I know, I know, email is dead…
… Or is it?
- You are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.
- Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
- A message is 5x more likely to be seen in email than via Facebook.
- For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.
Email marketing works, just not like it used to.
Over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all campaigns. Automated email campaigns account for 21% of email marketing revenue.
English translation: You can’t just send a “buy now, 50% off” email and expect people to jump on it. You need to segment your list based on their interests. You can do this with ConvertKit* (which I talk more about below).
B2C marketers who leverage automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%.
English transation: if you market to people, use automated email campaigns that are customized to the actions they take. It’ll increase your conversions to as high as 50%. Again, you can do this with ConvertKit* VERY easily.
You have to segment, personalize and offer value.
Your email marketing needs to feel like a friend, not a billboard.
So before we get into setting up your email list and figuring out what to send them, I want to make sure you’re convinced why it’s so important to grow and maintain an email list.
You Have Two Jobs, Regardless of Your Industry
In the book the Millionaire Real Estate Agent, Gary Keller talks about how every person has two jobs… Lead generation and whatever their product or service is.
Most businesses don’t fail because of a lack of market fit, because the market isn’t ready for it, because they’re too innovative or for any other reason… Those are all excuses.
Most businesses, products and services fail because of a lack of lead generation.
If you’re starting a nonprofit, you need to lead generate for volunteers, sponsors and people to help.
If you’re starting an online business, you need to lead generate for prospective clients to buy your product or service.
If you’re a virtual assistant, you need to lead generate for clients.
If you’re an etsypreneur, you need to lead generate for potential customers.
If you’re a doctor, you need to lead generate for patients.
Think of all of those products that you see on late night infomercials, these new age rappers with crappy music and even this new fidget spinner trend… Some of them don’t even deserve to be successful, but they are because they know how to lead generate.
… and if you’re not the one lead generating for yourself, your success will always be at the mercy of an employer to supply you with leads to work with.
It’s INFINITELY easier to sell to a warm lead than a cold lead, so when someone comes into your world and raises their hand to say “I’m interested in the topic that you so happen to have a product or service in”, make sure you wrap your arms around them and keep them nice and warm.
Please note: That doesn’t mean that you are constantly selling them, you are keeping them warm by providing them with constant value so that when they ARE ready, you’re right there for them.
Guess what the easiest way to do this is?
Yup, you guessed it…
Email Marketing Helps You Stay Top Of Mind
One of the biggest mistakes that most people make when they’re networking is treating their business cards, social media and email marketing like frisbees and then saying something like, “when you need a ___, give me a call.”
The problem with that is that is a SUPER passive way to gain and maintain mindshare.
If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me use the following example before, but it’s SO damn effective, why fix what isn’t broken?
Entertain me for a second…
Say the name of a brand of potato chips (yes, outloud… and don’t read past here before you do).
Now give me another.
(Same thing, out loud).
… and one more.
Thanks for playing along… I just wanted to make you look like a fool in case you’re around people right now.
I’m totally kidding.
Every time that I’ve done this in my workshops, almost everyone can come up with the first one in like 0.0001 seconds…
Then, when I ask for a second, they have to think about it for a second…
By the time we get to the third, they almost always start with, “uhhhh…”
Did you do the same?
If not, maybe you’re a potato chip connoisseur, so do the same thing with cars, professional athletes, shoe brands or whatever else and you’ll find that the first brand is easy, the second one makes you think and you’re usually at a loss for the third.
That’s not because you’re not smart or because you have bad memory…
It’s because our brains don’t have enough space to associate a bunch of brands, products or people to one thing at a time.
So when you treat your network like a billboard with a “call me when you need a ___”, they’ve already forgotten you.
You need to steal mindshare by building a relationship so that when they need a [insert your career, product or service here], you’re the first person they think of… and then you have to maintain it so no one else can ever steal that mindshare it from you.
This is what we refer to as staying top of mind.
While email isn’t the only way to do it, it will help give you a solid strategy for following up with people and it’s INCREDIBLY scalable.
Make no mistake… Even if your business is solely online and relies completely on email marketing, following-up is ABSOLUTELY necessary (unless you like throwing away free business of course).
Email Marketing Helps You Establish Credibility
I know you’ve heard it before… People do business with people they know, like and trust.
Having a great personality means that it’s easy for people to get to know you and like you, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll trust you to get the job done. The trust has to be earned… and even if someone trusts you on a personal level, it doesn’t mean they’ll trust you enough to give you their money.
No, they shouldn’t just “trust you” because you’ve known them for __ amount of time.
You have to earn it.
… and this is exactly why most people with great personalities fail at sales and service-based businesses. They rely wayyyy too much on their winning personalities and forget to establish their authority.
Having an email list that you’re constantly providing crazy value to will quickly help you establish credibility with your community so that they recognize you as the expert.
Email Marketing Helps You Build Relationships
If you’ve tried email marketing before and failed, I can almost guarantee that it’s because you were too busy selling them instead of building a relationship.
Your emails should feel like you are one friend sending an email to another.
That means you need to humanize your brand and your emails should make them feel like you’re talking directly to them, not sending a super polished email out to a million other people.
By focusing on building a relationship with each person individually, you’ll increase your engagement, replies and clickthroughs.
Think about email marketing like a party.
If you walk in the room and start selling everyone there, they’re going to ignore you (never open your emails), leave (aka unsubscribe) or get annoyed (report your emails).
Instead, if you walk into the room with the intention of making friends and making their lives better, they’ll fall in love with you.
Email Marketing Is Scalable
I don’t know of a better way to keep in touch with a massive amount of people than by email.
You might be thinking, “what about social media?”
Based on social media algorithms, only about 2% of your audience is actually seeing your posts so that Facebook page with 10k likes isn’t going to do a whole lot for you…
With email, it’s sort of like having their personal internet cell phone number instead of mailing them brochures.
Scalability is crazy important when you’re building a business and you’re looking to start implementing systems.
I used to use Mailchimp for my email list, but I switched over to ConvertKit*.
ConvertKit* is a platform that was designed for professional bloggers, but I’ve found that it’s actually just as effective for my real estate business as well. That’s because it’s simple to use but incredibly flexible and powerful.
So now you’re probably like “ok ok, Alexa. Shut up, I get it… But what the heck do I send them?”
I’m so glad you asked…
*Insert my Vanna White strut while showcasing the next heading*
What To Send Them
Value, Value, Value, Offer
First things first, your emails shouldn’t be all about selling.
You could literally give away your products or services for free, but if you don’t have a relationship with your audience, they’re probably not opening your emails and they’d assume that your product or service is crap if it’s free, rather than being inspired to take action.
Your goal should be to give value three or four times to every one (sales) offer.
That means giving them quality content where you teach, inspire or help them before you offer them anything.
That also means that you need to be super, ridiculously, extra sure that you’re not spamming them.
I know what you’re thinking…
“Everything I send is valuable”
… and you’re probably right… But is it valuable to THEM?
As a realtor, let’s say my audience is mostly renters…. If I were sending them information about selling a house, that’s not relevant to them… so it’s spam TO THEM.
It would absolutely be valuable to someone who was a homeowner, but sending valuable content to the wrong person (or audience) is still spam… and THIS my friends is why being able to segment your email list is so important.
Sure, one of those renters MIGHT, POSSIBLY know someone who knows someone who wants to sell a home… but they’re wayyyy more likely to unsubscribe instead and I’ll lose them completely becuase I’m not “for them”.
Your emails should speak DIRECTLY to your target audience (discovering your target audience is a whole different conversation for a whole other day).
So once you’ve discovered who your target audience is, it’s time to start delivering the massive value to them.
The most common form of emails to send your audience are email newsletters.
There are a million different types of info you can send to your audience, so you’ll need to do some recon to figure out what your audience needs.
The single, most effective thing I’ve done for my businesses has been sharing personal stories with teachable lessons.
My most popular blog posts are also the ones that talk about a struggle I was going through, how I overcame it and what I learned from it.
ConvertKit* makes it super easy to set and schedule email newsletters.
Before I started my newsletter, I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out what to send them and it dawned on me…
I always sign my email newsletters with “Xo, Alexa” and then include a PS. with all of the new content that I’ve published that week to keep them coming back to my site.
Your emails should be somewhere between 500-750 words (which actually gets used up REALLLYYYYY quickly) and pretty please make sure you proofread.
Personal Stories + Experiences
Our world has wayyyy too many people who are trying to turn off their emotions, so if you can cut through that facade and make them feel, you can make them take action.
Logic makes you think, emotion makes you act.
Rather than sending emails like “5 tips to…”, I started sending emails like “Why I decided to start waking up at 4am” that has a ridiculously conversational tone and talks about my own personal life and then gives tips for how they can use that in their own lives.
It changed my engagement completely.
They don’t want you to email them stuff they can google… They want to hear from you, your stories and what they can teach them.
Stories make them feel like they know you and they can connect with you on a deeper, more personal level.
Remember, logic makes you think, emotion makes you act…
So make them feel.
Whether that feeling is excited, anticipatory, nervous, inspired or hurt, make them feel and then teach them something.
You’ll gain their loyalty and get them to take action when you do decide to offer them something.
Case Studies, Testimonials and Exciting News
If you tell them how great you are, they won’t believe you, so don’t tell them how great you are…
Let other people tell them for you.
Let your clients brag about you and share a success story about something you helped them do. Celebrate successes with them and include them in your future plans.
Did you just get funded for your start up? Tell them about it and what that means for them.
Did you just get awarded for something? Tell them about it and recommit to doing whatever got you there.
BTS: Behind the Scenes
Speaking of including them in your successes, include them in your culture.
Show them what your company does behind the scenes…. Show them how your company works and how much fun you have.
This is ESPECIALLY helpful if you plan on recruiting in the future…
People want to enjoy their workplace, so if you show them what that workplace is like, you’ll win them over every time.
When you’re creating content, products and services for your audience, knowing them is INCREDIBLY important…
I’m not just talking about knowing their interests, but understand where they are in their lives, what’s important to them and what they struggle with…
Know your target audience like you know your best friend.
… and unfortunately, you’re probably not a mindreader.
(But how cool would it be to be able to read minds… Or would that be a burden? I guess I’ll never know).
Since you’re not a mind reader, go and do something super crazy… ASK them what they want.
Ask them what their struggles are, what you can do for them and what they need.
You’d be surprised how much they’re willing to help you help them… So long as you present it to them that way.
Special Offers, Giveaways + Promotions
If you notice, I gave you this one last..
… That’s because it SHOULD be the most infrequent and done with extreme care.
The goal of email marketing is to make sure that your audience takes action without them feeling like you’re alienating them.
No one likes commission-breath (that’s what we call someone who is desperate for a sale in real estate), so don’t do it that way.
Share a story, personal anecdote or something valuable and then plug your offer.
You should also do this by segmenting your list based on their tags and ConvertKit* makes it super simple to do that with their link triggers (I mention it in the video below)
Everyone wants to buy but no one wants to be sold…
… and most purchases are done on inspiration, so inspire them. Make them feel.
(Noticing a trend?)
Thennnn offer them.
How To Set It All Up
Now you know that I like to create EPIC content and this wouldn’t be EPIC if I didn’t walk you through how to set all of this up.
So firstly, my absolute favorite email service provider is ConvertKit*.
I started with Mailchimp but their open rates are lower than ConvertKit*, they make it way harder to grow your list (I’m going to write a post about how to grow your email list next week and will talk more about this) and if you add someone onto two lists, that counts as two people instead of one (which means that you pay for more people than you actually have on your list).
There are a million reasons why I love ConvertKit* and to put it simply, it gives you the power to do things like tag people based on their interests, integrates with pretty much everything, works flawlessly andddd gives you the ability to send out email sequences, lead magnets and content upgrades (again, more on that in next week’s post).
Here’s a super quick walkthrough of how to set up a newsletter that goes out to your email list:
Next week’s post will walk you through more advanced stuff including how to set up an email sequence, how to tag people based on their interests and how to grow your list.
When you register with ConvertKit*, you’ll get 30-days free so you can test it out and make sure that you like it before committing to it.
To help give you a kick in the butt to get started, I put together a free 15-page workbook to help you put this into action. With the workbook, you’ll plan out 13 emails and build a strategy to build a relationship with your community.
*This post contains affiliate links.