Take a quick look at your In-Box and tell me automated email campaigns aren’t the new norm. While we often complain that we receive too much email, we actually signed up to receive most of it, and that’s because we’re at least somewhat interested in the content of those emails. The brands that are sending you those recurring emails are hoping that one day soon, something in one of those notes will spark your interest just enough to get you to buy from them. It takes many emails over a period of time to move you from passive prospect to loyal customer, but it eventually works. This is called “Lead Nurturing,” or in the agency world “Marketing Automation.”
No matter the size of your business, almost all brands can benefit from lead nurturing with an automated email campaign. Here are the steps to creating a simple and cost effective email campaign designed to turn your leads into sales.
Create a Schedule
First, create an editorial schedule. Decide how often you want to send emails to your list of prospects and clients. Most small businesses will start by sending automated content once per month; medium businesses might send once per week; large brands might be as aggressive as once per day.
Provide Useful Content
Let’s face it. The emails we despise the most are the ones that just look like an advertisement. Unless you’re offering me an awesome coupon (hey, money talks), I want content that teaches me something or improves my day. If you’re a landscaping business, provide me with tips for fighting weeds or feeding my begonias. If you’re a financial planner, send me intelligent articles related to retirement and college savings. And if you’re a fitness trainer, send me inspirational messages about getting back into shape or eating healthy.
Examples and testimonials from satisfied customers might be the most important content you can provide. Share stories of people who’ve successfully used your products, and quotes from folks who love your services. Before I buy from you, I want to know that your ideas work, and your satisfied clients are living proof. Document their accolades and include them in your emails.
Make It Social
Give your brand a hashtag. If you’re a commercial insurance agent, create a hashtag such as #mybusinessiscovered or #dontriskit, and tell your readers to use the hashtag in their tweets. Then, in future emails, include some of the tweets in which your readers referenced the hashtag. They’ll be so happy that you recognized them (and their business), and it will encourage other readers to do the same. Prospects and customers will be sure to open your email the next time they receive it to see if they’re mentioned, as well. This feel-good engagement is unique and memorable.
Ask Your Readers to Share
Be sure to provide the ability for your subscribers to share your emails. Your customers are your best salespeople, and if they’re reading helpful emails that you send to them on a regular basis, chances are they’ll want to pass that information along to their friends who could also benefit from that knowledge. Automated email services will help you include a “Share It Now” button in the email, for readers to easily post it to social media sites, like Facebook or Twitter, or forward it to their friends. The benefit of using an automated “Share It Now” button through an email service provider is the ability to track how many times your message has been shared, by whom, and where on the web — so that you can gather more leads and learn the type of information your prospects consider useful and share-worthy.
Grow Your Email List
Asking your current readers to share your content with friends is one important way to expand your email list. But you can also rent email lists from reputable industry publishers. For instance, if you’re a real estate agent, you might work with a home and gardens magazine. For a small fee, they’ll send an email on your behalf to their qualified list. You can choose a specific demographic, such as readers between the ages of 30 and 50 located within 20 miles of the zip code 19460. In the message, be sure to include a Call-To-Action, which encourages readers to click through from the body of the email to a contact collection form living on your website. Once someone clicks though and completes that form, voila! You have a new lead, and you can now add them to your email list, as well.
Automate Your Campaign
Once you have an established editorial schedule, a library of useful content, and a strong prospect list, you can automate your online marketing campaign by scheduling emails through a reputable service provider, such as Constant Contact, iContact, Mail Chimp and My Emma, among others. When you’re just starting out, look for free trials or the ability to send up to a specified amount of emails free each month. After you find what works, it’s easy to upgrade your account to something that provides in depth tracking and unlimited services.
Abide by CAN-SPAM Regulations
This is very important. Abiding by CAN-SPAM regulations means always providing an Opt-Out option, visible and operational Unsubscribe links, relevant Subject lines, and accurate From lines. It also requires knowing which campaigns your leads have signed up for. Again, legitimate email campaign service providers like the ones mentioned earlier will help you with this, so utilize them as your list grows.
Consult with an Email Expert
If done properly, your lead nurturing campaign will eventually bring you more revenue. It does take some time and effort on your marketing team’s part to organize the campaign, find relevant content to include in the emails, and track its usefulness. Consider contracting with a small marketing agency or freelancer who can help you set up and manage the campaign. Once you’ve delegated this important job as a responsibility to someone on your team, you’ll notice your email list starting to grow, more prospects inquiring about your products and services, and in time, significantly more sales. Good luck, and have fun!