We preach it to our member businesses, but email marketing can also benefit us chambers of commerce. Whether you’re using Constant Contact or Click Funnels, an email list can help you generate leads and improve member relations. Through the content you share with them there, they’ll become engaged brand advocates. Here’s how it works.
1. Get People to Sign up for Your List
The first step is to get people to sign up for your list. You can advertise your list in your offline marketing materials, but the best way is to do it online. Offer a lead magnet that people can download for free in exchange for their name and email address. Customers download the free gift and enjoy the unique value it offers, and then start receiving email messages from you.
Once you set up your automated lead magnet, you’ll be able to engage with a limitless number of people regardless of how busy you are.
The key here is to ask for as little as possible. Name and email address is enough. If you make it difficult, people won’t sign up. The other key is that the lead magnet has to be valuable. It could be an eBook, a free report, a video, or any other type of content that helps people solve their problems.
Recommended: Lead Magnet Ideas for Chamber Websites
2. Engage Subscribers with Valuable Content
Don’t start promoting to new subscribers right away. You’ve started a relationship with them by offering helpful free content, so keep the content coming, at least at first.
Give subscribers helpful tips and information that they can only receive through your list. Create an email onboarding series to show them the value of your chamber. Share your knowledge with your email subscribers and this will start to build a relationship with them.
Offering free content through your email list will also help you gather feedback from your market. You’ll see which sub-topic areas they like and how they react. For example, you might have a link in an email leading people to a free resource on your website. Your email autoresponder program will give you data on what people click and don’t click.
Recommended: Why & How to Read Your Email Click Throughs
3. Make Exclusive Offers to Your Engaged Subscribers
I think this is where chambers get stuck. This is the point where we tell businesses to gradually start making offers and promoting products and services, such as online deals or coupons for your offline store. So how can Chambers of Commerce make offers & upsells?
I think we’re all over-thinking it. Try:
- Mentioning a specific benefit of membership & linking to your join or other appropriate webpage
- Inviting email subscribers to an upcoming event
- Pitching or introducing a program that isn’t member exclusive, like a Leadership Program, Young Professionals Group, Shop Local, Chamber Bucks, Women in Business, Foundation, Apprenticeship, etc.
Create a balanced mix between informational content and promotions. Exclusivity and fear of missing out can be great conversion drivers, if you’re able to ethically implement them.
You can earn money from your email list (whether it’s new members or non-dues revenue), but you’ll also gain valuable strategic information. You’ll likely find that some subscribers take advantage of offers while others don’t. Some will just enjoy the free content. (These can also be a great way to start segmenting your email list based on what they click on.) The ones that buy, join, advertise, or sponsor something are your qualified leads. You can lead them to invest more money and engage better/longer.
It takes a great deal of effort to successfully build and run an email list. You need to provide constant high-value content. You also have to first gain a keen understanding into your target market and what issues they face. But this highly personal method for building relationships, earning directly, and getting to know your audience is invaluable.