As we continue this month of celebration, today I want to look at ways to celebrate and build business relationships….with automation. Relationships are the foundation of every successful business, but building and maintaining those relationships takes time and effort. If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated sales team, they can take care of the bulk of relationship building and management, but for solo entrepreneurs or smaller businesses that don’t have or need that level of staffing, automation can fill this role.

Put Your Email List To Work

One of the simplest and most effective ways to automate customer relationship management is to use your email list. Email lists are often overlooked, underappreciated, and poorly utilized for marketing purposes. Yet, email marketing is extremely cost-effective, easy to manage, and puts you in direct contact with your customers and prospects. Email marketing services like Constant Contact, Drip, and MailChimp make the process easier by helping you manage and segment your contacts into appropriate groups, personalize emails to those groups, and track the performance of the emails. Once you put in the work of segmenting your groups on the front end, email marketing becomes a reliable and simple way to automate contact with your customers.

Rather than sending out a broad, blast email to your entire list, you can now customize the emails to the customer, boosting the chances that the email will be opened and your desired action taken. Anything personalized has a greater chance of success than the broader, shot-in-the-dark type of contacts.

There are loads of email marketing services and programs available and some work better for certain industries or budgets than others. Do a little bit of research to find the system that will best meet your needs, then sit back and let automation do the work!

Email Marketing Content Ideas

Email marketing should be a central component of any content marketing plan. If content marketing is all about relationship-building and information-sharing (and it is), then emails are the best way to make that connection. They’re direct. They’re short. They’re entirely within your control.

But how can you best leverage email marketing? You don’t want to just send randomly themed or timed emails to your customers (Hello, Spam folder!). Use the ideas below to create emails that reach out to customers and help build the customer-business relationship without annoying your list members.

  • Welcome Series. Get new customers up to speed on your business with a series of helpful and informative email messages. You decide what they need to know. Maybe it’s the history of the business. Maybe it’s where to find a brick-and-mortar location. Maybe it’s an overview of your best-selling products. What do you want new customers to know about your business?
  • Review Requests. The digital community loves online reviews, so if you’ve got some happy customers, ask them to leave a review! Include links to the relevant review sites as well as a link to the product they purchased, just to jog their memory. Reviews can take the form of testimonials on your website or social media pages. They can be generic online review sites like Yelp! or Google. You can even ask customers to upload images of your products in use. Amazon is amazing at these review requests. It’s December, so my Amazon account has been pretty busy and a day or two after every delivery, what do I find in my Inbox? A request for a product review! That’s as simple as the email has to be.
  • Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Special Events. Celebrations are a great time to reach out. Collect birthday information and send out a coupon during the customers’ birthday month. Send them a coupon on the anniversary of their first purchase. Announce a sale during your business’ anniversary month. Send emails with coupon codes or sale announcement for holidays and other big sale times of the year. Special emails like this make customers feel special and can bring in more business.
  • Routine Content. Similar to the welcome series, use email to send out regular content or links to blog or social posts. There are several ways to manage this. You could actually send each piece of content in a separate email; send an email containing a link every time there is an update to your content on any platform; send an email each week or every two weeks or every month that lists out all your news for the month and includes links to each piece so they can choose which pieces they’d like to get more information about. You could even segment the list by subscriber type so the recipient only receives the emails and content that are relevant to them.

Is Email Part Of Your Content Marketing Plan?

Automation saves a ton of work once it is set up and running smoothly. Getting to that point takes a bit of time, but it can be made easier with email marketing services and by including email marketing in your marketing funnel. Ideally, you want to get to the point where customers can be automatically added to your email subscriber list. The more information you have about the customer, the better. That way you can segment them into groups and ensure they only receive the emails that are most relevant to them.

Make sure you include emails in your content marketing plan for the year. Get those emails on the calendar the same way you’d include blogs or social media posts. Everything is connected in content marketing! For help getting started, contact The Marketing Shop. Our content marketing services include strategy development, public relations, social media management and our exclusive “done for you” email marketing program!

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