Although it seems like email has been around forever, it’s still one of the most effective tools for marketing. According to the DMA 2015 Client Email Report, email has an average ROI of $38 for every $1 companies spent, and that number is only rising.
In 2013, the average ROI for email was $24.93. And that’s just the average—one in five companies reported that their ROI was more than 70 to 1.
So it’s clearly been established that email marketing is a smart way to go if you want to get your money’s worth from your results. But how can you turn that into profit? How can you engage with your mailing list and pull them into your sales funnel?
What is a sales funnel?
Essentially, a sales funnel is the system that you put in place to guide a lead towards purchasing your product or service. When you build a mailing list by gathering email addresses through your website or some other method, you’re gathering leads. The sales funnel is basically your way of converting those leads into actual sales.
Determine your end goal
Before you do anything, you need to determine exactly what your end goal is. Obviously, you want a sale, but be more specific than that. Are you hoping customers will sign a long-term contract to use your service for a long time? Are you trying to get customers to try a variety of services or products and keep coming back in the future? Define exactly what you want.
Choose the right tools
It’s often been said that you’re only as good as your tools, and email marketing is no exception. There are a variety of different tools that you can use as you build out your email marketing campaign, so become familiar with all of your options at the beginning and make a choice depending specifically on your company’s needs. These include software for email marketing automation, integrated workflow software, customer relationship management suites, and more. Check online guides and reviews, and look for features that best match what you will need to make your campaign run smoothly.
Build engaging content
Many experts agree, one of the most important aspects of any sales funnel is content. The content you produce, whether it is newsletters, reports, videos, or anything else, establishes your relationship with the client. According to Shapiro Negotiations Institute, “In order to get what you want, you have to give them what they want.” If your content is of no interest to the client, then they’ll have no reason to keep reading, which will quickly lead to your emails going straight to the spam folder. Don’t fall into the trap of making every single thing you send out be a blatant advertisement, either. Use your emails as an opportunity to build trust with your customers. By creating engaging content, you’ll give them a reason to pay attention and progress further down the sales funnel.
Don’t forget the CTA
Of course, even if they read your email from beginning to end, it will do you no good if it doesn’t include a call to action. The call to action is what brings them deeper into the funnel and on to the next step—an invitation to call and speak to one of your sales associates, a link to a landing page, or even a link to purchase a specific product or service from your online store. Don’t let your email campaign accidentally turn into a dead end.
Keep the funnel simple
The fewer steps your sales funnel includes, the more effective it will be. Think of it this way: Every additional step in the sales funnel is an opportunity for your leads to lose interest and disengage. Try to minimize those opportunities by keeping things simple. Ideally, your email should lead to a landing page, which should lead them to the store. You really don’t need much beyond that.
Keep communication open
Don’t forget to send follow-up emails. Set up your email automation system to contact customers immediately when they first opt in, and then regularly send out communications so that your company remains in the front of their mind. If a lead gets partway down the sales funnel and then disengages, send a reminder email to check in. Sometimes, potential customers just get distracted, and all it takes is a little poke to remind them that they were about to make a purchase.
Tweak as necessary
Remember, the market is dynamic, and your sales funnel should be as well. If certain approaches are no longer working for you, then change those practices. If a particular piece of content doesn’t seem to be catching customers’ attention, then try something new. Even though you’re using email automation, that doesn’t mean you should just set it in place and completely forget about it. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, then adapt your strategy as needed.