What does 2010 look like for you? Can you use your e-mail to enhance your business?
Are you going to do what you did…in 2009, 2008, 2007?
You’ve probably heard the saying…”if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”
2010 promises to be a challenging year. A grand opportunity to do something different…IF you want to get a different…and better…result. Your e-mail efforts can spiral your results.
With the introduction of the iPad by Steve Jobs at Apple, comes yet another communication device to join the iPhone, Blackberry, notebook, and other methods of getting live, interactive information.
This means more communication devices for you to figure out how prospects and customers will receive your e-mail messages…e-mail messages that can include video clips and graphics, and multiple methods of direct communication at the same time. While it means more ways for the recipient to choose what communication style best suits their needs of the moment, your challenge is to make sure that whatever format your message is in, it doesn’t sit in their in-box, unviewable.
New communication tools create competitive advantages…and disadvantages. Your competitors can more readily check out your product or services, and hone their own products to edge you out.
You, of course, can do the same thing. You can have lunch with a current customer, (let them know you’re buying), and let them know you value their opinion, and would like their input.
Then pull out your iPad, notebook, or other communication device, show them a few competitor’s websites, and compare them to your own. Ask for their opinion…”What would you like to see that’s not here? What do you think about this pricing…too high for what’s being offered or too low? Is there a particular need that you have that’s not fulfilled by what’s offered here? Is there something one of my competitors is offering that fills a need for you? What could I offer you that would answer this need?”
And…maybe the #1 question…”What else can I do, right now, in my business, to help you be happy and successful in 2010?”
That’s Step #1. Step #2 is to follow up with the rest of your customer base. Let’s set the stage for this:
Let’s say you’re a feng shui consultant. You help people arrange their homes and offices to create a good environment with positive energy. You have a website that advertises your services, and you have 250 customers for whom you have e-mail addresses. Your objective (which you spent a lot of time refining) is to increase your profits in 2010 by 10% while working no more than 30 hours a week. In order to do that, you believe (and actually did some P&L projections that reinforced this belief) that group demonstrations can net you at least 10% more revenue than individual consultations with less time investment.
You decide to kick 2010 off with an e-mail campaign to change your old way of doing business. You pull out your address book, and see that you have about an even split between businesses and individual home clients. To accommodate the different needs, you split your address book accordingly. Then, before deciding what questions to ask on the survey, you focus on what need you’re going to be fulfilling for your current clientele.
Let’s say you were the person who took one of their trusted customers to lunch to ask the initial survey questions mentioned above, and the topic was feng shui consultations. For business owners interested in feng shui, their response to the last question may have been: “Help me create an atmosphere in my place of business that generates more business for me.” For individuals, the response may be more home-centered: “Help me create a stress-free atmosphere that brings me peace and comfort.”
The subject line for your e-mail to business owners might say something like “Dynamic Feng Shui Concepts Create Competitive Edge to Beat 2010 Economic Challenge”; while your subject line for individuals might read “Simplistic Philosophy of Smart Feng Shui Design Liberates Your Spirit”.
The content of both your business and individual e-mail should be friendly and personal. You’ll be asking them to complete a brief survey on how you can help them to have a happier and more successful 2010. Your contribution to an economic stimulus is to help business owners/individuals create balanced and energetic environments through feng shui while spending less. Let them know you are creating feng shui workshops for groups in order to reduce private consultation costs, while still providing one-on-one responses in the workshops.
Your survey questions should help you gather information on the best day of the week to hold a workshop; best time of the day; best week of the month; best months of the year; and approximately how many people from the organization would attend (for businesses); and include a list of most frequently asked questions, with a request for them to pick what is uppermost on their mind. Be sure to set relatively short deadlines for response…so you can get back to them quickly for their planning and budgeting purposes in scheduling the workshops.
You’ll want your e-mail to explain what the cost difference is between individual consultations, and a group consultation, as well as what the reward for referrals will be.
Step #3, critical in today’s prolific communication medium for receiving your e-mail, is to ensure both your e-mail and the survey itself, are readable in as many formats as possible. And, of course, you’ll need to pre-determine the best day(s) to send your e-mail to make sure it gets opened, based on what you’ve already determined are your customer needs and desires.
Now, you’ve set the stage. You’re ready to “change things up” for 2010. You’re partnering with those you serve to create a happier, more prosperous 2010 for everyone.