Small Business Owners Guide

This is not dissimilar to the "location, location, location" chant in real estate circles – it is just as important in this context as location is in theirs. The first question you want to ask is have you segmented your user base in a meaningful way. By that I mean, are you lumping all your subscribers, in one huge email list? Are all your customers really interested in green milk from purple cows? If so, then sending an email that interests someone that loves green milk from purple cows will be a hit. But chances are, not everyone on your list will be interested in green milk. So what next? You need to start breaking up your list in a way which allows you to send different content to different parts of your list. You are more likely to be relevant to your individual groups of customers if you don’t put them all in the same category.

After all, we are all special in our own way right? Some more than others 🙂

• by frequency, some people want daily digests, because they are just bored and need some loving, and some only want to hear from you once a month, which don’t mean they don’t love you, just think about how you felt about your parents checking up on you when you first moved out? Some people just appreciate marketing violation in their inboxes.

If you have the opportunity, speak to some people in these groups and ask them what they want to receive from you. Go with that. Otherwise if your subscribers don’t want to talk to you, you can always experiment. Try a few angles and see which one sticks (your typical email stats should be able to tell you this quite quickly). But remember to always be helpful vs. trying to sell them. They have subscribed to you because they like you, and would appreciate it if you can stop tooting your own horn.

Here is an example of a valuable email strategy that is engaging and effective. You’re going to have to pretend you now sell kitchen appliances, you also have a mo. Now, twist the end of your mo and…think very hard of a way to please your customers! What do all your customers love to do? Well a pretty obvious guess is cooking (thats what you do with kitchen appliances) so they must enjoy trying new things in the kitchen. AHA! you got it! Send them weekly recipes to inspire them to use the stuff they bought from you (we all know that % of unused kitchen appliances are staggering) and also maybe get them wanting more things from you! You may even want to then have your data segmented into working mums and house mums. These two will have very different requirements for recipes. The former would want meals they can whip up meals in 30 minutes or less. The later may want more creative recipes that require a bit of fiddling around. You may want to go one step further and identify who in your list are trying to lose weight, that want recipes with no fat no nothing – these are the easiest to please "wash celery, cut celery, avoid peanut butter".

So how do I sell my stuff you ask? Well, once you have made your subscribers happy, putting in a message saying "all slow cookers are now 30% off", will be more effective underneath a recipe for beef stew. Or a message saying "make your meal 20 minutes faster with a pressure cooker" to your working mums under a recipe for the saw stew (that they would never have time to make without the pressure cooker). Get creative with the way you deliver your marketing messages so that it actually helps your customers. They will appreciate it much more. Remember, be helpful first sell later.