There are only three types of customers you can find on the Internet: Repeats, Referrals, and Researchers.
At NorthMac, we have services available to help capture people who fall into each of those categories, and sometimes multiple. Email happens to capture all three, making it incredibly powerful.
By far and away, the best way to remind people about your business and stay top of mind is with email marketing.
This means you can stay in touch with repeat customers to get repeat business as well as referrals from those customers.
Also, by giving researchers more information via email, they will give you a way to stay in touch with them.
The Power of Email
Email is always surprising me.
It feels old and like it should not be relevant in a world where Twitter and YouTube rule conversation online.
Even within a company, tools like Basecamp and Slack have long been adopted and have replaced email.
And yet, email is thriving. It’s necessary. It’s not going anywhere.
In fact, it’s still one of the greatest sales tools there is. It consistently outpaces social in terms of ROI. Everybody still has email. Even people who do not have social.
Far from being dead or irrelevant, email is actually extremely powerful.
To ignore email in your company’s marketing strategy is to ignore your customers and to leave money on the table.
Using Email to Keep in Touch
In our CREST program, email — the E — is literally the centerpiece. The bigger your email list grows with interested prospects, the better chance you have of making sales.
Sales and marketing is a messaging game, but it’s also a numbers game. Bigger numbers equal more opportunities to connect with customers and increase transaction frequency.
There are three primary ways you should use email to keep in touch with your customers:
1. Following up to a lead generator.
A lead generator is a free piece of collateral — usually a PDF, short video, blog series, etc. — that allows potential customers to raise their hand and let you know they are interested in what you do.
For example, I have a lead generating PDF titled, “7 Secrets to Designing a Membership Website that Converts.” When someone downloads that PDF, I know they are interested in growing their membership website.
From there, I can followup with relevant messages in hopes they have a problem I can solve, are interested in solving that problem, and can afford the solution that I offer!
We’ve already delivered value in the lead generator, so I spent the first few days of our relationship helping them make an informed decision about moving forward to solve that problem together.
2. Long term nurture emails.
After that initial few days of contact, we transition into a long term nurture sequence that keeps us top of my mind.
As long as the person did not unsubscribe during the first series of emails, they did not say “no” — simply, “not yet.”
This means that sometime in the future, be it 2 months, 2 days, or 2 years, there is a chance the customer will have a problem I can solve, will be interested in solving it, and can afford the solution I offer.
We long term nurture with what we call “Weekly Website Win” emails. Each week, we send a concise, helpful tip to winning with your website or marketing plan.
You could do the exact same for your customers, clients, or students.
Sadly, many companies do not have a lead generator, an email followup sequence, or a long term nurture sequence to stay top of mind.
This means if they have any email strategy at all, it consists of something like:
- Join our boring newsletter (which may or may not exist)
- Wait around for us to send a random sale email
That’s not a very compelling offer.
By staying in touch more often and with specific goals in mind, you can rest assured that over time, you will build an engaged email list ready to do business with you when the time is right.
3. Periodic sales emails.
Once someone has “had it” and has experienced enough pain, they will search out a product or service to help them solve it.
Oftentimes, your nurture sequence emails do such a good enough job to keep you top of mind that customers will search you out and purchase or book an appointment.
After all, if they’re in pain, who are they going to do business with? A random person they’ve found on the Internet? Or the one who has been providing them value each week and keeping in touch?
Even seeing your company name and the subject line might be enough to remind them they need help and reach out.
Sometimes, though, that isn’t enough.
People want to be told exactly what to do. So every now and then, you need to tie your value-based email into a specific offer you can make customers.
Ideally, there would be a natural time, quantity, or other limit that can be used to inject urgency and scarcity into the situation. You don’t need much of that to help people make a decision.
The Big Reason Why Email Marketing Works
“Sales” is not what most people think it is.
Most have the idea that sales is about control and convincing. It isn’t.
The reason is that it can’t be.
Oh sure, people can, have been, and will continue to be strong-armed into purchase decisions. But that’s not sales, it’s robbery.
That is cleverly designed manipulation, disguised as providing a solution, that often burns bridges with customers because they’ll eventually fall out of their stupor and realize what was done to them.
When that happens, all trust and confidence are lost, any hopes of future business fades away, and no referrals follow. In fact, customers will very likely dissuade others from doing business with a salesperson like that.
Email marketing works precisely because of this single important truth: Absent unethical sales practices, a customer will buy when they are ready to, and not a moment before.
Once again, that is not to say that legitimate urgency and scarcity should not be used. They work together. Some people need to be called to action. This is human nature.
But if a customer does not:
- Have a problem you can solve
- Have the willingness to explore solving the problem
- Have the financial resources to afford your solution to the problem
…they will not buy. But you don’t — and can’t — know the precise moment when that will be true for any given customer or potential customer you interact with.
And that’s why email matters.
Email marketing essentially gives you an invitation into someone’s life.
Prospects on my email list, largely speaking, have indicated that #1 is true for them. If they didn’t have a problem, they would not have downloaded my lead generator.
That’s great news for me and a fantastic first step.
But I still need any given customer to be ready and willing to solve the problem and have the resources to do so. And I can’t force that, ethically.
The best I can do is create an environment that makes it conducive to a customer realizing their need is dire and help them do the math to justify the decision financially.
That can happen in a 1:1 sales call, a webinar, or an in-person workshop. And how would I encourage customers to join one of those opportunities?
You guessed it! Email.
Email is not about going “straight for the kill” or “advertising your deals.” (Although in rare cases, the latter is appropriate.)
It’s about creating an environment that helps a person come to terms with their need, their willingness to solve it, and their resources to do so, whether the realization happens within the email itself, a sales call, webinar, workshop, or something else.
The key to all of it is having the email address of a customer with a problem. If you have enough of those, you have a business that will stand the test of time.
Start emailing them today.