Email marketing has an amazing reputation as a way to make sales online. In fact, email marketing has consistently had the highest return on investment of any marketing channel. The return on investment is 42x, meaning you’ll make $42 in sales for every $1 you spend on your email marketing efforts. That’s an investment that’s always worth making.
What most small businesses don’t realize is that maximizing your return on investment with email is about what you’re doing when you’re not selling. One of the big mistakes small business owners make is to focus all their email marketing efforts on selling. Sometimes, that’s directly selling products. Other times, that’s focusing on selling to get the click on more routine emails.
The small business owners who are truly winning with email are the ones who aren’t always focused on selling. They spend most of their time and effort with email connecting with their audience. Then, when it’s time to sell, their subscribers are primed to buy.
Why Should You Focus On Connection With Your Email Marketing?
If you’re on the email list for any of the big brands, you might be a bit confused about my suggestion that you should focus on connecting with your audience instead of selling. For big retailers, email isn’t really about connection; it is 100% about selling.
But there’s an important distinction between you as a service-based solopreneur and the big brands.
Let’s face it, if you sign up for Old Navy’s email list, it’s not because you want to get to know anyone at Old Navy. You sign up for a typical retailer’s list for one reason: to get updates about sales and promotions. For those brands, making their email all about promotions is the best way to deliver what their subscribers want.
As a service-based solopreneur or independent entrepreneur, your business is very different from those big brands. You aren’t delivering a commodity. Your customers are deciding whether to trust you to help them solve their problems. For brands like ours, the founder is one of the biggest differentiators. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.
That means that one of the most powerful things you can do in your marketing is to consistently build a connection with your audience.
Email is one of the most powerful communication channels you can use to build that connection. Sure, you can use social media to connect, but email is the only form of communication where you don’t have to worry about the algorithms deciding that your message isn’t worthy of your audience’s time.
Email gives you a direct line of communication with your audience. When you choose to use it to connect with your audience, they’ll be primed to buy when your offer is right for them.
How Do You Use Email To Connect?
Harvard Law grad turned online entrepreneur Bobby Klinck has mastered the art of using email as a connection tool. In his new book, Email Marketing That Doesn’t Suck, Bobby lays out some fundamental shifts in how we should think about email marketing and a roadmap for how to take people on a journey that will build those connections.
The biggest shift Bobby proposes is that you should write your marketing emails as if you were writing an email to a friend. While that might seem counterintuitive, there’s a certain logic to it.
As Bobby points out in the book, word-of-mouth marketing and recommendations from friends are among the most trusted (and powerful) forms of marketing these days. He starts from a simple idea: if recommendations from friends are the most trusted form of marketing, why not use email to position yourself as that trusted friend?
Not every simple idea makes sense, but that one sure seems to.
In the book, Bobby walks through how to write emails that will let you position yourself as a friend. Some are as simple as suggesting that you should “write like you talk” instead of using the more formal tone that most people use for their writing. Or as he puts it: “Don’t write like the Queen of England (Unless you are the Queen of England–Hey, Lizzie!).”
As you can probably pick up from just that one quote, the book is written in the same conversational style that Bobby suggests we use for our emails. But the book isn’t just a fun, easy read. It’s filled with incredible nuggets of wisdom and lays out exactly how you can take your customers on a journey from the moment they join your list through the sale.
He lays out a repeatable process to build the know, like, and trust factor with your audience, and he doesn’t shy away from selling either. He has an entire chapter devoted to how to sell with email.
Email Marketing That Doesn’t Suck is a great book for small business owners, and I recommend you grab your copy on Amazon or Barnes & Noble online. But don’t stop with the book. Bobby and his team have created the email marketing hub page that includes loads of additional resources to help you do email marketing right.