Effective Relationship Marketing with Email
Email marketing is an essential component of marketing today. It can be argued that email marketing is the most crucial channel for marketing online if you want to experience real and lasting success. They don’t say things like “The money is in the list” for nothing.
It’s absolutely true. But, to be a truly effective form of marketing, it’s important to use email as another (even more effective) relationship marketing channel. It’s no longer enough to just send generic information out to random subscribers. Today, smart marketers build targeted lists, full of active subscribers who want to receive a specific message.
Today, you need to communicate with your list in an intimate and personal way if you want to reach your online marketing goals. Thankfully, all this work will not be for naught because email marketing is truly an effective relationship marketing channel that can achieve awesome results for the smart marketer.
3 Important Reasons Email Marketing is Effective
Email marketing is known to be effective and it’s not just talking. Email marketing is still the single most effective form of marketing ever invented. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Why do you think every single business and company including big movers and shakers like Amazon require an email address to do business?
They require it because they want to be able to contact the person, market other products and services, and collect important demographic and behavioural information from their audience so that they can improve their offerings, thus, increasing their sales and return on investment. It’s really a win-win for both the business and the customer.
- It’s Personal – Email addresses are special and personal. If someone gives you theirs use it wisely. People hold their email addresses close to them at all times via their mobile devices. They check email often during the day and yes, they still read, respond, and buy things due to emails sent. Plus, due to technological advances, you can personalize every message you send, making it even more personal.
- You Can Add Value Easily – When you have a targeted email list, you can add value to the lives of your subscribers easily by sending them information that is important to them. Content marketing is not relegated to blogs. Content can be shared via email, directed toward your audience via your lists.
- It Works – Direct Marketing Association says the ROI can be as large as 4300 per cent. With that kind of ROI, why wouldn’t every business owner take part? Well, smart marketers do, and according to Gigaom Research, marketers say that email marketing is their most effective marketing channel.
To be clear, email marketing can be very effective, but like race car driving, it’s only as effective as the person behind the wheel. It’s important to know how to use email marketing correctly to get the kind of results that are often reported and talked about. And, it all starts by using email as an effective relationship builder.
7 Important Ways to Attract the Right People to Your Lists
Before you can get started using email for relationship building, you have to learn how to build your lists properly. That starts with attracting the right people to the right list. If you cast too wide a net you’ll get a lot of uninterested and unresponsive people on your list. So, when it comes to email marketing, size and quality matter. Yes, of course, bigger lists are better, but only if the quality of the subscribers is high as well.
- Plan Ahead – Think through how you’ll not only grow your list but exactly who you want on your lists. Identify your target audience, specifically and clearly write down the information on paper so you can follow it. Develop customer personas that can help you build a list full of members who want to hear what you have to say and for whom you can add value.
- Set Subscriber Expectations – Let subscribers know exactly what you’ll be sending them, when and how often. The clearer you can be, the more you’ll weed through people who don’t want that information and only build a list full of people who want the information. There is no need to reason to trick people into signing up. You want only the people who want to be there.
- Give Them Something Valuable – When creating your free give-a-way, focus on a very narrow and specific audience. You want to give them something that truly adds value to their lives and even solves one of their main pain points. You want the offer to be so specific that only people who belong on your list will want to sign up for it.
- Make Signing Up Simple – Avoid asking for too much information upfront. At the most, ask for a first name, industry and an email address. You can make it even simpler by only collecting an email address. This will encourage people to sign up who want the information you’re offering fast. In addition, don’t make them wait for the promised information.
- Value Their Privacy – Make sure they know upfront that you will not give or sell their information to third parties. You can put a privacy notice right on your sign up form by adding a hyperlink to it. Make sure that notice opens in a new window so they’re not taken away from the task of signing up.
- Monitor Your Stats – While email is a wonderful tool that can be fully automated, physically monitor your email stats at least weekly. You can get a lot of insight into what’s happening with your lists by looking at the analytics.
- Cross-Promote – Once people have joined your email list as a subscriber, be sure to let them know where else they can locate you on the web. It should be easy for them to connect with you in multiple places. Believe it or not, this will increase trust as they get to know you and your brand outside of the email inbox.
Finally, only send the content of value to your list. Yes, you’re going to promote your products and services to them. But, you’re also going to inform, educate and engage with them so that you can build strong and lasting relationships of value.
Understanding Your Subscribers’ Needs
The truth is, all you really need to be successful is a product or service that someone else wants enough to be willing to give you money for it. But, to do that, you first need to understand your audience enough that you can create the products and services they want and need the most.
- Do Your Research – Before you even get started, study your ideal audience so that you know what they want and need. Understand their pain points so that you can create true solutions that will blow their socks off.
- Create Buyer / Subscriber Personas – It helps for you to create buyer personas or avatars so that you know who you’re creating solutions for. Being able to focus clearly on a real person will help you not only attract the right people to your lists but keep them on the list due to the amazing content you can create for them.
- Create a Targeted Freebie – Once you’ve done your research and created subscriber avatars, you can create a freebie for your audience that will amaze them so much that they’ll not only want to join your list but they will stay on your lists and become very responsive to your offerings. After all, if your freebie is so amazing, imagine how great your paid offerings are.
- Study Your Stats – Once you have people on your list, it’s important to gather analytics to study. You will learn a lot from the people who come to your list via a variety of methods by watching their behaviour. How do they react to certain headlines? How do they respond to different types of CTAs?
- Ask Them Directly – Once you have people on your list, or you’re part of a community of your audience members, you can ask the audience directly what they need and want. It’s always a good idea to add some type of engagement to your lists, whether it’s inviting them to a private group on Facebook or asking them to simply respond to a question via email. Your audience will appreciate it and will actually be more likely to open your email if they know they’re interactive and not just one way.
By doing a good job with your research, tracking links, and creating an interactive environment via email you’ll take your email marketing to the next level. You’ll start to build true relationships with your email lists and your customers. Relationships pay off big time when it comes to marketing. After all, people buy from those that they know, like and trust.
7 Ways You Can Write Engaging Email Messages
One of the most important aspects of your email list outside of the subscribers is the actual emails that you send to your lists. You want them to be read and enjoyed. You want your audience to actually look forward to getting an email message from you. Here are some things for you to consider when you are writing an email message.
- Personalize Everything – Don’t be too creepy but use the automation tools for personalization to add your audience member’s name to each message you send. Saying their name at important points in your message can bring the message home in a new way. You want each email to sound personal to the recipient instead of like a mass email. It doesn’t matter if you have a list of 10 or 1,000,000,000 – each message can feel very personal to the receiver if you write it to your audience personas as if they’re the only one reading it, instead of “all” your subscribers at once.
- Invite Them to Other Channels – Don’t exist for them only in email. People still sometimes forget to open their email, so invite them to your social media channels, too. Invite them to follow you, like you, friend you and be in your groups. This will help them get to know you even more so that they’re more likely to open your emails when they get them.
- Craft Thoughtful Subject Lines – Each subject line should explain what’s inside the email message so that the recipient wants to open it. It’s not the time to write puns or be tricky. You can be creative, but put yourself in your audience’s place and understand who you’re writing the subject line for.
- Only Send Out Useful Emails – If you have nothing to say or offer of value you don’t want to send an email just to send an email. Granted you do not want to wait too long between emails. If you plan to take a break, tell your audience, but otherwise try to make every message something useful for your audience.
- Use Your Real Name – The days of being anonymous on the net are over. You need to use your real name in the return field. People will be much more likely to open the message and feel as if the message is from a real person if you use your real name.
- Add Value – You want your audience to be excited to get an email because they know they’ll learn something really valuable to them by reading it. You might share with them someone else’s blog post or a hot tip you’ve learned, or you might offer them a sale on your products and services. Everything should be put in the words that make your subscribers feel important and thought of.
- Test Everything – Sometimes assumptions, even very well educated assumptions can be wrong, therefore it’s imperative that you take the time to use split testing (also called A/B testing) to help you determine the best subject lines, the best time of day to send an email and the types of offers your audience responds best to.
By spending a little extra effort mapping out the emails you’re going to send over a period of time, based on the products and services you plan to promote, you can make each person receiving your messages feel unique, special and important. That’s one of the best ways to build relationships with email.
How to Personalize Your Email Messages
Using personalization in email messages is important because it will help you build an audience of people who trust you. Email is the perfect way to build a relationship because you have fast access to the individual. Even if you have 1,000,000 subscribers, you can treat each recipient as an individual by using simple personalization techniques.
There are several factors that make for a truly personalized email message.
- The Subject Line – Making a subject line stand out to the recipient will encourage them to open it. You can personalize it by adding their name using your auto responder’s features to the subject line, or by simply using terminology that would be personal to the list member within the subject line.
- The Salutation – When you send email messages to your list members, it’s important to use the salutation as an opportunity for personalization. You can add their name, their position, title, or whatever you want that is pertinent to them if you have collected the information when they signed up for your email list.
- Your Return Email Address – Many marketers make a huge mistake using so-called “no-reply” email addresses to send marketing messages. If you truly want to use email as a way to build relationships, then you’ll need to include your real name and a real email address instead of being so secretive. People want to know you, and relationship marketing requires it.
- Your Email Signature – Be personal with your email signature, too. Include an image of yourself, and a catchy sign-off. Most of all, you must be yourself. Try adding other ways to contact you in your signature like social media channels.
- Know Your Audience – One of the first ways to make your audience feel important, and to make yourself into someone your audience wants to know, is to know who they are. After all, it’s always about them, not you. The more you can know them, the more your messages will resonate to them.
Using all of these factors is important in relationship marketing. Get to know your audience, let them get to know you. Use the software you choose, such as Aweber or MailChimp to its fullest potential by using automatic personalization features and only sending messages that add value to your audience.
The Importance of Market Segmentation
One way to truly ramp up relationship building and personalization is to learn how to segment your market. The smaller the groups that you can break down your audience into, the more personalized and direct the messages you send can be. Plus, if you can think outside the box a little bit about the type of groups you create, you’ll be able to go even further with segmentation.
- There is No Such Thing as One-Size-Fits-All – You already know this intuitively or by experience. But it’s not just clothing, it’s also very true of email marketing messages. When you send out generic messages hoping something sticks, you’re really just wasting your time and your audience’s time and lowering the results of your efforts.
- In Some Cases, Timing Is Everything – When you segment a list properly, those who prefer to read messages at 8 a.m. will appreciate getting them at 7:59 a.m. Whereas those who open messages at 10 a.m. will also enjoy getting your messages when it’s convenience to them, but you can’t do that if you’re trying to do a “one-size-fits-all” message. You’ll miss out on conversions that could have been easy to get.
- You Can Make Each Message Count – When you segment lists appropriately, such as buyers of widget A from buyers of widget B, or customers from leads and leads from prospects, you’ll be much more likely to move them from one list to another seamlessly because you can avoid sending repeated messages or offering them services or products they already have or simply aren’t interested in.
- You’ll Build Your Reputation & Brand Faster – The more your audience feels as if you just really get them, and understand them, the faster they’ll go from seeing you as unknown to known, and the faster you’ll reach a space of trust and even like so that they want to buy what you’re offering because they know it’s right for them.
- You’ll Simply Get Better Results – Study after study conducted shows that market segmentation works and that marketers who practice it are seeing much higher results than those who aren’t. What’s more, with today’s technology it’s not even difficult to set up. If you have an autoresponder program like Aweber or MailChimp you already own the technology to make it happen.
The awesome thing is, most email marketing software will take care of this for you once you set up the rules. After the audiences are segmented, you’ll need to plan out the specific messages to send to each group, and this may take more time, but you’ll be able to reap the benefits of this after it’s set up, automatically.
8 Ways to Segment Your List
Once you understand the importance of market segmentation to relationship marketing, you’ll want to figure out different ways to segment your list. How you segment is very personal to your niche, your products and/or services, but this list might give you some ideas.
- Demographics – This is a pretty obvious segment idea but it will work for some marketers. How much people make, their sex, their age, and so forth can make a big difference in how they read an email. If you have customers in their 20’s and 60’s who buy your product, you will need to market to them in different ways. Think “Dove”, and act accordingly.
- Location – In many cases, location doesn’t matter, but in some cases, it will make a difference in how you word your emails. If you’re international, there may be some locations where you want to use British English and some cases where you want to use American English because that’s how your audience will feel most heard and most engaged. If you have a local business, this will play an even larger factor in segmenting your list.
- Customers – People who have already bought from you should be treated differently and sent totally different messages than people who have never bought something from you. There is a big difference between someone who downloaded your free report and someone who purchased a product or service from you.
- Prospects vs. Leads – This is a mistake a lot of people make when they’re fresh to the marketing game but one you should not make. You’re hearing it here. A prospect is someone who is simply in your target audience, but a lead is someone who has also expressed interest and admitted to needing what you offer. The messages should be completely different.
- Fans – Some people are just your loyal fans who often promote you to others, share what you have to say, follow you on social media and even advocate for you to others. When a person shows this side of themselves, they should be on a very specially segmented list that gets more attention.
- Purchase Behaviour – This one is simple because it means your audience did something to move from one list to another. Perhaps they downloaded your free offer, and then they purchased your paid offer. Move them from your lead list (downloaded free offer) to your customer list (bought item A). Now you can market to them item B in an even more personalized way.
- Customer Buying Cycle – If you know where your audience member is in the buying cycle you can nurture them in a special way as to move them through the buying cycle smoothly. Everyone starts out as a prospect, which requires marketing that is different from a lead that is different from a customer. If someone is in the learning mode, they’re not ready for your buy now offer.
- Persona – When you create buyer personas or avatars you will create more than one. Usually, you’ll want to create two or three possible personas to which you’ll send marketing messages. These people will join your list based on those messages via your blog, social media, sales pages, freebie offers and so forth. They should forever remain separate in your marketing messages because you’ll be able to personalize the messages more, thus enabling you to build even tighter relationships.
Finally, if someone is an affiliate or referring partner, they should be on yet another list entirely, which you’ll learn about in the next section where you’ll learn that you really need more than one list.
Why You Need More Than One List
If you realize the importance of setting up different landing pages for different types of audiences, then it’s going to make total sense to you why you really need more than one email list. But, just in case you didn’t know that, let’s talk about how important it is to have more than one list and why you need to do it.
Determine Audience Motivation
Having one general list ignores some important information about your audience, such as what motivates them? What makes them want to take that next step? Why did they sign up for your list? If you put everyone who downloaded freebie A with everyone who downloaded freebie B you are missing the point. You want to keep people on different lists based on how they sign up because how they sign up tells you something about their motivation.
Get More Action & Response
You’ll have some people on your list who open emails and some who don’t open them often or at all. You want to immediately move your active openers to their own list because they’re the ones who are going to be most likely to answer your calls to action. You can stop wasting time sending limited-time offers to the inactive list and send directly to the active list. Then if you have spots left, send a very limited offer with a compelling subject line to the inactive list to help stimulate activity.
Help Manage Where People Are Coming From
When you create more than one list you can manage where they are coming from. For example, let’s say you have a speaking engagement with a very specialized audience. Well, you don’t want them to be on your general list, instead, you want them on a list of other people who came to and participated in that event. In this way you can speak directly to them about the event and how great it was, and what they learned. This will build relationships that are very close and responsive because they’ll feel like you get them and even know them now.
Understand Why They Signed Up
For example, if you just let everyone who signs up go to a general list, you’re missing a very important and powerful feature of your software. Let’s say your audience was pushed or pulled to your website via social media, or an article you wrote. But then they look around the site more and something catches their eye such as a particular blog post that has a newsletter sign up under it. Put that person on a list that is only for people who have responded to that particular topic that you blogged about.
As you see, building these different lists give you so much power over how you communicate with them. You know where they came from, what triggered them to sign up, and based on their behaviour you know a little more about them than you would if you just had one general list. Of course, you’re going to further segment them into other lists as they buy something new or do something different, but this is the very best way for you to take your email relationship marketing to the next level.
Now that you understand that email marketing offers you a very real way to build relationships with your audience and that relationship marketing can be done via email in a very effective way, you need to know what to do next.
Start Where You Are
If you’re new to email marketing, then you’re starting with a fresh and blank slate. This is great. You have so many opportunities ahead. First, choose autoresponder software like Aweber or MailChimp that you like. Try out each one before choosing. No one is the right answer for everyone, sometimes you have to try something to figure out if its’ right for you.
If you already have a list and have identified some ways you can improve your results, and then get started right now. That might mean finding new ways to segment your current list, or finding new ways to build your lists or create new lists. It might mean developing marketing messages that resonate with your audience by creating audience personas. Whatever it means, get started now because nothing beats effective relationship marketing with email in terms of return on investment and simply fabulous results.