Forget twitter and facebook? It sounds crazy to say that out loud in 2009.
With all the hype that social media marketing has been receiving in the past 12 months, it’s a little counter intuitive to write a post about good â€˜ol email marketing.
Yes, email is old. According to this Wikipedia article on email, it began around 1961 although most of us likely didn’t start using it until the early 90’s.
History lesson aside, let me say that most of my own selling is done via email. I do still do in person meetings of course I send proposals and speak with clients on the phone. But when I really think about it, most of my communication before and after a sale is via email and in a lot of cases, even though I sell services, some of my largest sales have been via email from start to finish. If you take a moment to think about your own sales process, you might be surprised at how much of it takes place off the web and in your inbox.
At the risk of getting back on track, here are a few quick reasons why email is still king in 2009:
- Most people use it
- Most people understand it
- There are multiple ways to use it in your business and much of its use can be automated
- It can be leveraged and its value multiplied by combining it with other tools such as social media tools like twitter, facebook and blogs
- If used properly, it can, over time, warm up prospects and convert them into paying customers
- It can be used to generate referrals
- And more…
But don’t take my word for it. Renowned marketer/entrepreneur and email czar Chris Baggot calls email “the greatest marketing tool in history.”
In his book “Email Marketing by the Numbers” (which I recommend) Baggot offers these four reasons why email is such an incredible marketing medium:
- Email is Easy: the tools are easy to setup and use.
- Email is Inexpensive: try comparing it to T.V, print or even Google Adwords. (I dare you!)
- Email is Interactive: it’s trackable and its effectiveness can be measured
- Email is Data Driven: you can use email to gather data and then act on that data to further your relationships with your customers and prospects. (Or constituents as Baggot calls them.)
Speaking of Chris Baggot, I use his company’s email platform, ExactTarget Enterprise edition for one of my national clients and have been achieving great results with it for the past 2.5 years. I highly recommend you take a look at their website. Visiting their site provides some very nice learning opportunities when it comes to enticing people to provide their email address in exchange for “free” information. In addition to learning how they build their own prospect lists, the resources are top notch.
Another service or two I recommend you take a look at include: Verticalresponse.com and Aweber.com. Vertical Response is the system I use for my own email newsletter as it fits my needs as an SME. Their site is full of great marketing articles for you to learn from and their system is easy and inexpensive to use. Aweber is a tool that I plan on using to setup auto-responder sequences and to create email courses and I recommend you take a look at them as well, especially if you’d like to setup automated marketing messages that run over long periods of time.
So after all that, you may still be wondering…is email where the real money is at?
I say it is for this reason: your email list in its most basic form should be representative of your customer list. Said in another way, your first email list after you’ve made a successful sale is a list of your customers, a list that you stay in touch with on an ongoing basis and sell to and provide value to over and over again.
These are people who’ve already bought from you and, if you did a good job of taking care of them, will likely continue to do so well into the future. Your email list really is your customer list and your customer list is the most important asset your business has.
We’ve also all heard the adage that it costs more to find new customers than it does to take care of existing customers and this continues to be true. By using email properly and gathering prospective client’s email addresses and by staying in touch with them over time, you can dramatically increase the ROI of your marketing dollars and convert more leads into sales than you could otherwise. Using Google Adwords as a quick example, if you invest $500 a month in pay-per-click advertising and don’t capture any sort of visitor information after people show up to your site, you’re loosing a major opportunity to continue selling to people (by providing them valuable information over time) after their initial visit. This topic alone is likely worth its own post sometime in the future. (Note this idea is Perry Marshall’s and not my own! Thanks for helping me see the light Perry!).
I hope I’ve delivered my point. The point again is that email is where the money is because your email list grows directly from your customer list. It is also where the money is because your email list may also be your prospective customer list and by using email you can turn these people into paying customers. And, finally, email is where the money is because email really is about building relationships with people which is what we do in business: we build mutually beneficial relationships that are profitable to two or more parties.
Social media is the current focus but most people are still figuring it out. Email is tried, tested and true and still underutilized by most. It is also one of the biggest opportunities you have in your online sales arsenal. Just that it’s not the big hot topic right now doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve your time and attention.
I’m going to end this post with a quick personal story: recently I purchased an online marketing home study course (because I couldn’t attend the live event) that I was completely sold on, over time, via email. In the past 2 years alone I have likely spent $4000 to $5000 as a direct result of emails I’ve subscribed to whether they be newsletters, email courses or auto-responder sequences of some sort. If you even generated an additional $100 or $500 per customer over 6 to 12 months what would that do for your business? Email can get you there. Nuff said.
Ready to start taking better advantage of email? Let’s talk!