Spam. We all hate it. If you dare to utter the phrase “email marketing” the response is usually a look of horror. It’s not surprising as unsolicited emails have been associated with malware, scams and viruses.
If done in the right way, however, email marketing is one of the most powerful tools for driving leads, sales and customer action. Over the past decade I’ve sent millions of emails on behalf of companies which have resulted in enormous returns on investment. These are the lessons I’ve learned when starting a mailing list and they can be applied to any business.
1. Start building your email list. IMMEDIATELY.
Grab a pen and paper. I want you to ask the next customer you speak to if they would like to receive a monthly email from you. Tell them that each month it’s going to contain a surprise that they’ll love. The majority of the time they will say “yes”. Do this at every “touch point” (phone, in-store, on your website) and your mailing list will grow at a rate of knots. Building a list doesn’t require technology – as long as you can get their name and email address and keep it somewhere safe, you’re all set.
2. Ready to send? Make your subject line irresistible
Getting people to open emails is hard. That is, unless you make the subject line irresistible and personalised. Be mysterious, keep them in suspense – make it so they have to open your email. “Anna, here’s that surprise I mentioned…”
3. Deliver on your promise
This is (theoretically) the hard part – you’ve promised a surprise and now you have to deliver. The key is to provide them with something of perceived value. Shop owner? Offer an invite to an exclusive event where you’ll serve prosecco and discount some items. Lawyer? Pick a story in the news relevant to your customers, write an article with your insights and package it in a PDF as a guide to download. Make sure to encourage an action, whether it’s clicking on a link or hitting “reply”.
4. If you love them, let them go
People change and so do their circumstances. Perhaps you’re a recruiter and your recipient got a new job. Perhaps you sell furniture and your recipient bought a new bed. Whatever the reason, people are going to want to unsubscribe from your mailing list. Make it clear and obvious how they can do that. Don’t be scared – either they’ll unsubscribe or delete every email you send them. Better to let them leave with a positive final interaction.