Really, when you stop to think about it…your garden and your email marketing list are a lot alike. Both start with bare ground…an opportunity… to grow something. Both require fertilizer of some type… the garden may need a load of manure with a pile of worms…and the email marketing list…an ethical bribe. Just enough to create the right environment for potential growth. Then, both require care and feeding to mature, to produce fruit…and then seed…for sustainable growth year after year.
Let’s talk a little bit about what kind of a garden you’re growing with email marketing…to make sure your care and feeding matches.
The email marketing garden you…and I…and most email marketers want to grow…is a relationship garden, isn’t it?
You want the fruits, vegetables and flowers you’re planting and growing to be healthy enough to feed your family. You want everything that’s in the garden to be something that can be savored, enjoyed, and shared.
Let’s see if we can create your email marketing garden, so you can produce the relationship results you’re looking for. If we break it down into the major parts, it probably goes something like this:
- Bare ground. In email marketing, the ground you’re looking for is the nichethat’s truly right for you. When you decided to quit your job and become an entrepreneur, you knew you wanted freedom from the standard 9 to 5 routine. You chose something that was fun…that you were passionate about doing…and wanted to share with others. Right? OK…then you put up your website, and over time you got customers who shared your passion, and bought your products. Then, you knew you could share more with them, and you started asking them for their email address…and whether it was OK to send emails. Now you have new bare ground. So what’s next?
- Tilling the soil and applying fertilizer. To prepare for planting in your email garden, you’ll need to send a welcome message (tilling the soil), and include an ethical bribe (fertilizer). I always include the word ethical, because real, long term relationships are based on solid ethics, even in a bribe. Bribe may not even be the right word, but it’s a common term in marketing, so we’ll stick with it. Anyway, it’s what you can give to your new subscribers as a gift for signing up to receive your emails…that will grow your relationship.
- Planting the seeds. What seeds do you want to plant? For your subscribers…what communications do they want…and how do you personalize them, make them meaningful and relevant to them? This is important, because if your subscribers hate sunflowers, and that’s all you’re sending…they’ll wilt and die quickly. You undoubtedly have garden products you enjoy in common with your subscribers…after all that’s why they signed up to begin with. Just remember to ask your subscribers what they like, and what is relevant to them.
- Care and Feeding. Now comes the part that’s really fun. You want to keep your email family happy and loyal…just like you want to see your garden sprout and grow. In email marketing, this takes dialog and interaction. Send relevant, helpful information. And…do surveys…ask for feedback. Add products and services based on that feedback. Prune out what’s not working…for them…and for you.
- Harvest. Make sure you provide plenty of opportunity for your email subscribers to take action. There are all kinds of actions they can take…buy a product…use the information you provide to “grow their own gardens”, spread the seed…to their friends and family. When you’re growing a crop that everyone loves, the harvest is bountiful for all.
- Replant…and keep growing. At the end of the season…or the end of a successful product launch…you realize you’re just beginning. There’s so much potential…for so much more. The more variety your garden produces…in the niche your subscribers value…the more and better responses you’ll get to your email marketing efforts.
Every email address is a piece of bare ground. Every subject line that catches the attention of one subscriber is a seed growing. Every email opened is the plant springing out of the ground, and every action taken is the blossoming of that seed you planted.
Gardening…don’t you love it?