Marketing. It’s one thing web writers can never stop doing. If you want paying projects, you need to let potential customers know you’re available. But, marketing doesn’t have to be completely manual and time-consuming.
In fact, when you build your own email list, you can automate your follow up, save time, and have a constant flow of qualified leads.
Plus, sending regular emails to your list positions you as an expert. Clients who choose you because you’re an expert want to do business with you — specifically. They’re easier to work with, pay faster, and pay better.
The Biggest Reason You Need a List
The majority of people who come to your website are browsing (they want more information, but they’re not ready to buy — yet). Many web writers miss out on these potential clients by letting them leave without getting any contact information.
Email marketing (and building a list) is the solution.
With an opt-in form, you can capture your visitors’ information. And, with a follow-up email system in place, you can automatically reach out to them, bring them back to your site, and build a relationship with them over time.
Best of all, when they are ready to buy, you’ll be the obvious choice.
4 Must-Haves for Email Marketing
To effectively use email marketing, you need to have a few things in place:
- A website. If you don’t have one, start here.
- A bait piece that you offer in exchange for their email address. If you need help with this step, go here.
- An opt-in form.
- A follow-up system. Once someone comes to your website and signs up for your bait piece, you’ll want to follow up with them via email so you can build a relationship that will lead to them hiring you for a project.
Automating Your Follow-Up Emails
While it’s possible to manually follow up with each lead you get, it’s faster and easier if you set up an automatic system.
Once you have your website, bait piece, and opt-in form in place, you’re ready to set up your automatic emails.
First up is the technical side of email marketing. Luckily, many modern email service providers make this process very easy. See how to set up Aweber in this 3-Minute Guru video called, “Configuring Aweber For Autoresponders and More.”
The second piece of automating email marketing is writing your first several emails and adding them to Aweber. Then, when someone signs up for your bait piece, they’ll receive your email messages automatically (also known as autoresponders) — even if it’s 4 a.m.!
I recommend this article if you need help planning your email marketing content: Roving Report: Set It and Forget It.
4 Email Marketing Strategies That Turn Potential Clients Into Paying Clients
Email marketing is all about keeping in touch with leads and providing value so when they need to hire a web writer, you come to mind. You’ve probably heard of the “Know-Like-Trust Factor.” This basically means that people do business with people they know, like, and trust. Email marketing is a great way to build this relationship. Here’s how:
- Capture their attention with your subject line. Your subject line is very similar to a headline. It must capture their attention so they’ll open and read your email. Here’s a great article on writing subject lines: A Three-Step Process to Crafting Effective Email Subject Lines.
- Share valuable content. Your email subscribers will sign up for your list because of what you promised you’d give them. Make sure your bait piece is worth their while. Then, send them more valuable content in your follow-up emails. Keep them interested by answering, “What’s in it for me?”
For example, if you write for the health industry, you could provide tips for selling to the health market. These tips will be helpful to your target customers. They’ll see your value and be more likely to hire you for projects.
- Explain how you can help them. Use your email marketing to tell specific stories and tidbits about yourself that demonstrate your expertise. Make sure you explain what’s in it for them.
For example, if your niche is wine, then your experience working at a vineyard is a great thing to talk about. If you don’t have much work experience, you could talk about your passion for wine and how you travel the world to try new varieties. Just be sure to explain how your passion or familiarity is of value to them.
- Share your personality. Remember, you’re trying to build a relationship. Be yourself. Yes, you want to be seen as a professional, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuffy or uptight. If you’re a funny person, add some humor.
Beyond Automation: 3 Ways to Use Your List to Get More Business
The easiest method for following up is with autoresponder messages, but from time to time you’ll want to send manual messages. Here are a few ideas:
- Send a monthly e-letter with current information and promotions. If you only rely on your autoresponders, you’ll have to edit them to talk about your most recent accomplishments. Instead of doing that, make your autoresponders general enough to last a while and then include your timely stuff in a monthly e-letter.
- Drum up new work. If you find your workload getting light, you can send a deal to your list to get some extra paying work. You don’t want to sound desperate for work, but a quick email about a few openings can fill your calendar.
- Promote other products. Once you have an email list, you can promote things to them other than your services. For example, you can write books, make programs, and more. Then, send an email to your list letting them know about your new additions.
How to Offer Email Marketing to Your Clients
Now that you know how to use and set up email marketing, let’s talk about how you can offer this as a service to your clients …
Everything we talked about so far — setting up the opt-in form, creating the bait piece, writing the autoresponders, writing the manual messages, etc. — are services that you, as a web writer, can and should provide to your clients. And, there’s no better example of your skills than doing it yourself.
Implement email marketing for your own business, and once you’re bringing in clients, you’ll have all the experience you need to do the same thing for your clients.
To help you apply email marketing to your clients’ business, let’s go through an example:
Let’s say your client is a music teacher. They want to get more one-on-one students, and create an online membership where students can learn virtually and buy products (like specific training, sheet music, and instruments).
Let’s assume they already have a website — but no way to generate leads. You would recommend adding an opt-in form and a bait piece. (Be sure to check out the “Pricing Guide for Web Copy Projects” if you’re not sure what to charge.)
Here are a few ideas for their bait piece:
- Easy Sheet Music for Beginning Guitar Players
- 10 Ways to Get Your Kid Interested in Music
- How to Write Your Own Hit Music
- 4 Foolproof Ways to Learn Any Instrument
Then, you can recommend a follow-up autoresponder series (which you’ll write) and a monthly e-newsletter.
Do you see how just a few of these recommendations could bring you consistent work?
Once you have a dozen clients with a monthly e-newsletter, you’d be fully booked!
There are so many things to know about email marketing that this article is just skimming the surface, but — and this is important — you don’t have to know everything to get started.
Focus on getting your own email marketing campaign going. This will give you experience and leads. Then, learn more as you go along.
Here are some articles to advance your email marketing strategy AFTER you set up the basics:
- 10 Keys to Better Email Marketing
- Writing Short, Powerful Emails that Inspire Action
- Turning Puppies Into Profits and What it Means to Your Next Email Marketing Campaign
- Secrets of Writing Winning Email Marketing Copy
- Opt-In, Opt-Out, and Other Email Marketing Quirks
So what about you? Do you have an email marketing campaign or are you planning to create one? What will you give away? Where can we sign up for your emails?