Email Marketing Strategy for your Home Based Business

Email marketing strategy

You’ve probably heard business owners talking about email marketing but you may be wondering if it is a strategy that you should include in your own home based business.

Let’s start with what email marketing is.  Put simply, it’s one of the tactics used in digital marketing to raise awareness of your products and services directly with your audience and is ultimately used to make more sales.

But is email marketing right for your business?  If you are offering services or products and would like to increase your sales by nurturing an engaged audience in a cost effective way, then yes email marketing would be a good fit for your business.

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Think about how many emails you receive from big brands each week.  This gives you a good idea that email marketing must work, or else why would they bother?  Their aim is to get their brand into your inbox, to highlight special offers, latest products and to make sales. Do you open the emails?  I bet if the subject line catches your eye and it is a brand that you know, like and trust then you do.  And how many unplanned purchases have you made after opening an email that caught your eye?

This blog will aim to provide email marketing tips for small business by highlighting the top 6 reasons why you need it as part of your overall strategy.

1. Nurture your audience

If you want to have an audience of engaged followers then you need to be nurturing them.  When someone has given you their email address it means they like what you do and they are happy to hear from you again.  If you don’t email them for a month or more but then suddenly show up and pitch your product/service.  What do you think their reaction will be?  You need to ensure you keep your audience warm by popping up regularly.

 

 

Email marketing allows you to personalise and customise.  When you segment your list, you will only email people the things they are interested in so the emails become highly targeted.  By using personalisations such as their first name, you are making them feel special.  Both these options allow for much more nurturing than social media can.

2. Convert Your Audience 

 

Email is a great way to convert people who haven’t yet purchased into buyers.  As discussed above, once you have nurtured your audience and kept them warm, you can pitch to them with greater success.  Email can help to make your customers aware of your latest items or offers. It can also play a pivotal role in keeping them engaged between purchases.

 

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3. Cost Effective

 

Email is one of the most cost effective strategies you can use to make sales.  Apart from the cost of hosting your database with a provider (which can sometimes be free), it is essentially free to email your audience.  Who doesn’t love a freebie!  Especially in marketing these days and the cost of getting noticed on social media.

4. You Own your List

Unlike your following on your social platforms, your email database is yours.  You have worked hard to build the trust for your audience to share their email address with you.  They have given you permission to hear from you again.  So use it.

5. Get People to Take Action

Email is an awesome tool to get people to take action.  Using a call to action link to your landing pages or product pages drives traffic to your website, therefore increasing awareness of your brand. By encouraging people to click you are moving them forward in their customer journey with you.  Even if they don’t purchase you always have the ability to retarget them depending on where they get to in your funnel or where you send them on your website.

6. Measureable

Email is instantly measurable.  It allows you to test what’s working and what isn’t.  The results determine your future campaigns and help with decision making regarding the direction your business takes.  Other forms of marketing cost more and do not offer these advantages.

Are there any challenges of email marketing?

Some business owners find the idea of regularly emailing an audience intrusive.   If you are offering value to your subscribers with educational emails or with products and services that help to solve a problem, then you should be sending your email. The big brands are doing it so why can’t you?  Your competitors are also doing it.  Don’t let your corner of the market be swallowed up by someone else.

The other challenge is committing to sending a regular email.  If you are not warming your subscribers and consistently showing up for them, when you come to ask for a sale they are less likely to take the leap into being a paying customer.  

How do you implement email as a strategy for your business? 

Start with a great provider.  I highly recommend Convertkit.  I have been using Convertkit since June 2019 and find it to be very simple to use.  There is a free version for when you’re just starting out that you can easily upgrade when you’re ready.  The sequencing and automation is very easy to set up and the online support is always there and willing to help out if you get stuck.  If you are interested in exploring more about Convertkit, check them out here.

If you want to find out more about what Convertkit is like to use then watch this demo video to take a sneak peak inside!

As a little thank you for using my link to make your purchase, I’d like to offer you a bonus!  Email me your Convertkit receipt to info@nicoladepiazzimarketing with the subject line BONUS and i’ll send you a Welcome Sequence Swipe File.  How good would it be to set up your first email sequence with cut and paste templates to get you going super fast?!

#AD This post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy something as a result of clicking the link, I’ll probably get some thank you money. You won’t ever pay more for purchasing through my links and please be assured that I only recommend products I have personally used and love!  

7 Tips & Tools For Doing Business Online

Many of us are finding ourselves working from home due to social isolation.  It may also be a time of pivoting in your business to offer your services online.  This post will offer suggestions of tips and tools for doing business online.

 

As the COVID-19 virus spreads across the globe, it is a time of uncertainty for us all.  You are more than likely homeschooling your children as well as trying to keep your business going; I applaud you for this.  

Perhaps you work in an office but are now working from home.  

 

I too am combining homeschooling our 3 children with running my business.

 

With fewer hours in the day to dedicate to work, it’s a time to dig deep, keep calm and carry on!

 

Whether you are new to doing business online, have recently pivoted to a more online focus, are starting from scratch with an online business to teach what you know or are simply working from home because your office is closed; these tips and tools will be helpful.

1. Building Your Audience

With an online business you are going to want to build an email list of dedicated followers.  If you are switching your business online for this period of isolation, then now is a good time to start a database of your clients as well as attract new potential clients by following the tips below.

 

To begin, you’ll need a platform for storing the emails.  Mailchimp is an obvious choice if you’re just beginning because it is free for the first 2000 subscribers but it does have some limitations when you want to start creating automations and email sequences.

I use Convertkit which is reasonably priced and easy to use.  Another platform I would recommend for value for money is Mailerlite.

 

In order to attract people to become a subscriber, you need to create some free valuable content that you give away in exchange for their email address.  This is often called a lead magnet. Ideally your lead magnet is an easy to consume, quick win for your potential subscriber. For example, a checklist, template, mini e-book or video tutorial.

Need help with combining the demands of a business and a family?  Learn how to Reclaim Your Time.

2. Organic Traffic Generation

If you are selling your services online and are offering a lead magnet for subscribers then you need to generate traffic to your website.  The following highlights a few ways to do this:

 

Blogging

By regularly adding valuable content to your site that is rich in keywords you will be more likely to come up in Google searches on your topic.  Use a keyword tool or a chrome extension like Keywords Everywhere to search keywords and phrases that your target market is searching for; then write blogs relating to those.  Make sure every blog post is optimised with links to your lead magnet and other relevant blogs that you have written.

SEO

Search Engine Optimsation is the method that Google and other search engines use to rank and display your site.  This is a complex topic with lots of free information all over the web to help. Try this guide – Beginner’s Guide to SEO.  Essentially, if you are just learning SEO and implementing SEO then begin with keyword research, creating compelling content and make sure your website is discoverable.  See Crawling. Indexing & Ranking.

Pinterest

Many think that Pinterest is a social media platform but it is in fact a search engine.  This is a great way to direct traffic back to your website by creating pins relating to your blog posts and other areas of your site.  Set up a business account and start creating boards. If you need help with Pinterest for business then I can highly recommend Melyssa Griffin’s course Pinfinite Growth.

Social Media

Whichever platform you choose, make it work for you by using it to its full potential.  Ensure you post regularly, build relationships and trust with your audience by interacting with them and get into doing live broadcasts.  You want to create content on your social platforms that cement you as an expert in your field so you become the go to source.

3. Video Conferencing

Using an application like Zoom makes it very easy to communicate with clients, colleagues and even friends wherever they are in the world.  Zoom is very easy to set up but has limited capability in the free version. You can also try Google Hangouts or Skype.

4. Task Management

Whether your business is on or offline, it is a good idea to have a task management tool in your game plan.  I use Asana and love it.  Trello is another platform to try.  The benefit of having an online task management system is if you are working in a team or with a VA then it allows you to set up and manage projects.

5. Pivot Your Business

If your business does not usually have an online focus then now is the time to think about pivoting.  What is your current business and could that be turned into an online course or membership to serve the masses rather than few?  Take my example, I had been working with clients locally offering marketing services but that meant I was exchanging my time for money.  By pivoting online and altering my focus to productivity, I am still able to offer 1:1 coaching but can also deliver a course helping women with the demands of a business and a family.

6. Be Consistent

Whatever you do, continue to do it consistently.  Keep showing up in your business and doing ONE thing each day to help reach your goals.  Time is more limited now so you may need to narrow your focus, but by showing up, your business can tick over until the world goes back to some sort of normality.  Whether you commit to writing a weekly blog post, sending out your weekly email to your subscribers or posting on social media 4 times a week; keep doing it.

7. Mindset

More important than any of the above points is your mindset because nothing will happen if your mindset is not set to positivity.  Here are my top tips for staying in the right frame of mind at this challenging time:

1. Take a look at your values to ensure you are living your life with purpose.  When we stray off course it is good to come back to what is important to us in life. If we are living a value driven life and are connected with our purpose, then we are more likely to follow the path to reach our goals.
2. Stop and breathe.  There is no point denying that it is tricky to work and home school so now more than ever, it’s a good idea to hit the off switch now and again.  Up your meditation game by following a guided meditation daily if you can. A great app to use is Insight Timer.
3. Create a reward system.  Let yourself have that glass of wine at the end of the day or that walk in the sunshine when homeschooling is finished.  Set up a challenge to be completed and then reward yourself with your favourite thing.
4. Practice gratitude.  Remind yourself of the little things by writing down 3 things you are thankful for.  Do this daily and watch your mindset switch to a more positive frame of mind.

 

I hope this helps you during this challenging time to work from home and online.  I’d love to hear how you are managing working with kids at home and what tools you use so feel free to leave me a comment.

Ten Tips to Increase your Social Media Engagement

Want to increase your social media engagement?  If people are engaging with you, then it means they like what you do and like hearing from you.  We all know that engagement on social media is about developing relationships and building trust.  And when trust is in place, you are more likely to convert a follower into a customer.

We can’t all be at the stage of having thousands of highly engaged followers.  We have to start somewhere. At the beginning it can be soul destroying to be posting every day to several sites and feeling like no one is seeing your fantastic content.  So here are my Ten Tips to Increase Your Social Media Engagement.

1. ASK

By asking questions you are inviting people to interact with you.  There are so many ways you can do this now. Try creating a poll, doing a survey, doing a video where you invite people to place their answers in the comments, use your Stories to ask questions or ask for feedback.

 2. RESPOND TO QUESTIONS

If you receive a question from a follower or you simply see a question that is relevant to your audience then respond to it in one of your posts or stories.  This is a great way to have very relevant content specifically for your audience and if you can mention or tag the person that asked the question; even better!

3. GAMIFICATION
Have you come across this term? It basically means to make a game of your content to encourage interaction and engagement. Tap into people’s love of playing games and get your audience joining in with something. No one wants FOMO, so people are likely to join in if it’s fun. For example, ask for followers to post a video of themselves using your product and the best one will win a prize. Or ask some trivia questions relating to your industry. Your imagination is the only limit here.

4. OFFER/ GIVEAWAY/ COMPETITION
Competitions and giveaways go great on Instagram. You need to be a little more careful with Facebook and make sure you don’t break the rules. On Instagram however you can ask for tags and comments in exchange for going in a draw to win a prize. This hugely increases engagement because followers tag their friends.

How Is Your Productivity? – Read – 5 Time Saving Hacks For Your Business

5. BE RESPONSIVE – START A CONVERSATION
Always respond to comments or mentions that followers leave on your posts. If you can start a conversation with someone, help answer a question or simply say thanks for taking the time to comment, you are more likely to be remembered. Social media is after all meant to be social. Increase connections with your followers by being responsive.

6. POST ABOUT CURRENT EVENTS
Bring what is happening in the real world into your world if it has relevance to your audience.  For example, if your audience is predominantly working mums then post about going back to school or halloween & christmas. This will let your audience know that you get them and is a way to share stories of your experiences.

7. USER-GENERATED CONTENT
Content created by your followers is very powerful. For a start, it means you haven’t had to do anything to create a whole new post! By sharing user-generated content you are tagging a follower which shows that you see them and you care about what your audience does and posts. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience to tag you in their posts so you can share it on your feed. People get a buzz from being featured!

8. AMAs – ASK ME ANYTHING!
This takes a small amount of planning. Tell your audience in a post that you are going to do a Q and A session and ask them to supply their burning questions. This can be done using Stories or as a normal post with questions left in the comments. Then in the next day or two, let your audience know that you will answer their questions. It’s a great way for people to get to know you.

Check out this post – How to generate up to 11 types of content from 1 blog post AND free Infographic.

9. POST AT THE RIGHT TIME
Use your Insights to ensure you are posting at optimal times when your audience is online to increase engagement.

10. PARTNER-UP / COLLABORATE
If you can collaborate with other accounts in a similar field or with a similar audience then you will get yourself in front of that person;s audience. This greatly increases your chances of getting engagement with a new set of followers. Why not look into appearing on someone’s podcast, write a guest blog post or a do Stories take-over.

Hopefully these ten tips to increase your social media engagement has given you some ideas to implement in your social strategy to increase engagement. Let me know what works for you and what doesn’t in the comments below.

If you are a business mum and would like more ideas around productivity, mindset and marketing.  Then drop your email below to get my weekly email.

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5 Apps for Awesome Social Media

Here are the top 5 apps that I use on a daily basis to consistantly create social media content.

 

WORDSWAG

This is one of the easiest apps to use to add beautiful text to your photos.

You can use your own images, their free options or a choice of free stock photos.

There is a free version of this app or you can upgrade to pro.  I wouldn’t be without this one!

PICMONKEY

This app allows you to be your very own graphic designer.  The desktop version gives you the freedom to create flyers, a vast array of social media posts and ads for many different platforms and create beautiful visuals.  I use the mobile version too.  Canva is the other main graphic design service provider.

PLANOLY

If you want to plan how your Instagram feed looks before your posts go live then use this app.  I also use it to store images and graphics so I’ll often have up to a weeks worth of posts waiting to go.  It is free for one Instagram account.

WHEN TO POST

I use this app to tell me when the optimal time to post on Instagram is.  There is a free version so give it a goand hopefully you’ll see your engagement increase.

GOOGLE KEEP

I honestly could not work without this notekeeping app.  It allows me to write down anything that springs to mind and it is where I store most of my content ideas. Sometimes you just need to get things down no matter where you are. There is even a voice recording option.

You can easily use these 5 Apps on a daily basis to create your own awesome social media content and before you know it, you’ll have a highly engaged audience!

New to business and social media?

You might like to check out my recent post – Should I be using Facebook and Instagram? There’s also a FREE infographic to help you visually understand which platform is best for your business.

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Should I Be Using Facebook and Instagram?

I deliver a coaching package for my Complete Social Media System to female business owners and one of the first things we address is the question “Should I be using both Facebook and Instagram?”.

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The easy answer to this question is “It depends where your audience is hanging out”.  It’s all very well using Instagram because you love it, but if your audience is only on Facebook then you won’t be reaching your target market.

For some female business owners, trying to get to grips with one social platform is hard enough when they are not familiar with social media.  My advice would always be to learn one platform well before moving on to another and only use a second if it is suitable for the audience.

Personally, I love Instagram and prefer to hang out there.  However, I know that my target audience of mums in business are  hanging out on Facebook so I use both platforms.

If like me, you are using both or you are unsure where you should be posting your amazing content; then here is a run-down of the two social platforms.

Let’s Start with Facebook

There are over 2.41 billion monthly users on Facebook worldwide.  This means that due to the size of Facebook (huge!!), you cannot ignore it as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Facebook is thought of as the social platform for the older demographic however, according to research the most common demographic is women between 25-34.  If this is your target market then you should definitely be using Facebook.

96% of Facebook users access it via their mobile devices so when you create content and design ads, always think about how it looks on mobile.

Video is important to Facebook.  Remember to add captions to your videos as 85% of people watch video without sound.  Stats show that people spend 3 x as much time watching a Live video than watching a pre-recorded one.  If you are not familiar with creating video then I always advise to start with pre-recorded until you get your skills refined.

Facebook allows you to do so much more than Instagram in terms of content production.  As part of your content strategy, you should include video but also the sharing of news articles and information from experts or industry bodies in your field; you can ask questions via a poll, you can create events and much more.

New to marketing?

You might like to read my post about creating your ideal customer avatar.

Now to Instagram.

Facebook owns Instagram but they are still very different platforms.

Instagram is much more about being visually appealing.  The content on your feed is led by beautiful photos that should represent your brand and appeal to your target audience.  Instagram does now allow video in the feed too but it’s limited to 60 seconds.

Instagram Stories however allows you to be more creative and show a behind the scenes look at you and your business.  Think imaginative content creation designed to build trust and give followers a chance to get to know the person or people behind the brand.

1.1 billion people use Instagram every month and 71% of users are under the age of 35 with an even spread between women and men.  If your audience is younger and more aware of aesthetics, then you should be using Instagram.

Instagram users are very active logging in at least once a day.  Instagram is a mobile only platform so it is very easy for users to access via their mobile devices.  This also means your content needs to come from your phone, take photos and videos you want to upload with your phone only.

Hashtags are probably the main difference between Facebook and Instagram.  Using relevant hashtags to your brand and industry means you are discoverable.  But it also works the other way around.  You can discover your audience by following hashtags that are being used by them.

Unlike Facebook, Instagram does allow you to hold competitions.  Use this to grow your audience and build brand awareness.

Finally, the other question I get asked a lot is “Should I share my Instagram content straight to Facebook?”

My answer is “Sometimes”.  The two platforms are quite different with audiences that won’t necessarily like the same content.  It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your Insights to see what type of content works well on each platform.

Also, if someone follows you on both platforms, they are not going to want to see the same content twice.  When creating content for either Facebook or Instagram, always think about what will serve your audience best.

The infographic below summarises this article for you.  Hopefully this post helps you understand the question “Should I be using Facebook and Instagram?” a little better.

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What Is Content Workflow

How to Generate up to 11 Types of Content from One Blog Post

What do I mean by Content Workflow?

A set of tasks to be completed after each blog post has been created.  The tasks become your content to be shared with your followers.

Once you’ve read this article, you will be able to generate up to 11 types of different content from just one blog post.

I’m imagining you happily writing away, creating blog post after blog post but I worry that you’re not using those blogs to their full potential and generating social media content to drive people to your website.

Coming up with new content ideas for your social media platforms is also hard work isn’t it?  Feeding the endless beast that is social media can be draining but by using your blog posts to create the content; you will be creating a beautiful workflow.

Click here to check out a previous post that explains what content is.

Back to the basics of blog writing

The aim of your beautifully written blog is to drive traffic to your website and ultimately make a sale of your product or service.  Therefore, you ideally want to be referring your followers back to your latest blog on your website from as many different places online as possible.

But first, you need to look at SEO.  Before you even write your post you should check what people are searching for around your chosen topic?  Take a note of relevant key words and terms to include in your title and throughout your post.  I use a Chrome Extension called Keywords Everywhere.  By taking advantage of these free tools you will be using relevant and searchable key words and your post will be more likely to be seen.

Now for the Content Workflow

With your blog post now written and full of key word terms that match the topic; you can now put in place your content workflow and create up to 11 different types of content for your social media platforms.

Check out the below infographic that explains it all with fruit!  Of course it does!!

Content Creation Tips

Following this content flow means you are creating relevant content for your audience that relates to your latest blog post.

It allows you to speak to your followers directly by doing video and lives and it allows you to drive traffic to your post and therefore your website which as I’ve said; is the ultimate goal.

The infographic highlights how a simple content workflow allows you to turn your latest blog post into content for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and to email it to your list.

 

I hope this has been helpful and allows you to relax a little bit around content creation for social media.  You CAN feed the beast and get the desired result of website traffic too 😊

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