Can email marketing be a conversation?

Can email marketing be a conversation? The answer is absolutely yes, but using email marketing conversationally is as much a philosophy as it is a process of following the basic rules. First, let’s just kill the elephant in the room. Email rocks! It has become the digital glue for all online channels, and returns the best ROI at more than 40:1 far surpassing any other channel at your disposal. If you aren’t seeing this kind of ROI then listen up. We are going to walk you through how to see this kind of ROI using the basic concepts of Email Conversation Marketing. First off, it’s important that you understand that most of the traditional strategies and tactics used to sell widgets won’t work for you. Why? Your product or service can’t be downloaded or paid for with a swipe. You are a professional salesperson, and you don’t sell concert tickets, e-books or other downloadable materials. You sell houses, cars, mortgages, financial products, insurance, and all sorts of other things that require you to build and nurture relationships. To generate outstanding returns on your investment in email you need to use what we call conversation marketing.

Know Your Database

First, let’s talk about your database. Even though you may have dozens of categories, segmentations or groupings of contact data, there are some natural categories that should guide your email messaging approach. For example, there are only two types of people in the world (and in your database): they either know who you are, or they don’t. That’s the most obvious natural division of your database and it directly impacts how you would communicate with someone. Simply sending a once per month newsletter to your entire database fails to capitalize on the opportunity you have by recognizing the differing needs of each group.

Conversation Type 1

Your past clients and sphere of influence (think people who know you) need to hear from you and be reminded that you care enough about them to stay in touch. They already know, like and trust you so your messaging strategy should be a gentle reminder you’re here if/when they need you. It’s totally appropriate to send timely, interesting content designed to start a conversation.

Conversation Type 2

Your leads (people who don’t know you) need to receive a totally different type of content. To them, you are a just another person who wants to earn a commission. They don’t know you, don’t like you, and certainly don’t trust you. Yet. The purpose of your messaging is to help you stand out from the competition and their preconceived notions about people who sell what you sell. You are a human being, and it’s important that you connect with them on a human level.

Content is King

Once you know your database, the next step is to make sure your content is aligned with the leads that you are speaking to. Your leads are real people too and they are just as busy as you. Typically they won’t see your email as a top priority, so make sure your emails are worth their time. Don’t send emails just for the sake of sending them. Before you start an email campaign or a newsletter, you should ask yourself one important question: Will this bring value to my readers?
  • If your answer is “No”, start over. Try to find a topic that your readers will find interesting or valuable.
  • If the answer is “Yes”, then you’re on the right track!

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