If there were ONE resolution that every person reading this should make for 2017, it’s this:
It’s time to get a grip on email marketing!
(And to my ever-present artist community, that green you see in the banner above is Pantone Color of the Year, Greenery. They explain, “‘Greenery’ signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate” and then they mumble something about the past year and tumultuous times. Et Tu, Pantone?)
Meanwhile, it’s been almost two years since I have concentrated on email marketing in my blog. I make mention here and there in many of my posts, but I realized that I haven’t really put my significant knowledge base out for consumption for a very long time. And I can’t think of another subject that is more important as we head into this New Year.
Email Marketing is still the reigning champion of serious marketers everywhere and in every industry. And it has only gained strength with the tumultuous (to borrow from Pantone) and ever-changing landscape of Social Media. When will Facebook quit changing every rule? And what can anyone do that is effective without spending quite a bit of money now?
I know you have seen this before, but it’s worth revisiting. This is “outdated” now because there have been three very significant changes to Facebook’s algorithms since I designed this infographic. I am sure the 40 times number would be much higher today. This was from a study released in January 2014.
And don’t get me started on the rest of the Social Media platforms. I just can’t keep up with the ongoing changes in Social Media. I do a little of this and a little of that, but I really don’t feel connected to someone who likes my page or follows my tweets the way I do when I send an email. I know that every person who gets on my list – 97% of them anyway – will get an email sent to their inbox when I hit the send key.
AND even better than knowing my emails are landing in the inbox, I also know exactly WHO opened my email and who engaged with the email. I know because I can see the “click-through” report. It’s very powerful information. It is essential for becoming a better marketer.
They open the email, they see a “read more” button, they click to visit to my website, and read more. It’s all in the reports.
The Power Needs a Source
To be clear, this is not something you do in Gmail, or Yahoo, or Outlook. This requires a professional program; an Email Service Provider (ESP) like my affiliate and fabulous program Constant Contact. There are many others, including the ubiquitous program, Mail Chimp, or Aweber, etc. Just pick one. (You might want to start a free trial and get my personal assistance.)
When you are using an ESP, it’s worth noting that the programs allow you to have “extra sensory perceptions”. You are able to create deeper relationships by targeting your messaging to the audience for whom your message matters. If I send an email to someone who joined one of my four separate email lists. I can send them the news and information THEY want. It’s all about THEM. (Where have you heard that before?)
To meet the specific needs of people who are interested in My Golden Words, I have a separate list for
I hope you can see how this can help you with building relationships in your business. It’s useful for almost any one. For example, if you are a pet store owner with an online shopping cart, you can target dog owners with special “doggie news” in emails and “kitty news” to a different list. The best way to train a dog is not going to be of interest to a cat owner, and dog owners are not going to care about how to keep a litter box clean.
When you are having a store wide or site wide sale, send to everyone, but to keep your audience engaged – keep it ALL about THEM. Email lets you do that better than any other marketing tool. List segmentation is the cat’s meow! Stay relevant, interesting, and helpful and you will gain trust and sales will eventually follow.
And those wonderful and engaging emails need a schedule
Take a deep breath. This is not hard to do. I can help if you want me to, but I know you can do this: ONCE A MONTH MINIMUM – twice a month is optimal. This, of course, depends on your industry. A restaurant will likely send at least one email a week, for example, to highlight specials or entertainment, or whatever is exciting and newsworthy.
But even every other week is certainly easier than the 3 to 5 posts a week recommended for Facebook, right? And MUCH easier than the 5 tweets every single day that is recommended for effective “reach” of your audience. Whew… makes me cringe to imagine coming up with something useful and engaging 5 times a month, let alone 5 times a day! (Which could explain why my twitter feed is filled with junkie quotes and silly platitudes from total strangers I am following because (and only because) they started following me. Who’s coming up with worthy material 1800 times a year?)
My schedule is based on my blog posts which makes the entire process, very simple. (Stay tuned – Blogging 101 and 201 is coming soon.)
- Blog – like this one – on a subject that has something to do with marketing.
- Create an email that alerts those of you who are on my list that a new blog post is published.
- Send email and move on to the next week’s post about the E’s of Selling Art for THAT list.
- Repeat 1- 3 every week rotating between the two blog post groups.
See how easy that can be? (LOL – I can hear you groaning about the blogging!) And then there is the occasional email about other news. Like all the recent emails letting you know about the new My Golden Words Academy for Small Business Success.
No blog? No problem!
If you just want to stay in touch, you can certainly send a short and sweet email that, similar to a Facebook Post. Share some simple bit of interesting news, etc. You can start on a Tuesday and send out ever other Tuesday. Or – baby steps – pick the first Tuesday of every month. But you must stick to a schedule.
Simply pick a subject that you know will be relevant, interesting, and maybe even helpful, and put that into a quick email. Link to something relevant. For example, if you are a jeweler, you might send an email each month that links to a fascinating article about the birthstone for that month. Don’t send them to a blog post from a competitor!
However, you could send them to the American Gem Society, a non-profit organization, and they can learn about the history of the Garnet – the January Birthstone. See how easy that is? But can you see how much better it would be if you didn’t send them anywhere except to your website? Just sayin’…..Blogging is a marketing guru’s best tool!
Six Quick Tips!
Email marketing, like all marketing, has it’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s dependent on several factors to be effective. These are critical steps:
- You need a professional Email Service Provider to be in legal compliance. This is not a job for Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, etc.
- You must have permission to send a business related email to anyone: people love to get emails from businesses they know and trust. You can send a one-to-one (Gmail, ect) type of email to establish yourself, but when you want to do business, you need at least “implicit” permission or you risk breaking the law and can even face fines. To Canadian inboxes, “implicit” is not enough.
- You must have name recognition to land in their inbox and get opened: Your Name and/or your Business Name need to be in the “From” field. The “Reply to” field should also be an email address that is trusted.
- Your Subject Line needs to be compelling or clearly creating the motivation to open the email now. “Monthly Newsletter” is not compelling and might even cause some to just unsubscribe. “New Merchandise Just Arrived” clearly will have a better chance of getting attention. I have an entire PDF I give away for free all about how to create subject lines. It’s part of my new online course “Resources 101”, but you can get the PDF without buying the course.
- Send when they will “respond” and actually click on your link and learn more or buy now. If you got an offer from you favorite retailer or blogger at 10 PM on a Friday night vs 8 AM on a Thursday morning, which do you think you would most likely pay attention to or even react to? While it can vary by industry, we are all either worn out or out playing on Friday night.
- Make sure your email is mobile device friendly. No one wants to pinch and zoom on a phone screen to read your message and that is now one of the top reasons why people will unsubscribe. This is another reason why you want to use an ESP – the better known ones all offer totally mobile ready templates.
This list can go on and on if I am not careful. (For Artists Only: I co-wrote an 160+ page e-course with Carolyn Edlund of Artsy Shark – it’s incredibly useful and affordable)
But as a bonus, here’s one more tip: Pay attention to your reports. Whatever ESP you use, they should give you a clear picture of how many people open your email, who those people are, and if they clicked on your link (your CALL to ACTION). From that information you can start to formulate more information and use that information to drill down deeper. This is very valuable when you are creating an email that is connected to a special offer or a sale.
Just know this: you must use diplomacy with emails. If you are a giant corporation who has only one thing to sell and that is selling, then be like Amazon and send emails for selling only. However, if you are a small business, like me, you want relationships to develop over time. You want people who have interest in you to “get to know you”. Send emails explaining, teaching, sharing, with your subscribers. They don’t have the benefit of meeting you in person and getting to know you. Emails bridge that gap.
At a loss for words?
Are you feeling stuck? Are you in a profession that is services only? Are you a tax consultant or own a hair salon? Maybe you sell something that people only buy once in a great while, like a home. Why would I want to get emails every month from a real estate agent or office? With a few exceptions, everyone can grow sales over time by incorporating email marketing.
Can’t see it working for your business model? Put your comments below and let’s all do some brainstorming for your industry or business. There are some very smart people who read my blogs. Let’s help each other and move boldly into 2017 with more control over our messaging!
However, if you are feeling a bit shy about sharing here, we should chat. Click to email me me anytime.