Most of us had our very first interaction on the social web via email. Email as a technology may seem very simplistic and far flung from what most of us consider social media. Truth is - email is the mothership of all social media - always has been.
There is still no other communication device that can transmit as much information in a way that still gets sufficient, consistent attention by consumers. We'd all drown in the sea of information that engulfs us each day if we had no ability to filter this information by importance. Since we all need email to function in the working world, email became our default "must have" social media. We cannot ignore email for any significant amount of time if we are to be taken seriously in our professional lives.
That is precisely why email is still the best marketing tool out there. Here is a recipe for cultivating your best marketing asset - the "opted in" email list.
- First and foremost - you must offer something worth having. Don't just send a random email. Think about what your audience needs. This is NOT about promoting yourself for the sake of promoting yourself.
- Convert contacts into subscribers. When you receive the name of a contact, send them an email to confirm that they want to receive information from your company. If they decline or unsubscribe, make sure that you honor that request.
- Use name and email address as the price for the payoff. When giving something away, require that people provide their name and email address. This is called a value exchange.
- Host a giveaway or contest and use email as the sign-up method. The person will have to "opt-in" to get a chance to win. They can always opt out later.
- Use software to help you manage your list. There are a ton of email vendors out there, each with a level of email management sophistication. Ranging anywhere from free to several thousand dollars per month, the need to pay more for help will correspond to the number of subscribers you have.
- Don't be boring. Very few people will open an email with a lame subject line like "March 2015 newsletter." Instead, try something that sounds much more personal - use their first name if possible in the greeting.
- Use your blog, website and social channels as email collection opportunities. Provide current subscribers an easy way to share your content and remind them to tweet or forward your content.
Once you have a clean email list, set some goals. Do you want to increase likes on your Facebook page? Increase sales? Recruit employees? Improve customer service? Once you've identified a goal, then tailor your email messages around reaching that goal. Without a goal, you're just wasting the marketing capital you've worked so hard to build.