How To Develop Your Email Marketing Strategy

Filed in Email Marketing by on April 7, 2010 4 Comments

Your email marketing strategy will reveal your process

Make email part of your total marketing

Email has become a bastard child for many marketers. They view it as a necessary evil. The words “email blast” and “spam” have made email feel slimy. We hate opening up our inbox and seeing ads for prescription drugs and other unmentionables.

If you are on the anti-email kick, I’d like to encourage you to change your mindset. If done right, email can become a wonderful marketing tool that people will actually WANT to receive from you. It’s all how you use it. Make email marketing apart of your marketing arsenal and commit yourself to learning the most effective ways to use it for your business.

What a great email marketing strategy looks like

Think about why you are marketing

Your goals will ultimately determine your approach. If you are offering customer support via email your approach will be very different from someone who is using email as a lead generation.

One size doesn’t fit all.

You will need to use various email marketing methods depending on your goals. Here is a brief list of the types of emails you may send.

  • Raising awareness
  • Asking for consideration
  • Call to action emails
  • Instructions on how to use a product
  • Retaining customers and rewarding loyalty

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus in on using email as a lead generation tool while building a relationship with your readers.

Building an email list is the holy grail of online marketing

Building an email list is the foundation of online marketing. Consider this… after you get your coffee in the morning and turn on the computer, what’s the first thing you do?

Check your email?

I thought so.

Everyone in business checks their email. Period.

Simply put, growing subscribers grows sales. Some marketing professionals estimate that you will make an average of $1 per month, per subscriber from your email list. If you have a list of 100 subscribers – you will most likely average about $100 per month income. If you have a list of 25,000….

… let’t not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

Build a relationship with your list

It is important to treat each email subscriber as a person that you are in a relationship with. Think of them as a friend and someone that you want to add value to. Email your list regularly and offer them massive value. Be generous and give away some of your best stuff.

If you’re an online business with low cost products, give some away to your list. If you are a brick and mortar store, give away coupons and other offers through your list. The goal is to build a solid relationship with your email list.

Give a clear call to action

One of the most powerful uses for email is driving people to take action. With one click of your mouse, you can send an email to thousands of people inviting them to an event, offering a great deal, asking for feedback or launching them a new product line.

Give subscribers a clear call to action. People want you to tell them specifically what action you’d like them to take. Don’t disappoint. Be clear and let them know what you want them to do.

Follow up

Use email to figure out what your prospects and customers want…. and give it to them. Every lead generated must be followed up with. Prospects buy on their timetable  – not yours. Keep the prospect pot simmering.

Think holistically about using email through the entire customer lifecycle. This may take more planning on your part – but at the end of the day you are creating a system that will consistently convert prospects to customers.

Moving people from visitor to evangelist

A solid email marketing strategy can convert website visitors into raving fans of your products and services.

When you attract visitors to your website and offer them something for free in return for their email address they become high quality prospects. The second stage is to follow up with them by adding massive value and solving their problems. Thirdly, you get them to buy something and become a customer. Once they have success with your products or services they often become megaphones for your business.

Here is a simple diagram to show the progression of how you want to move people along your email system.

Visitor –> Prospect –> Customer –> Evangelist

You’re goal is to move people through this cycle and email marketing can help you do this.

Measure your results

I always say “if it can’t be measured, it doesn’t exist.” Most email marketing services have a reporting and tracking feature built right into their software. I would suggest that you shy away from the ones that don’t.

We currently use Aweber to power all our email marketing and they have an excellent feature that can track all the opens and clicks of our subscribers.

I can’t stress this enough… MEASURE – MEASURE – MEASURE.

How to build your email marketing strategy

Start by sending out a regular eNewsletter to get started

If you don’t know how frequent to mail to your list, start by sending one per month. But don’t just re-publish your company press releases and other materials. Make the email about your prospects and their needs and desires.

Teach your staff that a prospect’s email is the Holy Grail

You need to place the same value on an email as you do a sale… sometimes an email is more valuable than a sale.

For example, let’s say you sold a $20 product one time to a customer and never saw them again. Great. You made $20.

Now contrast this with the customer who doesn’t buy on the first visit to your site. Instead they give you their email address in return for a free report.  Three months later this person buys a $300 product from you. Then three months after that they hire your firm to do some high level $5000 consulting. A year later they recommend your business to an associate resulting in a $10,000 service contract.

Having this prospect’s email and building a relationship first is way more valuable than if they’d bought a $20 product at the start and you never heard from them again.

Treat customers and prospects differently

Customers and prospects should be on separate email lists. Once a person on your prospect list buys something, move them to a customer list. Now you can begin to invest heavily in your relationship with them and work on developing them as a better customer. Some email service providers allow this to be done automatically.

Your email should be at the front of your marketing mix

As strategy goes, email needs to be at the front of your strategy. It’s cost effective, track-able, saves time and can produce incredible results.

Today’s 10 Minute Exercise: Put email capture into every stage of your business

Talk with your staff about the importance of email

Give your staff a little pep talk about how important it is to capture email addresses. If it’s just you, be clear with yourself why email is the best way to capture leads and follow up toward getting a sale.

Look for places in your business that emails are slipping through and plug the holes

  • Is your inbound sales team capturing emails?
  • Do you have an email subscription box on your website?
  • Are there times when you or your staff are face-to-face with customers that you can capture email addresses?

Identify all the places in your business where you connect with prospects that could be used to capture email addresses. Be certain you aren’t letting any slip through the cracks.

Sketch out your email strategy

Based on the information above, sketch out how you will capture, followup with and add value to your email subscribers and leads.

Now go take action.

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Toolset Note: While there are many email marketing services out there, we use Aweber email marketing software. They are inexpensive, have great customer service and will help you build an effective email marketing list quickly.

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Joel Mark Witt is the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership. He is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. Get more from Joel on Twitter or Google Buzz.

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