I was listening to The Self Publishing Podcast the other day, and there was a statement that caught my attention. It was about email marketing.
Now, I don’t self-publish fiction — which is the topic of that show. Not now, at least.
But I listen to this podcast because these guys are funny, entertaining, and really sharp marketers who are applying direct response in a niche where it’s not common. And succeeding tremendously because of it. And so I’m always looking to pick up tips here and there that might be helpful. (With their tips on productivity and writing being equally useful bonuses.)
Anyway, I’ve always admired these guys for how they structure their marketing.
While the core of their fiction writing business is based on the concept of “Write. Publish. Repeat.” (they even have a book on self-publishing fiction by the same title)… They’re also constantly experimenting with offers, lead generation techniques, building funnels, and more.
And when you hear about everything they’re doing right, you’d tend to think they’re totally on top of their game.
And yet, this is a common misconception about successful people. Most people who are successful are that way in spite of all the things they could be doing better. (Listen to enough episodes of the podcast, and you’ll realize these guys recognize they’re in the same boat, and focused on constant improvement.)
But then, as happened with the guys at the Self Publishing Podcast, they right one of their wrongs, and a revelation occurs.
Throughout 2013 and early 2014, for whatever reason, they’d let their email marketing fall off a bit. It went from consistent to inconsistent, because they were so busy on the next big things they were doing in their business (and they always have about 10 big things coming up next, so you can’t really blame ‘em).
But then, somewhere along the line in 2014, they rediscovered email marketing.
Not that they’d ever really forgotten about it. But after letting it fall off, they made it a priority again.
And that led to the comment in the podcast that caught my attention.
Suddenly they’ve breathed new life into their already successful business by being more intentional, planful, and strategic with their email marketing.
Like most businesses, they have a thousand things they can focus on to grow. Social media. Promotional sites for their work. PR. Networking. Podcasting — their own, and being guests for others. Speaking. Writing and publishing more. Kickstarter (they ran a successful campaign in 2014). The works…
And yet, they’ve proven to themselves once again that none of those hold a candle to email marketing.
Now, in some businesses, you can argue that direct mail is even more powerful. And perhaps it would be for them, too. But…
There’s beauty in email. It’s affordable. It’s instant. And it can be deeply personal.
Like me, these guys write emails that are just one person, writing to another. They reveal themselves. And because their email list is people who are interested in them and their art, they’re talking about things of interest to their readers.
If they were just putting pictures of their book covers in the email, with a sale price, it wouldn’t be worth anything. But that’s not what they’re doing.
They’re using email — sent out to prospects who’ve raised their hand and expressed interest — to forge a personal connection with their readers.
They’re capturing their own quirkiness and personality. They’re self-deprecating in one breath, and celebratory in the next. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but they do take their relationship with their readers (customers) seriously.
And they use emails to get their subscribers to take action.
Not only are they trying to establish a deeper bond with their readers in the emails they send, they’re also using the emails to accomplish business purposes.
They ask for action. They get it.
And they’ve turned their passion — writing fiction — into a thriving, growing business as a result, sustaining three full-time writers and now a handful of additional support staff.
Yet, 2015 will be even bigger for them, I assure you, because of their rediscovery of email as a way to accomplish their business goals.
If there’s one thing you should get really good at as a marketer or copywriter, it’s email.
The truth is, most businesses don’t use long sales letters (even those that should).
Not all businesses use long-form direct response copy, in whatever format.
Not all businesses use any number of different marketing tools — whether or not they should.
But nearly every business should use email, done right.
It gives you an opportunity to connect with prospects and customers. It gives you a way into an intimate space — the email inbox — and a way to get the most focused attention you’re going to get while your customer is looking at a computer screen (maybe short of Netflix).
It’s a proven avenue for building a relationship with customers over the long-term. It’s a proven avenue for nurturing leads and building toward closing the sale. It’s a great avenue to upsell, cross-sell, and establish credibility and authority.
It’s a perfect avenue for generating instant cash infusions — you can decide today to make an offer, and have sales before you close up shop for the evening.
It’s the most useful marketing tool on the internet — even being one of the oldest.
And while its popularity may come and go, you should know this for certain… A marketing tool’s popularity is no indicator of its effectiveness, and oftentimes ineffective tools will get more attention than those that work.
Stick with email. And if you’ve fallen off, get back on — like the guys from Self Publishing Podcast recently did. It will be more than worth the attention and effort you give it.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets