If you have an email address (we’re guessing you probably have a few of them), you understand how much “junk” you get a day. Promotions and sales for material goods you don’t need. Newsletters from a company you accidentally signed up for when you entered to win a free vacation. Other newsletters from your favorite industry leaders. Articles. New blog posts. New products. You name it, you’ve probably gotten an email for it. And more likely than not, you moved it to your trash before you even read it. In today’s world email is overused. Engagement is at an all-time low due to the sheer amount of content available to us. Old email tactics of yesterday need to be replaced by a method that works. And today, for small brick and mortar businesses, that means combining your email marketing and networking strategies.
Before You Get Started
But before you can even begin to think about how to email and who to network with, you need to know your ideal client. Your ideal client belongs to a specific group of people with their own specific problems, likes, dislikes, wants, and needs. You also need to know what their customer journey looks like and how you’re going to reach them. Knowing your ideal client, and how to talk to them, allows you to focus your efforts on the ones giving you an optimal return on investment.
When you can define your audience, you can crystalize your messaging to be as clear as possible. Remember, your job isn’t to solve your client’s problems, rather it is to help them help themselves solve their own problems. Consistent, to-the-point messaging in the right way, will help build trust and widen your reach.
Effective Local Networking
Once you know who your ideal client is, you also unlock the key to networking. While many think they need to use networking to get clients, you’re actually networking to get a consistent referral source. And while both technically lead you to the same result (gaining clients) the latter is a more consisted and trusted way of doing so.
Local effective networking starts with finding those who have the same target audience but aren’t in competition with you. This allows you to ally yourself with like-minded business professionals and provides a means of sharing each other’s “awesome content” and continuing to provide value to your own clients. Creating authentic relationships with your network will bring you your biggest return on investment. That’s because people go to networking events to network – not to buy a product or service! The biggest mistake we see are those who go to networking events for the sole purpose of selling rather than making a genuine connection.
The Benefits of Domain Emails
Earlier in this series, we discussed the importance of a marketing website. One of the reasons it is so critical is due to the allowance of a domain connected email. A domain connected email immediately enhances trust. Consumers are not going to trust a business email who’s account name doesn’t match. Custom domain email addresses continue enhancing the trust curated by your website. They come off as more professional and credible than their mismatched counterparts. And in today’s world, consumers expect your website domain and email address to match.
There is also the factor of being in control of your own email, as opposed to using a third-party. With the number of scams and spams occurring online, domain emails are a great way to keep your business – and more importantly, customers – safe and protected. Besides, no business wants to get flagged and sent to spam folders. Once a domain email is created, it will only support any campaigns you run.
The Tools We Use
We’ve used our fair share of email marketing tools such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact. Like all software, each has its positives and negatives. We always suggest trying the free versions of these tools so you can find which one works the best for you and your team.
Currently, we are utilizing Hatchbuck as our primary tool. We like this software because of the number of features it allows us to utilize to create a full strategy. Without going into too much detail, here are our top reasons to use this tool:
- CRM System: Easy, multi-option ways to import or update your CRM. Users are able to easily create lists based upon topics, products, services, the strength of the customer relationship, etc. Each contact within the CRM also generates its own “score” depending on their engagement in the campaigns you’re running
- Campaigns: Allows for use of email templates or the creation of your own unique design. The interface is drag and drop, fill and replace. Allowing for quick and efficient campaign creation. Each campaign has the option for a number of transactions and touchpoints between you and the consumer.
- Reports and tracking: Based on your action links, Hatchbuck creates reports to help you better analyze and understand your audience better. The email report shows how many recipients opened the email, clicked on any actionable links, unsubscribed, or if the email bounced. This information is tactical data to help you better approach your audience.
The First Step
We suggest that before you send any emails, you go through and clean out your most recent (or not so recent) email list. The contact who hasn’t made a single purchase in five years is one you can remove from your list. Keep each ideal client in mind as you develop both a re-engagement and any future campaigns. A re-engagement is best for a lead who suddenly went cold, but through tracking, you know is still interested in your services. Re-engagement and follow-up emails, (from networking events let’s say), would then act as the first step of your customer journey.
How to Get in Touch
While newsletters can sometimes seem outdated, having a consistent one with true value add is a great way to begin getting in touch with your ideal clients. Remember that consumers are spammed with emails each day. Your content is going to need to make an emotional and visual connection in order to stand out from the crowd. That’s why old-fashioned networking is a critical element. Your goal is to meet other business owners going after your target market in order to increase your audience. However, you’ll need to make sure they aren’t in competition with your own services!