Have you ever heard the phrase “Begin with the end in mind?”
I first heard it at a Stephen Covey workshop years ago. It stuck with me, and I put it in my toolbox. I pull it out and use it…all the time.
Today’s great copywriters, including John Carlton, Ray Edwards, Clayton Makepeace, and Michael Fortin, to mention just a few, all talk about basic marketing concepts that have worked for centuries…and how you can apply them in today’s marketplace.
For me, the “begin at the end” is one of those basic marketing concepts that helps me focus on what to do…in any market…any time. It’s firmly fixed on my goal-oriented vision board, and here’s why:
- When you’re clearly focused on where you’re going…you will get there.
- With sign-posts to detail progress, you can stop along the way to enjoy the view…and stay on the road.
- Making course correction is a lot easier when you know where your main road is.
How can you apply that to email marketing?
Well…the goal of email marketing is to convert subscribers to loyal customers…the end to have in mind when you start.
When you’re sending email marketing messages, you’re making friends who will buy your product or service, or…who will help you make a difference in whatever organization you are working with.
“Begin at the end” then, for email marketing means…put more focus on “How do I attain high conversion rates” than on “How do I attain more subscribers?”
To put it simply, which would you rather have… ten subscribers who buy your products, or 200 subscribers who buy nothing? Which of those two scenarios will pay your bills, feed your family, and allow you a little time to stop along the road to enjoy the view?
Which of these two scenarios actually provides something of real value to your subscribers? They signed up to get your emails for a reason…your job is to help them get whatever it is they came to you to get.
So…now..if you agree (and if you don’t, you’re wasting your time in email marketing) than start working on the signposts that you can check to ensure you’re on the right road:
- Whatever niche you’re in, what is the problem that each individual wants to solve?
- Why potential solutions are there?
- Why hasn’t it been solved in the past?
- What unique value proposition do you offer that no one else offers? It’s important to spend time here, because it is a major arterial point — will you be able to convince your prospects to stay on your road — the road to success for you and them — or will they turn left or right — leaving you on the road to failure?
- Have you provided your prospects and subscribers with easy, clear, direction on what they need to do next to stay on your road?
- Have you set clear guidelines for yourself and your team on changing course, and cleaning debris from the roadway. If you’re getting a lot of subscribers, but no action, it’s time to make course corrections and to clear the road. This may sound a little harsh, but once again…ten subscribers who buy…or 200 subscribers who do nothing?
It takes a little time and effort to find out what your prospects want to accomplish; what the barriers are to accomplishing it; and presenting solutions for their consideration; followed by clear direction on what to do next if they choose your solution.
When you’re focused on attracting the best…getting conversions…you’ll constantly be looking for reasons to help your subscribers justify why they signed up as a subscriber to take a journey with you to start with.
Good email marketing isn’t a constant barrage of sales propaganda. Good email marketing is a steady stream of balanced emotional and logical rationale. That “one person you’re communicating with” wants and needs help. They want a solution to the problem that you have convinced them…through your email communication… that you have the best answer. To stay on the road with you…is to find the solution.
Sometimes the harder part in beginning at the end…is to see clearly…that you have to keep the road to success clean. A clogged highway slows down all traffic.
In email marketing, that means reviewing your results frequently. Test…and then test some more…your subject lines, and your content. Remember to ask your subscribers…do surveys and get feedback.
And…when you’re focused on attracting the best (subscribers who are buyers), you’ll need to leave the rest. Develop a system that sets criteria for ending email relationships.
When you have subscribers who…month after month… aren’t taking any kind of action…not opening your emails…not reading the content…your value to them is insufficient. Put them in a separate data base. Set an email sequence with a different set of reasons that might appeal. Set a limit on the number of follow-up emails you’re willing to send, within a specified time period. Then, let it go. You’re wasting their time…and yours.
When you begin with the end in mind…what will it take to get higher conversion rates…you’ll be looking at the solutions you’re creating. You’ll begin by asking…and then creating solutions…to whatever problem it was that brought your subscriber to you. It’s the “Highway to Success” in your subscriber partnership.
With the right attitude, and the right tools, it’s a long, long road…a shared adventure to…everywhere you want to go.