Reason #1: An ezine is proactive not reactive
As I’ve already mentioned, most customers are not going to be ready to buy from you on that first contact. Most likely it is not personal. They just might not need your services right now. They may also need to take time to gather the resources necessary to work with you, so now is not good, but the future may be.
This is exactly why it is up to you, the business owner, to keep your products and services fresh in the mind of your prospective customers, so that when they are ready to buy, you are the one they can readily go to. An ezine is the primary small business marketing strategy to bring the two of you together. It is a proactive, but non-invasive way to stay in touch.
Being proactive keeps you in control of the conversation. You are not waiting for someone to Like you on Facebook, keep and find your business card, or look up your website online. By staying in regular contact you make it easy for people to find you and do business with you. And, people want that.
Have you ever been frustrated when there is a service you need and you know there is someone out there you’ve met but you cannot find his or her name or contact information? Sure, it’s happened to all of us at some point. You don’t want this to happen to your prospects, you want them to have your information handy when they are ready, and an ezine is the most effective answer to this.
Here is a marketing strategy example, let’s say you are a wedding planner and meet a young woman at a bridal show. You have a brief conversation with her. She is not quite ready to start the official wedding planning but is engaged and is just gathering information at this point. She takes your business card and a brochure.
A couple months later she is ready to start making plans and of course, has many decisions to make. She has some questions about where to start and thinks you might be able to help. She just has to find your card.
She looks through her purse and the bridal show bag with all the other stuff she collected that day. She remembers talking to you and where your booth was at but she can’t quite remember your name and your card doesn’t seem to be in with all the other wedding related brochures.
Eventually she does a search online for wedding planners in her area and several come up. She ends up choosing the first person who called her back and it’s not you.
She could not find you easily when she was ready to do business with you. So she did what any other person would do, buy from the next person who was available.
Do you see the gap in your online marketing strategies here? There are too many variables that are out of your control. Facebook or your website could not be the answer if the prospect doesn’t remember the name of your business. You can see that counting on your prospect to do all of the work seriously diminishes your chances of conducting business with this person.
Instead of giving her a business card you could have asked for her email address and put her on your mailing list. You would have already sent her several emails with a list of top decisions that must be made right away when planning a wedding, the best tips for securing a location, how to evaluate a reception venue, when to include others in your planning, if at all, and when it’s time to ask for help from a professional.
When she receives your first ezine she already finds value in the top decisions list as she was feeling overwhelmed and this gave her a good place to start. She plans to use your tip sheet for evaluating several location possibilities and has your reception evaluation form handy for when she makes those phone calls.
You have already provided value to her. You’ve helped reduce her feelings of being overwhelmed, you’ve helped provide focus, and you’ve provided a checklist that includes your expertise. Now that she feels a little less overwhelmed she is ready to make a plan and is ready to call in a professional.
Since you’ve been there for her throughout this whole process so far, expertly guiding her along, she is more likely to contact you than to begin with a blind search. You’ve proven your worth already and you’re there, in here inbox now that she’s ready to make the call. She goes to her email inbox, finds your contact information, and calls you to make an appointment. Being convenient and accessible, the prospect hired you.
An ezine proactively keeps your business fresh in the mind of the prospect, keeps your contact information handy, and takes the hassle out of finding the product or service they need when they need it most. Simple. Effective. Profitable.
Reason #2: An ezine is economical and easy to publish.
Just about everyone has suffered some effects from what some are calling “The Great Recession.” However that doesn’t mean that anyone has to lie down and accept slower business and reduced profits.
In fact, many business owners have honed their internet marketing strategies to include acquiring new customers during this recession by leveraging the best marketing tool they have, that’s right, the ezine. It is recession-proof, always available, and economical to use no matter what your financial position.
Business owners like you and me have access to this proven system for generating sales and creating business where there previously was none. No expensive marketing campaigns, no buying ads in the local paper. Remember the ezine is proactive; it is not dependent on people finding you. It’s about you keeping up the connection with them.
An ezine is cheap and easy to publish and many people are already doing this. I’m sure your own email inbox is proof of this. Leverage is the key and we’ll review this important marketing tip for small business later.
For now, let’s examine the third reason an ezine is a top choice for business owners.
Reason #3: An ezine attracts leads ready to buy
How can an email newsletter do such a thing? Well, it is much more likely to represent the real you better than a friend or even yourself in a face-to-face encounter.
Let’s face it, not all of us are great with sales. And a referral from a friend is awesome but it won’t always lead to a sale in the end. Depending on how the referral is given, you might be waiting forever for someone else to call you if your friend only gave your information to someone else. When creating marketing strategies for your small business, proactive does not equal waiting for a call.
What if you are in the insurance industry and you have a few years under your belt but could really use some more clients. You’ve got some great new products for young families and you need a way to educate them on options available and making an appointment is challenging with multiple work and extra curricular schedules.
If you had an ezine where you sent out regular information about how families with young children could save money on their insurance, included success stories infused with your gift of storytelling and a touch of humor, that’s a more accurate representation of what it would be like to work with you and the quality of help you can provide similar families.
While email is virtual, it may not seem personal enough to lead to a sale. When in person you may be terrible at conducting a sales meeting. Your regular ezines give your voice a chance to be heard. Your readers can get to know you, your style, your ideas, and who you are from the stories you share, the designs, and images you use to convey your message. It is not just a typical email; it is a portfolio of your work, your expertise, and what you can offer your prospects.
How does this translate to hot leads ready to buy? If you have been communicating regularly with your audience, they’ve had a chance to get to know you and either feel a connection or don’t. If they do, they are more likely to be past the tire-kicking stage and be ready to hire you without delay.
Reason #4: You can position yourself as an expert in your field.
When you write and publish your ezine regularly including useful tips and strategies for improving people’s work or personal lives, then you gain credibility. As that credibility builds you start to become an expert. Your subscribers will look to you for more information and may even begin to ask you questions directly. You may be asked to speak at an event hosted by someone on your list. You may attract the attention of local newspapers that lead to a magazine and potentially a national news outlet.
Eventually you create enough material to even write some special reports that you can consolidate into a book. Now, you’re a published author, which brings expert credibility.
This doesn’t happen overnight. It happens as you grow your subscriber list, which brings us to the next reason.
Reason #5: An ezine will expand your list of subscribers exponentially.
Using an ezine to share your expertise gives you the opportunity to market your message beyond the one person-at-a-time method that networking involves. You can publish your message from one to several hundreds, or thousands at a time.
How does publishing an ezine expand my list? Great question!
When someone gives you his or her email address to subscribe to your ezine you are building your customer list. With this list you can now use the common marketing process called the funnel.
The funnel is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom with all of your products and services somewhere within the funnel. Your free ezine is at the top. Your special $7 report is next. Then comes your $20 book > $250 consultation > $3,000-$5,000 contract, and your best service of all for $10,000.
*************************** Free ezine ***************************
*********************** $7 report ***********************
******************* $20 book *******************
*********** $250 consultation ***********
***** $3,000-$5,000 contract *****
***** $10,000 service *****
So your subscribers get your free ezine. You can market to them your $7 report. Be sure to encourage your subscribers to share this email with any of their friends and colleagues that may also appreciate your expert tips and strategies. Additional folks will subscribe.
As you market the products in your funnel starting from the free at the top and moving down the list you continue to build not only your credibility but also customer loyalty from those who continue to purchase your products. Marketing down the funnel will increasingly target the part of your audience that is willing and able to pay well for your expertise and services.
To your success,