If you’re a small business owner, chances are your time is in high demand, diverted in several different directions. Those who wear the many hats of a entrepreneur easily become overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list. And vacation? Ha! A vacation just means working from someplace other than your office.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you may want to consider the benefits of email automation. That’s a technical and rather cold-sounding term for something that’s actually quite essential for small businesses: lead nurture. Taking a potential client from initial contact to paying customer can involve a lot of hand-holding and time that you don’t have. If you had a way to build a relationship with those folks without having to take the time to stop into their office or pick up the phone, would you do it? Email automation does just that for you. Invest a little time up-front to set it all up, then it goes to work for you without punching a time clock or calling in sick.
Getting a series of autoresponder email messages set up involves these seven simple steps:
Create a step-by-step progression you want to take potential clients through. Include how you plan to attract leads, get them to subscribe to your email list, how you want to nurture them once they’re on your list, and ultimately what action you’d like for them to take. Example: Class attendee > Add to autoresponder list > Series of four informational emails > Person schedules a 30-min consultation call
Gather the information, resources, media, and links you want to include in the autoresponder series into one easy-to-access place (like a folder on your desktop).
Assemble the items from Step 3 into separate messages that build on each other and/or have a logical progression. Example: Creating an effective subject line, Sourcing quality newsletter content, Constructing an effective newsletter, Choosing the right recipients, Reading the reports
Determine the time intervals at which you want to send the messages. This could vary greatly, depending on the action you want your readers to take. For instance, if you are leading them to a paid product you are selling, you may want to send each message within days of each other, while interest in doing business with you is high. But, if you are a photographer who wants to stay in touch with a family for whom you did a newborn photo shoot, your messages may be a month apart, to bring the family into your studio to capture the baby’s monthly growth over the first year.
Use your Autoresponder tool of choice to build your emails, put everything together and set timing.
Enjoy the lead nurturing benefits of email automation while you focus on building your business and enjoying your life!
April Keating, a military spouse entrepreneur and mom of two young boys, is the owner & founder of online marketing firm Cre8ve Content Co. April is an expert with Constant Contact products and holds a Master Certification as a Solution Partner. She also is a member of the Washington, DC metro area Constant Contact Authorized Local Experts team. Click here to subscribe to April's monthly newsletter.