There’s no excuse for draining your email list. Here’s how to get your most dedicated buyers to ASK for your marketing.
I’m going to share the most powerful secret I’ve ever learned about list management. But it won’t make any sense unless I quickly explain the amazing properties of Manuka honey.
I know, I know… but bear with me… it's important.
A unique product with a brilliant back story
Manuka honey is not only a tasty food, but a natural healer. You can use it to treat wounds, reduce inflammation, and cure many everyday ailments.
The trouble is, the stuff you get in the supermarket isn’t of medicinal quality. Customers hate to see impurities and the occasional bee leg. This means that commercially available honey is over-heated, over-strained and over-treated.
However, if you can import this New Zealand honey directly from the source, you can promote it to consumers as a legitimate health product packed with nutrients, bee pollen and propolis – a powerful immune-booster.
Back in 2009 I was marketing a natural health blog and email newsletter to a list of 30,000. On the hunt for interesting new products, we found a company who imported Manuka honey from New Zealand. Most of their product was processed for supermarkets like Waitrose. But we convinced them to promote a really raw, white-label version of the honey to sell to our list.
For them, 30,000 email addresses was a meagre amount of leads. They weren’t convinced it was worth doing. They were even more surprised when I took the (seemingly) bizarre decision to make that list even smaller.
A cure for list exhaustion – invite people to opt into your advertising
I knew that to sell the honey properly I had to get readers involved with the story. I wanted the editor to track the honey’s journey from the New Zealand beekeeper to the transportation ships to the UK warehouse. This way he could build anticipation for the product and slowly soft-sell its unique benefits.
But I also knew that a large portion of the list wouldn’t appreciate receiving relentless plugs for the same product. They read the email newsletter for other reasons. If we kept talking about honey we’d exhaust their patience.
So we asked people to opt-in to receive private email updates about manuka honey. They’d be first to know when our batch arrived on UK shores. And because there was a limited amount of jars allocated for us, they’d get a priority invitation to buy before stocks ran out.
Almost 3,000 people signed up via a regular squeeze page. The editor emailed that list twice every week with updates on the progress of the honey. We could talk as much as we liked about manuka honey because the readers had asked for this information. They were actively interested.
After a few weeks the honey was ready. We sent out an email at 1pm on Sunday, 7th December…
6 hours later…73 orders with a total value of £2729
24 hours later… 132 orders with a total value of £5278
Two reminder emails boosted that total to £8225.
No, we're not talking millions here. But remember, this profit was made from a list of under 3,000 people. And all we did was promote jars of honey – something available in every shop in town. We’d successfully brought these readers on the journey and they knew why buying this product was better than going to the supermarket. Many of them bought multiple jars, which meant our allocation sold out within a couple of weeks.
The following spring we repeated the process. By talking about the sell-out Manuka honey in our regular newsletter, we got even more people opted into the list second time round. People who missed out on the first offer were even more attentive now they knew what was at stake.
This time, we sold £20,202 worth of Manuka honey in 48 hours.
Three powerful lessons you can learn from my honey experiment:
• You CAN make money from a small list. If 3,000 people are dedicated followers of the product and you've properly communicated the benefits without sledghammering them, they'll buy it on your recommendation.
• If you’re worried about exhausting your list get the most dedicated prospects to opt-in to follow the story about your product. Then they’ll be happy and grateful to receive your marketing.
• Bring out the the unique and compelling story behind your product. By re-telling it as a grand narrative, people will engage with the marketing on the same level as they would with free editorial content
For more information on how to engage with your readers and involve them in your story click here:
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