Over the Rainbow: Email List Gold
ARTICLE 3 IN THE FIVE PART SERIES:
How To Dominate Your Local or Niche Market
The single most effective form of direct marketing is through Email. Eh? Don't doubt it. There are plenty of stats that back up this statement. Spam mail may have tarnished the perception of email marketing but there is no doubt about the effectiveness of marketing to a list of people who have asked for your updates.
Consider these statistics (courtesy of Direct Magazine):
Commercial email campaigns
returned $43+ for every dollar spent in 2009.
Search Engine advertising
returned nearly $22 for every dollar spent in 2009.
Direct mail (postcards)
returned over $15.00 for each dollar spent.
Email marketing is clearly the king of direct marketing, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Any business looking to maximize Return On Investment (ROI) for their marketing campaigns has to have a strategy for email marketing. While the returns for email marketing are trending downward it is still far ahead of the next closest form of advertising. Email marketing returns are expected to slip to about $37 for each dollar spent in 2010. The only other form of online marketing that bests email marketing is Optimizing your site for Search Engines. If you recall, this was the focus of the first article in this series.
The only other form of online marketing that bests email marketing is Optimizing your site for search engines.
Why Does It Work?
If you build a following through your expertise you also build trust. We buy things, in large part, from companies and people we trust - especially if we view them as an expert. It is hard-wired into us. We tend to equate recognition with popularity, and popularity means good, right? Earning that recognition through your expertise makes the effect more lasting. On the local and niche level building this trust and recognition also works in a word of mouth manner, passing from person in the community to another. And that individual referral solidifies and helps your status. Targeting your correct audience with rich content that sells your expertise will result in sales.
Build the Pot of Gold
The best way to successfully market your ideas, products and expertise is to build your email list. Every opportunity you have it is important to do this. Are you participating in a networking event, at a seminar or luncheon, or just meeting new people at a bar? Ask them if you can include them in your email list. And don't forget to reciprocate, if they have one. You never know where business will come from. Given the return on investment that email lists generate this is THE most important marketing activity you can perform.
Nuts and Bolts
What are the steps needed to create an effective email campaign? There are three basic steps you need to focus on:
Create a roadmap
Execute like a pro
Every business is unique. Your strategy needs to be focused on your particular needs. Consider these two situations. Company A is a snowboard and skate shop. Company B is a consultant. Company B only needs or wants to write new content once a month. That's where their focus is so their strategy is to publish their newsletter the same day every month that they publish the new article on their site.
Company A - the snowboard and skate shop - is in a different situation. They have adopted a strategy of publishing a product review twice a month. Company A also wants to announce new sales, product arrivals, and promotions twice a month along with a listing of local events or news. They opt to publish a weekly newsletter to focus on these areas.
Both situations are unique. Their solution and strategy works because they address their particular situation. The Consultant is competing against others in her local or niche market that don't publish at all and her readers don't expect or need anything more. The snowboard and skate shop have to compete in their local market against national sporting goods chains and by offering a local angle (events and news) they separate themselves from the competition.
Pay particular attention to the timing of your newsletters. Studies show that people like consistency, same day every month, etc. More importantly, you should time your newsletters with the publication of new content on your site.
Ahhh, now the difficult part. You're good at meeting people and collecting new sign-ups for your newsletter. you're an expert at what you do and you know you can express this. But can you create an email newsletter that rocks? You may want to consider hiring a pro.
Here are some key things to remember when marketing through email. Use a major email service. Two of my favorites are MailChimp and Constant Contact. There are several reasons for doing this. First, they have a lot of pre-built templates that can help you look professional. Second, you can track responses and get statistics for every email newsletter you send out. And third, they're quite inexpensive.
Email Marketing Axiom: Attention grabbing headlines are mandatoryAlways focus on your new content, front and center. But don't make the mistake of including your entire article in the email. You want people to come to your site. By doing this they may look around and become more familiar with you, your services and products. Include links to any free downloads you might be offering - like those white papers we discussed earlier.
Write a snappy intro that intrigues people and makes the want to click through to your article.
Finally, remember this axiom of email marketing: Attention grabbing headlines are mandatory.The worst thing you can do is send out your email newsletter with a subject line that says: "May Newlsletter From XYZ Co."
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