Whether you are a real estate agent, a restauranteur or an interior decorator, your “sphere of influence” (friends, family, past clients, colleagues) is your best source of new business. In fact, many of my clients can trace 60-80% of their business back to their “sphere”. Your “sphere” may require your services/products or they may recommend your services/products to their friends. Email marketing allows you to reach out to these people regularly and at a low cost or at no cost — my favorite prices. I am also fond of the fact that email marketing has “legs” — it keeps going after you have sent it out because your recipients can easily forward it. That second or third tier of recipients are presumably even better leads, as the initial recipient believes it to be relevant to them.
Here are some tips for marketing via email:
- Individual emails can be sent from your email service. But, to send mass emails (more than 25 at a time), you should use an email marketing service — otherwise you may be flagged as a spammer and lose your email service for a while. Here are a few I recommend. Take a tour of each and decide what is right for you…
- Mail Chimp: This service is not completely intuitive to some, but I think it is the best service. It also has a funny monkey as a mascot… I like funny monkeys. Oh and it is free for the first 2000 email addresses… I like free.
- Constant Contact: This might be the most widely used service. I think it falls behind Mail Chimp in template design and social media elements. But, it may be a little easier to use for average user.
- Tiny Letter: Recently acquired by Mail Chimp, this simplified service may be the way to get started if you are new to email marketing. I only just heard about it and haven’t seen the interface, so this isn’t a true recommendation.
- Be sure your recipients have “opted in” to your list. If they haven’t, you may be flagged as a spammer and your email marketing provider can shut you down. I don’t think I have to tell you that would be bad.
- Be consistent, but not annoying. We are all used to getting enewsletters once a month. Sometimes we are okay with getting them twice per month. More frequent emails can be seen as annoying. Be judicious and remember that many of your recipients have limited time to read all their emails. Respect their time.
- Include your website, social media sites and other contact info. If someone decides to use your service, they will need to know how to reach you. They also may want to “like” your Facebook fan page or follow your tweets. Don’t forget to put all of that at the bottom or in a sidebar.
- Be a resource. People appreciate helpful information. Include at least one piece of helpful information in each edition: market data from real estate agents, a recipe from a restauranteur, a product reuse idea from the interior decorator. Read this post about creating content.
- Include something fun. We are more likely to want to read something if we think it will make us smile. A nice photo, a silly quote, an invite for an upcoming event, a giveaway… all of these are fun for the reader. I do a “Fun Friday” edition on my blog because I think we all deserve a laugh at the end of the week. I also thought the sleeping kitten photo for the blog was funny. But, I have a quirky sense of humor…
- Track your results. Tweak your content each edition and see what happens. Most email services will give you reports on how many people opened it, what they clicked on and how many unsubscribed. Use this information in crafting the next edition.
- Get more recipients. Allow people to sign up for your newsletter when they visit your website or Facebook page. This will grow your influence (and win friends?).
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