Imagine the excitement of starting up your computer and finding 50 emails requesting product information in your inbox! Email marketing can be incredibly lucrative if approached properly. But there are some dos and don’ts you should be aware of before you begin.
Over the past several months, we’ve seen an ever-increasing demand for millions of email addresses we have in our new powerful tool for financial advisors: Prospects Of Wealth 2.0. (which along with emails includes contact information such as phones, place of work, social network profiles, as well as retirement plan menu holdings for a prospect’s company). The prevailing wisdom seems to be, “I can send out a message to thousands of potential customers and if just one or two respond it’s worth the effort”.
And how is that working out for you? Are you getting those one or two lucky responses?
Have you ever considered the possible ill will this might be generating in your target market?
There are a variety of potential problems associated with this approach. Here are a few for your consideration:
- You might be alienating potential customers with annoying “SPAM”.
- You could be cheapening your message by lumping it in with the daily ads for Viagra.
- The potential for legal action against you & your firm exists without appropriate opt-outs.
- There is also the possibility of being blacklisted.
There are two types of blacklists you want to avoid at all costs.
When emailing business to business, there’s the potential of being blacklisted by a company’s internal email system. It’s very easy to become a member of the junk mail club. Spam filters, blockers, mail washers and assassins are everywhere. Once you’re on this list it will become nearly impossible to get any email through to your prospect.
Externally, you could find yourself on an ISP’s blacklist. Just Google “email blacklists” and see what you come up with. There are some real horror stories out there and you don’t want to become one of them.
So how can you effectively use email marketing to build a professional image and generate a steady stream of qualified prospects?
What you want to do is generate lists of prospects that have an interested in your product/service and opt-in to receive your emails. To do this you need to offer some type of free report or service that’s directly related to your market niche. Whatever you offer it must real value otherwise it won’t attract anyone. You’re going to make this available to your prospects either online, or as a PDF, CD, DVD or other media.
To generate interest, you’ll need to advertise the existence of your report/service. There are numerous outlets for promoting this freebie:
- Google AdSense
- Newspaper advertising
- Radio spots
- Your website
- Press release
- Direct mail
- Telephone contacts etc.
Google AdSense is as good a place to start as any. Google allows you to target your ads toward the types of people you’re looking for. It’s easy to use and relatively inexpensive.
In order to receive the freebie you will ask your prospects to go to a sign-up page and provide a minimal amount of information; just their name and email address. In subsequent communications, you will ask for more in-depth information such as goals, investor type, areas of interest, etc. Right now you just want a response. You want your prospects to commit by taking that initial step toward the ultimate goal of a face-to-face meeting.
If you’d like assistance creating a sign-up page, let us know. We have templates and we’re happy to help. If you do decide to use an email list (ours or anyone else’s), you must include an opt-out option and respect the recipient’s wishes.
The individuals who respond to your offer have raised their hands and said I’m interested, tell me more. You’ve also weeded out those individuals who are NOT interested in this particular product/service.
This is not a complicated process. You should already have promotional materials on the products/services you offer. Remember whatever you offer has to have real value not just some old brochures. You can’t catch fish if you don’t have the right bait. Consider industry-specific reports generated by your home office.
If at all possible, try to private-label any reports you send out from your home office. This will help establish you as an expert in your field and add a personal touch to your communications.
Email marketing can be extremely profitable if you approach it from the right perspective. It’s not the lazy mans answer to marketing riches. As with all things you will get out of it what you put into it.