I descend from a long line of New Englanders and we are known for our thrift. When the collars of his dress shirts frayed with age, my father (who was actually a New Yorker, but knew how to squeeze a penny until Abe Lincoln yelped) would have the dry cleaner turn them. Presto, a few more good years were added to a useful item.
Mom served any leftovers from the big Sunday dinner for Monday night’s supper. If we didn’t finish them off at that sitting, she was not ashamed to serve them again on Wednesday or Thursday evening.
Mom and Dad were born during the Depression and they did not believe in wasting resources. Use it up, wear it out, or make it do was their credo. As we slog through our own recession, it makes good business sense to maximize the use of our available resources.
One resource that we all have at our disposal is our list of email addresses. Consider using them to launch an email marketing campaign. When executed properly, an email marketing campaign is an effective way to communicate with your target audience.
The (sale) conversion rate will probably not exceed 2%, but that matches the results of a typical direct mail campaign. Moreover, email marketing is both less expensive and more environmentally friendly than direct mail.
Use an opt-in list-building approach to ensure that you contact only those who wish to receive your information. Hire a web developer to add a sign-up function to your website home page. When exchanging cards with new colleagues, request permission to add them to your mailing list.
Add your LinkedIn connections, clients, colleagues and selected friends and family members. Always include an un-subscribe feature in your communications, so that those who choose to opt-out can easily do so. Purchased email lists are not recommended, since those people do not know you. Organic growth of your list is best, so take the time to cultivate it.
As you build your list (and before you add a sign-up feature to your website), think about what you should communicate and the best delivery system for your message. What would you like to achieve in your campaign?
Put yourself in the place of the recipient. What information might they like to receive from you? What “call to action” might pique their interest? Is a monthly newsletter something you have the time and talent to produce? Perhaps handy factoids accompanied by links to relevant articles, doled out every six weeks, will be a better fit for both you and your target audience?
However you deliver it, make your content valuable by including relevant and timely information. Make it memorable by adding audio and video clips. If budget is available, make a video of yourself speaking directly to your audience.
Measure the reach of your campaign with the help of internet analytics. Obtain the stats on your campaign’s impact on visits to your website, pages that get the most viewing and other tracking info. However, the real validation happens when you receive an inquiry about your services from a prospective client. Signing a client as a result is, needless to say, the ultimate validation of your campaign.
Email marketing campaigns in most cases require you to supply the content, but you can outsource the project to a fellow solopreneur or marketing communications firm to ghost write your blog, newsletter or other regularly scheduled mailings. It is also possible and quite common to outsource the emailing function only, to a fellow solopreneur or larger entity.
Email marketing campaigns continue to flourish, despite reports of their pending demise. An email marketing campaign provides a low-cost opportunity for you to keep your name in front of people who value and trust your business acumen and remind them that you are a viable player in your marketplace, ready to take on paid assignments.
Kim L. Clark is a strategy and marketing consultant who works with for-profit and not-for-profit organization leaders who must achieve business goals. Kim is the founder and principal of the consulting firm Polished Professionals Boston and she teaches business plan writing to aspiring entrepreneurs. Learn how Kim’s expertise can benefit your organization when you visit http://polishedprofessionalsboston.com.