3 Quick Steps to Increase Sales with Email
Did you know that email is the most cost effective and profitable form of Internet marketing? Social media maybe getting all the attention but when it comes to driving customers to actually buy, nothing beats email. In fact nothing else even comes close. You can easily increase sales with email marketing.
The challenge is to build an effective email marketing campaign. Unlike social media, email marketing is not something you can ramp up by adding tons of followers or getting tons of “likes”. It is not sexy or trendy. You won’t impress anyone by bragging about how big your email list is (unless it is to other email marketers).
Your social media sites will not display your email success the way it does with friends, followers, retweets, and “likes”. No, email marketing is not for the vain. It is for serious marketers who want to grow sales, plain and simple.
So how do you create an effective email marketing campaign that drives sales and creates real success and profits? The answer is simple.
1. Create an irresistible lead magnet
Lead magnets are valuable items offered in exchange for an email address. It could be an ebook, a “how-to” video, cheat-sheets, templates, etc. It should be something very specific and valuable to your niche market. It should provide value, either by solving a problem or enhancing the visitors life. It should also be something you can deliver automatically and electronically, so nothing you have to ship in the mail. Electronic content is free to deliver and you only have to create it once.
Tips for selecting your lead magnet:
- Easy to deliver electronically
- Easy and quick to consume
- Has a paid follow up option
- Is high value and either solves a problem or enhances life
- Is specific to your websites niche market
If you have a knitting website it could be a free patter guide. If you are an author it could be the first 3 chapters of your latest book. If you have a Yoga studio or a massage therapy practice it could be a coupon for a free session.
I hear from a lot of clients that they don’t want to give away their content because it is so good and valuable. I understand this. It takes a great deal of time to create content items like ebooks and videos. However this is the direction the online market is moving. I am sure you have all experienced using a free version of something, either on a free trial or a limited feature version. In most cases you can use the free version as long as you want but if you want the really good features you have to upgrade to a paid account. This is what is known as the “freemium.” The basic version is free but you have to pay for the premium version.
The marketing behind the Freemium is similar to what you are doing with your free lead magnet item. You are giving them a sample of what you offer in hopes that they will like what you do and want to upgrade to a paid version. If they enjoy your free ebook they are more likely to buy your other ebooks, or workshops, or video series. If they enjoyed your free massage they are more likely to book additional paid appointments.
Building trust and authority is very important in driving online sales. Since your prospects can’t see you or talk to you they need a way to get to know your content, products, or services. By giving something in exchange for an email address you are showing your prospects what you have to offer. From their you can court your prospects using an effective email campaign.
2. Implement an effective Opt-In
Now that you have a irresistible lead magnet it is time to set up your opt-in form. This process is part art and part science. Your offer alone is not going to motivate people to opt-in. You need to get their attention first.
To do this we need to understand visitor behavior and visitor needs. Answer the following questions as if you were a visitor on your website.
- How did I get here?
- What do I need/want from this website?
- What should I do next?
The answers to these questions will help determine where to place your Opt-In form and what to put in your opt in form. Sure, you have a nice free item to give away but your opt-in needs to link a visitors needs with your offer and get their attention. This ties into the requirement for your free item to be relevant to your websites niche market.
You are not going to get visitors to opt-in if they came to your site looking for Paleo cooking recipes and your freebie is an ebook on how to build 6-pack abs. Sure they may seem to be related, healthy eating and fitness, but they don’t meet the visitors intent for visiting your site.
Here are some examples of good opt-in content.
- Visitors on a Paleo Cooking site; your offer is a free recipe ebook. “100 Free Recipes to loose weight and feel great!”
- Visitors on a knitting craft site; your offer is 10 free knitting patterns. “10 Free Knitting Patterns to improve your skills!”
- Visitors on a real estate site; your offer is a free guide to home buying. “Take the pain out of buying a home with our free guide!”
Finally your opt-in needs to be placed where it is most effective. The most common location is at the top of your sidebar. This is fine but this method is so common it is often overlooked. Most visitors want to get a taste of your site first by reading our content. So one of the best locations is at the end of your blog post.
Another method is the floating or pop-up opt-in form. With the right opt-in tools these pop up forms are not blocked by pop-up blockers in your visitors browsers. They can be set up to pop after the visitor reads for a set amount of time, like 5 seconds, or after scrolling down to a set point in the post. They can also be set to pop when the visitor exists your site.
The best method really depends on your website niche. It may take some testing to find out what works best. Some opt-in tools provide split test tools to help with this analysis. If not, you can set up different opt-in forms and use them on different blog posts to see which one works the best.
3. Set up your auto-responder
Okay, you just collected an email address. Congratulations! Now the fun begins. Time to start communicating with your new prospect. The best way to do this is with a planned series of communications. The first communications will be during your double opt-in sequence.
A double opt-in is the method used to confirm your subscribers. After the visitor submits their information in your opt-in form they will receive an email asking the visitor to confirm their subscription by clicking a link. This is to ensure your visitor really wants to be on your email list and to comply with anti-spam laws.
After the opt-in confirmation you will want to send a Thank You email. In this email you will thank them for subscribing, provide the free content you promised, and let them know what they can expect in future emails.
Here is what to include in your first email:
- A quick thank you message
- Delivery of the free content, either attached to the email or a link to the free content
- Tell them how often you plan to deliver emails; daily, weekly, when new content is published, etc.
- Tell them what they can expect in the emails; the latest blog, tips on your sites subject of expertise, a free recipe of the week, etc.
You could end here with your automated series and just continue to send emails as indicated in your thank you email.
Or….you could set up a series of value add emails that can help lead to sales.
Creating a series of emails that go out on schedule as soon as a visitor opts in is the best way to provide a consistent experience without taking up a lot of your time. With an auto-responder the email series is triggered as soon as the visitor opts in.
Here is an example of an auto-responder email sequence following an opt-in to a yoga studio website. The lead magnet was a free week of classes.
- First email welcomed prospect, provided instructions on redeeming free class coupon, provided a schedule of classes available, provided short description of classes and instructors, indicated that emails would be weekly with blog content and adhoc for class changes.
- Second email 1-day after subscribing providing a few testimonials of current members and recommending a specific class to start their free week.
- Third email 3-days after subscribing wishing them well on their yoga journey and providing some additional resources they may be interested in checking out.
- Fourth email 7-days after subscribing providing information on other services, such as massage or workshops, they may be interested in.
Auto-responder campaigns can also be triggered by other events in your marketing business. You can trigger a series after a sale or a service upgrade, after downloading content from your site, or after an anniversary as a member.
You can also use auto-responders to help with customer retention. If a customer has not reordered in a while you could trigger an email series showing the benefits of your products or services, include reorder bonuses, provide information on new products, customer testimonials, etc.
Email is the most cost effective way to engage your customers and prospects. Most of your email campaigns can be fully automated, from opt-in to pre-sale to post-sale. They can be triggered by numerous events. They can span a few days, weeks, or even months.
Automating your email marketing takes the work out of email management and helps deliver a consistent experience. The uses are only limited by your imagination. So get creative, and stay connected with your customers with email campaigns.
Question: How have you been using email for your online business?
Founder at Lucid Wisdom Digital Strategies
David Cook is the creator of Lucid Wisdom Digital Strategies, a creative marketing firm on the leading edge of thought and technology. David has a passion for personal achievement in all aspects of life and loves to pass on what he learns through his blogs.