You hear it every now and then: Email marketing is dead
It happened when RSS first became big and, again, when social media took off.
But is it really? I don’t think so.
Selling successfully online requires that you overcome a major difference from traditional selling: your prospect cannot see you.
When they can see you they can see your expressions and gestures. They can look into your eyes and hear your tone of voice.
All these go towards building trust, and trust is essential if you’re going to make the sale.
But your prospect can do none of those things online. They’re just looking at your web page and reading your written word.
To build trust online you need to build a relationship with your website visitors.
And still the best way to do that, despite all the hype around social media, is if they’ve given you permission to send them emails.
Make no mistake: permission is critical. If you don’t have their permission you’re spamming them, which a) is illegal and b) will turn your prospects off quicker than a light.
To get their permission you need to make a trade: offer something useful to them in return for their email address. But there’s another step: you still have to get them to confirm they’re happy to receive more information from you.
It’s called the double (or confirmed) opt-in.
Once you have their permission your job is still not done: you need to give them a reason to stay on your list.
Send them a stream of sales letters and they’ll unsubscribe in a flash.
But send them useful hints and tips, and you’ll start to earn their trust. And once you have their trust you can start making them offers.
They still can’t see or hear you but, because you’ve earned their trust, you’re selling to a warm market and that’s a much easier task!
Many would argue you can do that with social media. That may be true, but email is much more personal and, as a result, a much more effective sales channel – but only if you use it properly!