By: Angel Santos
Here’s the question that’s on everyone’s mind when they start thinking about mailing lists: “Which service should I use?”
You’ve probably wondered yourself, and maybe even spent a few hours (or days, or weeks) researching your options.
This is not the question you should be asking (yet). And it’s exactly why so many entrepreneurs get stuck in the planning stage of list building.
The First Step to Email Marketing
Before you need to think about tools, you must ask yourself this: “How can I best serve my market?”
Whether you’re serving business owners, new moms, bloggers, or youth pastors, they each have a unique need that only you can fulfill. And when you discover what that need is, you’ll have two valuable pieces of information:
1. What incentive will be a true no-brainer for your potential to opt-in to your list?
2. How can you use your mailing list to provide the best value for those who join your list?
Don’t over-think these questions, though. Your opt-in incentive can be as simple as a resource guide or a short how-to video that answers a common question. You don’t have to go overboard with dozens of downloads and a 100-page eBook. Rather than providing value, these massive downloads are more likely to overwhelm your reader than encourage them to learn more.
And when it comes to providing value to your list members, keep three things in mind:
1. Regular communication is a must (consider an autoresponder series if you’re not good with scheduling email updates)
2. Marketing is second to information — too much selling will cause your opt-out rates to soar.
3. It’s your responsibility as a thought leader in your market to distill and provide the information, tools and products your audience needs.
The Second Step To Email Marketing
After you’ve gotten clear on what your target market needs, it's crucial to set a goal for your email marketing efforts.
How will you be using your list? Will you:
- Send a weekly or monthly newsletter?
- Create an autoresponder series that delivers content on a pre-determined schedule?
- Use affiliate links as an income generator?
- Promote your own services and products?
Some common goals for new email marketers are increasing your list by a fixed amount of new leads a week and selling a fixed amount of your products in a week.
The Third Step To Email Marketing
The answers to these questions will help you determine not only the right tool for your list-building needs, but will also determine the path for your ongoing mailing list content, promotions, and growth.
If your target market wants training delivered via video on a regular basis, then picking an email marketing service like Kartra, which includes video hosting, is a good choice. If your target market buys their products online and like it delivered through email, then Infusionsoft or Ontraport are top contenders.
If you're just starting out, and your budget is limited, then MailChimp’s free service, which includes automation capability, is going to be a great fit.
The important factor to remember is that what you’re providing is more important than the tool it's being delivered through. It’s the quality of your content that will turn your leads to customers, not the logo of your email marketing service.
Angel Santos is a published author, speaker, and owner of Grow My Brand – Business Coaching for Women (growmybrand.org). After working with companies like Nasa, March of Dimes, and ABC, Angel now works with new and established entrepreneurs to help them grow their business and build true wealth.
Ellevate Network is a global women’s network: the essential resource for professional women who create, inspire and lead. Together, we #InvestInWomen.