As I mentioned in my last post, small and mid-sized businesses need to make every email count. Step One, as laid out in the post, is to "let go of the pretty" to increase the chance that the emails you send will land in the inboxes and that they will actually be read.

It's time to move on to Step Two.

I bet that you, like me, get a lot of emails that are all about the sender and whatever they're trying to sell us today. Right? Those are what I call "presentation" emails, as I mentioned in my last post. They're all about "here's my offer," and, if I'm not interested in that offer today, I don't care about that email. Do you? 

So, when I talk about "performing emails," I'm talking about emails that get clicks. I barely even look at open rates any more - I want the click. I want to know that the person who opened that email thought that whatever piece of content I've offered is valuable enough to them to click through to read it. That's what I want.

If the email is a presentation of whatever is being sold with a link to buy it now, sure, that's a valuable cllick to get. But... what about all the people who aren't ready to buy now? The people who don't understand what your product or service can do for them? The people who can't imagine what their lives would be like if they became your customer? What about THOSE people?

Those people make up a significant portion of your list, I'm betting. Statistically, those people account for over 90% of your list. That's huge.

So you can keep sending "presentation emails" to your entire list, and know that in doing so, you can turn off a huge percentage of the people who could become your customer.

Or you can start sending emails that will perform for you.

Step Two: Stop presenting and start building.

To do that, let's fall back to three basic truths.

1. People buy from people they know, like, and trust.

2. The way to become that person is to build a relationship with those who could be your customer.

3. The way to build a relationship is to listen, respond, and provide value.

Through email marketing, our way to sales is through relationship building, and we do that by leveraging the tools at our disposal - looking at what links they click, what content they read, what downloads they take, what events they attend, and what pages they visit on our websites. We take all of that information and craft content that will deepen their relationship with us.

If someone clicks through on a "buy now" link it means TWO things. One - it means that they might buy. Two - it means that they are likely interested in that product, even if they don't buy. (But the fact is that "buy now" links usually only get clicks from people who are likely to buy.)

What if you had MORE than a "buy now" link? Let's say you are selling cheese. You could do like that one commercial suggests, and send out an email that a particular cheese is on sale today.  What will you get? Right - people who want to buy that particular cheese. What if the email also included a link to "10 Great Recipes for This Cheese"? What are you doing then?

You're providing value. Educating the people on your list on how they can use the cheese that happens to also be on sale is a great way to provide value and start building relationships. You can track the people who click through on the recipes link and follow-up with them with more recipes, or another cheese offer. It's listening to your leads and responding to the needs and interests that they express.

That's where it all starts.

This doesn't mean you have to develop all the content in the world. Truthfully, it doesn't even mean you need to have your very own blog (although we HIGHLY recommend it). To be quite candid, you could curate your ten favorite cheese recipes from around the web and create an online list (with or something similar), or put them into a Facebook post, or even includes links to whatever sites the recipes are on. If you don't have your OWN blog, you can't track where people go AFTER they click the link in your email, but you CAN track that they clicked that link - and that's got value. That allows you to deepen your understanding of the people who are in your email list. 

That is where relationships start - with understanding.

And sales start with relationships.

Your goal for your email marketing is sales, yes. The number one thing to track and measure (and celebrate) is clickthrough rate, because clicks are engagement, engagement = relationship building, and relationships lead to familiarity, likeability, and trust. That's an email strategy that performs.

People buy from people they know, like, and trust.

Step Three is in the next post. Until then...