Last month we conducted a poll of our readers to find out how they are using e-mail in their marketing mix (click here to read that article). I suggest you read it in conjunction with this article to get the most complete picture of how to succeed with e-mail marketing.
The two biggest challenges our readers struggle with in using e-mail as an effective marketing tool were, by far, content creation (#1) and list building (a close second).
Therefore, I decided to give our readers my top five strategies for creating content that is interesting and relevant that your audience will want to receive.
- Use FAQs as a muse for content. If you’re struggling to come up with something to write about, the easiest place to start is to make a list of the top 10 most frequently asked questions you get, making each one the topic for a piece of content. Since these are FREQUENTLY asked questions, you know there’s a good number of people who are interested in the answer. For example, you might get the question “What do you guys charge?” from new prospects. Tweak that question into an article headline such as “What Should A Small Business In Nashville Expect To Pay For Good IT Services And Support?” Not only will this content give you SEO juice, but it will give you a good article to send to prospects who ask the question. Another strategy: write down the top 10 questions people SHOULD ask their IT consultant but don’t.For example, if you offered IT services to medical practices, a great article would be “How To Know If Your IT Company Has The Right Liability Insurance To Cover Your Medical Practice In The Event Of A Breach That Is Their Fault.” FAQs about cyber security, keeping kids safe online and online privacy are also surefire winners. One final good tip: after you’re done writing the article, record a video of you answering that same question and post it on YouTube. You could post both the video and the article on your site. Since some visitors are more likely to watch video than read (and vice versa), this gives you the ability to produce two pieces of content for every one topic/question.
- Comment on current events. Whenever there is a headline cyber security breach, people want to know what happened, how it may (or may not) affect them and what they should do now (if anything). This is ALWAYS a surefire winner for content – but timeliness is critical. Don’t wait a couple of weeks to send the e-mail. Ideally, get your e-mail/article out within 24 hours of the news hitting. You can release subsequent updates as more information is learned, giving you additional content people will want to read. Another newsworthy topic is compliance.If there are laws being passed – in your state or in others – that impact your clients, give an overview of what the law is, when it goes into effect and what people need to do to comply. Even if it’s not law in YOUR state yet, you can write about it as a warning of what might come. Another good topic is disaster preparedness checklists and information when a natural disaster is looming (like you’re coming into hurricane season) or immediately after a disaster hits somewhere in the world. Each niche and city has “news” happening all the time. Simply keep an eye out for new headlines and create your own spin on what it means and what people should do.
- Highlight client success stories. Just make sure the content is not merely an overblown testimonial. Case studies follow the format of stating/outlining the problem, discussing the solution they (you) implemented and the final result. Just make sure there are interesting and useful “lessons learned” that others can benefit from. To see an example of this, go to our website: technologymarketingtoolkit.com/articles/genius-of-the-month.
- Don’t shy away from sending sales pitches. Yes, you CAN overdo it. However, your list will not only tolerate the occasional sales pitch, but appreciate it. You can also blend content with a sales pitch (my favorite) where you e-mail clients to read an article that provides solid content but also offers a call to action at the end. For example, you might write an article on employees being the biggest threat to a company’s security, titling it “The Most Dangerous Cyber Security Threat Hiding In Plain Sight In Your Small Business.” At the end of the article, you could offer a cyber security training webinar for free as a lead generation strategy or for sale. If your article is well written with interesting, useful content, your e-mail recipients won’t mind the pitch at the end.
- Share other people’s content. Specifically, if there’s an article you like or a video on YouTube you know your audience (list) would appreciate, it’s perfectly okay to share it via your blog. You don’t have to author everything. If it’s a public YouTube video, you can get your web designer to have it shared via your page without repercussions since it’s still hosted on YouTube. If it’s an article on someone else’s website, get permission to repost it.Many authors and websites won’t mind you sharing their content if you keep the author and source intact and provide a link to their site – but don’t assume that, and always ask. I would not recommend you simply drive traffic to that person’s site; instead, post the content on yours with clarity that you are not the author.
Of course, there is a lot more to being successful with e-mail marketing that I haven’t touched on in this article, including how to build your list, what e-mail broadcasting and list management software is best to use, how frequently you should send e-mails and much, much more.
To answers to these questions, I’ve posted a free webinar workshop on e-mail marketing for MSPs. To access it, go to www.MSPSuccessMagazine.com/email-marketing-MSPs. This workshop will provide detailed strategies for building a productive, responsive e-mail list, useful examples, and tips and checklists for sending e-mails that get opened, read and responded to.