Monthly Archives: April 2019

Laptop and notebook

Why Design an Email Marketing Strategy?

Sarah made a massive breakthrough when she understood how email structured her marketing strategy.  Like many others, she assumed email is out of date.  She had an account flooded by promotional emails but kept it going as a means of communication until she designed her email marketing strategy.

Sarah reads very few promotional emails and spends more time deleting them. What made the ones she read stand out from the others?  They were informative, interesting and entertaining.  Why did these writers rarely attempt a sale?  Sarah probed further and reached conclusions like these:


You can spend a lot of money on social media, buying ads.  This is not a bad thing, so long as the ads open up new leads.  But what happens to those leads?  You need a strategy to hold the interest of people who express opt-in.  Even if they make a purchase directly as a result of the ad, what happens next?  Satisfied customers may buy again but only if you build a relationship with them.

Email marketing helps structure your business with a small financial investment.  The only payment you need is to your email service.  You have an email account in any event, so there is no extra charge there.  If you use MailChimp, you get a free service for up to 2000 email addresses.  Note, the offer is limited and you may need to pay for some services.

You can’t do as much with an email service as you can with Customer Relations Management (CRM) software but you can do a lot and CRM too early maybe a waste.  Find out the limitations of your email service and then seek out what you need.


With an email service, it makes little difference whether you have 100 or 10 000 addresses, apart from higher fees.  Many businesses boast about the size of their lists but quality is more important than quality.  What you need is warm supporters, not cold leads.  100 warm supporters may bring more business than 10 000 cold leads, who lost interest months ago.  Track who opens emails and follows links, to periodically cull your list, especially if the cull reduces email service fees. 

Segment your list.  The email service automatically segments your list, eg by marking new additions, those who open emails, etc.  Manually tag email addresses to record where they came from, their interests, past purchases, etc.  With a bigger list, you rarely send the same email to everyone.  You can write an email for any segment.


This enables you to systematise marketing.  You know where everyone is in your sales funnel and whether they have made a purchase. 

As you grow your list, work out your main sources of new members.  Tag new members and decide what contact you want with new members.  Consider an autoresponder email sequence to introduce them to your business. 

Send emails regularly, so your list don’t forget you.  Even a deleted email fulfils that purpose.  At least one email a week helps keep people aware.  If it contains quality content, the chances are some will habitually open them.  Then, when you make an offer, include a link to the offer on your website. 

Segmentation helps you make targeted offers.  You may offer reduced prices to previous customers, for example.


With an email strategy, integrate other online or offline facilities into your marketing strategy.  Sources of new list members might be social media, PPC, business networking, SEO via your website, manually entered.  This way everything you do integrates into your email strategy.  If something goes wrong with one source of new prospects, concentrate on others until you fix the problem. 

Knowing what you seek means you switch to new methods with ease.   There’s no prescription for exactly what you do.  Every business is different. Once you understand the basics, develop your own approach.

And that’s not all!  Email strategy includes design of products and services.  I’ll show you how next time!

Calculator, pen and paper figures

Businesses Die through Financial Mismanagement

We’ve travelled a long way, exploring why businesses fail and this 15th is enough doom and gloom!  We can be certain many businesses will discover new reasons for failure.  I’ve left the most severe and possibly most common to last – financial mismanagement. 

Financial Mismanagement is not about poor sales.  I’ve dealt with that in previous posts.  Mismanagement is about what you do with money, once you have it. 

Here are three issues – there are more – be alert to them by getting an accountant to help manage finances.  Indeed the usual warning applies, get professional advice.  Don’t rely on this blog post or any other!


Manage your debts.  There are two types, unplanned and planned. 

With unplanned debt, your outgoings exceed income and you have no reserves.  With an unsustainable business it is illegal to trade without reserves.  Can you reduce costs, increase sales or take out a loan?  The last option is advisable only where you see a way out of the problem because the loan adds to outgoings. 

Planned debt is where you borrow on the strength of a business plan.  This is a better way to manage a debt, not a last minute panic.  However, planned debt is still debt, so take this route with a strong business plan and an accountant to guide you.

Cash Flow

This is similar to debt when your costs are greater than income.  If you are cushioned by reserves, it is good but what happens if you inadvertently cross zero? 

You need financial information to see ahead and predict times when your financial situation is squeezed.  If you see a problem coming up, you can do something about it in advance.

If your business is complex, you need management accounts and your accountant should prepare them and advise you of steps to be taken.  However, some accountants are compliance accountants, who focus on historic records and don’t make projections.  Management accounts focus on the future for your benefit, compliance accounts focus on the past for the benefit of others. 

Compliance accounting is important and benefits your business too.  It is about accountability and shows the world you have a record of being solvent and can account for income and expenditure.


Compliance can threaten your business.  It is where you must meet a standard imposed from outside your business.  You can be fined substantial amounts or put out of business for wilful or accidental failure to comply. 

There are four main sources of compliance.  The first two are voluntary, if you join in you must comply to get the benefits.  The third applies to all businesses.  The fourth is compulsory under certain conditions and woe betide if you meet those conditions and fail to comply.  They are in order of increasing severity.

Charity Commission

Few businesses have charitable status.  Most that do are social enterprises and some charities trade and so have a lot in common with businesses.  You comply by filing annual accounts.  Specific regulations apply to charities and independent examination of accounts before they are filed should cover that.

Companies House

If you are a company, you must do a bit more.  Annual accounts must be filed, along with annual returns, information about who controls the company. 

The annual accounts are subjected to independent examination.  This does not have to be a full audit, if your turnover is low.  The difference between an examination and an audit is the auditor is insured.  If they make a mistake, this means compensation is available. 

Inland Revenue

Fill in tax returns yourself or with assistance from your accountant.  If you make a mistake with the first two sources of complience, you pay a fine.  You also pay a fine if you make mistakes with the Inland Revenue.  The rules are complex and so an accountant is your best option if your business is any significant size.

Customs and Excise

This one sinks businesses.  If turnover exceeds a certain amount, you must charge VAT.  Failure to do so will sink your business.  This is the most dangerous source of compliance, if only because it is easy to be caught out.  The threshold is fairly high and so many businesses do well without crossing it.  But as you approach it, your accountant should point out when it is time to register. 

That’s it!  15 ways to fail.  Take your pick!  The truth is though, many businesses do well because it’s not too difficult to take precautions and avoid obvious pitfalls.  I’ll deal with one final issue that’s worth noting next week.

Door with 5 locks

How Email Lists Help with Compliance

Sarah has spent all morning making her website GDPR compliant.  She is frustrated because she could be doing other stuff.  She is irritated by pop-up banners informing her of cookies and endless emails telling her about new privacy policies.  Is this stuff really necessary for compliance?

Here are three points to guide thinking on this issue.

  1. I am not an expert in the relevant legislation.  What follows are guidelines. It is always your responsibility to be sure about the law as it applies to your business.  If in doubt, take legal advice.
  2. Most legislation is based on courtesy.  We don’t talk much about courtesy these days but if you think discourtesy is the way forward for your business, be my guest.
  3. Most issues you are likely encounter are covered by your email service.  This is why you should use them.   Follow their advice and you won’t go far wrong.


Keep only information you need to run your business.  Inform people you keep information about them and supply them with it if they ask you.

If they opt into your email list, they know about it.  Double opt-in, where they confirm by clicking on a link in an email protects against third parties entering names maliciously.  For this reason you don’t need it for entries you make yourself.  Simply make sure the person whose details you enter knows you have done it.

If you use cookies, you need a discrete mention somewhere on your site.  I’d put in in the footer if I needed it.  You could mention it alongside the link to your privacy policy.  Most people don’t care you have these but should be able to find them.  The footer is an obvious place to look, so put it there!


You don’t intend to defraud customers.  Do your best and you won’t go far wrong.  The legislation is not aimed at honest businesses.  However, good intentions don’t exempt you from following the law.  It does not look good if your attitude to compliance is sloppy. 

Comply with the jurisdiction you are under and the jurisdictions your customers are under.  This is why you sometimes need legal advice. 

If you are reported, you are likely to be informed of where you are alleged not to comply.  Fix the problem.  Show due diligence and you should not be in serious trouble.  We get pop-ups and emails informing us of compliance, because businesses want to be seen to be compliant but is this strictly necessary?

Complaints Procedures

Not every business needs a complaints procedure but it is worth considering if you have a lot of customers and several staff serve them.  It shows you have a positive attitude towards complaints and means initial complaints are likely to come to you instead of to authorities or social media. 

Most complaints are not really complaints.  A customer or follower sees something that needs fixing and points it out to you.  They are actually doing you a favour by providing feedback. 

Investigate and identify the problem.  Then inform the person who complained, by when you intend to fix the problem.  If you fail to fix it by that time, then the complainant has grounds to take their complaint further.

But even so, mitigate the problem by communicating.  Let them know you’re onto it if you pass the deadline.  Explain why you have not met it, tell them what you are doing and set a new deadline – hopefully by this stage you have a more realistic understanding of the problem.

Larger businesses who receive many complaints, publish their results.  In some businesses complaints are inevitable, eg housing associations, where the leaky gutter is not really a complaint, it informs the organisation of something that needs fixing.

If you are unresponsive, you appear unprofessional and this works against you.  Think strategically and turn negative complaints into positives.  Email marketing should be the backbone of strategic thinking and we shall turn to that next time.

Why Business is Not About Quality

Perfection is a theological virtue and nothing to do with reality.  Yet, many business owners are plagued with perfection.  They call it quality and when quality is absolute, you are in trouble.

Quality and Quantity

Quantity is measurable and if it is relevant and measurable, you should measure it.  There may be cost implications but think of the advantages. You:

  • follow progress, so long as you interpret your figures
  • have evidence for potential customers to show they can trust you.
  • eliminate unproductive processes
  • show customers the progress you make with their contract

Quality is impossible to measure.  Every practice is open to improvement.  You sell the best there is but there is no guarantee it cannot be improved. Someone may find a better solution and topple your dominant position.

But a superior product is no guarantee of success.  The history of marketing is full of competition where a poor product won out over its superior.

Quality is important. No-one knowingly buys a poor product or service. Taken to extremes, quality is problematic because: 

  • It prevents marketing a good product or service, while you seek something better
  • Agonising over copy means you waste time for very little gain.
  • Launching early is a smart move, sometimes called Beta testing, where you do a pre-launch and test your offer before you refine it.
  • Marketing before you produce your offer is often wise.  You waste a lot of time perfecting something that doesn’t sell.

The Best Thing in the World

A well-known cartoon in marketing circles shows a row of pizza shops.  The first has a sign outside: “The best pizza in this district”, the next reads “The best pizza in this city”, the next “The best pizza in this country”, then “The best pizza in the world”.  The final shop has a long queue outside and the sign reads: “The best pizza on this block”.

Your thing may be the best in the world but that is no guarantee it sells.  There’s little advantage to the best in the world.  Why?  People do not always base their choice on quality.  They want to know whether they can trust you.  This is not about honesty so much as compatibility.  Can you work together? 

I’m not saying sell substandard goods.  Quality is important so long as you don’t take it to extremes.  Other things matter too when you make a sale.

The Best is the Enemy of the Good

When something is good enough, get it out there.  You don’t know how to make it better until you test it and get feedback.  All the improvements you make before you launch are tinkering with something you don’t even know sells.

The issue is not quality so much as confidence.  If you are confident in your ability, then you don’t worry about your capacity to improve with feedback. 

Receive complaints graciously and gratefully.  Reply as quickly as possible and thank the person who complained.  Explain the steps you intend and how long it will take to make them.  This is a new promise and the customer has grounds for complaint if you don’t meet your deadline.  So, keep channels of communication open. 

When someone makes an initial complaint they draw your attention to something that needs fixing.  If you vanish or avoid the issue you appear to be dishonest and create anxiety. 

They say the customer is always right.  However, customers can be unreasonable.  Don’t assume their expectations are realistic.  You may need a new deal but occasionally, a refund and removal from your list may be the best course of action.

Fixation on quality undermines your business.  It distracts from more important issues.  The final post for now about reasons for business failure is financial mismanagement.

How to Protect Your Business Security

Sarah is very shaken. Facebook banned her!  She’s not sure why.  She has a successful Facebook group that sends new prospects to her email list at a rate of about one a week.  Fortunately this is not critical to her business security, she can find other customers elsewhere but the group is a great place for conversations that give her insights into her market.

She must have broken some rule, possibly triggering an automated response.  It took ages to work out how to make contact with a human being, who reassured her but it took the best part of a week to resolve the issue. 

Corporate Rule

Sarah is very fortunate, some people are banned from social media platforms for much longer than a week.  The reasons are not always clear and if they have broken a rule, it can be inadvertent. 

This is likely to become a bigger problem for a variety of reasons.  Here are a few:

  • Spam has been recognised as a problem for many years and there are automated responses in place.  Posting the same post in several places can trigger an automated response. 
  • There has been a lot of adverse publicity for social media platforms publishing material with violent, sexual or extreme political content.  As they tighten up security it is impossible to predict what will trigger a response. 
  • Most platforms aim to monetise their services and so are likely to become less tolerant of unpaid marketing.  Penalties may be accidental or deliberately planned.  Why should some business receive benefits other businesses pay for?

The root problem is the social media platform owns your posts.  They change the environment on a whim and it has not been unknown for a business to lose all its followers.  Build your online business in a way that is secure from changes to social media platforms and does not incur penalties from breaches of rules, intended or not.

Secure Records

Email lists are the only secure online place to keep customer records.  Use email services such as MailChimp or Aweber or else more complex CRM services, eg Infusionsoft or Kojabi.  So long as you pay their fees, MailChimp has a particularly good offer for starter lists, you know your lists are secure. 

In addition, these lists help you to stay legal and avoid mailing spam.  They help you run a secure business, less likely to be criticised for poor business practices.

Once your list is in place, go forward with more confidence.  Here are a few things to consider. 

  • Use social media to feed prospects into your lists.  Do this directly, through a link to a squeeze page or indirectly by offering to sign up someone who makes contact through social media.
  • Don’t depend solely on one platform.
  • Sell from your website and keep sales low key on social media, eg click here for more information.
  • Post high quality content that aims to draw people into wanting more from you.
  • Try to engage in conversations by starting them in your own groups or engaging with people in other groups.

Overall, use social media strategically to draw prospects into your sales funnel and never be dependent on one platform.

Next time, I shall consider the question of compliance with regulations such as GDPR.

Child contemplating formula

Are You Too Theoretical for Your Market?

I’m guilty as charged!  This is my weakness!  I trained as a scientist and to write as if for a scientific journal is ingrained.  It’s how I think, which makes storytelling difficult!  It is little comfort that many business-owners are too theoretical.

Types of Writing

Let’s start by defining the problem.  There are four types of writing.  They differ in emotional impact, have particular uses and appeal to people in different ways. 

Theoretical Writing

This is default for many writers.  I’m following it in this post.  Theoretical writing is difficult to read because it is, well, boring!  The ideas it expresses may be exciting but the writing is mostly dull.  Why?

The strength of theoretical writing is accuracy.  So, it considers all options and justifies the recommendations it makes.  This makes for cold, clinical, objective language.  It works as background information, equipping the reader with unassailable arguments.  We read to be informed but rarely inspired. 

Technical Writing

This is easier to read than theory but mainly because we have to read it.  Technical writing answers the question, How?  Think of a recipe.  If you follow it, there’s likely to be numbered steps so you keep track of where you have got to following instructions.  Governing documents and legal agreements are other examples of this type of writing.

People read this because they have to.  They applaud instructions that are easy to follow and deplore anything unclear.  So, it shares accuracy with theoretical writing.

Transformative Writing

Transformative writing aims to change things and so packs an emotional punch.  This writing includes stories. It aims to inspire and motivate around a particular problem.

It can be ideologically driven.  Any transformative writer has something in mind they want to change and there is no barrier to taking it to extremes.  This is why this third category should interest business owners more than the first two.  If you want followers, people who take an active interest in your business, use this type of writing.

Transcendental Writing

The focus here is on seeing things differently.  Poetry and religious writing fall into this category.  This writing can be challenging and so for business owners the message is, use it sparingly. 

Mind Your Language!

All four types have uses for business owners.  The trick is not to be confined to one.  Too many, myself included, default to theoretical language and that means people don’t understand us.  Why?  Well. It is hard, especially on a screen, to concentrate on closely argued text, where language is unfamiliar.  And if writing is dull (hard to avoid), where is the incentive to keep reading?

Ideally business owners default to transformational writing and venture from there into other types as appropriate. 

Let’s look at some practical steps:

  • Use stories. Stories convey a lot of information if you prepare them that way and also convey emotion.  They are by far the easiest material to read.
  • Avoid jargon.  Jargon has uses because jargon often has specific meaning.  However, it depends on the reader knowing its meaning.  Even if you provide a glossary with definitions, the reader has to remember what the unfamiliar word means, let alone familiar words with new meanings!  Remember jargon is often used to keep non-specialists out!
  • Use your customer’s language. Even without jargon, text can be incomprehensible because it expresses things in a way unfamiliar to your target market.  How do they describe the things you write about?  It’s not only words that differ.  Your customers may understand the problem you address in a very different way to you.

Too Theoretical?

You may have the solution to a real problem but it is easy to be too theoretical about it.  Don’t assume people are interested in the method you use.  At first they want to know what it does for them.  Do they have the problem?  Would they welcome a solution?  It really doesn’t matter what it’s called or how it works.

Some people want theory before they decide but they ask for it or you offer it.  If you provide proof your approach works, many people take it on trust.

Perhaps this is one of the milder causes of business failure.  It limits the people who listen to you.  They may think you always talk like that, they’ll never understand you and so your offer is not for them.

You need to find a space where people understand your business and make a decision where they sense a good fit.  Your problem may be you expect too much of yourself and of them.

drink overflowing

Using Email to Build Capacity

Sarah’s business is doing so well, she has encountered a problem.  There are not enough hours in the day to provide a quality service to coaching clients, do her marketing and business administration. This is success! However, Sarah doesn’t have time to think about the future.  How can she build capacity when she is run off her feet as it is?

Decide About Capacity

Sarah must make one decision before she decides anything else. Success has its own momentum. Does she want to expand.  This may seem perverse.  Why should she not expand?

It depends on what she wants from her business.  If she is comfortable with current capacity, she needs to work out how to manage it so she is not run off her feet.

However, if she decides it’s worth expanding, this is an opportunity to make a real difference.

Is she an entrepreneur, who wants to build a mainstream business?  Or is she a creative who wants enough income to live comfortably, while she does things she enjoys?

Building Capacity

Both options require capacity building and both need an email strategy.

“Steady State”

Let’s start with the steady option.  Although this option does not aim for growth, the business needs to recruit customers.  It’s not a do nothing option.  Sarah needs to automate as much as possible so she can enjoy her lifestyle. 

Her aim is to maintain income at a certain level, with an annual increase so that standard of living remains constant.  To reduce time spent on the business to a minimum.  This creates time for non-business activities or to develop new ideas, so the business innovates and does not stagnate.

The aim is to find low-cost ways to build capacity.  These are likely to be self-limiting and that is what she wants.

First, consider price increases.  This works if costs do not increase with price.  It may be possible to make enough money with less work, because you need fewer customers.  Make a gradual adjustment to prices, to work out what prices the market can bear.

Next, review automation.  This is where email lists pay off.  Can you do what you need to do with a basic email service or do you need something more advanced?  Customer Relations Management Services may be costly, so spend time working out what you can do with what you already have.  However, the rewards of good CRM may outweigh costs.


Growth implies greater costs. The best solution depends on the business.

A natural way to expand is to take on staff.  This implies increases in salaries, premises and other on-costs.  At this stage, you need a business plan if you don’t have one already.  You may need investment.

There are intermediate possibilities.  You could pay for administration services.  These may free up time, to take on more customers or do business planning.

This is not an easy transition and it may mean a cut in your own drawings from the business until income compensates for new expenditure.  So there is an element of risk.

Your email strategy should pay off. If you grow your list and use more advanced CRM services, you can transition to a service that enables you to do more online, delivering services as well as marketing them.

Don’t Forget Why

Finally, don’t forget the value you deliver to your list.  Increased capacity means a lot more work and this can result in loss of focus on why you are in business.  This is not trivial.  Your why is your main selling point. Lose track as you expand, you sell less because people no longer see why they should buy from you and not a competitor.

This is why you must maintain lists and track your customers and followers.  Value your list as your most valuable asset.  What would happen if you lost your list?  Security is paramount. 

cog wheels

Dependence on Technical Solutions

In business, the chances are you have, like me, tried technical solutions that do not match expectations.  There are large numbers of proven methods and they work – just not always.  One of the biggest challenges business people face is how to find methods that work.

So, let’s think about the issues to consider as you develop your business.

Technical Solutions

Technical solutions are proven approaches to solving problems. The reason they don’t work is rarely to do with their effectiveness.  There are good and bad technical solutions but mostly it depends on how you use them.  If you choose the wrong solution, whose fault is that? 

Actually, the answer to that question is not straightforward.  Here are some things to consider, when choosing a proven method.

  • What are you trying to fix? The obvious question many businesses fail to answer.  If you do not understand the problem, how can you possibly find a solution?  You can waste a lot of time and money pursuing a methodology that does not solve your problem!
  • What does it do?  This may seem obvious but try to penetrate beyond the hype.  Many online solutions automate some process.  It’s worth asking about the fit between your current approach and the approach the solution offers. 
  • How much does it cost? Many solutions require a monthly fee.  Once you have loaded your data into it, you have committed to a system that might be hard to get out of.
  • How long does it take to set up? I’ve heard of people who buy something on a monthly retainer and never take it out of the box because set-up is so daunting.  Remember, it’s not just getting started, it’s trouble-shooting during the early months until you understand the system and have sorted out the inevitable issues between your data and the new system.
  • How long does it take to run? It’s supposed to save time. Does it?  There are other issues such as getting things organised, tracking progress and security that may outweigh time taken but pay attention, is this actually beneficial to your business? 
  • Does it come with support?  If you pay monthly, you pay for support.  Support must be swift and effective. 
  • Does it provide updates? This is not about the addition of new bells and whistles, so much as how swiftly they deal with fixes to problems. 


Off-the-shelf solutions are generic.  They’re designed for general use.  Bespoke solutions are likely to be expensive and not always guaranteed to work. 

Let’s stay with the former.  If you’re going to opt for off-the-shelf, on grounds of cost for example, then it is safer to opt for simple solutions and build from there.  If financial investment is low, you are not so likely to find you lose money investing in the wrong solution.

Furthermore, you may do more with simple solutions than you first thought.  Invest in a basic email service such as MailChimp, and you can do a lot.  A few other similar low-cost systems may be all you need to develop your business.

This gives you time to work out your offer and how to market it, leaving greater investment in more advanced systems until you are clear about what you need to grow your business.  This way you integrate your business context, into a basic system, see how it works and invest in something more advanced once you have a clear idea what you need.

Adaptive Solutions

And this is where magic begins to happen.  Choosing technical systems is only part of what you need.  Your business has its unique approach and maybe you can solve its problems using basic tools.  Can you adapt your business to the prevailing environment, avoiding use of complex technical solutions?

Every technical solution begins as an adaptive solution.  It was created to solve a particular set of problems and may work for other similar businesses.  People stumble on new ideas as they wrestle with their particular problems and context. 

The question is whether to invest in one or more technical solutions or to develop your own.  If your business is to solve the same problem for customers, then it is worth investing in a new solution.  If something else is more important then you need the simplest solution that does the job.

Remember though, any new technical solution changes your business.  Your business has to adapt to your new solutions.  Businesses that can’t adapt fail.

One form of adaptation that some businesses find difficult is finding the language their customers need to hear to understand their offer.

Two cyclists following a track

How to Get Started with Customer Relations Management

Sarah is freaking out.  She is convinced her business is in meltdown.  After good progress, she is struggling to keep track of prospects and customers. Does she need customer relations management?  It is important track customers, the stage they are at and potential for future sales.

Sarah has heard of CRM services and thinks she should sign up for one of them so she does not have a lot of remedial work if she delays.

Keeping Track

Keep track of your customers.  Once you have clarity about the goals of your business and find success at marketing and sales, CRM becomes more important, especially if you plan to expand your business.

May I make a suggestion?  During the early days of your business, keep a paper tracking system.  You won’t have many clients, so it should be manageable.  As soon as it becomes hard to keep up, that shows you are ready for automation.

This way you work out a system that works on paper and test it.  Of course, when you automate, things change but you have more chance of being on top of the new system, if familiar with the elements you need to record.


FEBE stands for Front End Back End.  You need to design both.  An early paper system helps you see what you need.

Sometimes, people see the need for FE but not so much for BE.  At the early stages of your business, with no clients and few contacts, you naturally design the FE to record the contacts and clients you need.  Broadly, your focus is on marketing.  How do I find my market and get them into the front end of my business?

The BE is your records of prospects and customers.  You need to record where they are in your sales funnel and what they have already purchased from you.  For current clients, you need to record where they are in your coaching programme too. 

Remember, new clients are more expensive than old.  Once they are on your list, some may be tempted to buy from you more than once.  This depends on what you sell, of course, but once you find them and they know like and trust you, the costs of marketing new products and services to them are lower than seeking new customers.

CRM services help you manage all this.

Email Services

Email services, eg MailChimp or Aweber, manage your email lists.  More expensive CRM services cover this too.  You may not need anything more than an email list.

It is worth building a list from the earliest days of your business.  Email services are an efficient way to look after your lists and help you stay legal.  They offer three main services:

  1. Broadcast emails – go out to your whole list or segments of your list (there are several ways to segment them).  Send broadcasts immediately or schedule them.
  2. Automated sequences of emails go out once someone signs up to your list.  These could be one or 2 brief greeting emails or a longer sequence, you can advertise as a lead magnet.
  3. Systems that publish blog posts on a regular schedule. 

Customer Relations Management Services

CRM services such as Infusionsoft and Kojabi, build on basic email services.  They are more expensive than email services, significantly more complex and may take a lot of time to learn how to use them.  Survey the market to find out what’s on offer. 

If you think you need one, take an early look ro see what they offer.  Find out which services are a good fit with your paper systems.  It is possible you’ll have difficulty implementing the CRM service even if the fit is good.  These are all issues to consider.

These applications depend on a sound email marketing strategy.  Take capacity seriously.  It’s not only current capacity that matters but whether you want to increase it in the future.  We’ll look at this next time.