It’s tempting to send offer after offer to your list in the hopes of making the most money. Yet this is also a sure fire way to alienate your readers and send them packing. If all you ever do is pitch them in every email, they’re either going to stop opening your emails, or simply unsubscribe. In either case, you are no longer relevant to your list. So when it comes time to promote your own products, no one will be listening.
There is a better way, and it’s to provide content along with the promotions. The problem is in knowing what kind of content to give them. What do they want to know? How long is it going to take you to research it and write it? And will it even be read?
The key is to think ‘engagement’ over selling. If you can continually engage your audience, then you can continually sell to them as well, at a reasonable pace.
Think of it this way: Every engagement email is like building your goodwill account. Every promotional email is like cashing in on that account. Both are equally important.
Here are 4 reasons to send engagement type emails:
1. They take the pressure off of you and let you have fun with your list. Let’s face it – if every email you send is trying to convince people to buy yet another product, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to continually SELL SELL SELL. And you know in your heart of hearts that your list does NOT want another email telling them to BUY BUY BUY. Which means you are having NO FUN writing nothing but promotional emails. Who can blame you?
Even a born sales person likes to take some time off and just shoot the breeze, talk about sports, do some gardening, whatever. Well, you and your list need time off as well. And we don’t mean time when they don’t hear from you, but instead time when you have something to say that doesn’t involve them reaching for their wallets yet again.
2. You can be their go-to person in your niche. If all you do is sell, then they always have their guard up when they open your emails – and with good reason. But if you can show them how to do things without buying, and even how to buy better, you can become the authority they like and trust.
3. You can email more often. If you only send promotional emails, you better either keep the frequency down or expect to burn your list. But if you’re sending engagement type emails, you don’t have to worry about how often you email (within reason.) Who doesn’t want to hear the latest news or tips or tricks in their favorite niche? Send it out, they WANT to read this stuff.
A funny thing happens when you send out engagement type emails and then you take a few days off – your list will write to you asking where you are and if you’re okay. When this happens, you know you’ve created magic.
4. You can cheat. Big time. What I mean by this is you can reuse material you’ve already written. Did you write a dynamite blog post earlier this year that got rave reviews? Break it up into several emails and send it out. Do you have a report on how to do something that is full of great tips? Break it up into several emails and send it out.
You don’t always have to come up with new material for engagement emails – you can reuse stuff from your articles and posts. Nice!
Here are 10 topics you can write about besides the usual ‘buy this’ stuff:
1. The latest news in your niche AND how it might affect your readers. Don’t just give the news – personalize it with your own take and your thoughts on how it might impact your list.
2. Tips, tricks and great ideas on how to do things in your niche. Everyone wants the latest hack on how to do something easier/faster/cheaper/better. So let them in on the secrets.
3. Teach your list how to be a savvy shopper in your niche. What should they look out for? What features are must-have, and what should they avoid? This is a great way to make yourself into the authority.
4. 3 minute interviews. Send email interviews to authorities in your niche and create emails from those interviews. These don’t need to be long – 1 to 5 questions is all you need.
5. Spotlight your customers. Show how Bill bought your product and used it with good results. Talk about the obstacles he had to overcome, the problems he solved, and anything else that might interest your readers.
6. Show your list how to USE your product. If they’ve purchased, this is helpful. If they haven’t, they get to feel what it would be like if they did purchase. Either way, it’s a win-win.
7. Stuff for your list only. Give your list benefits that people can get nowhere else. This might be free products, insider information or special discounts. Make these special benefits expire to train your list to open your emails as soon as they receive them.
8. Stories. People LOVE stories. Don’t get wordy, do start in the middle of the story where the action is, and always make it entertaining as well as relevant to your niche.
9. Seasonal tips. If you’re in a niche that changes with the seasons, this is perfect. For example, if your niche is sports then fall is the time to talk about the upcoming ski season, while spring is when you can talk about baseball, soccer, etc. Is your niche cooking? Talk about seasonal foods. Even if your niche isn’t seasonal, with a little creativity you can still use this angle.
10. Personality and humor. You don’t want to ramble on about yourself or your business, but injecting your own personality is terrific and highly recommended. And anytime you can make your readers smile or even laugh, you’re sure to get them to open your next email.
What not to talk about in your emails:
– Too much personal info. A line or two about yourself is fine, but unless you’re telling a story that is of particular interest to your readers, don’t overdo it. No one wants to know your life history, at least not in a broadcast email.
– How terrible your competition is. There is an exception to this rule: If one of your customers has a personal story of their experience with your competition, you can use it. But YOU cannot trash your competition. Even if every word you say is true, it still makes you look like a jerk.
By sending out engagement emails, you won’t burn your list, you’ll build rapport with your list, and in the end you wind up selling more than if you simply sent promotional emails. Plus your list will actually LIKE you and say nice things about you in social media, which is always a plus.
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