Understanding the "Art" of Email Marketing
Email marketing is all about creating relationships. Similar to a normal relationship you have with someone, there are different stages of a relationship. You cannot sell to someone without having a connection with them. Let me say that again so it hopefully sinks in, YOU CANNOT SELL until someone trusts you.
There are four different stages within the relationship cycle of an email marketing campaign. If you can reach the very last stage, you are going to be a very successful email marketer!
Stage #1: Stranger Stage (Irresistible Offer)
This is the first stage. You need to meet the person. Like meeting someone in a coffee shop or through a friend, you will need to get the persons information, in this case your goal is to get their email address and possibly their name. Then you can contact them again in the future.
At the stranger stage, they will not be all the comfortable with what you say or fully trust you, but that is OK. Every friend that you create in life takes work and you need to prove your worth. However, the first step is getting their contact info so you can contact them again and again, similar to getting a "phone number" at the bar.
People don't like to just give up their contact info either. So you may have to do something in exchange. In terms of email marketing, this could be offering a bonus guide, a course, your support, a secret, or a newsletter.
Stage #2: Acquaintance Stage (Personal Transparency)
The second stage is turning this person from a complete stranger into an acquaintance. In order to do this, you need to show this person some of your character and you need to continue giving. People don't want to be friends with people that leech from them, nor do people want to build an ongoing relationship with someone they feel isn't being true to them. This stage is the most critical out of any of the email marketing stages because this makes or breaks the relationship.
If you want a friend (customer), you need to really give the relationship your all after your first introduction. Prove to people you are real, be transparent, genuine and keep them interested into what you have to say. If you are boring, lack character, unwilling to share, or seem untrustworthy you are going to lose people in this stage. You could even give them your email address if they ever have any questions...a powerful technique for building trust.
Stage #3: Friend Stage (Selling to Your List)
Alright, you have an acquaintance. Someone who is gaining trust with you. At this point, you have likely shared some information about yourself, they are beginning to trust you, and you have shared some great information with them. They are really starting to feel like they know you and you have built an emotional connection.
How do you turn this person from a person that is starting to trust you, to someone that trusts you enough to buy from a recommendation?
You enrich an offer...
Say you were on a list to learn how to golf better. John Doe got you to sign-up to his list, shared a couple of his tricks with you, told you about how he used his same technique to teach his wife, and even told you about his family. John has gained quite a bit of trust from you right? BUT, what would it take for John to turn you into a buyer...someone who purchased based on a recommendation that he made.
What if John offered you personal support through Instant Messaging if you bought the guide from him?
What if John told you that he is so confident in the product that he would pay you back if you didn't like it?
What if John said he would also give you the secrets that his wife used to shave off 8 strokes in the matter of 2 rounds of golf?
What if John told you that you could send him an email with any question you had prior to the purchase?
These are all comfort building offers and the fact that John is so involved with the product that he is either willing to support it or offer something that is complimentary to it, he will likely have swayed many people from the acquaintance stage to the friend stage (a buyer).
Depending on what type of audience you are dealing with, some people will become a buyer quicker than others. Some people become "friends" instantly because you have something they are in desperate need of, where as other niches are a little more difficult to break the acquaintance barrier.
Enrich the offer to create a buyer and continue building trust!
Stage #4: Best Buddy (Creating a Lifetime Customer)
The last stage which all marketers strive to achieve is the "Best Buddy" stage. At this point, someone has become not only a customer, but your most responsive customer. If you recommend something, they buy it. If you send them a guide, they download it. If you ask for feedback, they give it to you.
Think about going out to lunch with your best friend and showing them your newest iPhone application. You spend an hour gloating about all the amazing things it does for you and tell your friend that they need it. Chances are your friend is going to buy the application right away. This is because they trust you and believe that if you think it is good, then it IS GOOD!
To take someone from the friend stage to the best buddy stage, you really need to continue providing them with value, help them learn more about yourself, connect with them on an emotional level and go above and beyond the call-of-duty.
Send them a present on the holiday! Teach them new secrets that you have learned about! Show them how YOU use products to better your life! Offer to help them out with something that most people within the niche have problems with.
Building a lifetime customer is about being honest, being real, and over-delivering! Keep people on their toes and in anticipation of your emails. There is such thing as a $10,000 customer and these are the people that you build the "best buddy" relationship with!