Category Archives for "Email Marketing"

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.

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

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. 

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

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.

A mangle

How to Boost Sales Online

Sarah has a new coaching offer.  She charges £500 for several sessions and offers an opportunity to change over to a more healthy diet.  How can she boost sales?

If this were an online course, Sarah could try a product launch.  She could aim for huge numbers of clients and manage them through a members area on her website or through a service provider such as Kojabi. 

However, Sarah has capacity for a limited number of coaching clients.  She could sign up 10 – 15 and realistically, if successful, allow a steady trickle of clients climb to her maximum capacity.  She could try an Evergreen launch, where people access her site any time and make contact.  They negotiate a start date, so Sarah has control over numbers who sign up.

Bigger Offers Require More Promotion

Sarah’s offer occupies middle ground.  It is a bigger commitment than attending a workshop and for many a substantial financial commitment.  The key is to prepare through an email strategy.  Sarah should consider three strands:

  1. A sequence of emails introduce the coaching topic without making an offer.  She sends emails to people who opt into her list.  They include valuable information readers easily implement.  Typically, she sends a sequence of 4 emails and the fifth carries her call to action, which might be a link to a page on her website that makes her offer.
  2. The website carries more information and valuable teaching.  Typically, this is a video or a long sales letter.  The call to action is to book a telephone conversation with Sarah. 
  3. This enables her to complete the sale and fix a regular day and time for the coaching.  It’s important to sort out payment at this stage.  It should be understood coaching starts once payment is complete.  It should be a single payment for the whole coaching programme. 

Product Launches

So far I’ve described an intermediate sale.  If you have capacity to offer something online for unlimited numbers, try a product launch.

The product launch has two aims.  Make as many sales as possible and grow your list, through referrals and affiliates.

Prepare a sequence of four emails.  The first three contain high quality teaching, in the email or on a webpage.  Send this to your list and encourage people to read or watch the teaching and forward the email to others who may be interested.  Anyone new, signs up to your list and then receives all the emails in the series.

The emails also go out to the lists of others prepared to collaborate.  Offer them a percentage of what members of their lists actually purchase.  There are ways to tag new list members so you know who they come from.

The sequence of emails / videos are together similar to a sales letter.  Great teaching with an offer to follow up with in-depth teaching.  The fourth email should be highly anticipated, with a call to action to sign up for the offer.

Squeeze Pages

Squeeze pages are landing pages with a single link.  They include no distractions, such as navigation to other parts of your site. 

If you use a long sales letter, use a title, text and images and a call to action.  Usually, the CTA appears in several places on the page.  Some people want to buy before they get to the end

A video is possibly more effective.  Here use a title, the video, possibly a brief summary of its content and a call to action.

If this works, you may find your list grows rapidly.  So, it is worth thinking about the implications for your business.

Social media images suggesting hype

How to Use Email to Promote Products and Services

Sarah does not want to appear “salesy”.  Her efforts to avoid universal opprobrium for the sin of salesy-ness means she does not make many sales.  She makes sales in real life over a coffee but it’s a lot of work finding and pursuing leads.  Her problem is how to promote products and services online.  Automated sales would not consume so much time but isn’t it likely to cause followers to unsubscribe if she bangs on about selling her stuff, when she emails her list?

Promoting Events, Products and Services

If you sell over coffee, you can sell online.  Switch it around, if you can’t sell over coffee, you are unlikely to sell online.  Observing what works in real life helps you understand what sells online.

The context in which you sell online is important.  Give your list something of value.  Then offer them the option to opt into some deal to further their interest.  There are several ways to do this.  They are sometimes referred to as product launches and mostly include high value teaching, as a prelude to making an offer.  More sophisticated approaches include using affiliates to grow your email list. 

It depends on what you sell.  If you aim to fill a workshop with capacity of up to 30, you don’t need methods designed to draw in hundreds of customers.  A sales video or long sales letter may do the trick. 

Think it through.  A good email with some teaching, followed by a link for those who want more, is not off-putting.  If someone is not interested, they ignore the link. 

From Attention to Action

Your aim is not to offer customers a get-out clause, you want them to follow the link.  So, you need a compelling subject line, excellent email content and a clear call to action. 

Capture attention and then move readers to take action.  Think about what you do, when you go to a sales page.  What makes you buy?  On the sales page, you read on because you are interested.  Once you finish reading or watching the video, you decide whether to make a purchase.  You may be impressed by the offer but for some reason, not this time.  But you decide to keep an eye on this business, maybe someday.

Tune Down the Hype

It is not hype to state what you offer and outline its benefits. It is hype to make outrageous claims, such as “Best in the World”.

The challenge is, show you have a product or service worth exploring.  Then leave it to the prospect to decide.  Give them time but try early bird offers, so you can assess viability.  For example, if you’re trying to fill a workshop, offer a lower price for the first 50% who sign up or who sign up by a given date. 

You don’t need to attempt a hard sell to make a sale online, so long as you are confident about what you are selling.  Next time I’ll take a closer look at ways to boost your online sales.

hands moving together

Using Email to Generate Leads

Sarah is puzzled by her sales funnel.  She has a large number of people in it.  They read her blog posts and when she has an opportunity to ask, they all say how much they appreciate them.  Despite this, she struggles to convert them into customers. 

A number become customers but the rest seem perfectly happy reading her emails and blog posts.  She produces a lot of high quality content, but why?

Why would someone forward your emails? 

Perhaps Sarah needs to think of her list not so much as potential customers, as followers who know like and trust her.  There are many reasons they choose not to be her customer at present but that does not mean they are unwilling to support her business in other ways.

She gets positive responses to her posts, so she is building networks of goodwill.  There are many ways she can use goodwill, for example low-end events, webinars, testimonials (text or video) but perhaps the easiest is to forward her emails.

Sometimes a satisfied customer recommends her services to their contacts.  This is word of mouth marketing. It is possible to structure marketing so customers bear her business in mind.  Forwarding an email to contacts who may be interested is not a big ask.  It takes a few moments to think of someone and forward, perhaps with a brief message. 

It is short of making a recommendation of her services, hard for people who have not yet used them but not if all she asks is they recommend what they have experienced. 

How to get people to forward emails

The key to getting people to forward emails is to ask them.  Drop in a line that explains who you are trying to reach and ask your followers to forward emails to people they know who may be interested.

It’s easy and if your content appeals, it grows your list.  Remember, if the email is forwarded to someone new, what do you want them to do? You need a link in your email to a webpage, maybe a blog post or a landing page.  There you can invite new visitors to sign up to your list.  

It is possible to set up website pages that don’t display a sign-up form to people who are on your list.  Ideally, use something like that but otherwise signal on the page newcomers are welcome to sign up.

Think through each step.  Why would a newcomer open this email? Maybe because they trust the person from your list who sent it.  Why would they click on the link provided in the email? On the website, why would they sign up?

Affiliate Marketing

A final thought.  Can you offer incentives to your followers?  This may be access to more material, discounts, conversations with you …  For higher end offers, you might offer a percentage of fees for each referral that signs up. 

This approach is called affiliate marketing and is most effective where you have a product affiliates are willing to offer to their lists on your behalf.  Those who respond to your affiliates’ emails sign up to your list and may in time become customers.  

This works where affiliates have high quality lists.  For a great offer, affiliates may offer bonuses to their lists.  They benefit and so do you.

This approach is sometimes known as a Product Launch.  This is not like asking people on your list to forward emails.  You are asking people who are well-established to share their list with you.  They do that only if they believe in you and your offer.

Affiliate marketing is an advanced approach to marketing.  For most, the challenge is to effectively promote events, products or services. 

Multiple signposts, confusing

How to Increase Web Traffic using Email Strategy

Sarah was a bit puzzled.  She has just set up a half-day workshop ina couple of months’ time.  It’s to be her chance to demonstrate nutritional principles and even a few recipes.  Her problem is how can she sell through emails?

She’s set up an Eventbrite page and could put the link in an email.  But she’s uneasy about using emails for a sale.

Email and Your Website

Let’s keep this simple for now.  There are well-established product launch systems that use sequences of emails.  These work for high-end products but are not necessary for a modestly priced workshop.

Sarah sends a weekly email to her list with tips about healthy eating.  She could send an email, just like the others, including a call to action to sign up to the workshop.

She could use the link to the Eventbrite page but it is worth considering a link to a landing page on her website.  Here there is more space to market the workshop.  She could include on the landing page a video introducing the workshop, a summary of the benefits from attending and the link to the Eventbrite page. 

The big advantage on her own site, is Sarah has more scope to design an attractive page.  This can be promoted in a variety of ways besides email, eg social media, SEO or direct methods, such as flyers. 

However, this extra step may lose some people who need to click a second time to get to the Eventbrite page and again to register. 

There’s no such problem if she links to Eventbrite from her email.  But perhaps the only way to be certain is to test whether more sign up if they go direct or via her website.  Remember too, people can forward emails to friends who may be interested in the workshop.  They may follow the link to find out more about Sarah’s business.  They might explore her site and there she can encourage them to join her list, even if they do not register for the workshop. 

Even if the landing page includes only a link to the registration page, you can arrange it so that a light box appears when they move to leave the page.  This can invite them to join your list.  With some systems this need not show if someone is already on the list.

Click Through Rates

The main barriers are likely to be in the email.  What percentage of recipients open the email and then how many follow the link, wherever it goes?  Sarah’s email service (Mailchimp, Aweber or whatever) records opening rates and click through rates (CTR). 

This way Sarah can see how many people open the email and how many follow the call to action and click on the link.  So, the first question is whether there are improvements she can make to the subject line to increase opening rates.  Then what changes can she make to the email content to increase click through rates?

Landing Pages

Generally, it is good to encourage visitors to your site because it improves the ranking of the site with Google.  But what should be on the page?

Generally, it is better to remove all links and other distractions, whilst giving the link to registration great prominence.  

You don’t need a lot.  A heading, an image or a video, a list of benefits and maybe some features, eg dates and times, should do the trick.  And don’t forget a big friendly button to press to move to the next stage.

The interaction between your email list and website is important if you plan to grow your email list.  People on your list can do much more than buy from you.

man speaking into tin can microphone

How to Improve Communication Online

Sarah has started to get comments on her blog posts and replies to her emails.  This is really encouraging and she prepares new material with renewed vigour.  But she wants to know what more she can do to improve communication and so nurture her keener followers.

Engage Feedback

The biggest challenge for Sarah is to work out where the people who comment on blog posts and reply to emails are in her sales funnel.  If she attempts a sale too soon, it could result in a breakdown of trust.  Too late and someone else might get the sale. 

Prospects may be in a funnel for some time before they are ready to buy.  When they become customers, they pass through a turning point where they become ready to buy.  Make an offer before the moment passes or they may find someone else. 

But how do you detect that moment?  If you meet someone face to face you might pick up visual cues.  Online this is harder.  Here are few things to look out for:

  1. They ask you for a meeting.  This is usually a good sign. 
  2. Increased frequency of comments may be a sign but sometimes people are just interested. 
  3. They are willing to recommend you to friends.
  4. Be aware of what they say, encourage deeper sharing and judge when it is time to meet and discuss next steps.

This last one shows how important it is to pay attention.

Always Acknowledge

One reason people don’t comment is so much of what we put online disappears into the ether.  So, make sure you acknowledge all well-intentioned comments you receive.  At least, thank them for their comment.

Go one step forward and add value to their comment.  Say so if they got you thinking and then show them what you thought!  This might result in a conversation. Others see you reply and that your replies are worth reading.

And replies are usually short and so easy to read on screen.

Going Deeper

It is worth reading my ancient posts about conversations, especially the generative conversation.  These conversations take into account the full context of the conversation and both parties are open to the possibility of discovering something new, neither had thought of before.

Can you hold this type of conversation in a short sequence of comments?  Maybe but this might be the moment to suggest a face to face meeting.

Sales and Coaching Conversations

Coaching conversations aim to be generative.  Often the coach is no expert on the topic at hand.  They aim to assist their customer’s thinking.  It is often an advantage not to be too knowledgeable.  You can ask stupid questions without appearing stupid and without being a threat. 

Does the same apply to sales conversations?  Maybe but remember, if you aim to make a sale, you must bring the conversation to the point of sale.  Between what has gone before and the promise of what is to come you build sufficient trust to make the sale possible. 

This is the aim of the bulk of online work, increasing trust.  So, getting your hub working properly is essential.  So, next time we look at how to increase web traffic.

Figures emerge from laptops and shake hands.

How to Strengthen Relationships Using Email Marketing

Sarah understands to engage in online communication, she needs good content.  But what is good content?  She’s lucky her business is nutrition.  She produces content about foodstuffs, health, cooking, local suppliers and politics.  She could specialise in one of these areas and perhaps narrow them down further.  So far, so good but how can she use her message to strengthen relationships with her list?

High Quality Material Teaches and Entertains

With an email based strategy, Sarah has a number of issues to consider.

  1. Can she write subject lines that entice recipients to open the email?  This is arguably the biggest challenge of email marketing.  True, some people open the email because they see it is from Sarah.  But that didn’t happen so much when she started.  And new people join her list all the time.  They need to learn to open her emails.
  2. Can she say what she wants to say inside the email?  If she has a relevant, interesting theme, people might read 4 or 5 paragraphs.  Another option is to pursue the same topic over several emails.  If she tells a story, suspense might mean some readers look forward to and so open the next in the series.
  3. An alternative is to say enough in the email to get readers to follow a link.  This link connects to a webpage containing video, audio or a long sales letter. 

Storytelling is effective.  Well told, a story captures attention and holds it so that the reader responds to a call to action.

Stuff People Look Forward to

Compelling content informs and entertains.  I’ll open an email if I trust the author to tell a good story and provide useful information.  I receive emails from a couple of marketers, where I always start to read their emails.   I don’t always get to the end – they don’t always share stuff that interests me but usually they do.

Both these business-owners know how to write readable emails.  They usually start with a story that leads onto some helpful observation.  I use their stuff, even on the same day I read it!  One of them writes every day and his emails are always worth at least a scan.

The approach is sometimes called OVO – Opt-in, Value, Offer. When someone opts-in, send them value before you make an offer.

Giving Away Material

Most emails should not attempt to sell.  Informative and entertaining emails add value and are key to building a loyal following.  It is always better if a follower asks for support. 

So, focus on quality content.  If you have an event or new product to promote – drop hints.  Don’t refer to a landing page straight away – build anticipation.  Do this by opening a topic and promising more.  Tell them you’re going to make an announcement before you make it!

 Always Scope to Go Deeper

Sometimes people are anxious about giving too much away.  It is difficult to give away too much.  In a live workshop you cover much more ground.  Participants ask questions, contribute insights, discover new things. 

What you say in an email, is without context.  You explain how to do something but practitioners need help applying it to their business.  There’s always scope to go deeper.  Depth arises from communication – you need to work at a deeper level – find out next time how email marketing can help?

sofa possibly with teddies

How to Start Conversations Online

Sarah was puzzled by another thing.  She knows she produces high quality material.  Whenever she asks someone to comment on her writing, she receives a positive response.  When she speaks in public, she receives a warm response. 

Place the same material online and nothing happens.  Her analytics show people read stuff and yet few comment.  Why do so few engage?

Customer Conversations

Just like Sarah, most of her customers are busy people.  How do busy people read?  Online, they don’t read in detail, they scan.  They are pressured for time.  Many people prefer to read books or readers that are easier on the eye.  Online they usually seek something and used to most of what they see on screen being of little relevance.

Many people use audiobooks and online they are more likely view video or audio.  Audio is good for busy people because they listen while they do something else.  However, there is still room for text.  Here are a few thoughts.  Some of what follows works under more than one heading. 

Website

Busy people scan and so they must see immediately what this page is about.  By inviting those interested to read on, you invite everyone else to move on!  Anyone who stays scans the rest of the page to ascertain whether it is worth reading in detail.

When someone scans the page they read headings and subheadings, captions, highlights, links.  Anything that stands out from the main body of text.  Make sure standout text conveys what the page is about in summary.

Text accompanying video or audio is likely to be read.  The reader wants to know whether it is worth hearing the recording.  A summary also reminds someone of its content, if they decide to listen again. 

Remember to include a call to action.  What do you want the reader to do next? 

Blog Posts

The same applies to blog posts although perhaps visitors expect more words.  It is possible to be too long.  Reading online is still tiring and time pressured.

Choose any call to action but most common to blog posts is the invitation to comment.  The big difference between commenting and replying to an email is comments are public.  It’s possible to discuss the post with other readers.  (You can do something similar on your website – however be sure to get a conversation going.  Somehow an empty comments section on a webpage seems more of a problem than a blog post without comments.)

How do you get people to comment?  It is not easy.  Ask questions.  Invite comments.  Always reply to comments. 

Social Media

Again the main way to respond is through comments.  You are likely to receive likes and shares (the names of these features vary with platforms). 

Generally, informative posts get fewer comments than posts that pose questions.  Controversial posts are also receive more comments.  Watch others in businesses similar to yours.  Which of their posts get comments?

Networking

Networking is a great way to build lists.  Give people your business card and offer to add them to your list.  Connect with them on a social media platform to keep in touch but joining them to something specifically yours is better.

Why should someone want to connect with you?  Engage their attention.  Be distinctive.  Try not to sound like everyone else!  If you have a stimulating conversation that really interests the contact, they may be minded to continue the conversation online but don’t forget to offer the possibility of a coffee – it’s still possible to converse in the old-fashioned way!

What About?

Indeed!  You can afford to be mysterious or challenging in real life.  You can gauge responses and modify your approach as you go.  Online you don’t even know when someone reads a page or post.  If they comment, you can reply but most readers move on, leaving no trace of their presence.

Many are simply not interested and possibly never would be.  But some may engage if they see the right thing.  Social media is a good way of finding those who hang around until they see the right thing.  Once they engage, invite them to join your list. 

Valuable content is important but it is hard to generalise.  Make sure headings or subject lines, are compelling to capture attention.  There are email marketers I always open and start to read, others I mostly ignore.  Those I ignore may be compelling reading for someone else. 

Generally, keep the message as short as possible.  Start with a story and then link the story to a single piece of teaching.  Finish with a call to action. 

Master this basic model for a successful email or post before you try anything else.  You can keep this underlying model and vary it in effectively infinite ways.  How you do that is a matter of practice. 

Remember to use every opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with clients and prospects.  We will look at this in more depth next time.