I hope by now you're persuaded that email marketing is a tool that you absolutely want to add to your marketing mix. When done correctly it will become your goose that lays the golden egg and you'll be able to generate business at the push of a button. If you do it incorrectly however, you'll very likely end up killing the goose and be thrown in spammers prison. You don't want to go there.
So, how does email marketing work and how can you make it work for you? The reality is, you can use email marketing to accomplish lots of different things. You can use it to:
1. Sell a product or service
2. Generate leads
3. Brand yourself as the expert in your field
4. Build celebrity status for yourself
5. Inform, educate and inspire the people on your list
Email marketing can do all of these things and more. You can even build multiple lists with different goals and target different audiences with different needs. The most important thing is to determine what you want to accomplish before you begin.
Here's a simple example of how email marketing works. Let's assume that you're a professional landscape architect and you want to use email to sell your services to people who want a palatial backyard. Up until now, you've been sending emails to your prospects from your computer. Problem is, it's not only time consuming but it's not giving you the results you want.
After talking to a friend, you decide to give email marketing a try.
Step 1: Software or Service
The very first thing you need to do is to decide if you want to purchase email marketing software and run it from your server, or outsource it to an email marketing service company that can maintain your list for you. There are pros and cons to both, but for this example let's assume that you decide to outsource this service. This is what 95% of the professional Internet marketers do.
Step 2: Gather Contact Information
The next thing you'll need to do is gather the contact information of the people you want on your email list. If you have a website or blog, you can create a "Sign-up" box and encourage visitors to give you their name and email address there. If you don't have a website, you can acquire this information by asking every potential customer you meet to give you their name and email address and manually add that information to your software program.
Step 3: Write An Auto-Responder Series
Most email marketing programs allow you to send an email message to your list using either a newsletter feature or an auto-responder feature. Let's start with the auto-responder. Here's how it works.
You write a series of emails that the people on your list will find interesting and helpful. Since you're a landscape architect, your messages might look like this.
1. How to convert your backyard into a zoo for children.
2. Five trees that will shade your house in the summer and sun it the winter.
3. Three cool backyard projects you can complete in a weekend.
4. How to build a water feature for under $300.
5. How to create a backyard scent for all seasons using herbs.
And so on and so forth.
You want to make sure that you let your prospects know that you're available do these things if they don't have the time or energy to do it themselves. And you can also direct them to an affiliate website where they can purchase the tools necessary to complete each project without your help. Either way, you earn money.
After your messages are written, you set the auto-responder to schedule your first email to be sent within minutes of someone signing up on your list. Then you schedule each additional email to be delivered every three days or every week automatically until all of your messages have been delivered.
Studies show that it takes between 7 and 11 positive contacts before a prospect feels comfortable enough to buy from you. By the time they've received and read all of your automated emails, the people on your list are going to see you in a different light. They're going to:
* See you as an expert in your field.
* See you as a celebrity.
* Trust you.
* Like you.
* And most importantly, they're going to think about you when they're ready to landscape their backyard.
Step 4: Write and Send a Monthly or Quarterly Newsletter
You'll also want to send a monthly or quarterly newsletter to your entire list so you can stay in touch with the people who have completed your auto-responder. The newsletter feature allows you to inform the people on your list about an up-coming event or tell them about a limited time offer or send them interesting industry news.
Think of it this way. The purpose of the auto-responder is to build your credibility, celebrity, trust and reputation as the expert in your field; and the purpose of the newsletter to stay in touch with your entire list so that you are front-of-mind when they're ready to become a customer. This is how email marketing works.