Email marketing has been a massive trend in the past few years and I must admit, there are some good features that makes it really effective. The problem I have with it and the gurus who recommend it so much, is the way it is advertised. "Email marketing is a way of building your relationship with your audience." Wrong! The truth is, you can't have successful email marketing campaigns if you haven't already built a strong relationship with your audience. People won't open and read your emails if they don't know you and trust you. That doesn't happen with just one freebie you give them. It takes a lot more time, efforts and mastering intuitive marketing.
What is Intuitive Marketing?
Another type of marketing? Seriously? Yes. In my opinion, the hardest, but also the most rewarding type of marketing. Only a truly talented marketer could make you buy a service or a product without persuading you you need it. Confusing? I know. But that's why it's so brilliant.
Intuitive marketing relies on building trust, consistency and being an inspiration for others. Show people what they can be and they will want to be that. Show people what you can do and they will want you to do it for them.
The first step towards building trust is establishing yourself or your brand as a leader in a certain community. For example, a Facebook group. Just any Facebook group? Of course not. You have to be strategic about it. Choose a community that contains a large portion of your target market.
Then, show your personality and serve the community with your expertise. Build meaningful relationships with these people. Don't be the brand, be the person. The mom, who hasn't slept for days because the baby is teething; the guy who has no clue how to do his daughter's hair, but tries anyway; the lady, who is trying to take good care of her skin; the man, who just wants to talk about football with someone that actually gets the game. Connect with these people on a personal level. Then, tell them what you do.
The good thing about close communities is that they talk about everything. Someone is always looking for something and one day it will be the very product or service you offer. You have positioned yourself perfectly to suggest your service/product as the best solution to their problem.
But you don't have to wait for an opportunity like that to arise. You can create it. Serve your community by sharing your knowledge and skills with them for free. That's part of establishing yourself as a leader, anyway. Give your products or service to one or two members of that community as a give and then watch word-of-mouth in action.
I can honestly say that about 70% of my clients in the past 2 years came through intuitive marketing and building my profile in the right communities. Even creating a community of my own. The other 30% came through recommendation of people, who have used my services and spread the word to those outside of the community.
So when does email marketing come in?
Right at this point. I can now afford starting email campaigns because I have earned the trust of my target market. They've seen my skills, they know my knowledge, they will be looking forward to reading my emails if I packed them with valuable content. It could be tips, it could be exclusive discount offers, it could be news they are interested in.
Am I going to sell through my emails?
Probably yes, if you completed the important steps of building trust, establishing yourself as a leader and serving your community. Besides statistics show brilliant ROI for email marketing, so who am I to argue, right? In my case, I may be able to sell more tickets for an event or push a limited time offer. But do I need email marketing to sell? No. Intuitive marketing and word-of-mouth do it for me.
Why do we need emails then?
Oh, we definitely need to have our audience's emails for two very good reasons.
First, with all the changes and data scandals on social media, we can never be sure the channel we use the most will still exist tomorrow. When Facebook went down for 14 hours in March, a lot of small businesses were devastated. Why? Because they lost their means of communication with their audience. The same thing can happen to all other social media at any given time. Some platforms even seize to exist - Google+, for instance. If you have emails, though, you can sleep peacefully, knowing that you can reach all those people at any time, no matter what happens on social media. It's important to learn how to write a user-friendly copy if you want people to read and respond to your emails.
The second very good reason to collect your target market's emails is to run conversion ads with them. Well, that's very far from intuitive marketing, but it is a smart and effective technique. Except you've never run Facebook ads before, you must know you can create a custom audience and a lookalike audience. If you are creating a conversion ad (selling your product or service) you will have the most success with people who already know your business. They would have come to your website, shopped with you before or signed up for your newsletter. Either way, you are not a complete stranger that just tries to sell them something. That's your custom audience. One of the ways you can create it to run ads is by importing your email list on Facebook. So, you can create an ad that will feel totally personal to all the people who see it, because they have given you their email address at some point. Smart, isn't it?
You can use your email list to create a lookalike audience, as well. These are profiles of people, very similar to the ones, who have given you their email address. It is likely that they would have the same interests and close behaviour to your existing customers or subscribers.
Of course, there are many other ways, in which you can create custom and lookalike audiences for ads, but that's a topic for another day.
Is Intuitive marketing always good?
As everything in this world, intuitive marketing isn't always flawless. Its main downfall is that it relies mostly on the guts of the marketer and not on actual data. While this makes it more transparent and trust-building for consumers, it may not be 100% accurate, especially on larger scales. It works for solopreneurs, micro businesses and some small businesses. For larger organisations, however, data is very important. Email marketing and paid advertisement will play a big role into their overall marketing strategy.
Have you tried either email or intuitive marketing before? Perhaps both? Perhaps neither. What stops you? If you have a different approach, I would love to hear about it. What works best for you and your business?