Of all the marketing channels at our disposal, email marketing is arguably the most valuable in the arsenal. It’s the only platform where you have an audience that truly belongs to you. Social media is always changing, and there's always a battle with algorithms. Online servers can go down, leaving your website inaccessible.
With email marketing, you have a list of people who have willingly signed up to hear from you—and you have full control over how and when you contact them. Since email marketing requires people to subscribe directly, you get a pre-qualified audience filled with people that you already know show interest in your products or services. Additionally, it helps to break the 'client cycle' and allows us to reach our audience before and after their time with us.
Last but not least, email marketing provides a space for us to push out several messages at once—perhaps you have an upcoming sale that coincides with new inventory. On social media, that would end up being two separate posts, which ends up diluting your reach—and you may not even put that type of time-constrained information on your website at all.
Here are a few steps to get started with effective email marketing.
Choose the right platform
Before selecting a platform, you need to start by assessing where you stand in your business. If you're just getting started, it's smart to use a free version until you get your feet under it. You won't get all the bells and whistles with a monthly subscription, but you'll get the basics and have a good idea of when it's time to upgrade to access more features. In the beginning, you don't need to worry about detailed funnels—you just need consistency from a platform that will show you a return on investment (which is easy when it's free!).
For beginners, I recommend trying out MailChimp’s free service. It’s simple to use with drag-and-drop design and helpful list-building features. Once you’ve gained some experience and are ready to allocate some budget to enhance your email marketing game, look into ConvertKit. It starts at $29 per month for 1,000 subscribers, with a price that scales with subscriber growth. Flodesk is another option to consider at a flat rate of $38 per month.
Plan your schedule
If you're just getting started, you need to be sending weekly emails (at least) to stay top-of-mind and reach success. This sounds like a lot, but it's only four pieces of content each month, and you can batch create them all at the beginning of the month. Monthly emails are not enough to see an impact in your businesses and, if you don't see progress, you will quit.
For those who are a bit seasoned in email marketing, it's time to consider automated email funnels if you haven't already. This is a method of soft selling and builds the Know, Like, Trust factor with your subscribers. It's also a big win for you because it's automated! You plan out and create the content at the start, put them in order, and let them run.
Clients are looking for the same kind of content they are searching for, so it's essential to show up in their inbox as a valuable resource of information. They want to work with someone who is both genuine and knowledgeable and, through email marketing, you can convey both of these points by answering some of their biggest questions (and even those they didn't know they had!).
For the most part, fluff doesn't serve anyone, so emails with no real value are less likely to convert. You want them to get to the end of the email and think, "This was a great read, and I'm glad to have learned something new." Work through some of the top questions you hear from prospects and clients and, from there, begin mapping out a strategy to address them.
Email marketing is not a place to sell, sell, sell. Can you make sales through it? Absolutely—and you will. But as a whole your email content should be a place to build authentic, genuine relationships with prospective clients by providing valuable resources and a behind-the-scenes look at your brand experience.