For many businesses, email marketing comes as an afterthought.
In fact I’ve come across very few business owners who list email marketing as a priority.
I know you may not have given it much thought and every time you think about it you probably keep on pushing it back.
I totally understand. Email marketing isn’t as flashy and good-looking as social media.
But did you know that email marketing could drive more ROI than all your other online marketing efforts combined? That’s right – email beats ’em all: website marketing, display advertising and social media, combined.
But why is email so effective I hear you asking?
Simple: Email gives you the most direct and reliable form of communication with your audience.
It’s therefore imperative to create an email list and keep growing it no matter which industry you’re in.
But where do you start? Well I’ve prepared a 5 Step approach that will get you up and running in no time.
Simple Step #1 – Build a Buyer Persona
The very first step to starting and running an email newsletter that people will read is knowing your target.
Who’s your audience? And what do they like?
The best way to know this is by creating a buyer persona which will help you craft better targeted messaging. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional profile representing your ideal customer that helps you gain a better view of who they are.
The persona should include such information as:
- A name and job title.
- Place of work and job position.
- Demographics i.e. age, gender, salary range, physical location, level of education, and family status.
- Goals and challenges hindering them.
- Values and fears.
- How you can help
How do you know all this?
With your website analytics, you can tell where your visitors are coming from, the keywords used and the amount of time spent on your website. This data will help you understand what they were looking for that drove them to your website and the tools they used to get there.
Consider involving other team members to give a perspective on your customers at the different points of contact with your company.
Another way to find information about your target audience is through social media. Here you can use social media listening tools to find out where they spend most of their time and what they talk about.
Also, your customers know themselves best. Thus, the most effective way of understanding your audience is probably through direct interviews and surveys. Besides gathering information from your sales team and customer helpdesk, interact with the customers themselves.
If you need some inspiration on how to build a buyer persona, check out our free fill in the blank Buyer’s Persona.
Simple Step #2 – Create an Offer
People will always need a reason to give you their email address and join the list.
So, to encourage them to subscribe, offer something in return. From your research and the persona, you know what would make your target audience trade their email address.
This could be a report, an e-book, software access, or anything else that’d be of real value to them. Remember, you’re not tricking them into giving you their email address; you’re offering REAL value.
Simple Step #3 – Create a Landing Page
Once you have your offer, create a landing page. The purpose of this is to encourage visitors to subscribe. Basic items to include here are: An image, a headline and bullet points highlighting what the subscriber will be getting.
Some of the services like Leadpages have ready-made landing pages that you can use. These have been tested and proven to work.
Your landing page must also have an opt-in form that lets the subscribers input their email addresses.
Simple Step #4 – Setup An Email Autoresponder
An Email Autoresponder is the platform that you’ll use to communicate with your subscribers.
This platform is to serves three important purposes:
- To organize the email list
- To send the emails
- To provide analytics
However, before you settle on an email autoresponder, do your research to see what fits your purpose.
To start you off with the research, check out this comparison between MailChimp, AWeber, and GetResponse.
Once you’ve got it integrated to your landing page and sign up form you can create a sequence of personalised follow up emails sent at regular intervals.
This is where you use automation to stay in contact with your leads and build trust by sending them regular, useful information to keep them coming back to your website.
Over time the object is to convert your list of email subscribers into paying customers.
Simple Step #5 – Start with what You Have
Where are you going to get the first email addresses?
Check your Gmail and work emails. You probably have a few relevant addresses.
So, are you going to just manually add them to the list and start feeding them with valuable information the next week?
No. Instead, follow Bryan Harris’ example. He sent a personal invite to the people on his contact list asking them to subscribe to his email list. In around 12 hours, his new list had 46 subscribers. Now, how long would it take you to get 46 complete strangers to your email list?
To move farther beyond your family and friends circle, post a link leading to the landing page on your social media accounts. Make use of your current social media groups too and don’t forget to mention the offer along with the link.
If you find that these options aren’t working fast enough maybe you want to look at paid traffic. Purchase Facebook ads, pay for LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, Twitter ads and Google AdWords.
Sure, there is a cost involved, but email marketing continues to give excellent returns.
So that’s it. Five simple steps.
Start with your Buyer Persona. Then use that to create an offer based on their needs and offer that via a landing page or sign up form. Your emails should then be added to an autoresponder tool and set up with a sequence of personalised emails.
With these five steps you can set yourself up for email marketing success and beat most (if not all) of your competition.
So have you started building your email list? What other methods can you advise a beginner to try? Let us have your comments and ideas below.