Marketing in today’s complex world requires the use of multiple channels and platforms. And with channels and platforms multiplying as fast as they do, it’s hard to keep up, or to even evaluate which ones are worth investing in. But there is one platform that’s tried and true, and though it’s not the latest and greatest it’s still a necessary and fundamental part of your any marketing system—that platform is good ole fashioned email.Subscribe on: iTunes | RSS feed | Google Podcasts
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I’m old enough to remember a world without email. I was an early adopter of email back in the late eighties, when I had to use my 24 baud modem to dial into my local bulletin board system and use a command line interface to access my inbox. Back then hardly anyone even heard of email. Even as late as 1998, when the movie “You’ve got mail” came out, email was still something of a cultural novelty. So it’s a bit odd that now, when we talk about email marketing, that it already seems archaic and outdated.
But it’s not outdated! Email is still a tremendously important part of your marketing system. Of course you need to use this valuable tool appropriately, respecting the inbox of your recipients and not spam them. But reaching out via email is an effective way to connect with your prospects, and nurture your leads until the time is right for them to reach out to you.
So how do you use email to augment your marketing efforts? First off, as we’ve been talking about the importance of writing over the past few episodes, when you do write an article, you should also send that out to your email list. At a bare minimum your website should offer an email newsletter signup, that’s connected to an email marketing platform. A simple free MailChimp account is more than adequate for a creative’s email newsletter.
Of course building up your newsletter’s subscriber base is a slow and steady process. It could take many years before you have a list of hundreds of prospects signed up. But you don’t have to limit your email marketing to just a monthly newsletter.
In addition to a newsletter, it is worth the investment to create at least one more robust piece of content that you can use to get people to share their email. A solution focused eBook, or marketing checklist, or some other download of value can be offered in exchange for an email address. And when you set this up, you should follow up with those downloads with an automated sequence of follow-up emails. If your eBook offers some tips, prepare a couple more that you can share, one every few days after a download that will add value to that transaction. And after offering additional value, a straight forward call to action email is hardly out of place. It’s general practice to conclude a drip campaign like that by dropping contacts into a general email newsletter list for ongoing nurturing.
While MailChimp offers some features for follow up campaigns, I generally recommend Sendinblue for email marketing. It’s actually less expensive than MailChimp (beyond each platform’s free tiers of service that is), and it offers more advanced email automation capabilities.
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with cold email outreach. Reaching out to targeted prospects with relevant information is not spam. Untargetted, generic offers, blasted out indiscriminately is spam. Keep in mind though, that individuals have widely different levels of tolerance for direct email marketing. But so long as you are reaching out professionally, with clearly relevant information, to an email address that you found intentionally published on the web, following up with appropriate business communication is entirely acceptable practice.
Email is not the latest marketing platform, but it very well may be the greatest. And just because it’s old school, doesn’t mean that it’s not still one of the most effective ways of reaching out to, and staying in touch with your prospects. Oh, and if you haven’t already, head over to holter.com/bizcraft and sign up for my weekly email newsletter.
Until next week: don’t let the business of creativity overwhelm your creative business.