In the clamour to go ‘social’ we all lost sight of a simple fact: An opted-in email address is way more valuable than any ‘Like’, ‘Follower’ or ‘Connection’ will ever be. ‘WHAT?! But I employed an entire team to make sure we’re like, totally social, man!’
Don’t get me wrong, social has it’s benefits, but boiling it down to simple stats, email wins hands down every time. For example, there are 3 times more email users than Facebook and Twitter users combined. And at the business end of things, an email list of 10,000 fresh, opted in, engaged email recipients will outperform 10,000 ‘fans’ or ‘followers’ in terms of generating inbound enquiries every time, and by a distance.
I totally get that the trend for new, new, new has led people down the social marketing path, and consequently, there’s an incorrect perception that email marketing is dead. But while social platforms are the virtual equivalent of a room full of people all shouting over each other to get attention, often with little to actually say, an email is a personal digital letter that will wait patiently in the recipient’s inbox until they’re ready to give it their attention.
Compare and contrast your own behaviour, your phone pings – you’ve got a new email, do you check it – yes, usually. You log into LinkedIn, your feed has 968 new updates since you last checked it, are you going to read through them all? Even glance at anything that hasn’t been posted in the last 20 minutes?
The fact is, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter feeds are so transient, that your posts are replaced by other musings before anyone has had chance to read them, let alone digest or be influenced by them. People may be addicted to social, but they’re just not that engaged by it.
Email marketing is actually far more powerful because it’s personal (one-to-one) rather than ‘social’ (one-to-many), as your recipient is given the opportunity to engage with you on an individual basis – rather than simply being a passive spectator in a world of social white noise. As if you need further convincing, here’s why email is still the number one performer in any digital marketing strategy:
- It’s still the de-facto way that business people communicate globally
- There’s a free, inbuilt, instant, direct response mechanism – the reply button
- Opens, clicks and crucially, sales enquiries can all be tracked accurately (and therefore improved)
- It has a longer dwell time – 6 seconds per email rather than a fraction of a second per social post
So, we’re all agreed that you need to build an opted in email list of potential buyers forthwith and stop worrying about the number of ‘retweets’ you did or didn’t get this week. Here’s a few ways to ramp up your email list and build trust quick smart…
Use transactional emails to drive marketing emails
A sure-fire way to hook up with more prospects is the in-signature sign up – just add a line that invites your contacts to subscribe to news, offers, blog posts or industry insight articles. You’re already communicating with people at this point, so they’ll be warm to you and more likely to part with their details in order to stay in the loop. Doing this soon adds up too…if you send 50 emails a day and four of your team do the same, that’s 250 opportunities you’ve opened up straight away without spending a penny.
Start conversations through content
Good content connects (take a look at our previous post for some nuggets on that particular subject), so it’s important to make sure you send out top notch written content to reward people for opting in. They’ve invested their time and contact details in building a relationship with your business, so really make it worth their while. Weekly or monthly is a good place to start – soon your audience will get into the habit of looking out for Tuesday’s Top Tips or your famous Fantastic Friday Offer.
Content ideas for regular emails…
- New product and new service launches
- Case studies and testimonials
- ‘Behind the curtain’ pieces like meet the team, staff profiles and charity work
- Feature your customers and their stories
- What ‘conversation’ can you own? – (Tip: it’s probably bigger than the product or service you sell)
- Make ‘em laugh! There is no B2B or B2C really – we’re all just people at work who like to smile!
Always have something to offer
A great way to build up a long list of email addresses is to make sure there’s something in it for your audience. One thing that usually ticks the opt-in box is a good old fashioned freebie – an ebook, an exclusive podcast, anything that whets their appetite and adds value to what your offering. But don’t just throw anything at your targets, make it relevant. If you think a dated corporate brochure will work, think again. Give them insight…not s***e!
Make a lasting impression
Noah Kagan, founder of SumoMe, which offers tools for growing website traffic, sees email as the next best thing to visiting your customers in person every few days. He suggests that the top tactic is to auto-send people your ‘best of’ emails first once they subscribe. Not necessarily new content, and not so much that you scare them off. Just a snapshot of your greatest hits to get things off the ground and make that all important first impression the best it can be.
Start a dialogue
So, you sent an email, and thanks to the punchy subject line, catchy content and wonderfully insightful article you linked to, your prospect enquired. What next? Well, we look at it like this. The first email is like a friendly wave. If someone waves back, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll be happy to chat if you cross the road to go and say hello. So, once you get a response you need to keep things moving. Reply to the replies straight away, but also pick up the phone – emails will only get you so far.
Consistency outperforms irregular brilliance
Email is addictive, I’ve checked my inbox 5 times while writing this. The point is, the average recipient gets around 70 emails per day. So you’re not always going to generate the ‘cut through’ you want with every email. But by being consistent and regular, you’ll eventually catch your recipient in the right circumstances (i.e. with the time and inclination) to respond to you.
Once you start collecting emails, don’t stop
Your email database degrades by 25% every year. People change jobs and abandon email addresses as they change their broadband provider at home – leaving you talking to a brick wall. So always keep your email list as fresh as the content you distribute to it…and never stop adding quality prospects to your little black ebook.