How much of your business is driven by email outreach? Do you use an online resource like Constant Contact to manage that process?
For me, the answers are roughly 30% and ABSOLUTELY YES!
It’s true that 70% of my business (and by “business,” I mean “income”) comes from old-fashioned networking – getting out, meeting people, understanding their goals, and asking for the business. I love doing this. But it also takes a lot of energy to coordinate schedules, to be at the right events, and to be “on” and listening for business opportunities. Truthfully, I’m the kind of person who needs to take a break from the grind and socialize without intention every now and then. I love to go out and just be charmed and amused by people.
So, having an organized way to stay in touch and gently parse out the ways I help my clients is key. I send out an email every two weeks highlighting what’s going on @ CYN WORKS for my clients and suggesting ways I can help the people I know.
I will admit, over the past year, I’ve become a Constant Contact email newsletter junkie. I’ve taken seminars, webinars, hung out in forums, and subscribed to dozens of businesses’ emails. Hey, if I’m going to do this, I want to know what works!
12 months later, I can tell you…
A GREAT EMAIL NEWSLETTER MAKES THE MOST OF:
Subject line – is it catchy enough to make me curious? If it’s not catchy, is it clear? Clear can be better than catchy.
Pictures – do they create a relationship between the vendor and me? In other words, can I glance at an image and know what it’s about? It might brand the vendor. It might relate to my lifestyle or business. It might create a sense of fantasy or desire. It might symbolize a solution to a business problem I face.
Links – are they easy to discern? Do they promises readable, valuable information that’s worth the time to click on and read more?
Visual layout – can I tell the purpose of an email at a glance? I don’t mind if you sell to me. Just don’t make me read the small print or try to figure out a puzzle to get to the point. Not only won’t I do this, but Constant Contact says most people decide between deleting immediately and keeping to read later in 7 seconds or less. AND… most emails that are “kept to read later” are kept for about a week to ten days and then deleted without another review.
Is there a clear call to action? I want people who email me to tell me what to do and make it easy to do. Examples are:
- Click here
- Order now
- Like this
- Take a survey
- Tell a friend
- Sign up for a seminar
Does an email tell me to spend money now? I absolutely can be swayed – in just one email – to click through and spend money. My Christmas was filled with click-through purchases, from a case of tasty bargain wine to online photoprinting and bookmaking to a Sony DSLR camera.
How do emails convince people to spend money now? They have to have a compelling reason, like:
- Extreme value
- Fills an existing need
- Easy to order… like click, click, click, ship!
- Trustworthy brand
- Product is delivered effortlessly
Ultimately, consistent business emails enhance relationships. They engage with the reader on something that’s important to them. They suggest a real person is behind the email – one who is responsive to feedback. They can guide the consumers to what is hot right now – introduce new products and – if needed – show how to use them.
THE BIG BANG EMAIL BENEFIT
I do believe that Constant Contact saves me from some of the most dreaded sales techniques I’ve practiced – cold calls, door knocking, and expensive direct mailing. So, I recognize, it’s not free! Every tool has a cost in time, money, or talent.
Here’s the math on my CYN WORKS Constant Contact commitment.
- $15/month on the basic subscription. Billing is automated, so it requires no additional time to manage
- 1 hour/month to plan the topics that will be in the email and to organize supporting social media (blog, Facebook, Twitter)
- 2.5 hours/month (1.25 hours/per mailing) to write headlines, teaser copy, find images, and create links to content on my blog
- .5 hours/month talking to clients, asking for permission to link to their site/products. Usually, this is also a good time to ask if we should be taking on any new projects and to find out if they have referrals for me to follow up with
If you are new to Constant Contact, there is some set-up involved. I’ve gotten this down to a system that takes about 5 hours. This is something I do for my clients and might be able to do for you. For more details and pricings, read this.
So that’s it! 4 hours + $15/month to create the potential for 30% of my income! If you know of a better cost-to-value prospecting tool, please mention it in the comments!