Home-based start-upsThursday, 15 November 2012 15:14
The relationship is in your list
If you’ve been in online marketing for a while you may have heard the expression “the money’s in your list.”
But, the thing is, even if you have a mailing list, if you make an offer to your subscribers before you’ve had a chance to build a relationship with them, you may not experience the results you hoped for.
Lots of businesses, particularly online retailers, want fast results from their online marketing, but when it comes to building relationships, fast results are not the name of the game, because you can’t rush a real relationship without putting it in jeopardy.
So, how do you get started at building solid relationships that will lead to business?
Start by building your list
If you put the time and effort into building your mailing list, the initial reward will be a dedicated group of potential clients you can talk to directly. To encourage subscriptions, offer something valuable to potential subscribers, something that will help them solve their problems.
Many businesses offer eBooks, webinars or run competitions. You don’t necessarily need to do that. If you can offer a cheat sheet or template or even a colouring-in page for kids… that may well be enough.
It really depends on what your business is and what your potential customers would value most. To find out, start asking questions on your blog and on social media. Start observing the questions that come up for your ideal potential clients.
Nurture your list
Getting sign-ups is one thing, nurturing the relationship means you need to reach out with helpful, valuable content on a regular basis. Use your emails to seek feedback, connect your subscribers to your social media activity, and share relevant, helpful content they can relate to. Share stories, and don’t be afraid to share a little about yourself.
I used to find email marketing scary, mostly because it had the word “marketing” in it, but what I’ve found is that it’s just a great way for me to share with others who are interested in what I write about and what I can offer them. And with it being harder and harder to reach your audience on Facebook, having an email list means that I can communicate with my followers in a meaningful way, without it being a waste of my time (or theirs).
You won’t always get it right but when you look at your campaigns you’ll start to see which emails are more popular and you can adjust your writing style and content accordingly.
If you don’t yet have a mailing list, you can set up a simple mailing list through MailChimp for free. If you want something more complex, MailChimp has a Pro option but there are also platforms such as AWeber and Constant Contact that may also meet your needs.
What about you? Are you building and nurturing relationships through email marketing?
Cas McCullough is passionate about empowering other solo entrepreneurs to drop the sales pitch and harness powerful inbound marketing through her Content Marketing Cardiology blog.
Cas is the author of Diving In: Practical Tips for Starting Up and Growing Your Home Based Business. She is also the founder of home-based businesses Mumatopia and Support a Work At Home Person, an 11,000-strong social networking community supporting people who work from home. Follow her on Twitter @supportawahp.
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