Feb 12 2014

Why You Don’t Need A Website To Grow Your Business

email marketingIf you know nothing about building a website for your business, be prepared to spend up to several thousand dollars to have it professionally designed for you.  Then, once in place, your business will explode with new customers… NOT.  Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.  Yet many business owners think a website is the magic bullet that will bring in tons of new business.

If no one knows the website exists, it’s a waste of time.  It will cost you another several thousand dollars for a professional to drive visitors to your site.  There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way, but there are easier, more cost effective ways to attract new customers without a website, especially if your business is new.  One solution is email marketing.

I know a very successful magician who keeps in regular contact with his fans via email.  He connects with over 3,500 fans once or twice a week.  What’s really interesting is he does not have a website.  He does not use Twitter.  He uses Facebook, but rarely talks about his business.  Yet, somehow, he has 3,500+ people on his email list.  That may not seem like a lot, but for his entertainment business, that’s huge.  About 90% of his gigs comes from people on that list.  You’ve heard it before, the money is in the list!

His secret:

Anyone who knows you exist should be invited to hang out with you and your friends.

This is quite different from marketers who spend most of their time trying to let people know they exist.  They spend too much time trying to get new customers and end up neglecting the customers they already have.

Your existing relationships should always be your top priority.  If you’re new in business you may protest “But no one knows I have a business!”   WRONG!  That’s just an excuse.  Someone, even if it’s one person, knows what you have to offer.  That’s all it takes to get the ball rolling.

Here are some examples from different types of business.  See if you can translate the ideas to your specific business.

  • A small cafe invites everyone who comes in to sign up for “customer only” specials.  The waitress enters the customer’s email into the email list program for them.  When the customer gets home, they see a welcome email with coupons.
  • A chiropractor asks every client if they would like to receive a free booklet of back strengthening exercises to reduce pain.  The client gives them an email address to receive the booklet.
  • A hair salon offers each customer a free haircut with their upcoming “Bring a friend” promotion.  They send an email with details.  The customer is surprised to find several additional coupons for free services just for signing up.
  • An  electronic game store invites everyone who walks in the door a chance to win a  $50 gift certificate each month.  Winners are notified by email.  Just for signing up, they receive a 50% off coupon on their next single item purchase.
  • A magician invites everyone to meet him after the show to ask questions and find out how they can learn magic.  They sign up to receive a free “trick of the month” by email.  They receive a buy one, get one free coupon for upcoming shows just for signing up.
  • An online marketer hears one of his friends talk about how he hates his job and wants to find a way to escape the rat race.  He has his friend sign up to receive a “how to make money online” mini course via email.

In each example, the business owner is now in a position to keep in regular contact with their customers.  The key now is to provide valuable content on a regular basis.  This does NOT mean you bombard them with a sales pitch in each email!  In future articles, we’ll discuss what to put in the emails to ensure you’re providing value.

Are you using email to build your business?  What ongoing value are you providing your customers?  If you have a unique way to keep in touch with your customers, please let us know.

Mar 18 2010

Drive Your Customers Away With Email Spam

It’s really easy to do.  Just send a sales message to everyone on your list, two or three times a week.  That should do the trick.  If that doesn’t work, throw in some emails that tell your customers how cool you are and why all your competitors are idiots.  If you really want to get creative, add some insults.  Tell them how stupid they are for not coming back to buy more stuff.  Maybe you could scare them into buying some stuff.  Tell them they will get wigetosis of the frilium and likely die if they don’t use your product or take your advice.

Sound ridiculous?  It’s not!  These tactics really work.  I see it every day.  I subscribe to about 100 email lists.  I see these tactics over and over again.  It’s crazy!  I’m living proof these type of emails get results.  They prompt me to unsubscribe. Leave. Bye-bye. I’m outa here. Don’t contact me again!

But you and I are smarter than that, right?  We would rather nurture our list and keep our customers coming back.  It’s easy to send spam.  Not as easy to stay in touch and provide value.  But that’s OK, because we know it adds to our bottom line over the long run.

I’ll be the first to admit I get stuck when trying to come up with new ways to add value with existing customers.  I consult with restaurant owners, chiropractors, and beauty salons.  Here are some ideas I have suggested for their email campaigns.  They don’t need a website to use the ideas.  As a general rule I ask my clients to send at least one email a week, two at most, to their list.  If I maintain the list for them, I have a strict rule of sending 3 to 4 “useful content”  emails before they are allowed to send a “sales” message.  These are messages that work, in no particular order of effectiveness

  • Tips, tricks, training on using a new product
  • Questions about what they like/don’t like about your product/service
  • Tell stories “A funny thing happened [on the blog], [in the store] today”
  • Employee spotlight mini-bio
  • Happy birthday
  • Calendar of upcoming events
  • Pictures of the staff and their families
  • Comments from other customers
  • Product use ideas from customers
  • Testimonials
  • Recipes (restaurant)
  • Exercise tips (chiro)
  • How to save time or money with something related to your service… without having to purchase anything
  • Holiday ideas
  • Invitation to comment on your blog
  • News in your niche
  • Have a prize drawing
  • Video tour of your office or store
  • Ask for customer photos to share on your website
  • Ask them to rate your emails

Conclusion

Provide value in your communication first.  Your customers will be more receptive to future offers if they know you care about them.

What would you add to this list?  What’s working for you?