Pre-S: Wan't 20% off Maria's About Page In A Box service that she talks about during the show? Maria has extended this 20% off deal just for my listeners. To redeem this offer, go here and enter in code LOVEEMAIL at checkout and it's all yours!
This week I had Maria Carras, CEO of Maria Carras Creative, on the Learn to Love Email Podcast and we had such an incredible conversation about how you can really build super personal relationships with your audience through email.
Not only did we talk about smart ways to build relationships with your email list, we also talked about why you might want to entertain the idea of working with your full-time employer to start your own business.
Maria and I both had experiences where we were able to work with our employers to continue in our position, but slowly start to work less for them and more for our own businesses.
If you’re at your full time gig and dreaming of entrepreneurship, entertain the thought of bringing up a compromise with your employer. You might find yourself surprised when you realize your employer is really open to it.
Something I learned in the process of working out an arrangement with my employer is that—holy crap, if you just ask for what you want, you'd be so surprised at what the outcome could be. We tend to think, “If I bring this up they're gonna fire me on the spot and I’ll have no options.” But that's not always the case.
If your employer respects you and you've been there awhile, most of the time it's probably going to work out in your favour because it's a big deal for them to lose you. Think about it, now they have to go find somebody else to replace you and there are a lot of costs associated with that. So consider asking your employer if you can work remotely or part-time or some other compromise, and realize that the consequences are not all that dire.
And with that inspirational message, on to email marketing!
How to Build Meaningful Relationships with Your Email List
1. Don't feel forced to have a blog.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the steps people say you have to take to build your list. If you’re like me, you may struggle with blogging. I would much rather podcast. And so I do. I love that Maria simply said, “No, that’s not my thing.” There’s so much more to writing a blog than just writing it. While it’s clearly valuable, don’t do blogging just for the sake of blogging. You don’t have to blog to build your list and create relationships, Maria proved that.
2. Consider sending your subscribers to other helpful websites.
At the beginning of her business, Maria signed up for all the freebie opt-ins and she asked herself, “What if I sent out a collection of the best freebies?” She sent out weekly emails with a list of the best opt-ins including a summary of the opt-in and how it would benefit your business. This targeted people who were just starting out in their business. She connected with the business owners she would feature and tell them they could share the email with their audience through a simple click to tweet. That helped her grow her list and her following.
3. Focus on providing value to your list before you start selling to them.
Email marketing is an awesome way to share content with your readers one to one. It helped Maria position herself as an expert. Maria didn’t sell a single thing to her list the first year. Her goal was to build her list and connect with her audience. She ended up getting many referrals and people reaching out to her because of that. Email is the most direct way to create a relationship with your clients. People are more likely to engage with you and think of you when they need something you provide. Email might even be the most personal relationship you have with your audience. The inbox is a sacred place. It’s a big deal if someone lets you in.
4. After you’ve provided value, remind your list how they can buy from you.
After she was in their inbox for a year, Maria slowly started to tell her list what she does and that’s she’s available for hire. They trust her. They’re primed and ready to accept what it is she has to offer. This approach was particularly valuable to Maria because she was able to learn from her audience before she built her packages.
5. Send surveys to your email list to understand exactly what it is they want from you.
After a year of building her list, Maria saw what people were looking for and created packages around that. She sent a survey asked, “What do you struggle with the most when starting a business?” At the time, Maria was thinking about moving to copywriting, and she saw that it was something needed. She created a product her audience craved from the insights of her email list. Surveys are so valuable when crafted the right way. Keep them short and sweet, and ask the right questions.
6. Use email marketing mistakes as an opportunity to connect one on one with your subscribers.
Unfortunately, you can't delete emails like you can your tweets or Instagram posts. Instead of expecting the end of the world when you make a mistake, see it as an opportunity to engage with with your subscribers. Start a conversation and apologize. It’s a reminder of the human element in business. Your audience realizes there is a person at the end of that email. You're going to get a lot of responses depending on how much people care about what you have to say. Some may not be so nice, but it just gives you the opportunity to kind of be like, “Sorry, but I'm human over here,” and start building a relationship. People respect owning up to the fact that you are human and you made a mistake and you're there willing to make things right.
Listen to the entire conversation I had with Maria and learn about how she started her business and grew an impressive list on the Learn to Love Email Podcast.
PS - Wan't 20% off Maria's About Page In A Box service that she talks about during the show? Maria has extended this 20% off deal just for my listeners. To redeem this offer, go here and enter in code LOVEEMAIL at checkout and it's all yours!