Summary: Create a simple, effective email marketing strategy plan that is as flexible as you need it to be to market your business with email.
For as many email marketers there are out there, there are as many email marketing strategy plans. What makes mine different is that it is simple to plan and execute. It gives your audience a wide range of content, and you can use it for potential and existing customers. The hardest part is that there is a bunch of emails to put together. However, this plan is so flexible that even the amount of emails you create is optional.
A trigger point can be any interaction with your company. It can be an inquiry form or purchase or someone you met at a networking event. Once you add them to a specified list, the sequence of emails start.
I caution you, as I do all my clients, that you must get permission to add them. Nothing is more annoying than giving someone a business card, and next thing you know, you’re getting regular email content that you didn’t ask for from them. You want to start with an engaged member of your list; otherwise, this plan is useless.
Without overstating the obvious, your email marketing strategy plan needs to have compelling content that will engage your audience. A word of note, this plan is not a regular email campaign like a newsletter. This strategy starts when you add someone to a list. The list member gets the same sequence of emails whether you add them today or six months from now.
Creating the content sequence for an email marketing strategy plan is really up to you. If you are a service business, then I would start with your services. For example, for my business, it would be SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Email Marketing, Website Design, and I would probably include Social Media Advertising and Pay Per Click. Each one of these topics would be one email. The order of importance should dictate the email order of the sequence. You want to lead with your most important or most popular service.
These emails shouldn’t focus on you. Keep in mind that “I do this” and “I do that” is not engaging. It’s about what you can do for them. The customer is the hero of the story. You have to romance them a little bit and make them fall in love with you. If you are looking for how to generate ideas for content, you can use surveys to gather information about your customers. I wrote an article about how to survey your customers, and it goes into a little bit more detail. Here’s another content tip: you want to have these emails stand on their own. You can’t assume that they will remember what was in the last email. You also want to include a call to action because the reader isn’t going to know what to do next.
Once you write the emails, you need to add them to an email application that can send them out automatically. Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Hubspot, and the like will be able to handle that for you. Each email should send with about 5 to 7 days in between.
The reason that I said set it and forget it, “sorta,” is that you need to be monitoring your campaign. What are the open rates? Are people clicking on links? Is there a significant drop off from the first email to the second email? These are all things that you need to evaluate and possibly update as you go along.
That’s pretty much it. Simple right? I find this sequence works excellent as an initial set of emails. Your audience will get an introduction to your business in small digestible chunks. All you have to do is add their name to a list.
Why stop there? Why not take it to the next level?
Let’s say, for example, someone opens the email about web design, but they don’t call. Many of the email applications allow you to create contingency emails based on the action of a recipient. For example, if someone opens the web design email, you may have two or three more web design emails ready to go. These would follow the same benefit-driven format, but they would go more in-depth. These might include additional links to content you wrote or perhaps a free download.
You will also want to segment your list based on interests. I wrote an article on segmenting your email list. The important takeaway from that article is that by segmenting your email list, you can target the members of the list more directly with content that they are interested in reading.
One thing to keep in mind that no matter what you do with your email marketing strategy plan, your focus needs to be on engaging your audience. The introductory email sequence needs to be about your customer and not about how great you are at that service. Even the follow-up emails need to be benefit-driven.
This simple plan works no matter what the business. If you sell a product, you can use this plan to follow up with more about the product, user tips, or where they can get replacement parts. The idea is to have a reason to stay in front of your audience without badgering them. You also want to make sure your content is relevant to them so they will keep coming back.