It's Now The Law…
I thought I would revisit email marketing as a business tool to help you grow your business because I believe it's one of the cornerstones that you need to run any successful business. I don't care whether it's local, national, or international. The reason is, when you have an email list, it's something you own.
Lately, there's a lot of buzz about email and something called CDPR, which is basically a new law that is happening over in Europe which concerns privacy. The heightened awareness may have a lot to do with the whole Cambridge Analytica Facebook thing. It's a law that's been on the books for a long time, so it's not quite a cause and effect like you might think I would be.
I've talked about owning your stuff before, like getting your own domain names, owning your own web hosting, all that kind of stuff, You should consider starting or ramping up your email program; I don't care which platform it is, it could be Outlook on your desktop, it could be Infusionsoft, or something in between. Ultimately you may rent the service provider, but the list is yours.
Number one, you're responsible for it, so that's something that you've got to keep an eye on, and I will be talking about CDPR a little further on a future post.
Creating The Lists – Gathering Names
Let's talk about email marketing in general. First and foremost, if you have nothing, then you start from scratch. One of the things that you can do is start going to networking meetings, get business cards, etc., but it's what you do with them that's important. You don't just want to take a bunch of people's emails off of business cards and put them into an email marketing program. It's akin to doing something like adding people to groups on Facebook without their permission. You may want to send out an individual email to each to say hi, and suggest a reason why they should subscribe to your email list. Then give them a call-to-action link to do so!
People tend to get a little bit cranky when they're getting emails they are not expecting. The same goes with phone calls, because of spoofed numbers that are hiding robocalls people get without being asked to be put on a list.
Even worse is getting texts, because you have to pay for every byte of data that comes across. Adding somebody to anything without their permission is uncool at best, but with email, you can expect that people are going to immediately unsubscribe. Some people won't pay attention. Some people won't open it, but the bottom line is, when you create an email program of people that want to hear what it is that you have to say, it's a great foundational business tool.
Email Lists – You Own It
When I say own it, this is what I mean: If you have people in your contact manager on your desktop computer, such as Outlook or Contacts in Mac, that's your list, and you can use that. Be aware that you cannot broadcast more than a hundred people at a time, so you have to send out multiple emails to reach a larger audience. Obviously, that's going to be a very time-consuming activity because you've got to manage it, and then see who responds. You'll get no feedback unless they're going to email you back, or they sign up for whatever it is that you're emailing them about.
In the case of an email program, my favorite is AWeber. I've done a lot of training on it, and I have a training webinar coming up if you want to check it out. Go to Baconcoach.com/AWeber where either you can register for the live webinar or watch the replay.
Ultimately, what it boils down to is this: if you pull people into a program, and you start adding them to your list, or you let them add themselves to the list, now you've created a group of people that actually want to get and open your email. The number of emails that are opened goes up. The number of people that interact with them goes up when people actually sign up for your list.
Often you can add people from a webinar or a live event. I did one a while back where I was speaking, and I had put sign-up sheets in the back of the room, and I then added those people to my list. Afterward, I sent them an email saying “Thanks for joining, here's what I promised.” Then the next time I email them, they can choose to stay or unsubscribe from the list. If they are not aligned with what I am sending, or they just don't like it, that's okay. It's their prerogative. That's one of the things that a broadcast email system does. It gives people the ability to manage whether they want to be on the list or not.
If you add somebody to a Facebook group, they can always say, “I'm going to leave the group.” If you ask their permission or invite them, there is a much better chance of them staying.
It's Your Audience
Ultimately, if you've got a group of people that want to hear what you have to say, then you have an audience of fans that you can create some influence with.
What I also mean by owning it, is that you have the ability, with most email programs, to be able to download those lists to a CSV file and something that can be opened up in Excel. My suggestion to you is, as you start to build your lists, make a backup. Download those lists and put them into a Dropbox or whatever format you want to back them up to, such as a local hard drive, but ultimately you want to make sure that you have access to your hard work.
Say you don't pay your bill for your email program. All your email contacts go away. I've seen that happen with websites quite a bit. Say you want to change services. You want to move up a notch or down a notch, or a bright, new, shiny program is launched. You can export those contacts and you can re-import them. Some companies are a little bit more stringent about the rules. You'll have to check out the rules for each and definitely talk to their technical support or customer support before you pull out a list and then try to upload it to a new program. But the bottom line is that if you have it in a CSV file, you can find a company that will let you import and use it.
AWeber is my favorite. I know you can export out of MailChimp, or Constant Contact, or Infusionsoft, or whatever, and upload it to AWeber. The difference is that each one of those programs handles the data differently.
When I first started with AWeber, I had a whole bunch of different lists for different things: webinars, affiliates, and other activities. It simply got out of hand.
They've added something called tagging, where you can tag individual people as you add them to a list, so I can tag them with a specific presentation I gave or event you attended, so I can know where they came from.
I put people, whose names I get at presentations, into a group called “presentations local”, or “presentations national”. That way I can see a lot more information about them and remember how or why I added them as time progresses.
Let's say somebody attended one of your live events. You can put in a tag that says “live events”. Now when you send out a broadcast email, you can say, “Only send the email to everybody in this list who has been at a live event,” and it segments outgoing emails to only those people.
Send Well Crafted & Targeted Emails
The last piece of this that I think is ultra-important when it comes to email marketing is this: Think about yourself sitting on the other end, the receiving end of that email. What would make you want to open it? Usually, it starts with a headline that sounds interesting to you. What would make you want to read it? Something that is geared toward you and your needs, and makes you say, “I WANT to sit here and read this.”
You don't want to make it too long, unless that what your audience expects (lots of detail). If you have to make people consume a long email, chances are they won't read any of it, and they'll just close it and eventually delete it.
You want to be targeted. You want to make sure that you have a good headline to get people to open it. They want you to give them good, useful information, and you want to make it short and to the point.
Using good email practices is a great way to build your business and to build that sphere of influence with people that are actually interested in what you have to communicate, promote, and eventually sell!
Don't be all sales-y sales-y. Try to be educational and give them a reason to keep coming back. Email is not dead… It's alive and well and still growing in popularity. Although inboxes are filling up with junk, if they have signed up and asked to be on your list, you will eventually see results. It can take some time to write well-crafted emails and follow-up sequences, but it's worth it in the long run.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?
To learn more about this and other topics on Internet Marketing, visit our podcast website at http://www.baconpodcast.com/podcasts/