What if you had an intelligent robot that could deliver promotions to your customers whenever you want?
This robot will let you know how many people opened your letter, how many of them actually looked at your letter, and how many of them did so over the past 12 months of your mailings (i.e. which ones really like your business).
This robot will also happily scan the people he delivered to, then send the scans to his companion “FacialBot” (Facebook).
FacialBot is a genius. He’ll analyze your list of recipients and suggest similar people in your local area that would most appreciate receiving your promotions as well! Thanks FacialBot!
TOTAL COST: $9
No, this robot is not R2-D2, BB-8, or Wall-e.
It’s called an Email Autoresponder.
You’ve probably heard of MailChimp, Aweber, ConstantContact and other ones. I prefer ActiveCampaign for me and my clients.
Mistake Too Big to Make
Many local business owners make a big mistake.
They assume that since they don’t do business online, they don’t really need an email list.
The thinking goes like this:
“Email subscriber lists are for bloggers, ecommerce sites, and startup companies. I need people in my office/store, not on some email list!”
“I’m a real estate agent, not a shoe store. Once I close a deal, these people aren’t coming back to me for years, if ever.”
And they ask:
“What could I possibly link to in an email that will make a sale for my offline local business?”
Here’s the thing.
An email list is not just about sending out links to ecommerce products or app downloads.
Email lists are all about building a relationship with your target market.
As entrepreneur Chris Drucker puts it: It’s no longer about B2B or B2C. In our world today it’s about P2P. Person to Person.
When you have an ongoing P2P relationship with your past customers and potential new customers, your business will thrive.
Mediate that relationship through automated email responder robots…well, you’ve just given your local business superpowers my friend.
Let’s see what kind of superpowers your business can have.
Local Business Superpowers: The Must See List
I’m going to show you how to use each superpower to build out your local business, in any industry…healthcare, retail, contracting, finance, coaching, you name it.
- Build Relationships
- Build Small Army of Supporters
- Gather Business Intelligence
- Get Free Advertising
- Offer Deals, Discounts, and Sales
- Run Conversion Testing
- Amplify Promotions
- The Only Platform You Own
- Use Social Proof
- Send Technical Communications
- Wield Joint Venture Power
- Duplicate Customers
1. Build Relationships
We buy from those we like. We like those who make our lives better.
Your email list gives you a direct channel to contribute to the lives of your past, current, and prospective customers.
Offer them value, related to your niche.
This could be something as short as 5 lines in an email explaining how to determine if a Financial Advisor is trustworthy (because you’re a trustworthy CFP).
Or it could be an email with a link to something valuable, such as your recent blog post, or a podcast episode that directly affects your customers, or link to a PDF cheat sheet they could use right away to help them with something.
Myth: You have to send out content once a week to be effective
Fact: It only has to be high-value, and regular.
Even once a month will keep your relationship relevant, so long as you’re sending true value to your customers.
Myth: You have to create content yourself
Fact: It just has to be really good quality content, that you share with them
Example: I was on a digital marketer’s email list who simply sent out curated lists of “great reads” in the marketing sphere. He did this about once every 3 months! I always looked forward to his emails because they were always good.
Example of so-so content that won’t be good enough
Content: Blog post
Title: “10 Reasons Chiropractic is good for you”
First of all, it’s too self-promoting.
You’re goal is building a relationship. That means genuine giving.
Later in this list you’ll see how to Amplify Promotions. But don’t confuse true value content with promoting your service or niche.
Secondly, this isn’t practically useful! (i.e. valuable)
A more useful blog post might be “10 Reasons Your Back Pain Isn’t Getting Better” or “10 Ways to Heal Your Back Pain, Without Drugs or Surgery”. Can you see how that’s more valuable to your clients and customers than “10 Reasons to Spend Money With Me”?
Types of true value content
- Answer any questions your customers might be wondering or struggling with
- Help them solve a problem, even minor, that’s been bothering them
- Show them how to do something that’s going to help their lives
(Below I’ll show you how to discover their questions and problems in the Superpower “Gather Business Intelligence”)
The #1 Superpower in this list is build a lasting relationship with your past, present, and prospective customers by giving them relevant and valuable content.
2. Build Small Army of Supporters
Wouldn’t it be nice to have some volunteers for your business?
Inside your list of subscribers is a smaller sub-group of raving fans. People who like and love you so much they want to “give back” to your business, or somehow “get involved.” (You know, besides your Mom).
Why do they feel this way?
- Because they like you (see Build Relationships above).
- Because you’ve already changed their lives with your high quality service or product.
- Because they personally believe in the type of work that you do.
Remember, people are driven to share what they love with others. They want to be the one who makes the next great suggestion that’s gonna help everyone.
Could be a new restaurant, app, or movie they fell in love with.
Or, it could be their new [your professional title]!
First, you’ve got to identify the raving fans on your email list.
You could do this based on data—email open rates, replies they’ve sent you, number of downloads they’ve made, etc.
But an easier way is to just invite them!
Invite these raving fans to be part of an elite “squad” who will
- give you feedback,
- share connections in their network,
- volunteer for projects,
- get the word out for your promotions,
- or any other support they can give you.
Those who say “Yes” to your invitation will go on a special sub-list on your email list so you can easily call on them for their support.
If you can provide them incentives, even better.
Tip: When thinking about incentives, remember that acquiring a new customer costs you money. If it costs $120 of advertising to get one new customer, giving your raving fans $20 gift cards to send you referrals is a fabulous return on your investment!
3. Gather Business Intelligence
When it comes to helping and serving your customers best, the old rule remains: “Know your customers.”
What is NOT so well known, is how much you can learn about your customers when you’ve built a relationship with them on your email list. (If you can also ask them in person, even better).
Examples of good business intelligence:
Question: What situations bring them to your office/store?
Action: Make your ads and promotions more cost effective by targeting the right people.
Question: What are their most common complaints about your business? (i.e. how you can do better)
Action: Eliminate these pitfalls, and then tell them you listened to their feedback!
Question: What do they love most about your business?
Action: Do more of that. And promote that to new customers.
Question: What sort of problems are they struggling with regularly, related to your niche?
Action: You can help them solve those problems, even in a small but practical way.
Question: What kind of questions do they needs answers to?
Action: You can position yourself as a valuable resource and authority on those topics.
1. At the end of one or more emails, ask them:
“We’d love to know what you liked and didn’t like about your last visit. This helps us do better next time! Thanks!”
2. Send out a brief online questionnaire. You can use Google Forms, Survey Monkey, or others.
3. Prompt the question at the end of a blog post. “Share your answer in the comments below!”
Definitely ask your Small Army of Supporters for their help on this!
4. Get Free advertising
Advertising is merely paying for access to people who are likely to buy your service or product.
When you have an email list of interested people, it’s FREE access to 100, 1,000, or 10,000 interested people.
If they’re past customers, show them why they benefit from coming back.
If they’re prospective new customers, show them why they benefit from coming in.
Advertising costs are often based on ‘M’ or ‘per thousand’ people reached. Every person you add to your list is money you’ve saved.
How this changes your approach
Every single time you engage a potential new customer, you want to get them onto your email list. When you show them the value of being a subscriber on your list, they’ll be happy they joined.
This means you’ve got to give the following people good reason to sign up:
- New customers (make signing up to your email list part of your new customer process)
- Current customers
- An audience you speak to at a seminar, lecture, or convention
- Leads that come in online on your website
- Leads that come in online through your lead generation campaign
Some good reasons to sign up:
- News about our office/store/business
- Free advice for [niche]
- Exclusive Deals, Discounts, and Sales (see Superpower below)
- Because you run Q&A with subscribers
- Early access to events and programs
5. Offer Deals, Discounts, and Sales
We’ve spoken about how an email list is Free Advertising. That’s especially true when you’re running a deal or promoting a sale.
There are two ways to do this: Deals for Everyone, or, Exclusive Deals.
Deals for Everyone
When you take the “Deals for everyone” approach, your email list gives you
- Free advertising to a whole group of past, current, and prospective customers
- A way to get the word out to more people
You can reach even more people if your promotion incentivizes both your subscriber and their friend/family.
For example: “Get $10 off for you, $10 off for the person you send our way”.
I love this approach. It’s one of the most praised recommendations from our Life Changing Business Growth guide.
Just like your email list has a core group of Raving Fans, there’s also a group of Top Buyers. They spend the most money…buy the most often…or both.
Instead of putting them on the same buyer path as everyone else, you can create exclusive opportunities that only your top buyers get access to, when they sign up for your email list.
This does three things, and they all increase your income.
#1 – Creates a pattern of special sales and offers that cost NOTHING to advertise. And remember, this is the hottest list of people to advertise to. Goodbye wasted ads!
#2 – Increases signup rates for the mailing list. Because customers know they’re going to get value they can’t get anywhere else. The more people on the list, the less you rely on paid advertising alone.
#3 – Increases total sales for the year. Since exclusive offers are for a VIP group of customers (email subscribers), the offers can be tailored to maximize sales from these repeat buyers.
You can add things like urgency (“Next 48 hours only!”), or big-purchase motivators (“Buy 2 get 1 Free!”).
This allows your paid advertising to focus on what it does best – creating new customers.
6. Run Conversion Testing
The copywriting you use is your written salesperson.
If you use poor quality copy, it’s like having a poor quality salesperson talking to your potential customers.
The thing is, the best copywriters don’t just throw darts and hope for the best. They create multiple variations of the same email or landing page and test to see which one gets the best response from your subscribers.
With email marketing, you can maximize your marketing messages with conversion testing.
Caution: For statistical significance, you’re going to need a list that’s large enough to test each variation.
First you need to set a goal you want to measure.
This can be open rates (getting a target number of subscribers to open an email), clicks on links you placed in the body of an email, or sign ups and sales that occurred as a result of the email.
Then create variations of your email, and test it on a small segment of your list. Then take the winning variation and send it out to the rest of the list. Vuala!
You can even use this data to find out the best words, lines, and offers to optimize your advertising campaigns.
7. Amplify Promotions
Running a sale? Hosting an event? Speaking at a conference?
Get the word out even farther.
(Okay, I know this looks like a giant Pac-Man eating a bunch of people. Let’s just pretend that the Pac-Man is you. And that those people symbolically represent a bullhorn that’s echoing your newsworthy email.)
In a few minutes you can easily send an email to your subscribers that prompts them to share, fwd, print, or talk about whatever it is you’re promoting.
This is different than the ‘Deals, Discounts, and Sales’ Superpower we spoke about earlier for one reason:
With this Superpower, you kindly ask (or incentivize) your subscribers to share the news with other people.
That means it’s best used for something timely and newsworthy.
8. The Only Platform You Own
When you’re not captain of the ship, you can be tossed overboard at any moment.
Thus the fate of many businesses that relied on Google’s search engine rankings to send them new customers. One change to Google’s algorithm and your business can be set back by months, or destroyed overnight.
Others have built their customer base off of Facebook, only to have their Facebook account shut down for one reason or another. It’s a nightmare.
An email list is YOURS.
You own it. You control it. And the importance of that fact cannot be understated.
9. Use Social Proof
Proof is the most important part of any sale you make.
Today, “social proof” is particularly potent.
When you have 3,000 locals from your area on your email list, you can flaunt that accomplishment to your prospective new customers.
“Join over 3,000 other people in [Your City] on our exclusive VIP list.”
It’s like a badge of success that shows them you’ve got what it takes.
10. Send Technical Communications
What a shame to lose a customer because they spent an hour going to the wrong place and have run out of time for you.
Keep yourself accessible!
If you move locations, even a block away, you want to make sure your customers know where you are and how to find you.
All it takes is a short email: ‘We’ve moved locations!’ They don’t even have to open the email – if they see the subject line, they’ll make a mental note.
11. Wield Joint Venture Power
This is one of the most powerful Email List Superpowers at your disposal.
When your subscriber list is large enough, it will give you leveraging power to partner with other people and companies.
NEVER sell your list to a 3rd party. That violates privacy policies and betrays your customers.
But, you can make Joint Ventures, using your list as leverage.
Let’s say you’re a Chiropractor. And let’s say you have one friend who’s an Acupuncturist, another friend who’s a Nutritionist, and another friend who does Life Coaching.
Together, you’re a much more powerful team.
Let’s say your friends want to run an online seminar, or series of webinars. If you’ve got no subscribers, it’s hard to see how you will contribute to promoting the campaign.
While they’re all sending out invitations to the program to their own subscribers, you’d just be scalping off of their audiences. Not a very “joint” venture.
But, if you have 500-1,000 subscribers, you bring a ton of influence to the joint venture. Colleagues will be much happier to work with you, and will be easier to negotiate with.
12. Duplicate Customers
This one is mind blowing. Buckle up.
If you have even 100 email addresses in your subscriber list, you’ve got a pair of golden keys my friend.
Keys to unlock the vault for your target market on Facebook.
It’s called Custom Audiences on Facebook. More specifically, a Lookalike Audience.
If you’ve got 1,000 email addresses, it will work even better. But with even a minimum of 100 email addresses of people likely to be your customers, you can use Facebook’s Lookalike Audience tool to find additional people like them on Facebook.
Note: You won’t see the individual people that match your 100 email addresses, for obvious privacy reasons. Facebook will simply allow you to advertise to them. Which…Is…Gold!
Think of this email list superpower as a time-saving, money-saving, shortcut to discovering your target audience on Facebook. Your advertising campaigns will perform better, and it’s often an instant improvement.
Just one more good reason to start building your email list for your local offline business.
Wow. That was fun!
Has your mind expanded? New ideas? Questions coming up?
I’d love to hear them. Get in touch on our contact page. Or leave a comment below.
I receive a lot of emails, but do my best to answer every one of them.
Until next time.
Get hot leads for your local business, and grow your email list in the process!
It’s all here in the Lead Generation for Local Businesses guide.
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