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How would it feel to wake up in the morning and see an email from someone asking to join your team or wondering how they can host a party for you?
Email marketing for direct sales is often dismissed as continual promotion after someone has purchased something. And this is because so many direct sellers add customer data to a list that you can use to send out notifications. These lists are nice, certainly better than having no communication with customers at all.
But if you want to have real power in your email marketing efforts, then you want to set up your own email marketing campaigns and learn how to do it outside of merely following up with current customers. You want to use it to capture new customers.
Why Email Marketing for Direct Sales?
Is email dead? Too old school? Aren't all the trendy marketers moving on to other forms of marketing?
Email marketing remains one of the best, most reliable forms of marketing. As engagement rates across social media continue to plummet, email engagement has continued to climb for every age range.
Email is convenient, it's personal, and it's 100% controlled by what we want to see rather than some hidden algorithm we can't explain. Most of the messages we see in there are things we signed up for. Sure, there are some pieces of spam and junk, but most of the things in there we signed up for – which means that at one point in time most of the things in there were things we were interested in being sent by people we were interested in.
Additionally, email is still one of the top internet uses today and one of the things people tend to check first when they get onto the internet.
Email marketing? Dead? I think not!
However, email marketing is hard work. It requires planning, strategy, and commitment if it's going to work.
Here's how you can put together a rock solid email marketing strategy for your direct sales business.
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Segment Your Audience
Every one you speak to about your business is at a different place, right? Some have never heard of your company at all, some have heard of your company but don't know what the real value or benefits are, and others are ready to start hosting parties because they already know everything and want all the free products they can get.
You wouldn't send these people all the same message, right?
Segmenting your audience as part of your email marketing strategy allows you to create more targeted emails based on where your audience is in their individual customer journey.
In fact, one of the best ways to increase your marketing efficacy and get more people to buy is to ask only the people who are ready to say yes. Ask someone to join your team before they're ready and not only will they tell you “no” but you risk them turning into a “no, not ever.”
Segmenting your audience allows you to avoid that, ask only the people who are most likely to say yes, and continue engaging with and nurturing the people who are a “not yet.”
Build the Strategy, then Automate
One of the biggest fears direct sellers have when it comes to their email marketing is the amount of time they'll have to spend writing and sending emails.
And, yes, email marketing will require you to take some time:
- Time to set it up
- Time to write the emails
- Time to review the analytics
- Time to tweak, adjust, and improve the emails
And yes, having a newsletter means taking time every month (maybe even every week) to plan out, write, and send that newsletter to your list. But if you have the right software, so much of this process can be taken care of for you. In fact, a lot of your onboarding, followup, and nurturing can be handled while you sleep (at least, it can one you get it all set up).
So start with your strategy: how do you want to get people to sign up for your list, what emails do you want to send them when they do sign up, and what type of experience do you want them to have once they are on your list? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can write up the perfect emails and plug them into your favorite email marketing software to handle the rest.
Learn to Love the Data
One of the key secrets to success in email marketing is going to be in your ability to read, interpret, and use the data to improve your email marketing efforts:
- How many people are opening your emails
- How many people are engaging with your emails
- How many people are taking an action after reading your emails
- How many people are unsubscribing from your email list when you send a new email
You can probably put together why understanding these analytics would be helpful: each of these metrics show how well you're connected with your audience. If you have a really high unsubscribe rate, then you are probably targeting the wrong people or sending out the wrong messages. If you have a lot of people engaging with your emails, then your messaging is spot on and you need to double down on that message.
Data makes the world go round.
Growing Your Email List
In a very basic sense, growing your email list is as easy as asking people to jump on: give them a reason to say yes and they probably will.
So, what are some reasons your audience might say yes to giving you their email addresses?
- They want to be the first person to know when there are special deals or discounts happening
- They want to know tips or tricks that will make their life easier
- They want to know all the hints and hacks that will make their business better
What can you put together that accomplishes any (or all) of these three objectives?
The early dibs on deals and discounts is pretty easy, right? Plenty of people sign up so they can receive special deals straight to their inbox ahead of anyone else. Things like that make us feel special and smart, like we have an edge over others.
But what else might they want to sign up for?
Here are just a few ideas that might work for you:
- A gift guide
- A homeschool curriculum
- A meal plan
- A home-organizational guide / toolkit
- A chore chart
- A schedule template
- Home hacks to save time
- A guide to saving money / frugal living
- Fashion styling tips
- Various printables, checklists, worksheets, and workbooks
Obviously, you'll need to pick something that you can relate back easily to your business and the client journey. If you sell makeup or nail art, then putting out a homeschool curriculum may not work for you, but you can tweak it to be a makeup or nail art walkthrough, guide, or some other means of teaching them to do it at home.
One thing you will want to keep in mind while you're building out your email marketing for direct sales strategy is that privacy laws are always changing. As of right now, there are three major laws you will want to look up and familiarize yourself with:
- CAN-SPAM. The CAN-SPAM laws in the United States covers most of the states. It says that as long as you obtain the email address legally (do not scrape them off the web or buy them from someone who scraped them off the web), you can use that email address to do whatever you want: send newsletters, marketing, targeted ads — anything. But you have to allow people to opt-out easily without having to jump through a bunch of hoops (including forcing them to email you in order to opt out). This is the birthplace of so many lead magnet practices, such as using a disclaimer that reads something like “by accepting this free guide, you agree to also receive….”
- GDPR. In the UK and parts of the European Union, GDPR overrides CAN-SPAM. People in these areas must be asked to opt in specifically for one purpose – in other words, if they opt in to receive your free guide, they are only opting in for that guide – not for general marketing. You must ask them separately to opt in to marketing each and every time (ie, to be able to use their email address for targeted ads). If they choose not to opt in to your marketing, you cannot refuse to send them the guide or lead magnet they originally signed up to receive. The only exception to this is that you can follow up with them about the guide they've opted into, and you can use that followup to invite them to opt into your other things. As you might be able to guess, the disclaimer method (described in the CAN-SPAM act) is illegal wherever this law governs.
And in all three cases, you must provide a legal, valid mailing address at the bottom of your email where people can reach you if they want to (that sounds scarier than it is, a PO Box is perfectly fine as long as it's valid).
And these three are just the biggest… there are so many others out there. So many laws, right? Which one matters the most to you?
That depends on where your ideal clients are and who you are trying to get onto your email marketing list. If you are doing a lot of business (or want to start doing a lot of business) overseas, then you will want to just implement and follow GDPR guidelines straight across the board.
If you want to do your business in the United States and California, then you will want to implement GDPR-like practices. But if you're okay to stay confined to the other 49 states, then you can hold off on implementing these other laws (although, be forewarned, chances are the United States will soon be implementing laws similar to GDPR anyway, and when they do you can be ahead of the curve if you start following those laws now).
What Email Marketing System Should You Use?
When it comes to choosing an email marketing system, you might feel a little overwhelmed. After all, there are about 9002 different systems out there and all are amazing. But what you want to make sure to do is look at which email marketing system meets your needs:
- ability to segment your list based on various criteria you set up
- easy to set up and integrate with your other tools
Unfortunately, honest direct sales companies and their consultants get looped in whenever pyramid schemes and scams set up shop. Which means, once again, bad marketers using spammy practices have ruined a good thing. Because of this, many (but not all) email marketing systems do not allow you to use their system for promoting your direct sales business.
Email Marketing for Direct Sales is a Breeze Once You're Set up On the Right Foot with the Right System
The hardest part about email marketing for direct sales is getting started. But once you get there – once those systems are up and those autoresponders are autoresponding, you're golden.
And AWeber makes it easy to get started. Plus they specialize in email marketing for direct sales, which means you don't have to worry about them yanking your account for promoting your business as long as you are following the law and staying within their user agreement.
If you'd like more information on AWeber and how they can help you get started with email marketing for your direct sales business, check them out here and get started for free (you can even grab some free email templates while you're there, so you'll know exactly what to say in your emails!)