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Marketing Your Business Through Email

 

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 Work at Home Moms > Marketing Your Business Through Email > Lesson 2: Building Your Email Mailing List

Marketing Your Business Through Email: Lesson 2: Building Your Email Mailing List

In our first lesson, we discussed some basics of email marketing, including the whole reason that we do email marketing: to drive clients to your web site, where you can sell your products and services to them. But in order to bring them to your site, you need to have addresses to mail those exciting messages to.

You can always buy or rent email lists, but this isn’t always the best strategy. It’s expensive, and many Moms starting out with a home-based business don’t have lots of that to spend! But there’s a worse problem: there’s no guarantee that the company you choose got their addresses legitimately (we will discuss this in more detail in lesson six). Opt-in email lists (people who ask you to send them information) are always a better method for marketing purposes, and you have a guaranteed target audience.
 

 Increasing your opt-in list of targeted email clients is the most important email marketing strategy you can use. Your email list is actually a group of potential “sales leads” and you should treat expanding your email list as one of your most important marketing activities, second only to creating your web site.
The more effort you put into developing your email list, the more potential customers you will have. Conversely, if you fail to collect email addresses, your online business growth will halt. It’s that simple.

Tip #1: Offer Them Content

People don’t just like to give out their email addresses online (and with good reason nowadays!) But if you offer them something in return, such as an informative newsletter, a free ebook, a forum membership or free software, they will be much more likely to give you their email address when subscribing.

Offering subscriptions, whether to a newsletter, ezine, ebook, software, or online course, is the number one legitimate method of increasing your email list (and is used by all of the big and successful sites online).

In recent studies of why people go online, results are showing that most of us go online for one of two major, basic reasons: to communicate or to learn. Are you meeting one of these needs? You will be, if you offer them high-quality information or interaction through one of the above methods. Don’t just send people who sign up to your list ads (unless they have specifically requested news on current specials); spice it up with information that they can use.

They will remember you, will pass your newsletters around to their friends, and your name and company will get known. It’s one of the best methods of marketing around, and your home-based business can start to grow if you do this.

Tip #2: Make It Easy For Them
It’s amazing the number of online businesses that have subscription forms tucked away deep within their site hierarchy, or don’t even have interactive subscription forms for signing up. Don’t just rely on the customer taking the initiative of sending you an email asking to subscribe to your content; have a web designer create an easy-to-use form that they can fill in and subscribe to.

Place your subscription box in a prominent area. Normally, the left top side of a web site is the area that a visitor looks at first. This is a natural area to place a small box that says, “Subscribe to our informative newsletter” or “download our free software” to increase your email list. Alternatively, you could create a pop-under that appears before they leave, asking if they would like to subscribe to your quality content. Don’t let them leave your site without offering them the chance, with an attractive ad, to sign up - and give you their email address.

Be sure to have a link on each and every web page on your web site, offering visitors the chance to subscribe. Otherwise, they may go to your site, click around, and by page four, forget that they meant to sign up for your newsletter or ebook. Remind them frequently with a tasteful link or box on each page, and watch your subscriptions rise.

Tip #3: Assure Their Privacy

When a person visits a web site online, they often hesitate to give out their email address. Since they don’t know you, they often fear the worst: that you could be an unscrupulous email harvester, who will turn around and sell their information to sleazy porn sites or lending companies charging high interest rates. They don’t know that you’re a responsible, ethical Mom at home working to help support your family, since the Internet is a pretty anonymous medium.

One way to overcome this natural hesitation to give out information is to place a prominent privacy notice near your subscription form that states: “Your privacy is important to us. We will never sell or disclose the information that you provide us with.” You have just overcome the number one reason that people don’t give out their email address, and increased greatly the chances that your opt-in list will grow.

Tip #4: Don’t Use Force, and Don’t Ask for Too Much Information

Nowadays, some sites have become quite aggressive in their techniques for getting email addresses, to the point that they won’t allow you to enter their site without giving it. Most people will click away from sites that use techniques that don’t offer choices. Instead, make subscription their choice, and never, ever force the issue (even if the web developer you finally hired to revamp your web site tells you ‘but everyone is doing it nowadays’. You aren’t everybody, you’re a highly ethical person growing your online business).

When asking for subscriptions, don’t ask for too much information from first-time visitors such as their age, phone number, and other information, or you will frighten them away. Your subscription box is not meant to be marketing research and shouldn’t be used this way. At this point, you are creating an initial contact with potential clients. Simply ask for their email address, and nothing more, and you’ll see more subscribers.

Down the road, when they know you better, you can always send out surveys to find out more about them. But at that point, you’ll be letting them know you’re trying to improve your customer service and help improve your offerings and their experience when visiting your site, and they’ll know who you are (you’re the ethical, polite business that offers them a great service or products at an outstanding value).

Tip #5: Give Them a Gift

Ever since we were small children opening Christmas presents underneath the tree, we have all found free gifts irresistible. You can offer your site visitors an extra incentive for subscribing to your newsletter or email communications: let them know that they will get a free gift when they sign up.

This free gift could be a free ebook, a special screen saver, or information that they can use. Or, you can give them access to special areas on your web site that they couldn’t get to otherwise, when they sign up and register.

If you use this technique, you should see response rates to your subscription requests go up tremendously. Don’t know how to write an ebook? This isn’t a problem. There are plenty of sites that offer free content, reports, and ebooks that you can download, and offer to site visitors (example: just try typing in “free content” into Google, and you will be deluged with links from sites begging you to give away their content).

Then, take the time to sort through what looks good, and would meet your customer’s needs best, and voila! You have a freebie to offer your site visitors.

Tip #6: Ask Them to ‘Pass It Along’ (Viral Emailing)

In the lingo of online marketing, ‘Viral emarketing’ doesn’t describe teenaged hackers bent over their computer screens, sending viruses to unsuspecting recipients. Instead, it’s a highly accepted and used method of increasing email lists. Basically, you are asking those who receive your newsletter or email to share it with their friends who might enjoy reading the great information in it. Chances are, if they like it enough, they will click on the “subscribe” link (you do have one, don’t you, at the bottom of your newsletters and/or ezines?), and you will have a new address for your list.

The Internet is all about sharing information, and we love to let others know about good places to learn at. If you make yours a great one, you’ll start seeing people share the wealth with others-and your web site URL will get seen by more people.

Tip #7: Give Them More Choices

People have different needs when going online. It can help to sit down, and think through what kinds of things visitors to your online business site might want to see, or need, and add these features in.

Offer visitors to your site different options: some may want to subscribe to a newsletter, others may want to read your special articles, while yet others only want to hear about special product updates. Create your subscription box to offer different choices, then deliver them what they asked for.

This is called ‘market segmentation’: you are meeting the needs of different sectors of your market, and this is good, sound sales practice that will cause your email list to expand.

If you’re just starting out, you can offer simpler choices, such as receiving a “text” versus “HTML” version of your newsletter or emails (most mail managers let you create both). People appreciate being given a choice, and will remember you positively for it.

Tip #8: Develop a Relationship With Your Clients

Who would you rather interact with and trust, someone you have never heard of, or someone you have had a positive experience with before? This same principle is doubly true online. You should be emailing all of your current customers promptly in response to their questions, to confirm product orders, and other business communications in a polite, friendly manner. They will be more likely to sign up, subscribe, and ask for product updates if they’ve heard from you before, and if you are professional in all of your communications.

The key word is “prompt”: within hours whenever possible. Many web hosting servers provide an autoresponder email service that you can use. Please, don’t use the “someone will contact you shortly” generic letter that they default to. Create a more personal email that shows a bit of your personality and warmth: “Hi, I’m unable to get back to you at this moment, but I want you to know that you are important to me. I’ll be contacting you within the next 24 hours, to see how I can help you.”

By following the above tips and advice, you should see your email list growing, with highly targeted customers who want to hear from you.

This was lesson two in our series, “Email Marketing Techniques.” Be sure to look for lesson three, in which we discuss “Email Marketing Strategies That Work”. 
 

Email Marketing Tutorial Contents:

1 Basic Rules of Email Marketing

2 Building Your Email Mailing List

3 Email Marketing Strategies That Work

4 How To Write Irresistible Emails

5 Avoiding SPAM Traps: Trigger Words That Filter Emails

6 The Real Truth About Direct Email and Email Lists

7 Creating Compelling Subject Lines (That Will Ensure Your Emails Get Opened)

_________________

These lessons have been brought to you by Sheri Waldrop, the owner of  Pro-Scribe Writing Service, specialists in creating online marketing communications. If you need information and assistance with your online growth, we can help.  You can find out more information by emailing us at info@pro-scribe-writing.com

 

 

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