The secret sauce is that companies that don't have a lot of money to spend need to build strong relationships.
In this article, we'll discuss how an SMB (small and mid-sized business) or non-profit business can do precisely that with its audience through email marketing, even on a shoestring budget.
First, let's discuss why the secret sauce–erm, building relationships matters.
The importance of strong relationships
In our personal lives, the importance of having strong relationships makes sense. You need people you can talk to and lean on. We all want to be loved. Even in business, building strong relationships inherently makes sense, whether with partners, investors, or employees.
But that thinking doesn't always translate into having a strong relationship with your audience. Yet, it most certainly should.
Especially if we consider email marketing.
Think about it. If you send an email to someone, you're literally sending a message that only they can see. It's an account that they own that's password protected (well, hopefully). Taking this even further (as long as you didn't purchase their email or invade it without permission), consider that they gave you permission to do this.
They want to have a relationship with you through email!
If you honor that relationship, it will only get stronger and stronger. You'll get more reads, more clicks, and fewer unsubscribed. You'll sell more products or services, raise more money, and get far more engagement than you would with a weaker relationship.
A strong relationship with your customer or donor could mean a customer or donor for life. They'll brag about you to their friends. They'll show up when you have events. And they'll be there, year after year, to help you achieve whatever your goals are. They are invested in your success because your success means something to them.
Companies that don't have strong relationships don't get the benefits and have to spend way more money to constantly get new customers and clients.
How do you honor the relationship, though? Let's get into the tips.
Tip #1 - Respect their time
If you want to have a strong relationship with your audience, you have to respect their time.
This seems like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many companies don't do this. They send emails constantly–daily or even multiple times per day. They send lengthy emails that require far too long to read. They include content that's irrelevant to the reader or salesy language that annoys them.
When you respect someone's time, you show them that you understand how valuable it is. You show that you don't want to waste it and that you understand how busy they are.
This doesn't mean that you can never send emails. But it does mean that you must be thoughtful about the emails you send. Make sure they're relevant and interesting. Keep them short and sweet. And limit the number of emails you send each week or month.
If you do this, your audience will appreciate it. They'll be more likely to open your emails and actually read them. And they'll be less likely to unsubscribe because they know they won't be getting constant email notifications from you.
Tip #2 - Send them emails with value
You also want to ensure that the emails you send have value.
Value can take many forms. It could provide helpful information, interesting content, or a coupon code for a discount. But whatever it is, it should be something that the reader actually wants or needs.
Think about the last time you made a purchase from a company you love. Why did you make that purchase? Was it because of the product itself? Or was it because of the relationship you have with the company?
Chances are, it was a combination of both. But the relationship you have with the company was likely a big factor. You trust them. You know they have good products. And you know they'll take care of you if there's a problem.
The same is true of email marketing. If you want your audience to trust you and make purchases from you, you need to provide value in your emails. This will show them that you're not just trying to sell them something–you actually care about them and their needs.
Tip #3 - Personalize your emails
Another way to show your audience that you care about them is to personalize your emails.
This doesn't mean that you have to write a novel about each person on your email list. But it does mean that you should at least use their first name in the email.
You can also segment your list so that you're sending more relevant emails to different groups of people. For example, if you have a women's clothing store, you might segment your list by women who only buy dresses, women who only buy tops, and women who only buy shoes.
Then, you can send each group an email with content that's relevant to their needs. This will show them that you understand their specific needs and that you're not just sending the same email to everyone on your list.
Tip #4 - Keep your promises
Another important way to build trust with your audience is to keep your promises.
If you say you will send them an email once a week, make sure you do it. If you say you're going to give them a discount code, make sure the code actually works.
When you make a promise, you're telling your audience that they can count on you. And when you keep your promises, you show them they can trust you.
This might seem like common sense, but it's important to remember. Your audience is trusting you with their time and their email address. They will quickly unsubscribe from your list if you don't respect that trust.
Tip #5 - Be transparent
Finally, you need to be transparent with your audience.
This means being honest about who you are and what you do. Don't try to hide behind a false identity or make false claims about your products or services.
Your audience will see through this quickly. And when they do, they will lose all trust in you and your company.
So be upfront about who you are and what you do. Tell them what they can expect from your emails. And let them know how often they can expect to hear from you.
Email marketing can be a great way to connect with your audience and build relationships with them. But it's important to remember that these relationships are built on trust.
If you want your audience to trust you, you need to be honest with them. You need to provide value. And you need to keep your promises.
Do this, and you'll be well on your way.
Perhaps the best part about the tips above is that none of them cost extra for your marketing budget. Building a strong relationship doesn't require a lot of spending, but it does require some thought.
Why Email Marketing works without a big budget
Email marketing is the perfect channel to use if your company is on a shoestring budget. It's a low-cost way to reach a large audience and is highly effective if done correctly. All it takes is signing up with a strong email marketing service and utilizing their tools to make beautifully designed, optimized emails. You should also be able to collect data and improve your success over time.
Best yet, a lot of email marketing services offer free trials so that you can make sure that their service is right for you.
Besides the nominal fees of these services, the only other cost is your time.