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Email marketing is a crucial startup tool. Your email list is one of your biggest assets – are you using it right? Have you got what it takes to sell to these people? A shift in tone and strategy is required to convert passive readers into active customers. How can you get people to truly engage with your content and products a little bit more? Here are five ways you can start to bring people in a little bit closer to your brand through the power of great email content.
#1 Offer value
People are more likely to buy from you if they are invested in a relationship that offers value.
- Learn how to send sales emails that offer genuine value through targeting, personalization and knowledge sharing. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes – would that email make you go ‘ick’?
- Get people to look forward to your emails thanks to all the great insight and commentary you offer. Become ‘the expert’ in your niche and leverage your expertise to give timely and on-point product or service recommendations.
- Give people things for free so that they start to trust you. You can’t go in and hard sell to an email list and expect a return immediately. Give people personalized offers and incentives in order to engage with you, but only send them out once you’ve established a rapport or a relationship.
- Help your readers answer key questions they have about what they’re doing by openly addressing a common pain point. Being open, vulnerable, direct, and cutting through all the ‘BS’ shows your customers that you are genuinely invested in helping them out. You are better off coming across as a friendly place for recommendations, than someone who just sends out sales updates.
#2 Entertain & delight
Humor and entertainment sell too. Having a quirky personality really works for some brands, and it gets customers involved in the buying process in a subtle way. Emails are a great place to loosen up and try a more relaxed tone of voice for your brand.
- Entertaining emails are especially good at driving web traffic to your website – but you will need to work on what you want people to do next once you’ve got them there. Always include a call to action at the end of a post or infographic for people who want more. Here are four emails customers are guaranteed to open.
- Make sure that the content keeps bringing people back to the products and services you offer. You can go completely off-topic every now and then, but don’t veer completely off-course for good. Remember –you want to be able to calculate the ROI of what you are doing.
- Humor is all about context, so make sure you’ve got it right for your list. Get to know your audience’s content habits and the kinds of sites that they spend time on. Monitor what results you get on social media when you ‘try’ to be funny.
#3 Be professional and data-driven
Always take time and care when sending out emails to people. A sloppy email will look bad for your brand and won’t sell anything effectively. Don’t fall into the trap of approaching your emails too casually.
- Make your emails look nice – don’t get sloppy with your brand just because it’s in someone else’s inbox. That email is still part of your branding. Check out some of these beautiful product emails for inspiration.
- Use good email templates, have a clean email list, and always proofread religiously . People are merciless when it comes to dismissing brands based on errors and mistakes in an email.
- Test your emails – make sure that all the links and affiliate links are tagged up and working correctly before you hit ‘send all’.
- Use correct email list segmentation to help you send out more targeted and effective emails. Irrelevancy is one of the biggest email turn-offs.
#4 Tell brand stories, don’t broadcast
People are busy when they open their inboxes, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t have time to get caught up in a good narrative. If you want to tell people something – make it about storytelling, not broadcasting.
- What brand stories should you be sharing? What do people care about? Is there a feel-good story lurking in your product line? Are your products about triumphing against the odds? Before you begin emailing, be clear on what stories you want to tell to your subscribers over the course of the year and why. Check out this SlideShare on brand storytelling for a detailed overview on how to approach this strategy for your brand.
- Make sure that the stories you tell are real and compelling – not thin and misleading. You will need to invest in good copywriters and designers in order to nail brand storytelling on your website and your emails (but it’s worth it).
- Always bring your stories back to the reader and ask them to get involved in a further conversation with you. Don’t end the story on a low – always include an opener for the next bit.
#5 Shift your mentality
A shift in focus from content to sales doesn’t mean foregoing all the online relationships you’ve built up with people so far – it just means taking advantage of all the opportunities out there and being savvy with the emails you send. Check out this ecommerce and email infographic for some ideas on how to sell in a classy way.
- See your email list as a valuable commercial asset and treat it with respect and care – always plan and test sales emails meticulously.
- New to selling products or services online? Do some proper market research into online selling and make sure you select a niche in which you can compete and stand on your own two feet. Think about whether dropshipping and order fulfilment can help you get started faster, and don’t neglect the potential of digital products like webinars or worksheets either.
- Set up an online store with a free trial on your domain to start with, and explore different ways that you can monetize your site. You have ads, affiliate income, and many other great money-earning options open to you besides ecommerce.
- Be aware of the legal implications of sales emails and never fall foul of these or any other guidelines set up by your email provider. (This is especially true if you decide to rapidly monetize your site and email list).
- If you decide to offer sponsored spots on your email newsletter, make sure you hold veto rights so that you can pull content that doesn’t feel right for your readers.
Selling to people should be fun – not a chore. If you are not feeling confident in what you offer, you won’t be able to sell well. What do you think makes for a great sales email and why?