We’re sharing how you can use an email account and any note-taking tool (even good ole pen and paper will suffice) to nurture your contacts into loyal customers and evangelists of your brand.

As a small business owner, you need email marketing to build and grow your database without exhausting your budget. This is especially true when you’re just getting started.

Before We Begin: You need a business-only email account. We recommend Gmail and will be using it as a reference in this how-to guide.

Build a reliable list of contacts

In order to do Email Marketing, you need to acquire subscribers. The fastest and easiest way is via your website and Social Media channels.

We also urge you to reach out to your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and spread the good word by asking them if they know of anyone that may need your product/service.

Never fails to surprise who knows someone that is looking for exactly what you’re offering.

Your website’s purpose: Attract & Convert

If your website isn’t attractive to your potential customers, it won’t convert. No matter how pretty you think it is or how much money you’ve spent on it.

Whether you’re selling products or services, you need to think about your website pages within the scope of the Buyer’s Journey.

Be the Buyer’s Tour Guide

Each page on your website must be designed for one of three phases: Awareness, Consideration, or Decision.

Let’s explain:

A visitor lands on your home page and is interested to learn more about what you have to offer. They are in the Awareness stage. Then, they click to move to your products listing page. Debating what product best suits their needs. This is what we call the Consideration phase. They hone into a specific product and start to weigh its options. They have now reached the Decision phase.

It’s your job to guide each visitor through your website pages. Don’t let them wander aimlessly.

How does all this relate to Email Marketing?

Each page is an opportunity for you to ask for an email address.

If a visitor lands on a specific product page, think about implementing a pop-up form that offers a free datasheet or more information about the product, maybe even a discount, all you’re asking for is an email address in return.

PRO TIP: A lot of businesses make these forms complex and lengthy. We recommend one field, and one field only: the email address. You can get the name later as you introduce yourself first.

Ask yourself this question: What pages are getting the most traffic and what can I do to gather email addresses the right way without negatively impacting the user experience?

Be a Social Butterfly

If your company isn’t present on Social Media, stop reading this very moment and go create company pages across relevant social media platforms with your target audience in mind.

For the B2B sector, it mainly boils down to LinkedIn and Twitter. Others incorporate Instagram, Facebook, and even TikTok.

No excuses. Seriously. None whatsoever. Go do it!

“I need to stand out, but how?”

Fit in with your crowd. Ignore the rest.

Sounds harsh but you’re doing everyone a favor by doing so. Focus your energy on the people that want to hear what you have to say.

If you’re chasing someone that will never be interested in your offer, not only are you wasting their time, you’re also wasting yours.

From Captain Obvious to Major Oblivious

Your social media posts need to be relevant to your business and useful to your target audience. This means that stating the obvious in your posts is a strategy you’ll ignore. Forever.

The Norm: “Click here to view our products” with a CTA (“Call to Action”) button that states: “Products” or “View Products”.

You think you’re doing everyone a favor but many times it comes across as insulting. We got it the first time. No need to say the same thing twice. Also, you just wasted all that space to list a feature/benefit combo.

Try this instead: “Your needs addressed with just 4 products”. Now your CTA has room to make an impact outside of the norm. For instance: “Find your fit”. You’re making it personal. Directed at the reader. Not your average “Learn more” or the all-time favorite: “Click Here”. No, really? You ‘click’ here? I thought you yell at the button instead!

Don’t. Do. It!

Making Contact with your Contacts

Now that you’ve set up your channels to collect emails, you need to think about Phase II: sending emails.

Don’t just start sending emails to send them with the boilerplate: “Here’s my offer, please buy now”. There is a right way to approach sending emails to your organically grown list of contacts.

The 3P Method

At smarketeering, we came up with a fun way to remember how to do Email Marketing the right way. It’s paid off with dividends.

The three Ps refer to personalizing (segmenting) your list of contacts accordingly and emailing each when you need to with what they are expecting.

Persons

The first way you want to send emails is to all of your contacts. The email will be broad but it will include different products or services with a few interesting topics along the way.

You do this to figure out which Persons are clicking on what products/services/topics. Once you have this data, you are ready to start segmenting your list into groups for the next level.

Personalized

Once you have a segmented group of contacts (Persons) you are ready to craft an email geared towards the products/services/topics that they found interesting based on the first initial clicks.

Your chances of an open and a click are going to be much higher. You are literally writing about a topic they already expressed an interest in.

We find that a lot of people reach out to us in this phase with questions about a thing or two.

Your personalized emails will allow you to segment even further to see who is still clicking and on what.

Personal

At the last step, the most important piece of the puzzle at times, a lot of people give up or just keep repeating the “Personalized” step until a contact reaches out. That’s not the way to do things.

In the Personal stage, you need to write an email that’s up-close and personal with a specific contact. You’ve read that right, you need to write a one-to-one email. Put your Sales hat on and let the two worlds collide.

How it looks from a Contact’s perspective

I am a visitor on a website looking for widgets.

I’ve visited at least 5 or 6 websites, and yours stood out. I am just not ready to make a commitment, so I won’t contact you. I’ve read some of your blogs, I’ve looked through some products, and I decide to sign-up to become your subscriber.

I get an automated email thanking me for subscribing and what to expect. I am thinking to myself: “Great, just like everyone else. I just want to see if you’ll send me offers or something useful, but if you send me too many irrelevant emails, I am out.”

I get my first email from you 1-2 days later. It’s pretty generic, but I’m intrigued enough to click through and look at a page.

2 days later, I get another email from you. This one, however, has more details about the page I visited. It has features, benefits, coupons, FAQs, customer success stories, literally all the things I want to know.

But, I don’t bite. No response yet.

2 days later, I get an email from you that just reads differently. It doesn’t sound automated. It’s an actual person writing to me. They’re asking me questions, open-ended questions. They’re engaging. Fun. It just feels authentic.

I respond.

Too good to be true?

Not every scenario will be a win. That’s very true. But in our experience, this is often the case.

In the “Personalized” stage, we at times get a clickthrough rate above 50%. That means that over half of the people that received our email, click on a link and visit a page.

We also measure response rates. We seem to be averaging 28%. 1 in 4 people we put through the “Personal” stage actually respond to us.

Can you do better?

Conclusion

Email Marketing is a very useful method, that doesn’t even have to cost you a penny, but will convert visitors into subscribers, and subscribers into contacts.

If you follow it religiously, and have a method to follow strictly, you are on your way to gain a following, building your brand, and growing your clientele.

Keep in mind that consistency is key. So write emails often, personalize them, and be authentic when reaching out to your contacts. Don’t fall for automation when it doesn’t call for it. Don’t depend on a machine to create a relationship with your customers. They want to hear from you.

Make sure you’re there for them.

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