If there were ever a strategy underused by small businesses, it is email marketing. I don’t know what it is, the feeling of “intruding” on people’s already full inboxes, or the fear of not having anything to write, or just that it is another thing that takes up time.
But I’m here to tell you that Email is a powerful marketing tool that can help you significantly increase your sales. And even better, once it’s setup, it can run on autopilot!
So why should your business invest your time in email?
- You OWN your email list (unlike your social media accounts): If your only list of prospective customers is your social media followers you are at risk of losing that reach one day. At the worst, what would happen if Facebook or Instagram just shut down? Ok… yes highly unlikely. But they do keep changing what their users are seeing. One day you might get significant reach and engagement from a single post and the next day all you hear is crickets. Email on the other hand provides a means in which you can curate your own list and get in contact as you see fit.
- People only sign up to your email list if they are interested in what you have to offer: It’s one thing to click follow or like on a social media account but it is entirely another to say “Yes, please send me emails!”. This means they are already warm to you, and therefore easier to sell to.
- Email can be totally automated: through modern online marketing platforms you can create automated workflows that will be sent out based around a certain “trigger”. More on this below as I go through the ways email marketing can increase your sales.
- It is the cheapest salesperson you will every employ: Yes, in order to get the benefits of automation you will likely need to pay a monthly subscription service fee, but this can be as little as $10 a month depending on the size of your list. If you get just one extra sale from it, it pays for itself.
Ok so hopefully that has you partially convinced! If not, keep reading as you will see the true power of email through the below Auto Pilot Methods.
And since this is a blog post all about email marketing, I would be silly not to include a great opt-in to entice you onto my list! (full disclosure there!!). In this case, it is extra enticing – an 8 Page Email Marketing Sequence Workbook! In it, I make each of the below methods ultra-practical and actionable by providing some worksheets on some of the sequences you could add to your business today. Interested? Get it here! (no email address required)
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY NO. 1: MOVE NEW PROSPECTS TO PURCHASE THROUGH AN “ONBOARDING” SEQUENCE
Once someone signs onto you email list, you don’t want to just send a thank you/welcome email with your opt-in and then have that subscriber not hear from you again for a month. This is the prime opportunity to introduce them to your brand and your business! They have already taken the step and shown some interest, so strike while the iron is hot!
Additionally, it gets them “used” to receiving emails from you and an idea of what you will send – making them more inclined to open future emails.
An onboarding email sequence is an automated series of emails that your new subscribers get. You could choose to have one sequence that is applicable to all of your subscribers, or you could create different sequences depending on what opt-in they signed up for.
The key here is NOT to go straight for the sale! Warm them up over 3-5 emails, hinting at your products and services throughout but not making a direct sales pitch or offer until the last or second to last email.
Instead send your subscribers something of value or interest. Share your business story or passion. Provide an additional “freebie” they can download. Educate them on something.
Another great option is to create an email course as your opt-in. That way you have a built-in onboarding process and they are already expecting to receive an email a day from you for 5 days.
At or near the conclusion of the onboarding sequence is the time to make your offer. It could just be a soft sell, like an offer for a free 20-minute consultation if you provide a service or a trial group training session for your bootcamps. Or it could be a more direct offer like a X% off their next purchase from your store.
Not everyone will convert to customers around this sequence but at least you have provided a path to make it as simple for them as possible.
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY NO. 2: CONTINUE PROVIDING VALUE
Once someone is on your list, it is important that you keep in touch on a regular basis. Monthly is the absolute minimum you should be doing this.
Again, you can choose whether to send the same email to your entire list or to send separate emails based around different segments or tags (such as geographical region or products/services of interest).
These regular emails should also not just be a sales pitch or a “newsletter” of information they can already find on your website. Yes, include these elements but towards the bottom of the email.
Instead, open with something that only those subscribers could see. It could be just some random behind-the-scenes thoughts or open letter. It could be another freebie. It could basically be an entire blog post! What is your audience interested in about your business? Do more of that!
Then at the conclusion include a special offer or product of the month or a gentle reminder of your services.
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY NO. 3: FULL BLOWN PROMOTIONS
While I don’t recommend doing this too often, your email list is the ideal place to promote your special offers to. Save this one for your big specials, product launches or those peak times of year. If your subscribers are getting enough other value from the regular emails they won’t mind the occasional promotion.
Maximise the potential of these campaigns by giving your email list priority treatment, like they are the first to know about something or will have access to a pre-sale. Or they could get special discount codes.
Depending on what you are promoting, you might want to keep this to one or two emails or these might have warm up sequences of their own. For example, if you are going to offer a new service or more expensive product, you might want to instead offer that they sign up for a free workshop. Or you could provide a sequence similar to onboarding where you are slowly introducing them to your new product or service through information, education and value.
This can be taken even further using automations and tags.
For example, say you are introducing a new range of products. You could send an initial email to your entire list and then create “tags” based around any actions your subscribers took.
If they didn’t even open the email, you could just send them one final reminder just before the launch date. On the other hand, if they clicked a link to go to your website to learn more, you can “tag” them as interested and send them more emails in between.
This way you are only emailing those that have shown an interest and not spamming everyone else.
EMAIL Marketing STRATEGY NO. 4: GETTING MORE SALES FROM EXISTING CUSTOMERS
Once you get the sale, often times it is easy to lose focus on those customers you have already won. Instead, these should be your biggest priority! Sales to existing customers are the easiest sales you can get (so long as your product is good!).
And this follow-up process can be totally automated! Depending on your product or service, this can work in a number of ways:
1. A follow-up email educating your customer on how to use the product (great customer service!)
2. A follow-up email asking for feedback and/or social media shares
3. A follow-up email with a special offer for a repeat purchase or an offer they can forward to a friend
4. A reminder email after your product is likely to be consumed by or they are due for a new service (e.g. hairdressers that send an email with an offer 5 weeks following a haircut)
5. A special offer around occasions such as birthdays (e.g. if someone purchased a present for their child or grandchild on X date, send them a special offer 11 months afterwards)
You don’t even need to be explicit in these emails, it can literally just be a gentle prompt that you exist and that could be enough for them to be reminded of you and say “oh yes, that was great the last time, I’ll get that again!”.
Once again, if you have the information in your email database, all of this can be automated meaning you don’t need to lift a finger except to keep it fresh!
By using automated email marketing strategies not only can you increase your sales on autopilot but you can also structure your emails so that you are only sending the higher number of emails to those who are showing interest in your offer or brand, while maintaining just a base level of contact with your total list.
What email marketing strategies have you used for your small business? What has worked/what hasn’t? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
P.S. If you haven’t signed up to get your free Email Marketing Sequences Workbook, don’t miss out, get them here (no email address required)