Helping Local Businesses: Crafting Good Follow-Up Emails
If you follow today's more popular business blogs, you will read that small business owners typically have to wear a number of hats in order to get necessary tasks completed. Depending on what the business does it is not uncommon for an owner to have to handle, sales, personnel management, operations, inventorying and accounting. While it is a lot for any one person or group of persons to do, failure to do one of the five tasks mentioned could create an urgent situation.
However, business promotion (not on the list of five) while important, is not urgent. That is why some of the finer points of the marketing process go undone. If you were to talk to a business owner, they would tell you that they would like to do more promotion. They would also tell you that they would rather not rely so heavily on discounting, but that they neither have time not staff to handle all the aspects of marketing and promotion.
Business owners receive a number of 'cold' calls every day suggesting that they sign up for SEO or some other content marketing strategy. However, results are difficult to quantify ahead of time and thus, many business owners put these decisions off.
One particular process that takes time to do effectively is email marketing. Most small business owners know how to collect contact information on a website or even at the cashier checkout. But beyond that, they are typically constrained by time and urgent matters to use it properly. Like any other content strategy, email marketing requires the kind of skill that we can bring to bear as freelance writers.
As you may have observed from being the customer of a small business, it is quite common to receive notice of discounting and special offers but not much else. As a result of this, until we have a need, most their emails go unread. But this creates a great opportunity for the freelance writing professional who understand a little about email copywriting.
Freelance writers can help small businesses by crafting memorable emails to create a sense of anticipation from prospects and customers. If a small business owner is willing to entrust their 'list' to you and you are ready to write for the owner on a regular basis, you can increase their opportunity for more revenues. You are basically using your skills to help them connect with customers.
The connection does not have to (and should not) always announce discounting. But it should be worthy of the kind of tweets that we share with our personal network. Here are some ways that you can help the owner (or manager) write emails that build bridges with their customers:
Personal/Common Interest E-Mails
This kind of email contains content where a business owner or manager details an observation that they had that would resonate with their client base. It should hint at their understanding of the problems that those who buy their products typically have. In cases where the niche is not specific enough to present its own unique problems, easy subjects to explore are constraints on time, unexpected repairs or difficult events out of the control of the writer (ex. being stuck in traffic). The point of the email is to make a common personal connection to a small life challenge and a craft a positive outlook to confront it.
These emails are written to solidify your place as a trusted advisor in the minds of the reader. You can share new research, new statistics/studies or problems reported from other customers. Your email should provide the solutions that the business offers to remedy the problems associated with the research.
How To Emails
These emails should be written as an understanding of frequent problems occurring among those in the business' database, while proposing step by step solutions to solve them. The purpose of the email is to give the reader guidance that they can practically use to bring balance to irresolvable issues they are having. In some cases, it is perfectly reasonable to detail the solutions that the business brings to bear on to an issue. In other cases it will be best to present a generic and helpful solution without recommending a purchase.
What emails like this do, is to help the business owner or management to establish trust with their subscribers. Writing email content that makes it clear that the business is looking out for them, is of great benefit. The established trust make sales message emails more palatable, in addition to making it more likely that their emails will be opened to begin with. As freelance writing professionals, we can help small business to connect with their customers and increase their sales. It is a content strategy that has a direct bearing on profitability.