One of the biggest obstacles I’ve seen for small business owners is closing the sale. Now, I understand that we’re not all born salespeople, but even if you despise sales, you can’t get away from them if you run your own business. It’s just a matter of sorting through the leads you take in and nurturing them until they’re ready to buy. Email is a wonderful tool to help you do just that.
First, What Does Your Email Marketing Strategy Look Like?
If your answer to this question is “it’s nonexistent,” go back to square one and get started. You’d be amazed how quickly you can grow your email contact list simply by offering something of value, like a free report, whitepaper, or discount in exchange for web visitors’ email addresses.
But if you do have a way for people to join your list, what do you do with them once they’re there? Do you regularly send out email newsletters or promotions? If not, that’s where we’ll start.
Next, Segment Your Contacts
Understand that not everyone that signs up for your email list is in the same place in the buying cycle. Some people may simply be doing research to see what options are out there to solve their problems. Others may be specifically seeing what your brand offers and considering it against the competition. Still others may be ready to pull the trigger.
The more you can divide your email list into a few categories, the better you can target the content you deliver each group. And people who receive targeted content rather than across-the-board generic drivel are more likely to buy from you!
Once you’ve created a few “buckets” to separate your subscribers, write out a description of each person. It might look like this:
Problem Pete is looking for a solution to his problem: he needs a way to organize his photos online. He’s signed up for our free “10 Ways to Use Your Images Online” whitepaper, and now he’s more educated on the online photo storage space. Our emails to Pete need to address the benefits of using our service over the competition, as well as deliver additional educational content.
Having a buyer persona like this can help you build a strategy in the kinds of emails you send each segment. Knowing that Problem Pete is probably at the beginning of his solution-seeking journey means you can ply him with informative content that will not only educate him on your industry but also nudge him toward choosing your services.
Then, Build Out Your Content Strategy
Using the info you learned in building the buyer personas, you’ll now want to create an email marketing strategy for each segment and then build a content calendar around that strategy. Here’s an example:
- Initial signup: automatically send the free report
- Follow-up a week later: send our Top 10 blog post
- Three days later: offer 20% off
- If contact doesn’t use that offer, one week later, send personalized note from CEO
Each email, as you can see, delivers a different value, and there are enough of them coming at a steady cadence that your new subscribers can’t help but remember who your brand is.
You can schedule each of these as an autoresponder to automatically go out on the schedule you determine. Most email marketing software programs will do this for you (though if you use a free plan, you may have to upgrade).
Pay Attention to Results
Once you’ve got these autoresponders set up, don’t forget about them. Check in to measure your clickthrough rate (that’s what percent of your subscribers clicked links in the email to get to your site), your bounce rate (how many email addresses were incorrect or otherwise failed to get your emails), and your conversion rate (how many subscribers actually bought from you as a result of each email). Make changes as necessary to ensure your email lead efforts are fruitful.