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Want the best ROI in 2014? Think EMAIL.

January 14 2014

hg roi 2014 emailWhat are your business goals for 2014? Get more listings? Book more appointments? Double your sales?

Over the next few weeks, as you are fully in "It's the New Year, let's kick butt" mode, you'll probably be considering myriad tools and systems to kickstart your 2014 sales. Email should be on the top of of your list.

Yes, EMAIL.

Not exciting, you say? Poppycock. Balderdash. Nonsense.

Email is hands-down, flat-out, unequivocally, and in all other ways more profitable than any other method of communication. According to a study by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), email marketing yields a return of $40.56 per dollar spent, compared with $22.24 for search, $12.71 for social networking and $10.51 for mobile. That's not chump change.

Not just that, email is actually most people's preferred method of communication. It's true.

94% of American adults use email regularly–like daily. 58% of check email first thing in the morning (sorry, Facebook!) And email has been deemed the favorite mode of communication by the much-coveted "Millennial" demographic.

Before your mind starts swirling with visions of newsletters, blog updates, catchy headlines and calls to action, STOP. Just stop right there.

Email marketing is changing, and it's changing for the better. Just because we prefer it doesn't mean we aren't all tired of people marketing AT us with it. We want to be marketed TO. Nowadays, for email to be an effective part of your marketing campaign, you need to engage your database–the recipients of your messages–in conversation.

It's as simple as that.

Your database can divided into any number or groups and sections, but right now, let's talk about the three most profitable pieces.

1. People Who Know You But Who Aren't Looking to Buy Right Now

This group of people is made up of your sphere of influence: your friends, family, social acquaintances, past clients, and referral partners.

Trying to engage this group of people in a conversation about your business is going to make them feel like targets. Nobody likes that. Sending them a barrage of emails about your business is a sure way to make them start ignoring you.

Try this instead: Keep in touch in a fun, friendly way. Build rapport and make those folks know you care about your relationship with them and want it to grow. Short on ideas? Check out our Top 5 Nurturing Emails of 2013.

2. People Who Know You and ARE Looking to Buy

If you know someone and know that they are looking to buy what you are selling, what are you waiting for? Ask them for their business. If they don't give it to you, respectfully ask why they are choosing someone else.

There is no room for a bulk strategy here, just roll up your sleeves and reach out.

3. People Who Don't Know You and Are Thinking About Buying

This group of people is made up of new leads. You need a system that will help you capture, acknowledge, position, and nurture these leads until you can gain their trust.

DON'T: Simply email them things that they can find online. Here's the long and short of it, folks: if all you can provide to someone is stuff they can search for on the Internet (read: pretty much everything), the Internet is going to have your job sooner rather than later (just ask travel agents or, more to the point, former travel agents). You need to demonstrate to these people that there is a real person out there that has a wealth of knowledge that will be helpful to them as they make their buying decision. You need to show them that what you offer isn't something they can find on Google. Then you need to engage them in real conversation and build a relationship with them outside of a search engine.

Try this instead: Nurture them by asking questions and getting them talking. Great salespeople know conversations are the first step to sales.

Email can get you the ROI you need to take your sales to new heights in 2014, but it's time to start thinking about it in new ways. It's time to stop using tools and, instead, create systems for success. Email has the power to do that.

To view the original article, visit the Happy Grasshopper blogHappy Grasshopper blog.