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So I woke up this morning and, not unlike most of you reading, one of the first things I did was grab my phone and check emails. Now, over the past 15 years of starting and running businesses, I’ve trained (or maybe forced) my body and mind to adapt and become able to run effectively on around 4 hours of sleep, so the chances of my mailbox receiving anything of importance between when I go to sleep and when I wake up, is pretty slim.
This morning, however, I stopped and thought for a second, “why email and THEN social media? Isn’t social media the most important?” Good question. The answer: no, not really. While social media is a HUGE part of my life and without a doubt a huge part of any smart business, email still accounts for around 94% of all online activity and more than 75% of adults prefer email over social media when it comes to receiving information from businesses.
Email was the ORIGINAL SOCIAL MEDIA.
Before anyone added you as a friend, liked your post, poked you, shared the latest viral video, or pinned their new favorite recipe, people were spending 20 minutes listening to the most annoying sound in the world just so they could send an email to someone they wanted to connect with.
The first email ever was sent in 1971 by the Department of Defense and by the 90’s email was effectively being used by the public. To this day, email is still the preferred method of communication for most businesses and continues to outperform social media when it comes to lead generation and sales closing rates.
Now, obviously it doesn’t make much sense for me (a social media guy) to write a post here (a social media blog) and claim that social media is not effective. It would prove me to be a pretty crappy contributor and, more importantly, it would be incorrect. Social media has only truly been around since 2002 (Friendster), with the first explosion of popularity occurring in 2003 (MySpace). Heck, Facebook has only been around since 2004. So email has an almost 40 year head start. Even with only 10 years under its belt, social media proves more and more everyday to be an extremely effective marketing tool and in my opinion, the best customer service tool outside of a face-to-face meeting.
However, this is a post about email and I wanted to give you a little ‘Getting Started’ guide for effectively using this time-tested tool to grow your business and increase sales and retention.
So here’s a list of steps to get you up and running with email, if you’re not already.
1. Sign Up With an Email Marketing Service Provider
2. Clearly Define Your Ideal Readers.
Before you write anything, you need to know who you’re writing it for. Are you looking to reach new potential clients or customers? Or maybe you’re looking to retain current customers and keep them informed and coming back for more. Whoever you’re looking to engage, you need to have a clear idea of who your readers will be so you can be sure to provide the right kind of content for them.
3. Establish Your Conversion Goals.
This goes hand-in-hand with #2. What are you trying to accomplish with your emails? Maybe you’re selling a product or service, or maybe you’re just looking to keep your current customers up to date with what’s new with your business and stay on their radar. Regardless of what it is, you need to clearly understand the reason for your email campaigns.
4. Establish What Type of Content You will be Sending.
And decide how frequently you will send. A few things to consider:
– Most people don’t want an email from you everyday. Be careful not to sent too frequently.
– Be sure you can create enough content to send valuable emails as planned.
5. Create a Schedule for Delivery
Once you decide how frequently you will send emails, decide when you will send. I also strongly suggest collaborating your email campaigns with social media posts to ensure all of your audience is getting your content. Either way, make sure you have a clear schedule for when your emails will go out. Stay consistent and you’ll become a regular part of your readers’ lives.
6. Add Op-in Forms in the RIGHT Places on Your Site.
You need somewhere for people to sign up, right? I suggest the following:
– On the top of your side bar (if your page has one)
– On the top of your pages (yes all of your pages)
– On your About page
Your email marketing service provider will allow you to create these pretty easily.
7. Add Opt-in Forms to All of Your Social Media Sites
You never know where people will find you. Make sure they can sign up from anywhere.
If you have a physical store, create an eye-catching sign at your checkout with an address or QR scan that takes customers to an opt-in page. You could also include a web address on your receipts or promo cards in customers’ bags.
8. Provide Incentives for Signing Up for Your List
If you’re a service provider, consider something like a report or guide packed full of useful info for subscribers. If you’re selling a product, consider a special discount for new subscribers, delivered with their first email. Also make sure to let everyone know what they’re missing if they don’t sign up. Exclusive deals and content only available to subscribers are both great incentives for people to subscribe.
9. Track Your Conversions
Your email marketing campaigns won’t stay very effective if you don’t know how effective they are. Once you have your conversion goals, track what works and what doesn’t. Test different subject lines, types of emails, subject matter, etc. Analyzing your conversions properly will allow you to create more effective campaigns and generate more business.
The bottom line: Email can be an incredibly effective source of revenue for your business. Properly connecting email and social media into your online marketing strategy can explode your business.