How many local business owners make the Herculean effort to put their business online… then stop (with a sigh of relief) at “join my mailing list”?
This is one of the worst mistakes you can make – especially if you don’t acknowledge your new subscriber. (We’ll talk more about why later on in this report.)
There are two reasons for this big mistake:
1. The learning curve in getting the business online felt exhausting enough
2. The business owner simply has no idea that having a sign-up for a mailing list on their website (or on the clipboard by the cash register) is like taking two steps then expecting to win the race
If you run a successful local business, you already know that setting up systems without a plan is like playing Russian roulette: Sometimes you win… and sometimes you lose.
If you’re reading this report because you’re ready to take action, it should be heartening to realize that local business owners described above make up over eighty per cent of those who “try” online marketing strategies. They’re your competitors – and you’re about to help yourself to an edge they don’t have.
Because you’re reading this, you’ll be in the other group – the minority who know what they’re doing – and why.
This increases your chances of achieving success with email marketing and list building enormously.
The Power of Building a Customer Email Database
Although it’s a lovely idea to create an online version of your business, you’re completely wasting your efforts if you don’t use that website, blog or Facebook page to build your customer database of subscribers. While that may sound cold-blooded, it’s a simple fact of life that your real profits will be in your Subscriber List.
Think of it like this: You bake your special New York Cream Apple Pie. You sit there and wait for your friends to feel like pie and hope they drop in. What are the chances this might happen? Pretty slim, right? Although they love your pie, they don’t know you’ve just baked one and want them to eat it.
You didn’t tell them. You expected them to mind-read – how reasonable is that?
However, if you were to telephone or text nine friends who you know love pie – ignoring the two who never eat dessert – the chances are at least one or two of the nine would be free to rush over and help you enjoy it.
Your List should be made up of selected, pre-qualified subscribers whose interests, passions and needs mirror your store or office’s services or products. That’s what “pre-qualified” means – those who would never buy weeded out or detoured away. (In our Pie example, you made sure you increased the chances of getting an acceptance to your invitation by phoning only those friends who love pie – excluding the two who don’t eat dessert from your New York Cream Apple Pie binges. That’s pre-qualifying at its finest!)
After all, you don’t want to spend two thirds of your time dealing with a time-consuming group who will never buy… and who prevent you from serving those who do. (One retail owner calls them “tire kickers” – the people who wander into your store to pass the time, not really interested in your offerings, but holding you hostage to long conversations about their cat, their car, their daughter’s root canal and the light bulb they were hoping to find… in your florist shop!)
That’s the first benefit of planning your List building – developing the power to attract only those subscribers most likely to buy.
There are many more…
Suppose you have a favorite restaurant. It’s not your exclusive favorite; maybe one of four or five. Over the year, you drop in and eat there three or four times.
But what if you received an email, letting you know that they’re serving a new dessert – one designed to appeal to your particular palate and taste? And further suppose it came with a coupon to sample it for free over the next three weeks?And then what if you join their V.I.P Club – and automatically get twenty per cent off every meal?And then it’s your birthday – a free entrée for you if you come in within your birthday week or month?
The average person doesn’t dine out alone. You bring your family. Suddenly, instead of spending $300.00 per year, you’re spending $785.00 – but you’ve gained four whole meals and saved $115 on those purchases.
That’s what you call a win-win for both you and the restaurant owner – because you also saved $149 by not spending more at some of the other restaurants you like. (You were only going there sometimes because – until the coupons and special promotions – there was not much difference in price per meal.)
And how did the restaurant owner persuade you to eat there more often (and forsake your other favorites sometimes)? With clever and carefully-thought-out email marketing strategy, of course.
But there’s one small detail you may be missing… The restaurant owner made more money and delighted the customer because the customer was pre-qualified and much more likely to accept these promotions and buy.
That’s part of knowing your target market – and deliberately setting up email campaigns carefully timed to trigger them at peak buying moments, tapping into each subscriber/customer’s:
Autoresponders – Your Secret Ally
There is one simple marketing tool that will make acknowledging every sign up drop-dead easy – in fact, you won’t even know you warmly wrote a personal letter to thank them. That tool is your Autoresponder service.
I’m not talking about the function on your email program, where you can set your inbox to automatically send notification that you’re “out of the office” or “on vacation”, though the principle is the same.
An Autoresponder is a service you sign up for, usually for a small monthly fee of $20 or less.
A Word of Caution – Do not use free Autoresponders! They will load your communications with advertising you don’t even know about – often for your direct competitors.
Free services have minimal to zero support. More importantly, you won’t have the ability to export the list of subscribers you carefully build up to a professional Autoresponder later – which you’ll definitely want to do. Instead, you will have to ask your subscribers to sign up again – which is never a good thing.
- Some people will “skip” that particular email and not realize they’ve been disconnected
- Some people will re-evaluate your emails and choose to let their subscription drop
- A majority will feel annoyed that they have to provide contact information yet again. You will seem disorganized and lose credibility.
Professional Autoresponder services such as Aweber allow you to do so much more with emails – all targeted towards pleasing and serving your customers, no matter what demographic they belong to.
With a good Autoresponder, you can:
- Allow customers or clients to choose their email preferences (E.G.: Daily or monthly contact; HTML or text email format; which additional lists they’d like to belong to/what specific type of information they want to receive)
- Provide consistent personal contact – automatically and immediately
- Allow you to pre-populate your List(s) with content to be automatically delivered at your ideal customer’s rhythm and pace
- Save time, freeing you up to concentrate on your overall business plan and money-making activities, instead of getting lost in reactive email responding
- Eliminate confusion and/or stress – no one wants to be scrambling to suddenly produce content when a real-time big emergency has also come up with a project or client
- Segment your list (sort customers into even more highly-targeted groups based on interests voluntarily indicated, purchases made, amounts spent or experience within your niche)
- Make more money by keeping your Sales Funnel flowing without a glitch