Geesh, this extended series on emailing strategies and statistics is getting pretty tiring! After 7 previous Nuggets covering topics like what day to email, who to email, who's name to use when emailing, and even the time of day to email, thankfully today is the last day.
We've explained some reasons why it's good to use quality paid email services (they keep you honest) and a few of the features from each. They all have short term trial periods so just try them out.
Last week we voiced our opinion that we don't believe it's worth the trouble to send fancy HTML and image emails to your customers any more since most email programs automatically block HTML images.
Today we'd like to tell you about a controversial strategy for sending emails that is so far out of the box that you'll have a hard time letting go enough to give it a try.
You'll see in a moment how we've been partially using this strategy in all our Daily Nuggets, but we're going to give full credit to Mike Michalowicz for providing the exact verbal methodology. Mike is the author of the book "The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur" (Amazon http://amzn.com/0981808204), he's a business segment host on MSNBC and a nationally recognized public speaker.
As part of Mike's strategy he sends out emails to his followers on a regular basis, at least 3 times a week at random times during the day ranging from 4AM to 10PM, but never the same time twice.
He admits to using AWeber to send his emails because they give him more programming control. We suggested the same strategy; well, not because of him but because we like to have programming control over things because it's the only way to seem like an internet magician.
Mike also doesn't track his email open rates. He doesn't want anyone to have to deal with a security warning in their email. Notice that this is nugget #283 and we've never tracked a single one. We don't worry about our open rates because we also post each of these Nuggets to jwag.biz for permanent archive and the open rate for today doesn't matter as much as the long time exposure online.
In Mike's book, in his videos and seminars he recommends to treat all business emails as if you are talking to your personal friend. He says you should throw out the idea of perfect spelling, business formatting and just pretend that every email you send a customer is the same as an email to a friend.
(btw we're not getting paid to recommend him and no doubt he will eventually find this Nugget through his Google Alerts account. See video: http://bit.ly/pnaF1W)
When you write an email to a friend, do you spend all that time to format it correctly? Create fancy images and try to sell them something? Surely not! No doubt you are completely casual, sentence formatting is probably for the birds, and you use slag expressions and even a swear word or two.
Can you imagine that? What would your customers think if you threw out Constant Contact and suddenly started writing emails using your own personality as if you were writing to your friends? Since you are treating them like friends they would start to feel like they actually are. Don't friends usually like to give business to their friends? That's the real idea here and with all the social networking in the world certainly the younger generation would like it... that's your bridal generation.
Like we said, this is way outside the box. We've been on Mike's mailing list since January 2011 and in July 2011 Mike Michalowicz invited our founder, Matthew Perosi to spend some time with him on the set of MSNBC in New York City. Over lunch, Matthew had the chance to talk to Mike to find out first hand if his personality and business strategy really works, and if it should be shared with our jeweler community.
So here we are. Let's explain what Mike's email strategy is and how it has skyrocketed the response rates of each of the small businesses that have followed his ideas.
Mike Michalowicz Email Strategy:
1. Write your emails in plain text
2. Write your emails the same as how you would to your friends
3. Don't sell in your emails, instead give very short stories or tips.
#1 and #3 above are common to our teachings as well, but #2 is the secret sauce that brings them together. We can't give you exact pointers for #2 because you just need to be yourself. Feel free to use random punctuation and capitalization that mimics your actual speaking style. Mike even intentionally throws in a misspelling every once in a while! He does it because that's his personality that he wants to embody in his emails.
Let's talk about #3 again, because it's always good to have a refresher.
Have you ever heard this expression: "Customers don't want to be sold to, but they want to buy."
In our Nuggets, we don’t' sell you anything. We tell stories and hopefully educate. That's the idea. In your case, you could send out emails that give cleaning tips for the gemstone of the month. Considering the massive price changes in our industry, you could give out jewelry tips for current alternative jewelry styles like steal, leather, wood, amber, and other large, but inexpensive, gemstone jewelry.
You would even talk about jewelry you don't even carry in your store. Perhaps the gift shop down the street has some junk necklaces that are trendy and attractive. You could send an email talking about that fashion trend and recommend that your customers go get them.
Yeah, you read that right. This is actually Mike's idea and it seems to pay off amazingly well. Customers begin to appreciate you more, and consider you a trusted "friend" once they realize that your emails have shifted from sales tactics to tips and giving.
Write down those testimonials and stories from your customers and send them as emails. If you hear a heartwarming story on the news, read it in the paper, on Facebook or wherever.... share it and briefly explain what it means to you.
Keep building your email list, and ask your customers to share the emails or recommend you to their friends. Your email list will build slowly at first, but it will eventually snowball into something much larger.
You can also build some amazing website SEO if you take those emails and archive them on your website in a "stories" or "articles" section.
And finally, post the stories on your Facebook Business Page wall every once in a while and ask if anyone has ever had similar experiences, or their opinions on your suggested fashions.
All this contradicts standard business trainings and tactics you would learn at CBG, IJO, RJO and JA seminars where you will usually hear talk of how great Constant Contact is.
We hope you give it a try. Don't throw out Constant Contact until you are sure the strategy works for yourself, but you have to at least try because this economy is currently all about "giving" and no one wants to buy your stuff when you push it on them.