Companies resort to email marketing to win new customers, while bloggers use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to grow their audience. Ashley McAllister, party and lifestyle blogger, has a different view about marketing. According to Ashley, email marketing should be about making friends - a secret few business and bloggers get right.
Ashley has a knack for making cake topper out of virtually anything. According to Ashley, before the coming of Amazon, it felt like all the cool stuff was out of reach for Canadian party lovers. The way the population of the country stretches across 3.8 million miles makes it difficult to find those who share your passion.
Things took a different turn for Ashley with Instagram. Seeing the different pictures people share about their projects bridged the gap. The passion to share her craft with friends and family gave birth to the Party Girl blog.
The idea behind the blog was to create a community where people could see what other people were doing, and know they were not alone. It was also a way of encouraging people that it was not crazy to DIY for your bridal shower or wedding. It is through the community that Ashley McAllister got her shine.
Email marketing bridge the gap expanding friend list creates
Most party bloggers prefer Instagram to Twitter - although some use both. Ashley uses both of them, but as her list of followers grew, the more distant she felt from them. This was the exact opposite of what inspired her to start up the blog. To deal with this, she resorted to the old-fashioned - by today’s standards - email marketing.
According to Ashley, email lets her talk directly to people and she put in great effort to grow her email subscription. It is easy for blog followers to think the bloggers don’t have time for them or care, but the truth is that bloggers do care about their followers.
Social media is about connecting with people, but when you are using it to build a brand or a business it is easy to lose the personal touch. With email, Ashley found the personal touch she yearns for.
What Ashley does differently is that she doesn’t use her email subscription to send out promotions, newsletters or deals like most other marketers do. She uses it to start a one-on-one communication, and build relationships. Over the years, the level of engagement has grown.
Marketing tips for startups
The net income of your business can change drastically if you follow the right marketing strategy. Like Ashley, who had no knowledge about marketing, startups often face the challenge of the right way to grab an audience, or attract people who share their views. The following tips can be helpful.
1. Focus on the benefit, not comparison
People want to know what different benefit your product or service has to offer. They are more likely to connect when you share the benefits, rather when you spend a whole page comparing your product to others.
2. Start marketing your products before it is ready
The perfect time to begin marketing your product is before it is good to go. The aim of any brand is to sell their product immediately when it is ready. If no one knows about your product, how will that be possible? You need brand awareness and a marketing campaign to get potential customers.
3. Employ more than a single marketing means
The growth in technology has expanded the marketing options available to businesses. It is good to test multiple marketing channels to see the one that produces the best result. The best result usually comes through a combination rather than through one means.
4. Listen to your customers
As Ashley pointed out, give your followers a sense of belonging by creating a channel through which they can communicate with you. By providing a means of communication, you get the opportunity of knowing what your customers think about your product - and how to make it better.
Get people’s attention with giveaways
The first thing a new visitor will find on The Party Girl is a pop-up invitation to become part of an email list. This is not peculiar with The Party Girl, but Ashley makes it a little more interesting with a colorful giveaway - a simple monthly calendar she designed which can be used as wallpaper for smartphones.
Every month Ashley sends out a new wallpaper to her subscribers. The idea is a simple one, but brilliant in the sense that it shows how deeply she relates with some of the problems her readers face, as well as try to help them get over it.
For Ashley, email marketing has become an invaluable tool to maintain the connection with her readers and foster the personal relationship. Her success lies in the monthly giveaway, unlike other business’. She also sends subscribers hilarious behind-the-scene shots of craft projects gone wrong, and occasional greeting card designs.
6 tips to make email subscription lists personal, from The Party Girl
1. Get the visuals right
A great visual has the tendency to motivate response. People respond more when they see something they like. They are likely to do whatever you ask of them at that moment. If visitors like your visuals, it is obvious their aesthetics resonate with yours. Use the visuals to get them in.
2. Your visuals or words should be a reflection of you
From your emails, your subscribers should be able to tell the kind of person you are - and you have to be honest about it. Don’t claim to be an expert when you are not. When Ashley writes a how-to for creating particular stuff on her blog, she tells her readers how many times she failed and why she thinks one method is better than another. When you put yourself across as honest, you will get a better response.
3. Don’t intimidate your audience with something impossible to attain
When you send out emails about a DIY project, for example, include as many images and steps as possible so your audience can easily follow. When your audience feels intimidated, you quickly lose their interest.
4. Share something people care about
The monthly calendar is something people care about. When Ashley designs a greeting card which she doesn’t use on her Etsy shop, she puts it up for free download on her newsletter. It is easy to grab attention and create a connection when you share something that people care about.
5. Keep the emails low
Too much email easily becomes a nuisance. This is where many companies get it wrong. They bombard their subscribers with emails until some of them hit the unsubscribe button. Ashley keeps her emails at 1 - 2 each month. They can go up to 3 or 4 provided they are very good.
6. A good call to action
According to Ashley, inviting people to interact is not always with her but among themselves. This is where the sense of friendship and community sets in. It brings people together who share the same interest.
Social media has its place too. Ashley uses it to draw traffic to her blog. They can only sign up to her mailing list when they get to her blog. Effective email marketing is tricky and time-consuming. Ashley got it right but it doesn’t mean that everybody will. If you are in the latter group, you can head to freelancer.com, and hire a capable freelancer from the community of email marketers to help you out.
Ashley has a compelling tale but who says yours is not worth an audience? Use the comment box below to tell us your experience with email marketing, and what success you have found.