Email Marketing… Celebrity Style
Email marketing is a powerful tool. And these days, it’s accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes.
However, there is a big difference between doing email marketing and doing it well. Successful email marketing campaigns generate leads, improve customer loyalty, and contribute to a powerful personal brand. On the other hand, ineffective email marketing is a waste of your time and your resources.
How can you use email marketing effectively while continuing to build your personal brand and establish yourself as the leading celebrity-expert in your market? Read on…
1) Understand who you are writing to.
Who is your audience? You should be able to easily answer this question on a big-picture level—for instance, a retirement planner would likely have an audience consisting of retirees and those planning to retire soon.
But that’s not enough. One of the keys to an effective email marketing campaign is speaking directly to your audience, as personally as possible. Nobody wants to feel like just another name in a massive database—if they do feel that way, chances are that your email messages will be deleted without a second thought.
So learn more about your audience. Determine whether each contact is a business, or an individual. Identify gender. Identify age. Identify geographic location. Identify hobbies and other interests.
One great way to do this by asking these important questions on your sign-up forms. In other words, in addition to asking for their name and email address, ask your prospect to share additional information that is important for your campaign. Of course, the more information you require, the more likely a prospect is to say “forget it”—so you will want to experiment and track your results.
Bottom line: learn as much as you can about your audience, so that you can engage them personally.
2) Segment your audience for a more “personal” connection.
If you followed my advice in step one, you now have detailed information for each of the contacts in your email database.
Now it’s time to use it!
Forget sending massive “one size fits all” email blasts to your entire list. If it’s not personalized, it’s going to be far less successful.
The first step is segmenting your audience. Break your master list down into segments. What these segments will be is determined largely by the nature of your business. You could break your list down into geographic regions. You could segment your audience by age, gender, income level, level of education, and much more. I used a retirement planner in an earlier example—he or she would likely start by segmenting an email list into “retired” and “not yet retired”, as obviously these two audiences would be interested in different information.
Once your list is segmented, the next step is crafting content, information, and offers that appeal to each segment of your audience. Non-clients, for instance, could be targeted with special introductory offers designed to get them “in your door.” Current clients, on the other hand, could be offered a referral program which offers an incentive for them to connect you with new leads.
The options are endless—as long as you segment your audience. Your mailing list does not consist of thousands of identical individuals… so don’t treat them all the same!
3) Be a “real” person.
Nobody likes spam, and if your email blasts feel like junk mail, they will be ignored.
Here are a few easy steps you can take to address this problem:
-Use your name in the “sender” field.
-Send the email from a real address. (As opposed to something like firstname.lastname@example.org)
-Greet your recipient by name. It’s easy to set up your email blasts to begin with a personalized salutation, i.e. “Dear Mike” or “Hi Joe.”
In addition, it’s important to let your personal brand shine through in the body of your email. For some of you, that means humor. For others, it may mean “action photos” of yourself or your team hard at work. I like to keep my readers up to date on a variety of topics—especially the results of my shopping adventures!
Whatever the specifics may be, the key is to seem like a person—not a robot. Be real, be interesting, be yourself… and your audience will be far more interested in what you have to say.
4) Always provide value.
At the end of the day, successful email marketing campaigns have at least one trait in common: their audience is interested in what they have to say. The audience has a reason to open the email—and to spend time reading it.
This boils down to one word: value.
How can you provide value for your audience?
Many businesses do it by providing coupons and other savings opportunities. If you receive emails from your favorite local restaurant, and you know that they often include great coupons, you’re going to open those emails every time… am I right?
But you can also provide value by offering helpful information to your audience. Going back to the example of our hypothetical retirement planner – he/she could share stock market forecasts, tips for saving money on taxes, and all sorts of additional information.
The best part about this approach is that it not only answers pressing questions for your audience, it also positions you as a leading authority in your market. It turns you into the celebrity-expert you are working to become, and it provides great value for your audience at the same time.
So take some time right now and ask yourself what type of information your audience is interested in. If you’re not sure, ask them! Call up three or four long-term clients and simply ask them what type of information they would be interested in.
Identifying the type of content that interests your readers is a vital step—once you’ve done so, it’s just a matter of communicating the information in a clear and engaging manner.
Done right, email marketing is an incredible tool for your business. Not only can it be used to engage your customers, increase loyalty, and generate new leads… but it can also position you as the leading Celebrity Expert™ in your market.