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Every small business owner understands the value of building relationships with customers. But many of us get lost when it comes to building relationships with potential customers.
As a business owner, I’ve learned that success in marketing is all about timing. The optimal time for a business to sell a product or service to a customer is right when they need it! Wouldn’t it be great, however, if we knew when that perfect time was for everyone? Unfortunately we don’t. So here’s the rub, how can you get in front of a potential customer just at the exact time when they are ready to buy? That’s where email marketing comes in.
In a special report made available by AWeber, one of the world’s leading email marketing platforms, MarketingSherpa offers valuable insight into how small businesses are using email marketing effectively and how they can improve. Their findings are based on a survey the company conducted across 2700 email marketers and shows some distinct trends in the use of email marketing across small businesses.
So, what are small businesses looking to accomplish with their email marketing campaigns? The number one objective, ranked at the top by 80% of the respondents, was list growth and subscriber retention. Simply stated businesses want to build better relationships with more prospects.
This isn’t surprising because business is simply about the law of large numbers; the more prospects you have in your pipeline, the more sales you have. However, the findings show that our collective attitude about list building seems to be undergoing a rather significant shift leaving small business owners wondering which is more desirable – quantity or quality.
The quick answer is that a shorter list of high quality subscribers beats a giant list of random opt-ins any day of the week. So, what can you do to make the most of your email marketing activities? Follow the 5 B’s below and build the right kind of buzz for your business.
1. Be Customized
Businesses go to a lot of work to attract subscribers and get potential customers to opt-in to their offerings. Don’t waste that effort by treating every one of those prospects as if they are the same. Erase the concept of one-size-fits-all from your email marketing mindset. In order to replicate that real-time relationship, your subscribers need to feel like you are talking directly to them and only to them. Amazon and Pandora are two companies that do that well in email marketing, segmenting subscribers by interests and emailing them relevant offers and information. What’s the practical application? Don’t just have one email newsletter, have several, customized to meet your prospects’ (and customers’) needs.
2. Be Choosy
Just like the customers you are hoping to attract don’t want to feel like they are just anyone, you don’t want them to see your company as just any company. Choose the right content and spark a conversation. Conversations lead to conversion. Choose wisely. Practical application: strive to add value, give people want they want, don’t spam. (How do you know what they value? Just ask!)
3. Be Strategic
The most successful email marketers set goals and develop strategic plans for achieving those goals. Understanding how your email marketing strategy fits into your marketing strategy will also help you stay on track. Practical Application: Know what you want to accomplish.
4. Be Tactical
Once you know what you want to accomplish, (i.e., establish my company as the leader in my industry) email marketing success is also all about the tactics. Knowing which tactics inspire prospects to opt-in and remain engaged is one of the foundations of using email marketing successfully. Practical Application: Know which tactics your audience responds to and which ones turn them off.
5. Be Clear
There is a lot to be said for clarity, especially in communications. When you are asking a subscriber to opt-in to your offer, make sure they know what they are getting, how often they will receive it, when they will receive it, and why they want it. Practical Application: Don’t assume anything. Make sure your email communications answer your subscribers’ questions.
If you’re looking to increase your pipeline in 2012, email marketing is still one of the best tools in your marketing tool box. Use it well and you will reap the benefits. For more information about successful email marketing, check out AWeber.com. (Disclosure: AWeber is one of the email platforms I use in my business.)
If you use email marketing in your business, please leave a comment below and let us know what tips you have for small business owners.
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