Getting Started With Email Marketing: From Fans to Customers

2 Oct 2016
Alan Martin

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Are you making money from your social media marketing?

Are you posting regularly but not seeing the results that you expected?

In this article I am going to explain how to set up an email based social selling system, that you can use to move your fans from content consumers to paying customers.

You’ve Got to Eat

Ultimately we all need to put food on the table and pay the mortgage, but before I get into the nitty-gritty of how you get paying customers using social media, I’m going to go all zen on you for a minute!

You need to bear in mind that your social media needs to be perfectly balanced. Too much ‘social selling’ and it becomes “selling” using social media, and your social media becomes just another broadcast channel.

On the other hand, if your content is unfocused without any underpinning objectives, you will struggle to make any money from your efforts. You need to get the balance right, and that can be tricky sometimes, but with a bit of ‘trial’ and dare I say it ‘error’, you will figure out what’s right for your audience.

Social Selling is just one element of a balanced social media strategy, which should include:

If you only focus on one or two of these you will find it hard to grow your audience and get engagement. The bottom-line is that without focusing on all four areas you will not get the success that all your hard work deserves.

What Does Your Funnel Look Like?

One of the first things you need to consider is what your sales funnel looks like! Forget social media for a minute, how do you currently convert prospects into paying customers?

Perhaps potential customers have to physically visit your premises or maybe they book a strategy session with you.

Obviously this very much depends on your own individual business type, but whichever method you currently use to convert your ‘tire kickers’ into paying customers, you need to figure out how you can use social media to facilitate this.

The objective of  ‘social selling’ is to move your prospects to the next stage, which is often to take them off of social media. If you attempt to constantly sell through the newsfeed, you will risk alienating your fans and find it harder to grow your community.

Posting sales-related content on social media can work for some types of businesses, but you need to use this technique sparingly and also bare in mind that the majority of your fans will not be shown your posts if they are overly promotional, unless you pay to ‘Boost’ them, so what I’m about to share with you still applies regardless of business type.

In this article I’m going to be explaining one technique for moving people off of social media; by encouraging your fans to become email subscribers. Once they have joined your email list you can then develop a deeper relationship with them over time and eventually introduce products and services that are likely to be of interest to them.

I’ll assume that you are already regularly posting good quality content across your social media platforms. If you are not sure what content you should be posting, check out ‘What Content Works Best on Social Media‘.

Anatomy of an Email Sales Funnel

First of all here is a list of all the moving parts and then I’ll explain how they fit together:

  • Freebie give-away
  • Opt-in page (preferably stand-alone)
  • Email service provider
  • Delivery method

Each of these could be the subject of an entire article in and of itself, so in order to keep this a manageable read for you I’ll summerise the most important aspects here, but if you are confused with anything feel free to ask a question in the comments section below.

There are also lots of different tools available that you can use to implement each of the above. Some are free and others are paid-for; some can do more than one thing, saving you time.

When you are choosing a tool for this job, it will often be a trade off between the expense of paid-for tools and the time needed to set up the free tools, and you’ll need to decide what’s more important to your business.

I’m going to recommend the tools that I think are best for my business, but depending on your own particular situation, another solution may be a better option for you.

Once people have subscribed to your email list the nurturing process can begin. That is when the cross-over from social media to email marketing takes place, and we’ll cover this aspect in another article.

Freebie Give-Away

The first thing you need to create is your freebie give-away! This is a piece of content of sufficient value that your target market will gladly give their email address in exchange for what you are offering.

We use several different give-aways in our business including our  ‘101 Ninja Facebook Tips’ E-book and the ‘Ninja Email Marketing Tools’ E-book. The important thing to remember is that it has got to be seen as valuable to your readers, so it should be some of your best content that you are giving away.

You’ll want to spend a decent amount of time thinking about the topic and content type that you plan to give away. Once you have decided this, you need to come up with a compelling title for your give-away.

This should be results focused and explain clearly what value the reader would get from it.

Advanced Tip: Before you come up with your idea for a give-away, you should think about what you would ultimately like to sell to your subscribers. The more specifically you can relate your give-away to what you sell, the easier it will be to get paying customers further down the line. 

The tools you use to create your give-away will very much depend on the type of content you are giving away. if it’s an E-book it is very easy to write the content using your word processor of choice then save it as a PDF.

Once you have written the content you will probably also want to create a cover image for your E-book. If you don’t want to splash out on the services of a good graphic designer, there are tools such as Canva that you can use to create a professional-looking cover for your E-book.

Opt-In Page

Once your give-away is ready you need some way for people to request it. Ideally this should be a stand-alone web page, but could be a separate page on your website with an opt-in form or even an on-page call to action.

The stand-alone option is often better than simply creating a page on your website, because your website can be a noisy place, with lots of other distractions on the page. Your opt-in page should only have one call-to-action, and that is to opt-in. Visitors to your page can either opt-in or leave, you are only giving them two choices!

The opt-in page should:

  • Describe the give-away
  • Show an image representing the give-away
  • Have an opt-in mechanism (such as a form) positioned above the fold
  • Explain to the reader that they are also opting-in to receive regular email communications from you

You can create opt-in pages in a variety of ways, but I use a tool called LeadPages.net (affiliate link) to quickly create stand-alone pages. Once my page has been created I can then start promoting the URL to the web page through my social media accounts or use the LeadPages Facebook app.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a bit of an aside, ConvertKit (affiliate link) comes with the ability to create single opt-in pages as standard, so you don’t need to invest in additional software like LeadPages, ClickFunnels or OptimizePress in addition to your email marketing software, although at Chat Marketing we still use LeadPages because of their advanced customisation options (more on email marketing service providers in the next section).

If you use MailChimp as your Email Service Provider (see next section) you could also add an opt-in box to your website and use the Facebook app to start collecting emails straight from your Facebook page.

Email Service Providers

There are a lot of great email marketing service providers out there but before we come onto that, why do we need one? Well, the short answer to that is so that we can easily store email addresses and send out emails that are personalised, to a large number of people.

Another advantage to using an ESP is the wealth of statistics and insights that are available through using a package that was specifically set up for that purpose.

As far as the tools are concerned, at Chat Marketing we switched over to ConvertKit (affiliate link) from Infusionsoft for our email marketing last year, and I just love it for it’s simplicity and ease of use. Although it is a paid service, at time of writing it is only $29 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers, which is a fantastic price for full access to all the features, including tagging and sequences. Even for those who are just starting out with their email marketing, ConvertKit is worth considering as an option.

If you are new to email marketing and you want to stick to free tools though, it’s hard to see past MailChimp. It’s free for up to 2,000 contacts and has great Facebook integration, making it really easy to start collecting emails straight from your Facebook page.

You don’t get the ability to segment your subscribers on MailChimp though, and it’s not that easy to manage your lists, if you have multiple segments that you need to send different information to, but it’s a great tool to get you started.

The important thing is to just get started and not spend too long agonising over which of the many systems to choose from. If you are conflicted at all, just go for MailChimp to begin with and you can always export your connections and go to another system later, as your experience with email marketing grows.

Delivery Method

The next thing you need is a way to automatically deliver your free give-away to subscribers when they opt-in to receive it. How you do this will very much depend on what your free give-away is and your email service provider, but for the purposes of illustration I’m going to use the example of an E-book.

Depending on the size of the file you created for your give-away, you may be able to just add it as an attachment to your welcome email if you are using MailChimp. If your website is built on WordPress and your file size is less than 2 megabytes, you can simply upload it to your ‘Media’ page, grab the file hyperlink and include it in your ‘Welcome’ email.

If you have a larger file or you have some budget available then LeadPages can host your give-away for you and distribute it automatically when people opt-in to your list, but I would’t necessarily recommend this approach. If you have a double opt-in email and you are using LeadPages, the give-away is delivered before the person actually clicks the confirmation link, so your conversions will be a lot less. ConvertKit (affiliate link) however, give you the ability to upload your file to their servers and deliver it as part of the double opt-in process, so people only get your freebie if they confirm their email address.

With larger file sizes, you may need to look at alternative tools to host your content but that would very much depend on the type of content you were trying to share. If it’s video content you want to share, Vimeo is worth checking out.

Conclusion

We have really just scratched the surface with email marketing and sales funnels in this article but before you get started putting everything in place, you will need to think about how you can deliver value to the people who join your list.

Email marketing is not a numbers game, it’s an engagement game and you’ll need to consider this ahead of time. If you want to read more about developing your online sales funnel, I’d highly recommend getting hold of a copy of Russell Brunson’s excellent book ‘DotCom Secrets‘ (affiliate link).

Okay, that’s all from me at the moment! Over to you now, what questions do you have about setting up an email marketing funnel?

Other Articles You’ll Like

How to Grow Your Email List with Social Media

How to Choose The Best Social Media Platform

There’s No Such Thing As Bad News, Or Is There?

Want to Learn More About Email Marketing?

As LeadPages affiliates, we are delighted to have access to some awesome free training that we can make available to our readers. Click HERE to get hold of the LeadPages Email List Building System training course and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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