This week we’ve discussed the value of permission marketing for your small business.
As a micro business, permission marketing offers a cost effective yet powerful way to get on the radar of potential customers and win their trust. And it’s a strategy worth adopting. That’s because most customers will not buy from you at their first visit. Instead it can take up to seven points of contact before someone is ready to do business with you.
By asking for an email address, you still encourage customers to take action, BUT in a way that’s far less risky than making a purchase. Which means instead of securing an immediate sale, you lay the foundations for building a relationship over time through valuable content.
In effect you make a customer, not a sale…
But once you’ve got that all important email address, what do you send to nurture and cultivate that fragile bond?
Here are 5 simple ideas to get you started.
1. Email your blog posts
If you blog, one of the easiest things you can do is set up a service such as MailChimp or Aweber to automatically send your blog posts out to your subscribers.
Once the technical bits and pieces are activated, you don’t need to do anything else. Instead, each time you publish a new post, at the time you specify your article will automatically be delivered to your subscribers.
Assuming you are writing content that your target customer will find useful and that address some of the problems they face, this is a good tactic for staying on the radar.
In addition, you can also use your blog content to pitch some sales messages – just ensure you’ve added enough value first before you ask people to consider buying.
2. Set up an autoresponder
Sending your blog post is a little predictable. In addition, if you don’t post regularly you are going to end up hitting your subscribers inbox at a rather haphazard rate. An alternative (or even a supplement) is to use an autoresponder.
An autoresponder is simply a series of emails that are sent out to a subscriber in a prescribed sequence. You determine the trigger and then over time new subscribers receive the exact same message as the people that have gone before them. You could link an autoresponder to your email sign up list, follow up after a webinar or set the sequence in motion when a person expresses an interest in a particular product or service.
Here are three common uses of an autoresponder:
- To build a relationship
- To deliver a series of information in a mini-course format
- To warm up potential customers and sow the seeds for a future sale
The effectiveness of your autoresponder is going to depend on the quality of the content. Think about the purpose of each email and work out how it will help take your subscribers along a journey to wanting to do business with you. In addition, compose your headline to be opened, and always include a call to action – even if it’s just directing a reader back to your website to read a blog post. And remember, you don’t have to rely on written emails. YOu can send other useful stuff too such as a video, a podcast or a download. Be creative
Although an autoresponder will require some work to get it started, once it’s in place it will keep working for you again and again allowing you to constantly direct new leads into your sales funnel.
If you’re keen to experiment with an autoresponder check out this nifty tutorial series from Vince Robisch at Modern Copy Studio. It will walk you through the process of setting up your first autoresponder and even give you some ideas of what to send. To access this free mni-course simply click here.
3. Send a regular newsletter.
The key thing about permission marketing is you DO NOT want to bombard your audience with a constant flow of sales pitches. You’ll only turn people off and encourage them to unsubscribe. Instead you need to focus on what adds value.
If you can’t commit to regular blogging another alternative could be to send out a monthly electronic newsletter. You could even send out a paper version – in fact there are some great services available to help you do this. Newsletter Guy is one option.
4. Embrace lead nurturing
One size does not fit all and your target market may be segmented into different customer groups.
If so, consider a lead nurturing approach where you send out targeted information to specific sectors of your list. Stan Smith at Pushing Social is an advocate of this apporach. He’s split his audience into four segments – solopreneur, small business, larger business and hobby blogger. When you sign up to his list, you categorise yourself. In return, Stan links you up with autorespnder content that is relevant to your particular niche. It means your customer gets a much more targeted message and in turn your relationship with them is going to be greatly enhanced.
Can your target audience be segmented?
5. Be nice
Small business owners can often be so hung up on trying to find new customers that they forget about their exisiting ones.
Permission marketing is a great way to stay on the radar of customers that have already done business with you. Remember, business is all about people. We do business with people we know, like and trust. So make it a habit to show existing customers that you value them. Something as simple as a thank you postcard or a birthday message can make a big impact. So as well as using permission marketing to share information and ideas, use it to show your customers just how you appreciate them. In turn this is going to benefit your reputation.
As a micro business owner you can feel overwhelmed by trying to market your business on a budget and feel overwhelmed by the amount of advertising that larger businesses can do. There is a way to steal their lunch money. So stop worrying! Instead take a different approach and harness the advantages you have over the big boys. As a small business owner you can add the personal touch and can harness your personality and use content to communicate.
So make the decision today to start building your list, and then work out how you are going to communicate with them. Don’t let the task overwhelm you. Start simply, test what works, see what reaction you get back from customers and take your lead from there.
But whatever you do DON’T neglect this strategy because in the longer term it’s priceless.