As we discussed in the last blog post, there are a number of reasons you want to have a blog for your food, wine or creative business, and for some of those very same reasons, you also want to have an email list. These may be glaringly obvious if you’re already using online marketing, specifically email marketing, to promote your business, but they’re worth mentioning for anyone new to the topic.
Obvious Thing #1: First and foremost, you need an email list so you can capture leads.
You want people to come to your blog or website to find out what you have to offer, learn more about you, and benefit from your awesome, value-driven content, but you also want folks to elect to deepen the relationship by giving you their email address.
In order to remain top-of-mind to folks who come to your blog when they’re not on it, interact with them at a deeper level, and do business with them at some point, you’re going to need a way to contact them again.
Ask yourself how many blogs or websites you’ve you visited and left, never to return again. And I mean even if you really liked the content, you’ve done this. I know I have.
Well, if you really liked what you saw on that site, and there was an opt-in form to sign up for said blog or websites special offer or free content or weekly newsletter or what-have-you, and that what-have-you was going to be beneficial to you in some way, you’d sign up, right?
On the other hand, if you visit a blog and there’s no way to enter your email for updates or newsletters, etc., there’s a good chance you won’t visit again, simply because as a small business owner, there are so many other things that take up your attention units on a daily basis.
You can have the best traffic strategies on earth, but if you’re not getting your visitors to sign up for your email list once they get to your site, you’re leaving a lot of potential prospects, customers and dollars on the table.
Obvious Thing #2: An e-mail list is a great marketing tool, and one of the best assets your business can have.
So, you’ve gotten your target audience to your site, and with an attractive, value-driven reason to join your list, you now have your audience signing up to receive your regular email updates.
Now you have an opportunity to build a relationship with them that keeps them coming back to your site again and again, and keeps you top of mind even when they’re not visiting your site, as in, when they’re wondering where they can buy the product or service you provide.
Think of your email list as one of the highest ROI assets your business has. It’s a list of people who have raised their hands and said “I’m interested in your content, offers, information, services, etc.” This makes them a much better prospect for you than folks who follow you on Twitter or fan you up on Facebook, and once you’ve got them on your list, you can market to them again and again.
Now, Facebook and Twitter are important for driving traffic to your site, and for the ever important task of engaging and interacting with your customers and prospects on a regular basis, so you want to be providing value there as well. However, not everyone is using these sites just yet, but almost everyone has email. So leverage your Facebook fans and Twitter followers by having them come over and sign up for your email list.
I’ll say it again: an email list is a list of people who have raised their hands and said they’re interested in what you have to offer, a highly targeted audience you can market to directly, without the kind of noise and distraction that can exist on social media sites.
Real World Example
So we’ve said that by keeping your name top-of-mind, you’re increasing the likelihood that your customers will purchase from you when they’re in a position to buy.
Here’s an example: let’s say you’re a wedding and baby photographer. A couple comes to your website to check out your wedding packages and signs up for your weekly e-newsletter, where you share useful content each week like “tips for looking natural in your bridal portrait,” or “why natural lighting at X time of day is the most flattering,” or “Should you contract for photography only, or video as well?” (I’m just making this stuff up, but you get the idea.)
Because you’ve stayed in touch on a regular basis, with quality information about a topic they’re interested in, when they are ready to buy, you’ll be at the top of the list of people they want to contact.
Why would they go searching online for a photographer they’ve never heard of when they already know you – the person who sends them useful information each week? And when they want shots of their beautiful bundle of joy, or have friends or acquaintances getting married, guess who they’ll think of?
Obvious Thing #3: You can drive traffic to your bricks-and-mortar business and make actual cold, hard cash with your email list.
Again, an email list that you mail to regularly gives you an easy way to keep your name in front of your customers and prospects on a continual basis, which translates to a ready-made, eager audience for any sales, special promotions or offers you have.
Think about it – once you’ve provided value to your list on a regular basis, every time you have something interesting going on at your place of business, you’re pretty much guaranteed to makes some sales, simply by pressing a button and sending an email.
Now, not every subscriber will become a loyal customer, but many will, and you’ll be much more successful selling to your list than to a group of relative strangers.
And even if the folks receiving your emails don’t read every one of them, they still see your name on a regular basis, so they won’t forget you.
Real World Example
Let me give you an example of this – I regularly shop at the same 2 wine stores in town, both of them sort of inconveniently located many miles from my house. Even though there’s a perfectly good, well-stocked wine store just minutes away from where I live, I very rarely shop there, because I seldom remember they’re there.
This is because I get an email newsletter from the two other wine stores regularly. One of them sends an email about once a month; it feels kind of random – some months I seem to get the newsletter, some months I don’t — but I do shop there fairly often, because I get that newsletter semi-regularly, so I remember them.
The second wine store, the one where I do most of my shopping, sends a regular email, each and every week, like clockwork, announcing the wines they’ll be featuring at the weekly wine tasting, with tasting notes and prices – super handy! Because even if I can’t make it to the tasting, I’m likely to stop in and buy some of the featured wines, based on the information in the newsletter.
Again, this store is not close to my house and therefore not very convenient, but I frequently shop there, because I’m getting that weekly newsletter, so they’re top of mind for me when I’m thinking about wine.
The wine store that’s way more convenient for me because it’s right around the corner from my house? I haven’t shopped there in more than a year, because I hardly ever remember they’re there. Seriously. Until writing this blog post in fact, I had forgotten they were there, and they’re located just 5-10 minutes from my house.
So I hope you can see by now how powerful an email list and a consistent, targeted email marketing campaign can be to the bottom line of your business.
You can also use email to get great feedback from customers about what they’d buy more of if you offered it, and what doesn’t really move them about your current offerings. And e-newsletters are easy to share and forward, so your customers will send them to their friends if they find value in them, generating even more business for you.
If you haven’t set up your email capture form on your blog or website yet, I hope you’ll put that on your marketing to-do list this week, and make email marketing an integral part of your regular marketing mix.
[Hey there, gorgeous. Did you know you can get my FREE weekly newsletter, with actionable tips, techniques, and how-to’s for marketing your business online, delivered straight to your email inbox each Tuesday? You betcha! Go ahead and enter your name and email address at the top right hand side of the blog now, and let’s get you glowing online.]