I don’t care how small your business is, or how large it is. If you are not using permission marketing to market & grow your business, you are missing out. Permission marketing is one of the easiest AND most effective ways to get more customers, make more sales and make more money. It is also one of the cheapest forms of marketing available and something that can be done for free (at least initially). I’ll show you how to get your permission marketing strategy started and how you can do it for FREE right now. Sound good? Great, lets get started by building a mailing list & newsletter.
But first, what exactly is permission marketing?
Permission Marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. In other words, its a newsletter, a blog, a mailing list, or even a social media network like Facebook or Twitter. I’ll be posting other articles on Social Networking specifically, so for now I’ll focus specifically on the mailing list or newsletter since I think that is the most powerful and easiest to get started. Plus, your social media efforts really should be focused on building your mailing list anyway so its important to start here.
The Mailing List – Why you need one
Have you ever heard of the term “dripping”? Basically, its the idea that the more you contact a potential client (or friend of a potential client), the more likely they are to buy your product or service, and/or refer your product or service to one of their friends. Having a mailing list allows you to constantly “drip” small bits of information on potential clients. It ensures that your company is always top of mind when they want to buy a product or service like yours.
One of the best forms of dripping is the weekly or monthly newsletter. The newsletter doesn’t have to be super fancy. In fact, it doesn’t even have to have colors or pictures if you don’t want it to. I know many successful business people that send out simple text based newsletters with very basic and to the point information. The idea isn’t to be pretty (even though that helps). The idea is to stay in front of your clients with relevant information so they know who to call when the time is right.
Use the newsletter to give your clients interesting insights in to your industry. Write short articles or “how to” advice on solving a particular problem. Send out weekly specials that are exclusive to your subscribers. Use the list to let subscribers know when you are running a promotion or have a new product or service they should know about. Offer them incentives to refer friends. If you don’t use a newsletter to do these things, how else will your clients know about them? Do you call them all one by one or hand deliver fliers to their doorsteps? Didn’t think so.
How do I build my list?
Chances are you already have the foundation built for your newsletter. Do you have a list of clients or contacts you have made from your business? People that have already purchased services from you or that you work with on a regular basis? Make a big list of every person you know that might be interested in hearing from you. Write down current & past clients. Write down family members and friends. Write down EVERYONE you know and put them in one giant list along with their email address. If you have a physical store front, give patrons an easy way to sign up for your weekly newsletter right there in the store.
Once you are ready to launch your newsletter, you are going to write a single email to this list offering them the chance to sign up for your newsletter and help you spread the word. It will be your official “Newsletter Launch” and key to helping you get the word out quickly about your business. We are only going to do this once because it is important to only send information to people that want to receive it. In addition, you want to make sure you are following the law and not spamming people.
How do I manage my list
You will need a way to manage your mailing list so you can automate the mundane things associated with it. I’m talking about bounce back handling, automating unsubscribe requests, out of office handling, etc… You will also want a good way to track the performance of your newsletter. Things like how many people opened the newsletter and read it, how many people clicked on links, what links they clicked on, how many people forwarded the email to friends, and other useful metrics. All of this is very valuable and could take a lot of time if you try to do it all manually. You will want to go with a hosted service like MailChimp or AWeber (the two best services in my opinion). Once you have a mailing list tool in place, you can create custom sign up forms for your website, blog or social media profile that allows people to sign up for your newsletter online. Don’t have a website? Stop now and get one. Seriously.
On Thursday I’ll be posting a detailed review and info on how to get started for free with MailChimp. Make sure to subscribe to my mailing list if you want to get updated on that.
Stick to a schedule
Once you have your big list created and your management system in place, its time to decide on a schedule. How often do you want to “drip” on your clients. Once per week? Once per month? There really isn’t one answer for everyone. That being said, I would recommend trying to commit to at least once per week or once every 14 days. Any longer than that and you risk people forgetting about you. Especially in the beginning. Announce the schedule and STICK TO IT! In the beginning it might feel like you are spinning your wheels. You might not get a lot of business as a result. It takes time, but I promise if you stick to it you will start to notice the results. The online world rewards those who are willing to stick it out. If you don’t stick to a schedule, it will be easy to skip a week here or there. One thing leads to the next and eventually you don’t write it at all. Don’t fall in to that trap.
I don’t care whether you are a 100 person engineering firm or a 1 man painting company. Using a newsletter to keep in touch with your clients will help you in ways you can’t imagine. Just go out there and do it. You can thank me later. If you need help, shoot me an email. I answer every email I get and would be happy to offer you any tips, or even help you set it up.
How about you and your small business? Do you use a newsletter? How has it worked for you or affected your business? If you have any tips, please let us know in the comments below so we can all benefit. Oh, and if you liked this article, consider subscribing to MY newsletter by typing in your email to the right. It definitely means a lot. – Bryan