Think of email marketing as a filter. You can bring thousands of people to your website through paid ads and other channels, but those that sign up to receive your emails are the ones most interested in your products and services. Your goal is to find out exactly what drives each of those leads so you can take them from prospect to customer.

Email marketing has a bad reputation, due to the perception that it’s a spammy way of reaching your audience. Sending emails to your customers isn’t about spamming them. It’s about educating interested parties on why they need your service and how it will solve their pressing issues.

It’s not about a hard sell for your service. You provide potential customers with no-strings-attached valuable content, for free. The knowledge and expertise conveyed in these emails build trust. Your customers warm up to the thought of working with you, at which point they get delivered to your sales team.

How Can Email Marketing Work for You and Your Customers?

A client who gives you his email is opting-in to receive your marketing. Treat this information as a valuable resource, and don’t take advantage of it. You can use these emails to:

  • Nurture current customers: You have an easier time selling to people who have already purchased from you in the past. They already have enough trust in your company from the first experience, so you just need to reach out and keep the relationship alive in between purchases.
  • Reinvigorate old customers: Don’t give up on inactive customers. Keep in touch through email so they remember you when they need your services again. If they stopped doing business with you because of a bad experience, do what you can to reassure these customers that they will experience a smooth process in the future.  
  • Create new customers: Build trust and brand awareness with prospects who aren’t familiar with your company. You get to connect with this audience through low-pressure emails that don’t turn-off this demographic with hard selling.

Emails allow you to provide information to your customers in a longer format compared to a landing page or an ad. You can track what information is popular among your most active and valuable subset of clients so you can build off this success. You also have the opportunity to identify the most active and engaged customers so you can move them farther down the sales funnel. Email puts you in a position to gradually build trust among possible sales leads if they aren’t quite ready to buy yet.

How to Make Email Marketing Effective for You

Don’t take on more than you can handle when you start out with email marketing. It’s better to create one newsletter a month and stick to that schedule than to promise a weekly schedule and miss the deadlines. Consistency is an essential element in developing customer trust.

Give your audience a headline, image and an excerpt in your email. Writing the email’s subject line is one of the most important parts of this process. If you don’t have a strong headline, you’re never going to get potential customers to open up your email. Try a variety of styles and gather open rates to determine which ones are the best for your audience.  Link back to the full content on your site so you can gauge interest by tracking click-through and conversion rates.

Use a mailing platform such as MailChimp to manage your email lists and track opens. You receive many benefits from using this type of service, such as automating follow-up emails, sending transactional emails and gaining access to an email template design tool.

When new subscribers sign up to the mailing list, send them the current newsletter immediately. You want to stay top of mind once you get their attention, so don’t wait until your normal mailing time. You can automatically perform this action through your email marketing platform.

Offer plenty of variety in your content. You don’t want to send the same email styles all the time. You can appeal to a wide set of customer needs and preferences by touching upon multiple problems and solutions as well as different content types. For example, mix how-to articles, comprehensive guides and quizzes to keep customers opening your mail.

Track your results, and adjust to what is and isn’t working in your email campaign. If your clients show high engagement with particular subjects, send more content their way covering this topic. Perhaps they prefer certain article styles, such as lists and tutorials. As you gain more insight into your customers through email marketing analytics, you discover the formula that fits your ideal clients. Be prepared to change your campaign to meet these data-driven demands.

What Should I Include in My Emails?

Valuable Content

Take each of your services, and create informational and educational content around them. Dig deep into everything you offer and cover the topics from all angles. Address common questions, concerns and sales objections when you’re putting together these emails. What do you wish your clients had known before they went through your sales process?

Content for Each Customer Persona

Have multiple content blocks that appeal to certain customer personas. Identify who the top three customers personas are, their needs and their pain points. Create content that addresses their needs and speaks to them in a relatable voice. If you don’t know where to start with buyer personas, look at your current clients. Pick out the characteristics of your highest value customers, and build a profile from this information.

Landing Page Link

Let all the email content lead back to a landing page on your site. You can segment your audience through the links they click and send them more information on the services they’re most interested in. You also have the opportunity to adjust the landing page callouts based on the results you see with your email marketing campaigns.

Call to Action

Create a call to action. The CTA can be a sign-up for another channel, such as a webinar or speaking engagement, a 15-minute consultation or a discount on a service you’re offering. Customize this email element based on the audience segment and the services they’re most likely interested in. CTA optimization can range from changing the button color to completely revamping the copy. Be prepared to spend plenty of time testing each part of this email element.

About Your Business

Include a small paragraph about who you are as a business, and link to pages about your services. You want to take the opportunity to grow your brand awareness and let customers learn about what you have to offer them. Cover your unique selling proposition so your readers understand how you’re different from other service providers.

Contact Information

Don’t forget your contact details. Potential customers may prefer a communication channel other than email. Include phone numbers, links to live chat, Skype usernames, social media profiles and other ways to get in touch with you. Today’s client wants to talk to you through the channel that’s most convenient to her, so it’s important to offer as many as you can reasonably monitor.

How Does This Support the Sales Process?

Capturing email addresses allows you to slowly drip education over time to interested customers. You gain insights into which customers are the most active and engaged email subscribers. When they look ready to take the next step, you give your sales team a marketing-qualified lead that’s ready to go.

Cold emails and calls don’t get you the results you need to grow your company. These contacts don’t know who you are, nor do they have any motivation to listen to what you have to say. You build trust with your email list by educating them on your expertise. When you’re helpful and provide value even before you have a business relationship, you set the expectation that you’re someone worth paying attention to. As you nurture these prospective customers, you can gradually bring them farther down the sales funnel.

Email marketing provides you with hard data on the sales messaging you use in your content. If nobody is picking up anything you send, then you need to reconsider what you’re saying and how you’re presenting it to prospects. Sometimes small changes can go a long way toward improving how many people open your emails. Track the impact of your emails with each alteration. By continually improving your approach, you can optimize audience engagement and meet your business goals.

Narrow down your audience into different segments depending on their demographics, preferences and needs. You have the opportunity to create very focused email campaigns for each segment, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

Email marketing is a perfect companion for your sales strategy. Your campaigns connect you with prospects, give you a direct line to interested consumers and provide an excellent opportunity to start the relationship-building process. Give your sales team the marketing-qualified leads that they dream about.