Ok, so I know that was a bold title, but hear me out, you might be surprised by what we uncover...
While there is no doubt that social media is very much here to stay, and that it is indeed a strong marketing tool, I believe that at least at this point of the technological revolution, email is still the best way to get in touch with your customers.
There are two excellent reasons for this:
NOTE: I am well aware of the sweeping generalities I am about to make and other modifying factors that are in play here, but I have not explored the concepts fully for the sake of brevity.
Facebook has just over one billion active users. Nobody is denying that is a truly BIG number worthy of your marketing attention, but for context, email reaches a staggering 2.2 billion people, thus, in reality, this means by focussing on email marketing you are doubling your potential audience.
When you recieve an email (unless it is in your spam folder) you generally have to at least look at it before you delete it, but in social media land, where users are dealing with scores of updates per day, all they need to do is look the other way and miss your update.
Ads aren't enough
If someone peppers me with emails trying to get you to buy their product or service, and provides no real value, that is generally a fast way to get me to unsubscribe, BUT if they are sending me useful information, that is delivering real value to me, that then gives them the authority to market their products or services to me.
Therein lies the secret to email marketing. It is estimated that 60% of the world's email traffic is essentially spam, un-necessary and providing no value to the recipient. This means that all you need to do to get into the top 40% is provide something valuable. There are several strategies to achieve that... let's explore some of the best.
Once-off Course: For example, if you are a financial planner, why not write a five part course on steps to financial security. Then you can set up an auto-responder to email each part of the course weekly when someone signs up, this positions you as an authority on the topic and when that recipient comes to the place where they need a financial planner, you are going to naturally be their first choice.
Articles: If you want to interact with your audience and have a more long term effect, a regular article or post may be more fitting for you.
News mailout: If you are not trying to market directly to your audience but are looking to engage them, you may find it more effective to curate news and views in their interest areas.
Once you have chosen your strategy it is time to get to work. Don't be fooled into thinking it is easy, trust me it takes committment and hard work to make it work, but it is well worth it.
1: Work out your frequency: Weekly is usually ideal, but this can vary depending on your market and objectives.
2: Plan your editorial calendar: Make sure there is a good variety of topics to maintain interest from all readers.
3: Write your first few posts: Until you get into a rhythm it can be difficult to work to your weekly deadline, so it is a good idea to get a few ahead and schedule them to be sent out, this will give you a little breathing room, but don't get complacent, it expires quickly.
4: Setup a Mailchimp account: There are many options for you to choose from, but based on our experience we have found Mailchimp to be a solid choice.
5: Build your list: There isn't much point writing if there is no audience, so it is vital to pay attention to this step. It is likely that your list will start small, but that is ok, we all have to start somewhere (Next week we will explore ways to build your list).
6: Start your campaign: Now everything is in place, Start sending!
7: Test and measure: One of the beautiful things about Email marketing is the amount of statistics you have access to, so make sure you keep a close eye on that and keep trying new things. You will soon learn what works with your audience and what doesn't.
Have you tried email marketing before? Do you plan to try it in the future? Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!