When it comes to online marketing, most business owners focus on efforts like maintaining the company website or updating their social media presence. Email marketing is usually forgotten or taken for granted. However, statistics show us that the use of email can be quite an effective marketing campaign.

According to this report from Hubspot, 60% of people buy products and services at least once a month from email messages received. Also, 10% of recipients read the emails completely while around half, read most of it.

The numbers become more meaningful when you realize that there are 3 times more email accounts than the two leading social media platforms combined.

That’s right, not everybody uses Facebook. A lot of people still don’t have a Twitter account. But it is very likely that the people you want to reach have an email account that they check daily.

Plus, people tend to read marketing emails, not just emails from friends, family, and coworkers. In this Blue Kangaroo survey (PDF download), around 60% of people spend half an hour or less in opening and browsing emails, while 20% spend an hour or more. In fact, 80% of people also report that these marketing emails go directly into their personal email accounts.

Now that you know that email marketing can be effective in reaching your customers, it’s time to learn how to use email’s hidden power to convert leads into sales. Here are 2 factors that you should consider when making a compelling email marketing campaign:

Make it a conversation

Here’s where most businesses make a mistake: they think that sending out email marketing messages is enough. They don’t take advantage of email’s ability to let you fully interact with your customers one-on-one.

Pay close attention to the content of your marketing emails. Does it merely broadcast or does it prompt the reader to reply? To get the best results from your email marketing efforts, you must engage readers and build a real, interactive relationship with them. Don’t settle for a passive reader.

More importantly, after they’ve started replying to your marketing emails, make a personalized reply yourself. It doesn’t have to be long or detailed, even a simple acknowledgement will do. This can make a huge difference from having bland, unopened emails to emails that your readers would actually look forward to.

Apply This Technique. To make your marketing emails engaging, informative, and high-converting, do the following things:

Encourage your subscribers to introduce themselves. On your initial email message to new subscribers, ask them to introduce themselves and tell you where they are from. This initiates the conversation and tell you instantly which leads will be more active or participative than others.

Ask compelling questions at the end of each email. Ask probing questions like “In your experience, what’s the most challenging thing about ___________?” The blank should be relevant to your business. For example, if you are a wedding planner, you could ask “In your experience, what’s the most challenging thing about planning a wedding?” Their answers to these questions will also be useful for market research.

Let them know that you’re paying attention. Your readers might be skeptical about a business owner taking the time to read their messages. To improve the chances of getting any responses from them, let them know that you’ll read their emails. You can add “Please take a second to reply, it’ll be worth it – I personally respond to each email.”

Send lead nurturing emails with a story arc

It’s also important that you send out your marketing emails on a regular schedule, so that your subscribers are getting emails from you even within a month or two after they’ve signed up. You can easily accomplish this with an autoresponder sequence, where readers receive emails that are released depending on their sign-up date.

Why do this? Some of your email subscribers may not be ready to buy yet. By regularly sending them emails for over a month or two, you will be “lead nurturing”. You don’t just capture their email addresses and establish contact, you also build a relationship with your reader until they are ready to buy.

The best way to do this is to design an “arc”. This is used in storytelling, where we follow a basic plot that starts in curiosity and ends in resolution. Curiosity here, starts by exploring your target customer’s main problems, and resolution is where you present your business as the solution to those problems.

This means that your first few emails should help your reader explore their problems and goals relevant to your business, as well as eliminating their related hesitations and fears regarding cost, ease of use, and other concerns. The end of the “arc” is where you ask for the sale.

Apply This Technique. To build a strong arc for your marketing emails, use the following steps:

Start by correcting beliefs. One of the main reasons why target customers are so guarded is that they have all these beliefs, some of them unfounded, that are holding them back. Maybe they think that your product is too expensive. Maybe they don’t trust you yet. Maybe they don’t believe you’ll get them the results they want. Whatever their beliefs are, address it in the first email. This will make it easier for them to accept and digest any future messages you’ll be sending.

Address your target audience’s most pressing problem in the next email. Start by exploring the most important, most challenging problem that they encounter – which your products or service can actually solve. Explore the problem in-depth, then provide a simple solution at the end.

End each email with a teaser for the next one. Don’t just end the email with the solution you’re offering, give the reader something to look forward to in the next email. One way to phrase this teaser would be, “Now that you know how to address the problem of __________, in the next email, I’ll show you how to __ __________.” The last blank would be addressing another new problem or goal that your customers usually face.

Ask for the sale. Once you’ve sent enough educational campaign emails, it’s time to ask your subscribers if they want to take the relationship further. After following an arc like this, odds are they’d be more than happy to.

Use the Untapped Power of Email

At the end of the day, email marketing can’t be beat for its intimacy. Pay attention to the above 2 factors so you can launch a successful email campaign that will eventually convert those leads into sales.

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