This is a guest post from Nilam Oswal at SoftwareSuggest.
We all know what branding is, and chances are, you’re already doing branding for your business. But are you building a personal brand?
You should be, because it may be more important than you think.
The community of entrepreneurs and freelancers is fast-growing, and anyone with access to the internet can build an audience by showing their expertise.
Personal branding is everything—it’s your reputation, how people perceive you, and how much they value your knowledge. In short, building a recognizable personal brand opens professional opportunities, and it’s the only way to differentiate yourself from your competition longterm.
By establishing a personal brand, you can build a community. Read on to learn how you can build that community for yourself.
So how do you build a thriving community through email marketing?
Your first question may be: why email marketing over social media?
After all, some people believe email isn’t especially beneficial, but that just isn’t true. Not only can email provide great ROI, but nearly all adults have an email account. This means email has a broader reach than any other social media platform.
Did you know the average open rate of email is 22%? The average reach rate on Instagram is 10%, which means only 10% of your followers get to see your posts. And Facebook is worse, with only a 6% reach rate.
According to Statista, 82% of people check their email at least once a day, and 50% of those emails are read on mobile phones.
In short, email is one of the best ways you have to reach your audience.
How to use email marketing for building a personal brand
1. Make it personal.
Segmentation is the key to successful marketing. You can use email segmentation to send out relevant content to each individual subscriber.
All of your subscribers have subscribed to your email because they like what you have to offer and say. They align with your company’s goals.
However, not all content is relevant for everyone. You need to segment your subscribers based on criteria like gender, location, and more to accordingly personalize and send your emails.
It helps you build a personal relationship with your customers, and they feel valued.
Once you’ve segmented, consider appealing to your segments in a way that illustrates who you are. Yes, you have a business, but how do you fit into that business?
If you’re building a female-run company, for example, consider explaining your company values to a female segment.
That’s not to say you can’t do the same for your other segments, but keeping your audiences in mind can provide the chance to curate highly tailored content. For instance, you might provide a link to an article about how you started your business and how other women like you can, too.
2. Promote brand awareness.
Email enables you to put yourself in front of your audience and spread awareness about your brand.
You can compile a weekly or monthly newsletter that includes relevant information for your audiences. This is how your subscribers keep up with all the latest updates about your brand. Content plays an important role here—if you keep it interesting, consistent, and specific to their needs, they’ll be more likely to read your emails.
Every time you send an email, you’re promoting your brand, but it’s also a chance to promote yourself.
Instead of sending emails from your company name, consider sending them from a personalized send name (e.g. Jill at Campaign Monitor). Provide a personal anecdote or an interesting tidbit about yourself.
If subscribers can relate to you, they’ll be much more interested in your company.
Make branded copy for every piece of marketing.
3. Build better campaigns.
One core benefit of using email is that you’re generating incredibly valuable insights on your subscribers.
There’s lots of email marketing software that gives you insights into various metrics. Using this software, you can know when someone opens your email, clicks through it, or opens attachments.
Open rate is the percentage of the total number of your subscribers who opened your email, and the click-through rate is the percentage of subscribers who’ve clicked on at least one link in your email.
You can use the data to build better campaigns. By discovering which content is working and which isn’t, you can work towards increasing your CTR by adjusting accordingly.
What’s the open rate for your industry? Find out here.
One important tip: emails can be exciting.
To most people, emails probably aren’t as exciting as say, Snapchat or Instagram. After all, email doesn’t offer filters or stories: Email is simply a standard way of communication.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a viable part of your marketing or personal branding. In fact, the majority of millennials and Gen Zers check their email multiple times a day.
This is because email, although not particularly flashy, is a staple in our digital diets. And emails can be exciting and interesting with the right tools.
In fact, there’s a huge collection of design templates or layouts that you can use for your emails, as well as great subject line formulas to increase opens, which you can learn about below:
Read on for even more tips and tricks on how to make your emails look interesting:
Create a great subject line.
As we discussed above, subject lines are extremely important, since you’re counting on the subject line for opens. Take your time creating a compelling and exciting subject line that piques your audiences’ interest.
Keep it short and concise, and personalize it for the best results.
Do more than just promote.
If you use emails for promotions exclusively, it’s adding no value to your subscribers. Audiences will see your brand as one only concerned with sales.
Instead of just selling, you need to focus on adding value to your content. How? By offering them solutions to their issues.
Consider offering helpful articles, a support hub that’s easily accessible, and a customer-first attitude.
Don’t overdo it with the graphics.
You can use images, colors, fonts, and GIFs that match your brand look. But make sure that you don’t overdo it. Most of your subscribers will be using their mobile phones to check their emails, so you want the messages to load quickly.
Besides quirky graphics, you can always use bold and short content to get your audience to click on the CTA button.
View the step-by-step guide on choosing email images.
Strategies to build leads through email marketing
The first step before you start using email as a branding tool is to get the email addresses. There are two main ways to do that—from your customers and your website visitors.
After you’ve collected email addresses, the next step is deciding what messages to send.
You’ll need to have a plan first.
Start by introducing yourself first.
When you first send out an email, you want to sound like a human. You need to write a natural message where you first begin by introducing yourself. Don’t try to sell your products or services just yet.
Have a certain level of openness—tell them what you do, what they can expect, and what your goals are, so that, next time you send an email, they’ll know exactly who it’s coming from.
People always connect more with a person rather than a business. This welcome email from Girls’ Night In is a perfect example of business branding along with information about the founder. Plus, readers know what to expect from the newsletter.
Next, brand yourself as an expert.
The content you send out through your emails should educate your audiences.
You need to figure out what you’re an expert in and what your target audiences want to know. Find a niche and start providing insight.
These educational emails may not immediately lead subscribers to buy your products or services, but you will establish trust with quality content.
Lastly, entertain and inspire your audience.
Your main motive should be to entertain and inspire your audiences through your emails.
Connect with their sense of humor, their concerns, fears, and interests. If you’ve been sending them valuable content at relevant times, your subscribers will be eagerly waiting to hear from you.
Make relevant content with a marketing calendar.
Once you’ve mastered all these techniques, remember to stay consistent. Creating fresh content every week may seem like a task, but with the help of a quality ESP and a little automation, you can get your newsletter off the ground in no time.
So, are you ready to build your personal brand through email marketing?
Nilam Oswal is a Content Marketing Head and Brand Strategies at SoftwareSuggest. When she’s not hard at work, she can be found wandering, reading, and just generally having a good time in life.