1. Create offers. Last week, I heard a business mentor’s advice: “If you want people to do something for you, do something for them first.” This is the foundational premise of email marketing. Give your prospects something that is of value to them. But first, get to know a little bit about your target audience. What are they interested in? What do they want to learn about? What are their goals? What problems do they face? Here are some sample offerings:
An e-book download
A free consultation
Access to free calculators
A free weekly newsletter with information of value to them
2. Develop calls-to-action (CTAs). Once you’ve created your offers, you must entice your audience to access them. This is where the CTA comes in. A CTA creates a sense of urgency and direction for your audience. An example of a CTA might be “Download our free retirement e-book for a limited time!” Alongside the CTA should be a form. The form is where a prospect must submit his email address in order to access the offer. (It’s up to you if you want to require more information.) Here are some avenues you may consider for your CTA
Download buttons (such as the example above)
Forms on your website
CTAs on social media
Landing pages that prompt people to take advantage of your offers.
3. Funnels. Let’s say that Sally, a 55-year-old widow on the brink of retirement, signs up to access a retirement calculator on your website. Once she signs up, her email address should be placed into a drip-email campaign. A drip-email campaign is a sequence of messages that a prospect receives over a fixed period of time. The content should relate to the offer she opted in to. For example, if Sally opts in to access a retirement calculator, she should receive emails pertaining to retirement planning.
4. Automated emails. We know Sally accessed the free retirement calculator, so how many emails should she receive? How should the emails be organized? How often should you send them? My recommendation is to send five emails over the course of the next one to two months. Here are some additional pointers for the emails:
Always offer direction. What actions do you want prospects to take? Do you want them to visit your blog? Do you want them to opt into your weekly e-newsletter? Getting your prospects more and more involved with your company is one of the many goals you should have with e-marketing.
Be conversational and keep it concise. Would you read an email that was super-long and boring? Probably not. Neither will your prospects.
Start soft, end strong. The first two to three emails your clients receive should be somewhat soft (from a sales perspective). In other words, don’t ask a prospect for an appointment in your first email. Instead, establish some credibility and comfort first. Direct them to your blog or video library so they can learn more about your firm. After they’ve received several emails, you can consider requesting a meeting.
5. When the campaign ends. When the drip email campaign ends, you have several options for how to proceed.
If you haven’t heard from Sally, you may consider giving her a call to see if she has any questions.
If Sally is not currently interested in your services, do what you can to stay in front of her for the next few months. Send emails once or twice a month or prompt her to sign up for your other offers. (According to Marketing Sherpa, 70 percent of your leads will eventually buy something from you or one of your competitors.)
Evaluate the analytics of your campaign. This is essential for successful e-marketing. In essence, see what engages people and rework your campaigns accordingly.
With these email marketing tips, you leverage the immense power of this cheap and effective lead-generation tool.
Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and president of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.