In my last article, I discussed how to rebound your business in the midst of a crisis. One of the strategies I shared was email and text marketing. This article offers five steps to help you get started.
There are two things you need to have a profitable business: a great product or service and a sales plan. Email marketing should be a part of your sales plan.
When I started the Indie Business Network, the first thing I did was send out an email newsletter. (There was no texting back then!) The recipients were my first customers.
Email and text marketing lead to sales because people buy things from people they trust. When you consistently send relevant messages to people who opt in to receive them, people come to trust you. When they trust you, they buy from you.
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Here are the five steps you need to follow, in sequential order, t o get started with email and text marketin
1 – Clarify your target audience
Today’s world is oversaturated with everything. Because information about everything is everywhere, people are selective about what they allow into their email inboxes.
Attention spans are very short. You only have a few seconds to make your point when you are marketing your products or services.
You must know exactly who you are talking to every time you make a marketing move. If you try to be all things to all people, you will wear yourself out. Worst of all, no one will pay attention to you, and your business will fail.
When you identify your target market before you start selling your products, you are ahead of the game. You’ll make more money and have more fun in your business, and your email and text marketing efforts will be more likely to result in sales.
2 – Create a lead magnet
A “lead magnet” is something of value that people in your target audience opt to receive in exchange for their email address and/or phone number. A lead magnet is also called an “opt in” or a “freebie.”
For example, if you sell skincare products, your lead magnet could be a free sample of your facial cream which people can receive only after opting in to receive your email newsletter or texts. Once people opt in, you send them a sample of your face cream.
Thereafter, you regularly and consistently email or text them skincare tips, along with useful information about how your products can improve their skin, and how to buy them.
Here’s another example. If you are a career coach, your lead magnet could be a short e-book to help people reinvent themselves after a layoff. The only way to get the e-book is to opt into your list. After people opt in, you send them the e-book, and then consistently and regularly send them useful career tips, along with instructions on how to buy your career coaching services.
Your lead magnet does not have to be fancy, but it must be relevant to the needs of your target audience.
3 – Set up your email service provider
I started my email marketing journey with a personal email account and a list of the email addresses of people who gave me permission to email them. I sent emails to 50 people at a time. That manual strategy will not work today.
Today, you need to use an email service provider (ESP), which will host your email and text marketing. Once you add the names, addresses and phone numbers of people who opt into your list via your ESP, you’ll create an opt in landing page or link so people can opt in.
This can take the form of a pop up on your website home page that invites people to input their email address or phone number so they can get your e-book or a discount code to use on their next purchase.
Using an ESP makes it easy to send your email newsletters and text messages to hundreds or thousands of people at once. This automation builds efficiencies into your business. It also makes it easy for people to opt out of your marketing if they no longer wish to receive it. This protects you from ill will or lawsuits that can be brought against you for “spamming” people with emails or text messages they no longer want or never requested.
I shared a list of ESPs in this article.
4 – Share your lead magnet
Once you have something of value to give your target audience in exchange for their email address or phone number, and you have set up your ESP, you can tell the world about your offering and start collecting contact information.
There are several ways to do this for free using social media. Here are 3 easy options to get you started.
5 – Consistently email or text people who subscribe
Nurture your list by consistently and regularly sending out email newsletters and text messages. Once a month is not enough. People will forget about you if you go four long weeks without contacting them.
I suggest you start with bi-monthly contacts, and tweak your process from there. Every business is different, and every business changes over time. The most important thing to do is to begin.
In my business, I have reached out to my list at least once a week for 22 years, so I am qualified to tell you that this strategy works.
Through recessions and pandemics, in good times and bad, I have never had an unprofitable year. I am still having fun as an entrepreneur, and it is largely due to the fact that I have consistently and regularly engaged my target customers using lead magnet or opt in marketing.
Do you have an email newsletter or text messaging strategy? How are things going? What ESP do you use? How can I help you make opt in marketing work better in your business?
Send me your questions and comments using this form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScSG94HoO5PumZ3X94L53HEEuw4x0uBTnZ0qbOEbd1wwAhslg/viewform, or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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