Work Your Email List

 I descend from a long line of New Englanders and we are known for our thrift.  When the collars of his dress shirts frayed with age,  my father (who was actually a New Yorker,  but knew how to squeeze a penny until Abe Lincoln yelped) would have the dry cleaner turn them.  Presto,  add a few more good years to a useful item.

Mom served any leftovers from the big Sunday dinner for Monday night’s supper.  If we didn’t finish them off at that sitting,  she was not ashamed to throw them at us again on Wednesday or Thursday.   Mom and Dad were born during the Depression and they did not believe in wasting valuable resources.  Use it up,  wear it out,  make it do.  As we slog through our recession,  I suggest that a revival of that credo is in order.  It is time to make the most of what you’ve got.

One valuable resource that we all have is our list of email addresses.  Consider putting them to work in an email marketing campaign that will enhance your other promotional activities.  The practice of email marketing continues to grow.   When executed properly,  it can be an effective way to communicate with your target audience.

The conversion rate will probably not exceed 2% ,  but that matches the results of  a typical direct mail campaign.  Moreover,  email marketing is both less expensive and much more environmentally friendly than direct mail.

An email marketing campaign provides yet another way to keep your name in front of  the right people,  serving as a reminder that you remain a viable player with valuable services to offer.  Email marketing keeps your brand visible and that is utmost for every Freelancer.

How to ensure a mailing list with money-making potential?  Use an opt-in approach,  to avoid annoying people.  You only want to contact those who want to hear from you.  Hire a web developer to add a sign-up function to your website home page.  When exchanging cards with new colleagues,  request permission to add them to your mailing list.

Add your LinkedIn connections,  clients and colleagues,  plus selected friends and family members.  Always include an unsubscribe feature in your communications,  so that those who choose to opt-out can easily do so.  Purchased email lists are not recommended,  since those people do not know you.  Organic growth of your list is best,  so take the time to cultivate it.

 As you build your list  (and before  you add a sign-up to your website),  think about what you should communicate and the best delivery system for your message.  Put yourself in the place of the recipient.  What timely and useful information will best serve their needs?  What  “call to action”  might pique their interest?

Engagement is king in email marketing.  Take the time to carefully consider what you would like to achieve and how to communicate your message most favorably.  Is  a monthly or quarterly newsletter something you have the time and talent to produce?  Perhaps handy factoids plus links to relevant articles,  doled out every six weeks,  will be a better fit for both you and your target audience?  Give it some thought.  Whatever you do,  just remember to always include a link to your website…

…because that is one way to measure the response to your campaign.   Google Analytics,  e.g.,  will report the stats on the campaign’s impact on visits to your website,  pages that get the most viewing,  etc.  Receiving an inquiry about your services from a prospect is another sure-enough good sign that you’re doing the right thing and signing a client is,  needless to say,  the ultimate validation of your genius!

You are perhaps now intrigued by the email marketing concept,  but wonder if you can handle it by yourself.  It is possible to outsource the project,  for a more or less reasonable fee.  I recently heard about a company called EyeMail http://eyemailinc.com  that’s gaining a good reputation for creating smart email marketing campaigns. 

If you’d like to create a real splash,  EyeMail will even add audio and video clips to what you send out.  Most of all,  I’ve heard that they’ll work with you to create the content and delivery system that will best support the rest of your promotional activities.   Other options are Constant Contact and HubSpot,  both of  whom have great track records for devising savvy email marketing campaigns.

I’ve only used email marketing sporadically,  primarily to broadcast public courses that I’m scheduled to teach or speaking engagements.  I’m kicking around the idea of establishing a  consistent presence,  whether I do it myself or hire a specialist.  To those of you on my list,  stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

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