As an entrepreneur, you’re used to wearing many hats and wishing you could be more places and do more things at once. Heck, you wish you could clone yourself.

Since you can’t clone yourself, there are new ways you can reach more customers and prospects with less effort on your part.

Email marketing is the old-school way to stay in touch with a larger audience in a more personalized way.

Email is great because we all know how to use it, and most of us live in our inboxes.

The twist is, new email marketing tools make it simpler than ever to send relevant, personalized emails to the inbox. The payoff is better engagement with your audience, driving more sales for your business.

Missed Opportunities

Part of the reason we’re obsessed with following up with more people at once is that you never know when your next opportunity has landed on your website - and to miss an opportunity would be a crime.

[pullquote]Adding online forms to your website ensures that you capture potential opportunities[/pullquote] - from contacts who are just looking, to those who are ready to reach out to your sales team.

Resource and white paper downloads as well as newsletter sign-ups are all great tools for connecting with those who are just browsing. “Contact Us” and demo forms make it simple to connect with hot opportunities who are ready to buy.

As contacts fill out these forms, auto-responder emails make sure that they receive relevant, helpful information that takes them to the next step in their buying journey. So in addition to sending a link to the resource your contact requested, you can also include an invitation to check out a recorded webinar on a related subject.

Likewise, an auto-responder can reassure a contact that you’ve received their request.  You can also include details about how you will be following up and who they can reach out to if they have questions in the meantime.

Online forms and email autoresponders help entrepreneurs connect and follow-up with new leads. And, because the process is automated, you can stay personal while extending your reach.

Personalization, Super-Sized

Sticking a first name merge field into an email greeting and mentioning the company in the body are old hat. But merge fields alone aren’t enough to create that warm, fuzzy, one-to-one feeling with your audience.

While demographic details help to personalize your message, it’s really the content that can tip off your contacts as to whether or not you’re being authentic.

Generic, one-size-fits-all newsletters have a tendency to end up in the trash folder. But, if you can segment your contacts by their interests and write a message that appeals to their unique agenda, they’ll be much more engaged with your email and your brand.

Segment Your Audience

Marketing automation allows entrepreneurs to leverage email in this personal way by tracking online activity and tagging contacts by their interests.

For example, if you’re a personal trainer, some of your clients may be interested in losing weight, while others might want to train for the Iron Man.

While they are both good customers for your business, they each have a unique agenda. Marketing automation can tag contacts that are checking out your weight loss tips as “weight loss” and tag contacts that are browsing Iron Man training tips as “training”.

As marketing automation dynamically segments your contacts, you can easily send weight loss recipes to the weight loss group and endurance training tips to the training category.

Walk in Their Shoes

To get super personal, think about the path your contacts take to become customers. Short email campaigns that deliver targeted content over time can help move people who are just browsing into the ready to buy stage.

Nurture with Campaigns

With marketing automation, you can send drip campaigns, or a series of emails scheduled over time. These can be triggered automatically based on your contact’s actions.

So, back to our personal trainer example, if a contact downloads your healthy recipe ebook, they are sorted into the weight loss category and can be started on a 5 email campaign. You can share more weight loss tips to stay top of mind, and include a call-to-action to schedule a free fitness consult.

As you send relevant emails over time that speak to your contact’s needs, you boost brand awareness, increase trust, and grow sales. You’re automatically nurturing contacts who aren’t quite ready to buy, warming them up for a great sales conversation down the road.

In the meantime, you aren’t tied to ineffective business development tactics like cold calling. Your time can be spent building relationships with people that are truly interested in doing business with you. You can’t clone yourself...yet. So for now, use personalized email marketing to reach more people without losing the personal, authentic experience you’re known for delivering.