It all starts with incorporating an irresistible free offer on your website that invites your site visitors to give their name and email address in exchange for it. Their details are then added to your subscriber list and allow you to stay in touch with those subscribers via email on a regular basis.
Here are 4 simple steps to get started:
Step 1: Getting Email Marketing Software
The first thing you need is email marketing software. This software allows you to put a form on your website to collect email addresses and other details from visitors on your site in exchange for something you offer for free. It is similar to the one opt-in form on my website where people can sign up for free training. I use a company called Aweber, but if you search around there are many other options available and you can choose one to fit your budget.
The email marketing software enables you to set-up and schedule a series of automated emails called auto-responders and/or once-off emails, typically for sending a regular newsletter or e-zine to all your subscribers. Furthermore the software provides basic to detailed statistics to keep you updated with how many people open and read your emails.
Step 2: Develop an Irresistible Free Offer
Your irresistible free offer is all about giving your website visitors a ‘taste’ of something they could not go without. It’s giving them something irresistible that THEY want in exchange for something YOU want ….their contact details.
The free offer can be anything from a PDF report, a small e-book, audio CD, workbook, e-course, checklist, video, consultation etc. Its purpose is to get your visitors to take notice and sign-up.
The moment your web visitors sign up to receive this free offer, they enter your client pipeline. People understand that by signing up, they are giving you permission to send them e-mails and to stay in contact with them. This is when the process for email marketing kicks into action and where you can (on a regular basis) provide your subscribers with valuable information, special offers and promotions via email to help build trust and credibility.
Tip: When you develop your free offer, put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes. Ask yourself what type of information would attract their attention and get them to sign up.
Step 3: Develop a Series of Auto-responders
An auto-responder is an email that is send instantly/automatically to a subscriber who signs up to receive your free offer. It can be only one email or a series of emails that are delivered over a period of time.
Your first auto-responder will typically introduce you and your business, letting your audience know the type of information they’ll be receiving and how frequently you will be sending e-mails. It will also contain a link to your free offer or explain how the subscriber could access the offer.
A second, third and fourth auto-responder email can be sent 2 or 3 days after the previous one, containing something really useful to your audience. It could be a tip that will help them solve a problem or a tool that is available online and that they will find useful.
Tip: Auto-responders are excellent time savers. You set it up once and then basically forget about it. The first 3 to 4 emails are really important since they build the initial trust with your audience. So they should contain high value content your ideal clients can use.
Step 4: Create an On-going Email Marketing Plan
The value of an email marketing plan is to build a great relationship with your list. This can be done by sending top quality content on a regular basis via your newsletter or e-zine.
The purpose is to stay in-front of your potential clients on a frequent basis. As much as we would like to think that our subscribers are always thinking of us (wouldn’t THAT be nice?), it’s unfortunately not the case. So, repetition is necessary to remind them of you, your offerings and your expertise.
Tip: Establish objectives and build a plan for the year. Start by mapping out what type of content to send on a regular basis. What type of information or topics you want your subscribers to receive? What promotions or campaigns you want to do and when you want to do it? This plan will help you reach out to your customers at the right time with the right information.
The truth is: You never know how long it will take somebody to decide to work with you. When you do not make use of an opt-in process on your website and email marketing, you lose the chance to:
- Capture contact details and build a database of people who are interested in your services;
- Regularly connect and provide additional value and information to people who want to know more;
- Create an ongoing relationship with potential clients;
- Increase your credibility, build the know, like and trust factor and eventually convert prospects into paying clients.