Not every email you send to customers needs to be about a transaction, or trying to earn a transaction. If you only email your customer list when you’ve got a sale coming up, a discount to offer or a monthly e-newsletter ready to go, you’re missing out on opportunities to use the “soft sell” approach to marketing emails to grow your sales—and your business.
What’s soft sell when it comes to an email? First and foremost, it’s an email that doesn’t have a call to action. (I know—that sounds contrary to everything you’ve been told about online marketing, but it works.) Soft sell emails might share a recipe, a photo, a video or a blog post from your business. The goal is to provide customers with useful information without expecting anything in return.
In fact, you’ll get a great deal in return, as this kind of soft sell email serves several purposes:
- It provides variety in your email messaging so customers are less likely to get tired of your emails.
- It offers an element of surprise so customers don’t know what to expect when they get an email from you—making them more likely to open it simply out of curiosity.
- It keeps your business top-of-mind even when they’re not ready to buy, so they’re more likely to think of you when they are ready to buy.
- It reinforces the fact that you and they share a common interest, whether that’s keeping the lawn and garden looking great, home decorating, car repairs or the latest fashions.
- It engages customers with your business in a fun way that builds relationships.
Try devoting at least one-fourth of all your email messages to soft sell emails. If you’re stressed about creating yet another piece of content for your marketing campaign, don’t be. Soft sell emails can often borrow from your other marketing outreach, particularly social media. For instance, use soft-sell emails to share a blog post, Instagram photo or video; announce a contest or ask people to post their photos on your social media accounts; or share news about your business such as new products or new store openings. Last, but not least, remember to cross-promote between your emails, your social media and your traditional marketing. For example, include your social media icons and links to your website in your soft-sell email. Even without a specific call to action, they’ll likely get clicked on by at least some of your readers.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.