You always hear that success in digital marketing is all about having a large and highly engaged email list. But having a massive list of subscribers isn’t helpful if you don’t know what to do with them. As a chamber of commerce, you might think email marketing & sales funnels aren’t a thing for our industry, but that’s simply not true.
I’ve previously shared chamber-specific email marketing tips, but something you may not have realized is how it fits into your sales funnel. And yes, your chamber has a sales funnel.
(If you think you don’t have a sales funnel, then you just have a sad, neglected funnel…)
Once you realize how email marketing can affect your sales – yes, sales – funnel, then you can understand how to take advantage of your list and get the most value out of it.
Your Chamber’s Sales Funnel
Every business and organization that collects money has a sales funnel. You are in fact trying to sell memberships, sponsorships, advocacy – anything you are trying to convince people of can be considered sales.
Traditionally, marketing focuses on the Top of Funnel, or generating awareness. Sales would then focus on maintaining interest and the Bottom of Funnel, or Converting leads into buyers.
Thanks to technology, there is a now lot of overlap with sales and marketing as roles are blurred. That’s why it’s ideal for you to at least understand the whole funnel so you focus on the correct goal at each stage.
As a membership organization, your marketing/sales funnel then inverts after converting new membership, as you want to maintain your relationship with them, retain members, and then have them advocate on your behalf (think word of mouth marketing).
How Email Marketing Fits into Your Chamber’s Sales Funnel
Done right, email marketing can be utilized for many stages of your sales funnel.
- Collect leads by acquiring their email first, possibly using lead magnets.
- In the Middle of the Funnel, emails can be used to maintain interest in your chamber with your contacts and get them to consider sponsoring or joining.
- Include ‘join’ buttons or similar links in relevant places in your emails to help convert interested ‘buyers’
- Create value-packed emails to maintain relationships with members to improve your retention rates.
Some key phrases I’ve used above are actually ‘done right,’ ‘relevant,’ and ‘value.’
Improving Your Chamber of Commerce Email Marketing
Just like you, the people on your email list have thousands of emails in their inbox. Every email you send should have a purpose, and you should be sending some emails that are intended to help or create value for your readers. If you’re only sending event invites or asking for money, then you’re underutilizing your emails potential.
While everyone on your email list is either a current/potential member or a someone you can promote your members to; You can only send them emails if they don’t unsubscribe.
To avoid [unwanted] unsubscribes, you build a relationship with your audience through your emails. And it’s easier than you might think.
A simple way to do this is provide value, which can be just useful information. Consider the ratio of email types you’re sending. Stop over-promoting events to people who don’t want to attend and try adding in emails that provide useful information, whether it’s a business tip article, relevant local news, etc. You can track what they were most interested in using email segmentation and continue to provide more relevant information.
Some of your subscribers will still unsubscribe or never join, and that’s okay, it’s just business. Those remaining in this group of people are still good to keep and promote your members & local resources to.
While email marketing should help increase the number of online member sign ups you get, you can still use the data in your email marketing provider for your sales team. You can download a spreadsheet of contacts that you’ve segmented into potential members and provide to sales contractors or volunteers. Or for in-house staff, they can see who clicked on the links in your emails – like your join button or sponsorship pdf. Both of these are great ways to take your relationships from online to in-person.
An email list is a great tool for building relationships with your market, and underutilized by most chambers of commerce. But first, you need to identify where it fits into your overall sales funnel. In other words, where is the subscriber coming from when they come to your list, and where do you want them to go? Each email you send should have a purpose and a call to action.