More and more small businesses are getting into email marketing. Visitors are invited to join a mailing list, and once on the list they are then sent a mixture of information and offers at regular intervals.
Back in his younger days, one of the team tried his hand at being a furniture salesman. He wasn’t very good at it at the time, but they did teach him one very important lesson:
Whenever a potential customer walked into the door, you did everything you could to get their contact info. Even if they were just browsing at that stage, you could still ask them when they expected to be ready to buy (even if it was several months into the future), and what they would be looking at.
That was 1995.
Another’s experience was in the early 70’s and it was selling carpet. In this case he called the numbers he was given by potential customers and about 50% became buyers because of the follow up.
The same applied to the roofing company in the early 80’s. In that case it was bidding, however the follow up helped many decide to use his company because he cared enough to follow up.
Everyone who searches for a product or service is doing so to increase their pleasure or ease a pain. This makes it important to understand potential customers’ pain or pleasure points. Those have to be addressed as part of the follow up.
It took small businesses two and a half decades to realize they could do the same thing online with an email marketing funnel. Ironically, though, internet marketers have been doing it since the dotcom boom.
Here are 3 ways to improve the efficiency of your email marketing:
1. Instead of offering a once off bribe or freebie to get people to sign up to your list, offer them an e-course (series of emails around a specific topic).
First, giving away a freebie will attract many freebie seekers. Offering an e-course will attract people who are actually looking for a specific solution. These subscribers will be more likely to open and read your emails, and click on links in the email.
This not only improves your conversion rates, but also improves your standing with the email delivery subsystem, and allows for the best possible deliverability of the emails you send.
Second, if you are offering useful information, these subscribers will be actively waiting for your next email. They want the next piece of the puzzle of the solution they need.
Third, since this format requires people to open emails and read them, they will be more likely to open and read future emails you send after the series has been completed.
In addition to that, it’s less work. If you have to create an ebook, resource or video to get people to sign up to your mailing list, you still have to create the email follow-up series anyway. When you offer an e-course, all you have to create is the email series.
2. Instead of sending the information in the email, place the information on a hidden page on you website or blog. Let them click through to that page.
Yes, it adds more friction. And yes, not everybody will click through. But three things will happen:
First, you will help your subscribers to get into the habit of clicking on links in your email. The ones who don’t click would have been unlikely to act on the content of that part of your e-course anyway.
Second, you can send them to a page with more different page elements than you would have been able to include in an email. For instance, the moment you include multiple links in an email, the deiverability is reduced, often badly so.
This way, you only have to include one link in your email.
You can also make that page interactive, meaning that what they see will depend on which sections they choose to expand. Or you can embed a poll or survey into the page, and add social sharing buttons (with a call to action for people visiting from social shares to sign up for the rest of the series).
Fair enough, the topic and title, as well as any extract you send will have to be enticing in order to get the best possible click through rate.
3. Instead of written content on the page, you can switch to using video.
On desktop – and even tablets – people don’t mind reading a lot of text. However, not many people like doing so on their phones. And more people use their phones to read emails than ever before. It just feels like a chore scrolling through endless short lines of text on a phone.
However, switching to video – especially video in mobile layout – means that not only will you be taking over the screen, but you will also be using a more engaging format which has been proven to convert better than text.
Note: Have you noted how – over the years – video sales letters have steadily replaced text sales letters? Yes, some of them still offer the text version too, but the video sales letter is right at the top. There’s a good reason for that: It simply converts better.
Not to mention that you could include footage of yourself and your business, which helps to establish trust.
There is nothing wrong with the option of giving away something (once off) in return for an email address. It works.
However, when you offer an e-course or a video e-course, the dynamics and subscriber behavior changes. While you will definitely have fewer people signing up to your list, those subscribers are likely to be more engaged – and more likely to become clients or customers.
It is more efficient, while also being less work than offering both a signup bribe and creating emails that sell.
At the same time, you have a smaller list, which not only costs less to run (email management systems charge by subscriber count), but also has better deliverability rates due to fewer emails and more recipent engagement.