Like the inexperienced dog who has treed a squirrel, many businesses have an email list but don’t really know what to do with it. Collecting email addresses and getting permission to send is one thing. Turning that list into dollars is another. Sometimes the email addresses just accumulate — for years. Sometimes businesses send out a few emails but stop when they aren’t working. If your company wants to succeed in email marketing, there are no real secrets. Just follow these basic principals to convert your email list into increased sales.
Tip 1: Make the Emails Useful
Find out what your target market wants, and then give it to them. For example, a dance studio for children has many parents on their list — parents who put a priority on extracurricular activities for their kids. Brainstorm the kinds of things that these parents worry about. Do they want tips for carpooling and schedule management? Ideas for a great birthday party (perhaps ending with a low-key sales pitch for a dance studio party)? Find articles on the web, or write an original article to put on your website’s blog. Then send out emails with links to these articles. Also include in the email the class schedules, reminders to re-register, events, etc.
Tip 2: Be Consistent
These people have trusted you enough to give you their email addresses. The least you can do is earn that trust. Being consistent helps build trust. So be very strict about your email schedule. If you promise to send a monthly newsletter, never miss a month. If the newsletter goes out on Friday morning, make sure it ALWAYS goes out on time. This requires some planning and organization on your side, but it will pay off in the long run.
Tip 3: Respect the List
Once in a while, you will be tempted to email out information that is not what you promised. For instance, let’s say you sell water purification products and your subscribers are accustomed to a monthly newsletter about water quality in the news, beverages, special offers and new water purification products. Then your friend approaches you about their fundraiser, Kickstarter, special event, new product line, or unbelievable special offer. Stop and think. Is this directly related to water purification? How are the subscribers likely to react? If the offer is off-topic or might cause trouble, it’s not worth it, regardless of your commission or good will with your friend. Focus on your primary business and just say no.
Tip 4: Keep it Friendly
You definitely want to adopt a tone in the newsletter that is friendly. A warm tone will let your readers know you care about them. Typically, using “You,” “We,” and even “I” helps warm up your writing. Friendly is distinct from “folksy.” Do not use bad spelling, poor grammar, too many contractions and rambling, or readers might write you off as unprofessional.
Tip 5: Don’t Be Pushy
No one likes getting pressured. “A man (or woman) convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Give your subscribers great information they can use and they will be at ease. High-pressure sales techniques backfire for certain businesses. Focus on the relationship instead, and present them opportunities to make their lives better. Taking a dance class improves fitness levels, happiness, mobility and coordination. Remind people how your offerings improve their lives.
Stick to these points and your newsletters will go to work for you. Build trust and confidence with your subscribers and they will keep coming back.