“The sky is falling!”
Or so alarmist marketers would have you believe, what with inbox changes (Gmail and Yahoo’s handling of promotions) and the increased time your clients are undoubtedly spending on Facebook and Pinterest.
Well, the great news is that email marketing isn’t dead!
What has changed are the rules of email marketing.
The team at Ogilvy & Mather (ad agency founded by David Ogilvy, widely known as “the Father of Advertising”) released an article that exemplifies this shift perfectly. They explain that the conventional 4 P’s of marketing (product, place, price, promotion) have now changed to the 4 E’s – experience, everyplace, exchange and evangelism.
I would add a 5th E: engagement.
No longer is it ok to sit back and talk AT people like you’re giving a “sermon on the mount.” What the new paradigm demands is a real two-way conversation between you and your community. In a world where people desire to be seen and heard, engagement provides value in a way that “old school” blasts of information simply can’t.
So how do you create authentic engagement that creates a community of people who want to open your emails? Read on…
1. Ask them what they’re thinking.
The best way to start a conversation is to be genuinely curious about what others are thinking. How do you find out what your peeps are thinking? Ask.
Here are 3 questions you should always be asking your clients:
- What’s your biggest challenge, fear or frustration?
- What have you tried, and how did it work?
- What’s the specific result or outcome that you wish to create? (Emphasis on “specific.”)
You can ask with one of the many survey tools out there (SurveyMonkey.com is my favorite.) Posting questions on Facebook is a great way to engage your audience. Or you can do it the “old-fashioned way” – and ask them to hit “REPLY” to answer your email.
The info you’ll get from this simple exercise will blow your mind and you’ll be amazed at how whatyou’re thinking is NOT the same as what they’re thinking.
Of course, your opportunities for asking go well beyond “what’s your biggest challenge.” Ask them what they’re up to, ask them to weigh in on a hot topic in the cultural conversation, ask them for their advice and opinions.
Questions create engagement because people love to be heard and because people love to be SEEN. Above all, they love to know you care and are paying attention.
2. Publish regularly.
Like any relationship, your relationship with your circle or community requires care and nurturing. Which means you can’t disappear for weeks at a time and expect them to open your emails, let alone buy your latest offering.
Whether you’re publishing a blog, newsletter or podcast, create a schedule and stick to it. (For a blog, 3x per week. Newsletters, at least twice per month – weekly is better.) Remember that you’re writing for your audience and pick topics that are of interest to them.
3. Get off the internet.
One of the best investments you can make in your business is a real human being who will pick up the phone and help you build relationships with your clients. Hire a Client Care specialist who desires to be of service, understands and is passionate about your mission and above all – loves people! Your community will appreciate it AND the feedback you’ll receive back will be priceless.
Getting off the internet also means going where your people are – in real life. Start with events in your local community, then plan on traveling to conferences a couple of times per year to engage with your wider audience. (Events are the best place to meet potential JV partners, too.)
4. Focus on quality, not on quantity.
Awhile ago, Kevin Kelly published an article called “1000 True Fans.” True fans are those who love you and everything you do and will invest in anything and everything you offer. To be successful at anything, all you really need is 1000 true fans.
Years ago, a mentor blew my mind when he offered several examples of entrepreneurs who had made $1million from just 1000 qualified potential clients.
Why just 1000 true fans? Because the people in your community are real people with real needs who will happily invest with you when you’re meeting those needs – not once, but over and over again. So instead of giving into “list shame,” focus on pouring quality, service and connection in everything you do.
Recently, one of my clients had a listbuilding project that didn’t work out the way she expected. She wanted thousands. She got 500. “What do I do now?” she asked.
My answer: serve the heck out of those 500 people.
What can you do TODAY to turn 1 of the people on your list into a true fan?
Marketing Has Been, And Always Will Be, About Creating Relationships…
Your business exists to serve others. When you take the steps above to engage your audience, you stay connected to their desires, needs and wants allowing you to energetically meet them in a deep and profound way.
And when you get this right – anything you desire for your business becomes possible.