I see the well-known Internet marketing gurus do this all the time — they begin to try and sell to me when I first opt into their list. This has worked quite well for them over the years, but I think the tide is turning and people are generally becoming more marketing-savvy. Your list members don’t mind being sold to, provided that they have a relationship with you and have completed the like, know and trust journey (or are at least on the path of this journey) of getting to know you before they decide to buy something from you.
Whether you have a 500-person list or a 5000-person list, the rate at which they respond to your offers ties directly in with how well they know, like and trust you and see you as the expert providing answers to the problems keeping them awake at night.
Here are the 5 strategies you can employ to develop a responsive email list.
1. Get personal. Discovering the inner workings of people’s lives makes reality television shows popular. In the same vein, your readers want to know more about you as a person. Don’t be afraid to share what’s going on in your life, be that good, bad, or ugly. I receive the greatest number of comments to my ezine and blog when I post articles about very happy or very sad occasions in my life. I was overwhelmed with the responses of sympathy, care and concern I received from around the globe to an article I wrote for my ezine when my mom passed away. As a matter of fact, some folks still check in on me occasionally to see how I’m doing.
2. Talk about your business in first person. Many marketing books and training courses tell you that you need to appear to be a large company to encourage others to do business with you. For many of us, this means referring to ourselves and our companies in third person or by our company name, even though we’re really a one-person shop. In reality, people want to do business with other people, not some nameless and faceless corporate entity.
I dread calling my ISP for tech support because invariably I get a nameless, faceless drone who acts as though I’m a bother and that I’m interrupting his productive goofing off during work time. All he wants to do is make me jump through the hoops outlined by his script rather than really listening to what my problem is. Instead, when I need technical assistance, I call a friend who has a tech support business and pay him to solve my problems (instead of using the free tech support provided by my ISP) because I know that my friend will get my problem fixed — the first time.
3. Show up as the business owner. Part of the process of having your list get to know you is sharing images and audio of yourself. You can do that by using your headshot in your blog or ezine header or by posting an audio or video intro on your web site. Make sure the images that you share are recent and are reflective of how you look today. I was a guest speaker a conference several years ago and had many of the participants tell me with some amount of surprise that I actually looked like my photo in the program guide. I’ve had the experience of going to someone’s workshop and thinking, “Wow, that headshot on his web site must’ve been taken 10 (or more) years ago! Man, has he aged/gained weight/fill in the blank here….” Be accurate in the images you share online — that’s very important in the relationship-building process.
4. Contact consistently. One of the questions that I’m asked all the time is about the best day of the week to send out ezines or email broadcasts. Usually I can recite the results of a recent survey that some marketing company has conducted and rattle off the stats that support certain days for B2B (business-to-business) broadcasts and other days for B2C (business-to-consumer) broadcasts. Ultimately, for the most part, the day of the week that you send a broadcast doesn’t matter. What’s more important is training your list to come to expect your ezine to arrive every Thursday morning, for example. Tell your list when you’ll be in contact with them, and do what you say you’re going to do. It is really that simple.
5. Contact frequently. Most of my clients make the big mistake of not emailing their list often enough. Many are concerned that too many emails will cause list members to unsubscribe. You need to develop a thick skin in this business because reality dictates the following: You will lose subscribers with every email you send. Perhaps you’re no longer relevant to them or they’re overwhelmed with email or they never really had an interest in what you offer in the first place. Who knows the reason? You need to get used to it. Send them away happily knowing that they would probably have never purchased from you anyway, and their departure makes room for a more perfect list member to join your list through one of your many list-building strategies. (You are practicing good list-building, aren’t you?)
For best results, you need to email your list weekly. Any less and it takes a much longer time to build a relationship with your list because they don’t hear from you as often. If you’re frustrated with not getting the results you want from your list, touch base with them more often.
Email marketing works well when you have a well-established relationship with your contact list. Follow these 5 strategies to strengthen the responsiveness of your list today.