1) Add All Contacts to a Database.
Take all the contacts you currently have and add them to a database, like Filemaker Pro.
You’ll find other database resources in our Store but I find that Filemaker is the best, most intuitive and useful overall.
Add your doctors, teachers, friends, colleagues, vendors, clients – everyone you know who might refer you, including those you’ve met at networking events.
Include anyone in your social media group (i.e.; linked in, facebook, twitter, etc.) who could also benefit from your informative e-news campaigns or the service/product you offer – but only if you’ve offered them an opt-in subscription.
Alternatively, you can ‘rent’ mailing lists from list houses but they’re ‘cold calls’ so you’ll have a much lower response rate. Here’s a few:
You’ll use these lists of people to outreach to with news about your offerings, blogs, articles or sales calls. As you outreach to thousands of people, a
database is the place where you keep all this information organized and
updated. Be sure to see our blog post on that topic for more ideas.
2) Ah, What to Write?
Here are some of my favorite ways to develop juicy topics:
A) Keep a file folder on your desk or computer’s desktop and collect ideas throughout your week. Add interesting tips from emails that you
receive to your blogs or share websites with your readers that you think
would be useful to them.
B) Look at your ‘to do list’ and you may find items that require
you to educate your customers/clients about something. Write an e-news,
article or blog about that.
C) Write about the last 3 things you advised a client. (that’s
exactly why I wrote this!). Need more help? Contact us and we’ll write your
articles for you!
3) Select An Email Sending Program.
These programs allow you to send to large groups. If you use outlook
or your email program to send to more than 30 people at a time, it will get
spammed out and not received by those on your list. Here’s our article on selecting email sending programs to fit your budget, needs and capabilities.
4) Set Up a Branded or Templated Design.
Set up your branded template on the email sending program you choose. To
save cost, you can use some of the templated ‘looks’ offered on these email
sending programs, but if you can have the look match your own website,
you’ll be helping further your brand identity. Be sure to have your
templated and branded look serve as hot links to your website, so it’s not
just a design but your readers can actually click on the graphics in their email linking them to your website. (if you don’t know how, we can help! contact us for details)
5) Import Your Database.
Import your database list into the email sending program you use (i.e., Vertical Response, Constant Contact, etc.). I find it works best to import from your database into excel and then upload your excel list into the email sending program.
Then, once your e-news is sent, that email program will ‘clean your list’
removing those who bounce or unsubscribe.
You’ll want to call those who bounced to get their updated email address and add those back into your list. Statistically, 50% of emails change annually,
which means half of your e-news mailings won’t get through unless
you keep current with those on your list to get their updated emails.
6) Request Readers to Whitelist Your Email Address.
Ask people in the body of your enews to ‘whitelist’ the email address you’ve
sent them (i.e. yourname.verticalresponse.com- or whatever address your
email sending program uses) to reduce the likelihood of getting dumped into
their spam filter. If you’re using permission based marketing, then hopefully
most people will whitelist you if they wish to read your enews or articles. If
not, don’t take it personally.
7) Only 8-18% of Your Readers Open Your Email So Build a Huge List.
It’s common to only have a 8-18% “open rate” on enews in today’s
market. That means only 1/10 of the people you mail to, on average, will actually open and read your enews.
Using those statistics, if your list is only 300 people, probably only 30 will open your enews and maybe only 15 will actually read it. A percentage of those will just skim it, so don’t forget to design and write it so it’s easy to skim and not dense copy. Why is there such a low open rate? Because your readers are probably busy, they forget, they’re overwhelmed with information, or are distracted.
Maybe they no longer needed the kind of information or services you offer.
Don’t let this stop you.
Build a much bigger list than you’d planned now that you know this