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Are you using email to engage with your customers?

I recently spoke to a group of Austin business women about the importance of Social Media.

I love social media and the potential it has for my clients’ businesses. I love talking about strategy, segmentation, testing. But, my last tip was this — Don’t forget about email. If Facebook shuts down tomorrow, you lose your followers' contact information.

If you’re not routinely using email to stay in-touch with your clients or community, it’s time to start. Email marketing to your already qualified list is inexpensive and has a high ROI. Before getting started, consider these tips.

As business owners, we frequently think about our bottom line. We send offer after offer, asking our clients to buy. In turn, we receive email special offers. I recently opted in to a large retailer’s list to get a discount on an online purchase. Now, I receive their email every…single…day. To some, that may be a successful strategy. But for small businesses or solo-preneurs, it’s not the route I suggest. And, the truth is, I could opt out today, and get that same offer when I need it. There are times when sending an email every day is appropriate – launches, contests, countdowns, fundraisers, etc. Consider email as the way to build a relationship or conversations with your customers. Don’t just ask them to buy with a not-so-special offer.

Ensure that every email you send has value for your clients. If you send too much junk and only ask for the buy, you’ll lose subscribers. Brainstorm ways you can provide value, educate or inspire. Step into your customers’ shoes and create content that you would find valuable. Create emails that customers look forward to receiving. Some of those may very well include deep discounts or pitches to work with you, however, they shouldn’t always be the focus. If you’re a life coach, send an email for “Five Must-Have Summer Self Development Reads.” If you’re a realtor, consider “Top Decorating Trends of 2017” or “Summer Bucket Lists” for your area, “10 Staging Tips to Sell.” Highlight partnerships, events, education and free advice.

Tidy up your list. While some email providers make it hard to detect “opens,” you can often target those who’ve not opened or clicked with targeted special offers or 1-3 question surveys to re-engage. Segment out those you’re not seeing any activity from and either target them later to test re-engagement. Quality over quantity.

Be consistent. Once a month, every other week, once a week — tell people how often you plan to email, and stick with it. Email marketing is a commitment, so pick something that’s manageable, get your editorial calendar organized and start moving. Once a month is the bare minimum, so aim for twice a month unless you're launching a new product or service.

Test! Most marketers will suggest a relevant subject line or format. Yet some have seen better engagement from one-word subject lines, subjects containing “thank you,” welcome emails and personalized subject lines. Try testing a humorous subject. An eye-catching subject? Try video? Segment your list, try out new ideas, and compare the results.

Keep in mind that email is a way to nurture a relationship with your customers. The goal is to provide value and turn prospects into customers and customers into loyal customers. Your email is a direct line to your community, so use it to differentiate yourself from the pack. And, remember to give. Don’t be that girlfriend that calls and spends 20 minutes talking about herself, asking for favors and never asking about you.

If you’re not yet using email as part of your marketing strategy, I hope these tips provide some motivation. Stay tuned for more email and social media marketing tips and strategies!

Got questions? holler at faitt media dot com.

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