What is the single most important “secret” to writing effective emails that get read and get results?
Simple: make it about the reader.
Don’t make it about you. Make it clear that the email is going to benefit the audience. Specifically the one person who is reading it at that moment.
Here is a great example of how not do do that in the first few paragraphs of an email that I got this morning.
As a professional speaker, I’ve met thousands and thousands of people over the years.
I’ve met some of the most powerful and influential executives and leaders in the world. I’ve also met single parents who are doing everything they can to make ends meat.
I’ve also watched some of these top executives and their entire empires crumble, while on the contrary, I’ve experienced the blue-collar individual THRIVE, and go on to achieve amazing things.
I’ve studied people for over 30 years, and in that time, I’ve discovered something pretty incredible…
That’s 7 “I’s” and no “You’s” in just 5 sentences.
How does reading this make you feel? Are you going to get something out of spending your time here other than hearing about how great this particular speaker is?
So keep this in the back of your mind the next time you sit down to write and email…and then do the opposite.
Keep your ego out of it. Make it about the reader and they will reward you with their attention.
Why do you own a business? Is it just to own a business or are you hoping that it will lead to a certain type of lifestyle in the future?
In my consulting work I see a lot of business owners who say they want a certain lifestyle, but then turn around and build a business that won’t get them anywhere near that lifestyle. In fact the business model they choose often has them heading in the opposite direction.
They say they want financial freedom, and the ability to travel more. Then they start a restaurant in a small town.
They say they want a virtual business that has no physical office location. Then they build a complicated business that should really be run by 5 people in an office, with them managing the whole circus on-site.
They say they want to make a million dollars a year. Then they go into a niche that won’t even support a 5 figure income.
Now a lot of business owners have not even taken the time to clarify where it is they want to go and this causes bad decisions and frustration. So if you haven’t written down what you want your life to look like in 5 years, do it now. Not your business, your life.
Then move backwards and crate a business that will get you there.
Here is the key: never forget why you are doing what you are doing. Stay focused on the lifestyle you want to create.
Don’t get caught up in the day to day. Always look at every choice and ask this question: “Does this get me where I want to go.”
If it does not move you in the direction of your desired lifestyle then don’t do it.
Simple as that.
We have all heard of paralysis by analysis. A large number of small business owners simply fail to take action because they are too busy “weighing all the options”. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the options you have for marketing your business online, but it is important that you choose one or two tactics to start with and focus on them until they produce results.
That is the great thing about marketing online, you can literally get started in a few hours and you will only need to spend as much as you feel comfortable with. It is nearly impossible to fail online as long as you take the first step. In my opinion the only way to be a failure online is to not be online.
Yes, it will take some time, and there will be a learning curve, but the only sure fire way to get ahead is to start today.
If any idea or concept that I teach strikes a chord with you, or gets you thinking about ways that you can implement these strategies in your business, do yourself a favor and jump in.
The only thing you have to lose is new customers.
There are literally hundreds of options for small businesses who want to advertise on the Internet. The list of strategies and tactics alone could fill 20 pages.
I am not here to give you that list because, first, I understand that as a small business owner you have a lot on your plate and the last thing you need is ten more items to add to your to do list. And second, I only teach and talk about the most successful options that are available for small businesses.
The most profitable results are going to come from you implementing a simple system that incorporates two or three of the overall strategies that I want to teach you, and then sticking with it. I have spent hundreds of hours researching and reading about every internet marketing strategy, tactic and concept under the sun.
Some were created for large businesses, and some were created for companies that only sell products online. Most of these strategies simply will not work for your small businesses if you are focused on getting local customers in the door.
I will only teach you the strategies that have been proven to work for small businesses in the real world. I will only teach you the strategies that I provide to small business owners face-to-face when they hire me to consult their business.
We all face competition in the markets that we serve, and as advertising moves online the competitive landscape will begin shifting for every small business. Advertising and marketing is becoming increasingly transparent. A simple Google search can give you a very good idea about what your competitors are doing to drive new customers to their business.
However, here is one key takeaway that I want you to understand. Unless you know for a fact that a competitor has hired a high-quality internet marketing consultant, and are obviously pulling in a large number of new customers, you SHOULD NOT COPY THEM.
It has been my experience that almost 90% of small businesses do not market their businesses online in the right way. For the most part they are simply throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. Your time is too valuable to waste it experimenting with unproven strategies.
Another important point that I want to make regarding your competition is the advantage you will gain by learning, and more importantly implementing well established strategies.
I have no doubt that the businesses that thrive in the next ten years will be the ones who understand how to use the power of the internet to get new customers in their doors and communicate effectively with the customers that they already serve.
To put it simply, the internet is THE FUTURE of marketing. It does not matter the type of business you are in, or how small your business is.
Traditional forms of advertising are quickly disappearing and their effectiveness is diminishing. Phone books are being canceled in some areas, because users simply do not use them and instead search for products and services on the internet. Magazine and newspaper advertising is becoming too costly, and not generating the results or new customers that small businesses demand.
Small businesses cannot afford to ignore these trends. If you want your business to grow or even survive in the next 10 years, you must proactively advertise online.
A few important statistics:
- 97% of American internet users use the internet to shop of which 57% characterize their behavior as “shop online, purchase offline” (NPD Group)
- 90% of online commercial searches result in offline bricks and mortar purchases (proprietary research / comScore)
- 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase (TMP / comScore)
- 80% of budgets are spent within 50 miles of the home (DMA / proprietary)
- 74% of internet users perform local searches (Kelsey Group)
- 73% of online activity is related to local content (Google)
- 66% of American use online local search, like Google local search to locate local businesses (TMP / comScore / proprietary average)
- 61% of local searches result in purchases (TMP / comScore)
- 54% of Americans have substituted the internet and local search for phone books (comScore networks)
- 35% of all searches are local (DM News)
- 25% of internet searches have a purely local, commercial focus (Kelsey-Bizrate)
I could go on and on with statistics, but I think you can easily see the importance of having a strong online presence.
Are you marketing on the internet at all?
Why not? It may be a little intimidating at first, but just like anything else if you step up to the plate it gets much easier with time. Also, I truly believe that the businesses that are starting right now to market online are the ones that will be successful in the next ten years as consumers increasingly look to the internet to find products and services, especially local businesses.
When you search for your company name on Google, do you show up?
If you have a website for your business and you search for the exact name of your business in Google it should be one of the top 3 results, and ideally it will be the top result. If it is not you need to look into your on-page SEO to make sure that the search engines know that your page is actually for your business. Remember the competition to rank well for your unique small business business name should be very minimal and you should have no problem being at the top. If you are not, it’s time to talk to your websites creator because showing up in the search engines when a user types your business name is a bare minimum when your site is created.
When you search for your type of business and add your city name to it, do you show up? Where?
Getting your business to show up when a user searches for the “type” of business that you are in is a totally different animal, and one that will require some work on your part to rank well. It is however as important if not more so in the future than having a listing in the phonebook(as these are actually being slowly phased out in some locations).
When a user sits down at a computer and begins searching for a business to provide them with a product or service they will generally go to a search engine. We will use Google for this example.
They will type in the product or service they are looking for, and will generally add a city or area to narrow their search to local businesses. So a search for a chiropractor in Boulder, Colorado could look something like this.
Best Chiropractor in Boulder
This will return the results page from Google that will likely include a map with red pins that signify local chiropractors as well as regular search results below this. Now the important part…
Where is your business?
Don’t worry there is a lot you can do to make sure that you are all over this page and that customers can find your business, but it will take a little effort on your part.
Actual on-site Search Engine Optimization or SEO is beyond the scope of this article but it is important to at least know where you are ranking so you can work to improve your results.
After you are all set in google it is time to repeat the steps in the other major search engines. MSN, Bing, Yahoo. Also keep an eye out for any local search engines that you can become listed in.
Are you listed in Googles Small Business Listing?
This is becoming as important as a listing in the phonebook. And has the added bonus of being free and customizable. You will have to create your listing in the Google Local Business Listing Center, and the more you add to it the more likely it is to be ranked near the top when users search for what you offer.
Get creative and take advantage of all the extras you can add to your listing, photos, links, and info.
Are you tracking your visitors?
Do you have analytics set up on your website to track the number of visitors? If not you should get it set up today. Check out our 5 Tools Post for more information.
Is your website helping bring new customers to your business?
OK, so you are showing up in the search engines and you are getting traffic, great. But are those visitors turning into customers. Here is where most small businesses fail online. Make sure that your page has a strong call to action to entice users to get in touch with your business. Including a special offer for internet customers that “Call Now” can be one of the best ways to turn a browser into a buyer, also make sure your phone number is prominently displayed, and that your website answers any questions the users may have. You would be surprised how many local businesses bury their phone number and make it difficult to find.
Is your online advertising targeting only local customers?
Is it 100% clear to users and the search engines that your business is local and serves a limited geographic area? If not you could be wasting a lot of advertising dollars online reaching customers in all corners of the world.
Make sure you location is prominent in your SEO efforts and any PPC advertising that you do.
Are you using PPC to supplement your Organic search efforts?
Sure Getting great search engine results are great, and getting to the top of Googles local business listing is key. But what if your business is on the page three times? Use PPC to supplement your “organic” results and get your page listed three times, once in the regular results, once in the map results and then again in the sponsored results on the right hand column. All on one page.