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One of the smartest things you can do when it comes to email marketing is not to collect names onto a list and then start sending emails. The smartest thing to do would be to follow up on your emails in a strategic way.
And yet so often email marketing stops at collecting names for that list. It can be a hugely wasted opportunity so today I want to share some email follow-up tips that can take you from “ok email marketer” to superstar email marketer. And it’s not even hard to do. All you need is some time to think and plan and you can put together brilliant follow-up emails even if you’re just a beginner.
Stop Selling Me Shit
I feel compelled to apologize for sounding rude but seriously, just stop selling me shit. If you’re Pier 1 or Yankee Candle, you can sell me shit, preferably with free shipping or a 10% discount. But if you’re a small business, especially a service business, and the only emails I get from you are buy this, sign up for that, watch me here, visit me there, blah blahblah mememe… I’m going to unsubscribe.
Let’s just say more than once I’ve signed up for someone’s email list after an event or webinar thinking, “Wow, I like this person! She’s really smart and I’m looking forward to what she has to say!” And what she has to say is, “register for my next webinar buy my book pay a lot of money to see me at some convention” and on and on.
That’s incredibly poor follow-up if you ask me. A better idea would be to target follow-up to me specifically based on when and what I signed up for.
Let’s say you hold a webinar and collect email addresses during registration. Instead of dumping someone onto “the list”, how about a specific email sent after a specified time period with some follow-up materials, advice or questions regarding that webinar?
If someone signs up to get your free eBook, don’t ditch them in the middle of your ocean of emails. Help them wade in with a follow-up geared toward their interest in your book. Ask them if they’ve read it. Or what they thought of the advice in Chapter 4. Or if they have any questions about what to do next.
Tag people or group them so you can follow up based on the offer, event or situation that compelled someone to join your list in the first place.
There are too many generic “thanks for signing up” emails floating around out there. I get it. You’re grateful. But how about acting like you’re really, actually grateful and showing an interest in the human being at the other end of the email address?
Let’s start by saying that you should have a thank you email. Sometimes those are absent entirely and the only thing you get are those generic double-opt-in email confirmations from the provider.
If you take mere minutes to consider your thank-you follow-up I bet you could improve it and boost your engagement immensely.
The thank you email should be personal. Skip the generic marketing lingo and think back to how your mom used to make you write thank you notes to your Great Aunt Bertha for your birthday gifts. If your mom was anything like mine, you didn’t get to scribble off a quick thanks and call it a day. No, that note had to be specific and personal, with an introduction, middle bit and conclusion.
If you want your thank yous to be more effective then use that email to make a connection. People like to be thanked, but they know when it’s scripted. Like calling the bank and they thank you for your business five seconds after they hose you with fees. Don’t be that. Be genuine.
Try taking it outside of email. Ask your subscribers to connect with you elsewhere, like Facebook or Google Plus or wherever you hang your hat. And I don’t mean ask them to fan/friend/follow your business page. I mean personally. Have them share their Twitter handle with you so you can follow them. Or send you their favorite Pinterest board so you can follow it. Connect the dots between your marketing avenues – all with a simple follow up email.
Make It A Series
Follow-ups can include more than one email. You can set up an entire series of emails, timed strategically, to follow up on a specific topic or area of interest to your subscribers.
Remember how we talked about skipping the incessant sales-y stuff and focusing on interests?
Do that – more than once.
Let’s say someone downloaded your free eBook. You could follow up in two weeks and ask them what they think and call it a day. Or better yet, you could set up a one-week reminder that tells them to grab some coffee and sit to read… a two week follow up to check in on what chapter they’re on… a three week follow up to ask if they’ve tried your advice on page 56 yet… a four week follow up to offer a free 15-minute consultation to help them get through any questions they have about what they read… and so on.
Obviously you don’t want to overwhelm people with emails for eternity but if you consider how you can be genuinely helpful and genuinely connected, you’ll be able to come up with the appropriate number – and timing – of emails.
And that doesn’t end with your eBook. This should extend to any group of subscribers – whether you collected emails at a trade show, at the front counter of your store, after a purchase, download, registration…
Create groups as people sign up so that the right series of emails can be triggered based on what your subscribers want.
Try It Now
None of these things are difficult to do. If you’re using Mailchimp or Aweber or any email program of that nature then you can set up tags, types, lists or interest groups to put people into the right follow-up category. If you’re not feeling technically inclined then you can hire someone to help you with the setup. That’s the rote part.
The more important part is figuring out what you want to say and then crafting engaging content around it.
Start with your thank you note. What do you want to result from that transaction? Do you want the note to go into the trash bin or ether or do you want to connect with people, lead them somewhere, engage somehow? Figure that part out. Put it in writing.
Once you’ve got that down you can start branching out into follow-ups based on certain triggers – downloads, registrations, etc. Again, don’t get hung up on the technicalities. Focus on writing good content that speaks to your readers. Work on your follow up strategy first and the rest is just about pushing the right buttons!
Did this give you any ideas for follow-up you can do with your subscribers? What can you start working on right now?