If you tell me your customer leads are in a pile of business cards or in your head or on sticky notes or even in Outlook or Excel, the very first piece of marketing advice I will give you is to “get them into a list” in an email marketing tool.
If the people you have met have indicated they would like more information from you, and you haven’t added them to a formal tool designed to help you communicate for your business, you are missing the opportunity to grow the relationships that secure your long term business growth.
Fear of Selling Stops You From Getting Started
I get that. But the truth is, you are in business to sell… and what you don’t realize fast enough is that someone who is curious about your business wants to be told, and often sold on, what you do.
It takes years for some people to decide to buy from you, work with you, hire you. For others it takes 5 minutes. In either case, getting someone’s name on your list gives yourself the opportunity to nurture a relationship and keep reminding them you are here. If you don’t create a list, you have lost their interest and they will move on.
Fear of Communicating Stops You Sending High Value Information
I understand you are inundated with email in your own inbox and this makes you reluctant to bother sending email to your customer leads. While empathetic, it’s not a great marketing strategy. Here’s the thing, if you aren’t sending email, your competitors are. The person who communicates the most relevant, highest value, clearest information that is the easiest to act on — that is highly relevant to the audience (yes, saying it again) — wins the fans and builds the relationships.
Challenge yourself, today, to create exceptionally high value information that your audience needs, wants and will appreciate. Get into the emotion of what you do and explore resonating information or insights that educate, entertain, inspire or encourages action. And then craft a simple message and send it.
Start With a Tool You Love
- When selecting an email marketing tool, you might want to look at MailChimp or Constant Contact, 2 of the most popular and free/nearly free platforms. There are many others. I use MailChimp. What you are looking for is a tool that feels comfortable and you know you can grow with. Beyond that, here are some tips on what else to look for:
- Ability to create “opt-in” form for your website, most importantly, but also forms you can add to Facebook, or that you can send via email. Most recently, you want to be able to accept log-ins online (imagine setting up a tablet at a tradeshow and getting people to opt themselves in by typing on your device, rather than collecting their card? Consider a bonus draw for those that do! MailChimp now has a tablet friendly opt-in). Then subsequently know how to create the form options so that you can “fulfill” an offer you will want to have on your website (I can do this, so you can too!)
- Nice integration with your other tools (eg. MailChimp integrates with my WordPress website, Eventbrite, Wishlist, Google Analytics, Survey Monkey and other tools that keep my business flowing). Look at the software the tool integrates with. These integrations are a goldmine of time saving, savvy processes and systems.
- Templates you can figure out how to work in (so you don’t necessarily have to hire a designer to build a formal newsletter template – although you may want to pay to get a header designed – figure out what suits your brand).
- Drag and drop, or easily added, social sharing and social follow buttons (including email). You want to have the option to add buttons to invite people to share your message if it’s good for public reading, and to follow you where you are social (ie. Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc).
- Segmenting or ability to organize your list by a variety of information decisions that may be relevant to your business.
- (Optional) Customer relationship manager (CRM) integration or built in to help you manage sales flow and sales cycles. This is as you grow, in many cases, and not right now. But making sure you can segment or organize your list in some manner where you understand where they are in terms of decision-making and action taking is a highly valuable activity to start, in order to build a big business. (Disclosure: I don’t do this yet, but I picked a tool that will integrate and for the time being, I can use “segmenting”.)
This is the why to do it and starting point of how to choose!
If you want help on getting set up, let me know! I can help with MailChimp and refer to others who know other tools. Now I want a banana. (MailChimper inside joke).