Your email list is the most valuable part of your online business, and the connection that you make with your list is what determines how valuable your list is to you. But how do you build relationships with those who have joined your list?
The problem we have to overcome is that world we live in is inundated with an overwhelming amount of advertising messages. Just by taking a walk down to your nearest coffee place, you’ll be greeted with adverts at the bus shelter, promotional signs displayed in shop windows, and don’t forget the ads on your cell phone when you’re browsing web content or using apps.
Too many businesses are competing for a share of your time and attention, and your prospects and customers are not different. Emails can become just one more part of the avalanche of messages that descends on our subscribers. The cold truth is that most potential customers do not listen to us if we fail to get their attention in a meaningful way.
There are a number of ways to break through the avalanche and ride above it. Here are three of the most powerful ways:
1. Be useful or be amazing
Say you’re in business selling pencils. Well, pencils are useful so it shouldn’t be too hard to reach out to your target audience, right? But consider pens, markers and other pencil sellers that make up your competition.
How are you going to make your pencils stand out among all those other businesses? The key is making a strong connection with your potential customers so that you are the one that they prefer to deal with. Good branding means that you are front of mind when someone is looking for what you’re selling.
Good branding comes from good products coupled to good marketing. Take for example, soft drinks. What comes to mind when I ask what would you like to drink? Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, or Dr. Pepper? There’s a fancy marketing term for this – it’s called an “evoked set.”
What it means is the group of brands in a product category that consumers remember at the time when making a purchase. Being in an evoked set is crucial to building brand loyalty in the long run. When your products are useful or amazing, or both, and your marketing matches the quality of your products, your email list will be your best asset for finding buyers.
2. Take Time to Connect
The best step to take to connect with your potential customers is to build your relationship with them through regularly offering them valuable content.
These days, utilizing social media is one of the most powerful ways of communicating and this popular choice can help you make the positive connection that will build your business.
Because of its 24/7 accessibility, plus the reasonable cost factor (free to economical), social media can be a great part of your marketing mix. I believe that all online businesses should use social media extensively to establish and grow an online presence beyond a basic website. But this requires a consistent investment of time as you build traction initially, and keep that momentum going through regular messages.
3. Lock Your Brand into Front of Mind
To be found online by your best target audience, it’s important that you develop and share content that is popular with members of your target market. Different demographics exhibit different behaviors and have different interests in your published content – harness this to your advantage by segmenting your traffic and capitalizing on what content is popular with each segment.
We covered some of this by talking about evoked sets above, and as you grow your following, let’s consider how to keep your brand in the minds of your list. One way is by simply observing what interests them and creating more content around their interests. This is can be simply done by noting what topics generate the most email opens. The more that you can help your list by creating valuable content that matches their interests, the more you will become a front of mind brand.
Collecting prospect data to gain insights on how your products and services are viewed can give you helpful insights for your marketing efforts. To get this data, you need a way to discover who is visiting your site, how they’re getting there, what they’re interested in, etc. to maximize performance of marketing efforts as well as make the necessary improvements to your products and services.
If you’ve built a WordPress site, much of this information can be gleened by plug-ins like Google Analytics Dashboard for WP. But beware that passive data collection, although fast and convenient, can alienate customers and potential customers.
Passive data collection is when you capture user preferences and usage behavior without involving any consumer interaction, like cookies to capture internet browsing history. For those who regularly review and delete cookies, your passive data collection may not be appreciated.
Fortunately there are other ways to get this information, but unfortunately, your prospects and customers must be willing to cooperate with you by providing it. You can involve them and provide transparency in your methods to learn more about them by using quizzes, polls and surveys with an email to follow up on the improvements you plan to make in time to come. When your customers feel like they’re being heard and that their opinions matter, you can be sure of their loyalty.
I welcome your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.