With Facebook reach for pages down significantly, direct sellers need to find new and better ways to reach the people who want to hear from them. Now of course you should be connecting on other social networks, but don’t forget something that could actually be considered relatively old-fashioned: email marketing.
As long as you rely on Facebook or any other network to reach your customers, you have to deal with their rules and changes. Not so with email. When someone opts in to receive messages from you, you earn a space in their inbox.
Now note, I said “earn.” That means that if you send junk, be very certain you won’t have that space long. But if you focus on providing weekly content that has value, email marketing can be a highly effective way to reach your market.
It begins with providing a place for people to opt in, along with a reason to do so. Often this is a simple contact form (no more than 3 fields…name, email, maybe one more if you must) and a free download (such as a style guide, a cookbook, etc.) they can get if they opt in.
Where do you put that contact form? Ideally, on a space that you own such as a website or blog. Your company may even have a place for you to provide a contact form. You can also use a service like Pagemodo to make a custom landing page on Facebook.
Then invite your online contacts on Facebook, etc. to opt-in for good content. For example:
Leads that come in should be added to your autoresponder (don’t send from your personal email account…too many of those and you’ll start affecting the deliverability of all your email.) Use a service like MailChimp or Aweber. (Disclosure: Affiliate link. Aweber is the service that I use, and if you sign up using the link provided, you buy me a cup of coffee. Thank you!)
Then commit yourself to a regular content schedule (maybe every week.) You want to send regularly enough that people remember who you are, but not so often that you become annoying. Focus on value-driven content that people can use right now without spending a dime, and include your brief “sell” at the end. Keep your emails short, so you don’t overwhelm or lose people. And remember that most people won’t see your images right off (most people have images turned off, and have to approve them to turn them on) so keep pictures to a minimum, and make sure your email works without them.
One final point on this…if you plan to do Facebook Advertising, your email list can be gold. You can use your contact list as a custom audience, and specifically target people on Facebook who have signed up for your list with your ads.
Now I shouldn’t need to say this (after all, you’re the ones taking the time to properly educate yourselves about online marketing) but make sure you follow all laws related to email marketing. Don’t just add people to your list without permission, etc. (A business card does not constitute permission, btw.)
Last note…email isn’t the perfect solution. Sometimes you’ll wind up in spam. People don’t always opt in. Email is just one of several options you should be using to reach people. But it’s an essential part of your mix, and one that shouldn’t be ignored.
Do you use email marketing? What tips do you have? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.