, like and trust factor, create a welcome series of 3-5 emails your audience will receive within the first 2-3 weeks after they sign up. This is for brand new people when they join your list. And this will be an automated sequence that you can create and build so that going forward, you don’t have to do anything with it.
Wondering what to send? It doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy emails. You can share your story, let them know what they are in for as part of your community, share other ways for them to connect with you (social, blog, website), give them a quick win and teach them something (share a hack or tip or tool you love), ask a question encouraging them to respond to your email.
So what do you do with people who are on your list and have completed your welcome series? This is where consistency and having a plan comes in. Choose a plan and schedule you can stick to. Ideally I want you to aim for sending 1 email every week. If that isn’t realistic for you, then choose a plan that is. Every 2 weeks? Monthly? If it is less frequent than that, you need to hire or train someone to help you with this if you want see an impact on your business from email.
Plan out 4-6 weeks in advance so that you know what content needs to be created. When you create that content, plan to share it in multiple ways. Do not just let it sit in email. Share it far and wide to get the most bang for your buck. I have talked before about how to repurpose existing content. Check that out for more ideas.
For example, I write a blog post every week. I do the following with that content:
- Write a blog post on my website
- Build an email to send to my list about the blog post (I share a little of the post and then link to the full article)
- Share the article on my social media
- Turn the blog post into an article on LinkedIn
- Create a video highlighting the main points and inviting people to read more at my blog
The goal here is to get the most leverage out of a single piece of content. Email is just part of the puzzle, but it’s a huge part. When I share the blog post with my email list, 100% of the people on the list receive the email. And 40-50% of those people open my email. Even those who don’t open the email? They are still seeing my name and my company in their inbox. I am still top of mind for them.
Your goal in this step is to
- Choose a schedule you can stick to. That might be once a month right now. That’s fine. You can pick up the frequency later.
- Brainstorm at least 4 topics you can write on with authority.
- Serve before you sell. 90% of the time you should be offering something of value 10% of the time call them to action
- You don’t have to have a reason to reach out.
Some ideas of what to reach out with:
- Share something you’ve created: article, social post
- Encourage and reach out – make them feel understood
- Ask a question. Send a survey or ask them to respond with something
- Round up your favorite products, IG accounts, podcasts, books, resources
- A day in the life – people love behind the scenes glimpses at what others are doing
Plan to spend 1-2 hours a week on your email list. Can you commit to that?
So let’s review your road map and the steps you are going to take to have your plan set for the next 4-6 weeks so you can feel confident going forward.
- Choose your provider and set it up
- Create an opt-in (brainstorm 2-3 so you can test what works best for your audience)
- Share your opt-in anywhere and everywhere and often. Make sure you have your email provider set up to automatically send out your freebie when someone signs up.
- Create and build out your welcome series of 5 emails to send over 2 weeks.
- Plan out 4 weeks of emails that will go out after your welcome series completes.
Download this printable roadmap to help you organize your plan for the first 4-6 weeks.
I know this is a lot. I literally do 90-minute live trainings on this. So, if you want to talk through any of these steps or concepts or how to make it work for your business, let me know. I am happy to help. Just send me an email—I’m here for you.