Why You Should Use Email Marketing
Email marketing is more significant than ever as a tool to assist improve small business’s customer base & bottom line profits. This is especially true with competition being greater than ever in this prolonged recession. There is not much else that can impact a company’s bottom line faster than a well thought out email marketing campaign to a large & well-nurtured email list. A business can easily & cheaply deliver a large number of customized & personalized messages at predetermined intervals for next to nothing, so why not take advantage of it?
Every business, huge & small should be doing this. Most Small Business have not developed a serious email marketing strategy & this is something that should be done sooner rather than later. They are leaving money on the table, so to speak, by not using this valuable method of marketing.
Before you can conduct any sort of meaningful email marketing campaign, you need to have a list of people’s email address & names if possible. There are a number of ways to obtain this moving fast. As they say “the money is in the list”.
What is a Customer Worth to You?
Customer Lifetime Value
Most Small Business owners won’t know this, yet here’s how to calculate it:
1. Determine average net spend of a new customer transaction.
2. Determine average number of repeat purchases per year.
3. Estimate average number of years a customer patronizes the business.
So, let’s say the average customer buys an item worth $100 profit to the business, & then repeats this process once again in the year, they are worth $200 to the business in year one. If they remain a customer for 5 years, they are worth $1,000.
Use any figures you want, yet this is a simple way to view the worth of a customer
Building Email Lists:
1. Website pages. You never know which page a visitor will land on when they arrive at your site from a search engine or link. You maximize your chances of getting a lead if you have a signup form on every page of your site.
2. Special Internet-Only offers: Try to obtain your customers to obtain on your email lists to receive these special offers. The offers can be discounted products, two for one sales, coupons, vouchers or whatever you wish.
3. Ask for email addresses. Get your staff to ask customers for their email address.
4. Send postcards to your mailing list. If you have postal address information yet not email addresses of existing customers, send them a postcard asking them to subscribe to your email list. You will want to provide them with some sort of incentive of course.
5. Use Invoices: add a sign up box on your invoices.
6. Rented Lists: Can be useful in building a subscriber list. Be careful & only use a reputable provider of such a list & make sure your list contains names & addresses of people who are specifically interested in your type of products or services. Otherwise a waste of time.
7. Create a Newsletter: & promote it in all your company correspondence & advertising.
Do’s & Don’ts
1. Do Confirm all new subscribers: This will be done automatically via your autoresponder.
2. Do Use the “double opt-in” method to ensure the integrity of the signup. This confirms that the subscriber has given you their email address is done by having the subscriber reply again via email to confirm.
3. Do use the Unsubscribe Link Feature: This is very significant to let the subscriber know they can obtain off your list by unsubscribing. This stops a lot of complaints approximately spam. All reputable systems will provide this feature.
4. Do Personalize Each Message: You can increase both your reading & click-thru rates considerably by putting the subscribers name in the email. It’s significant to establish a relationship with each customer.
5. Do Choose Your wording Carefully. Most email systems use spam filters that analyses the certain words or combinations.
6. Do Use Eye Catching Subject Headings: When your email arrives in your subscriber’s inbox, there are only a few seconds to the subscribers attention. They will quickly delete your email or ignore it.
7. Don’t add email addresses to your list: unless the person has given you permission.
8. Don’t forget to sign your messages: Always include a signature at the bottom of your emails, as it’s one of the easiest ways to attract more traffic to your website. This signature should include your personal details, your company details, & an unsubscribe link.
Email Marketing Systems
Ok, now you have the basis of email marketing. Let’s focus on what you need to do next. You will need to select the Autoresponder system that best suits your requirements. Below are some of the more commonly used systems. These are not expensive & includes the hosting of the software (basically you only rent it) & your subscriber lists & follow up messages etc as well. These are all Hosted.
AWeber: Has some tremendous features & is effortless to use. Costs around $19.00 per month, yet cost will go up once you go past 5000 subscribers. Highly reliable & robust.
GetResponse: Similar to Aweber, yet a little more difficult to use in my opinion. Cost approximately $18.00 per month, cheaper with annual payments.
Trafficwave.Net: You obtain unlimited autoresponder & click track reporting. Price stays the same regardless of how many subscribers you obtain. Cost approximately $17.95 per month.
Imnica: A new & up & coming hosted system. It has the vast majority of features the others, same deliver-ability levels, & LESS strict policies. Imnica Mail moreover has a full blown API for effortless integration with existing systems. Not as effortless to use as some of the other, yet a tremendous price at $9.00 per month.
With Imnica Mail you moreover obtain unlimited lists, unlimited AutoResponder messages, & unlimited broadcasts to your list.
InfusionSoft. Good choice for larger businesses that need to send out huge quantities of email. It integrates email marketing, sales, e-commerce, & even customer service.
Because email marketing applications are available as hosted solutions, businesses do not have to worry approximately using their internal systems to send messages, nor do they have to worry approximately managing the mail server or backing up their database. Most importantly, they don’t have to worry approximately legal issues & CAN-SPAM compliance. With these third party systems, all of that is done for them. Once the email system is setup with the chosen provider the next step is to develop the email list. As email is the primary method of online communication. You should have a website that captures leads & sales, nothing is more significant than the email marketing system behind it.
Creating an “Opt-In” Form:
You create the Opt-in form within the Autoresponder. You chose the type of form you want, edit the wording & the system provides you with a code that you can cut & paste into your website.
Of the five above systems above, I recommend AWeber mainly for its reliability & ease of use. They moreover have a very neat “light box” feature that allows you to setup an opt-in form without needing to alter the design of your website. They moreover have satisfactory tutorials which lead you step-by-step through the setup process & use of the system.
What Kind of Emails: HTML or Plain Text?
What does this really mean? Basically with HTML you can send messages with text plus graphics & banners etc. With Plain Text is is text only.
Ideally, you would like to send your messages sent using HTML & graphics to obtain the full impact, just like in print flyers & direct mail. This works just fine, however, there are a few things to keep in mind with HTML email messages:
1. Many people will only accept email in Plain Text & have “images” turned off in their email accounts. If you send HTML emails to them, they will only see the words & not the graphics… not really the impression you want to convey.
2. Generally most of communicate in plain text (i.e. just words). It’s more personal & is more likely to be opened & read.
3. Plain Text has is disadvantages as well. For example you can’t use all of the means at your disposal to obtain your message across, such as headlines, photos, pictures, etc.
4. I recommend that you start out with Plain Text
Building Email Lists Through Offline Methods
All Businesses, both large & small should be building their email list offline as well as online.
A satisfactory example of this is a retail outlet dealing directly with customers. The staff could ask their customers if they want to sign up for Internet Specials. Staff could even wear a badge saying “Have You Heard About our Internet Offers?” When the customer asks a member of staff what the Internet Offers are, they say they alter all the time so it’s best to email them to you each time they change… do you want to obtain on our email list? Your Staff can capture the email information on a small card specially prepared for this or on the part of the receipt that the business keeps. This method is a bit slow, yet over time it will grow significantly. This same basic strategy can be used for any business where there is direct customer contact.
Over 90 percent of the small businesses today are not using email marketing, & the other are no not doing it very well. As a Small Business Owner you can leap ahead of your competition if you take advantage of Email Marketing.
Remember – the money is in the list.
If you are not already familiar with autoresponder services such as AWeber, you should create free trial accounts & practice integrating their forms with a website. You’ll see that it’s very effortless to do. If you obtain stuck or need any assist there are consultants that can sort this out for you at very reasonable cost.
I hope that you take this powerful concept & act on it!
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