E-mail marketing: an effective weapon
IN an earlier article titled “The Tools For Profitable Internet Marketing”, I referred to E-mail Marketing as “the tool you use to keep in touch with the leads who are not ready to purchase yet. With an e-mail marketing system, you can send regular e-mail communication to stay in the minds of your prospective customers. E-mail marketing through an e-mail service provider is a winner because it is very cheap, direct and accountable.”
If you’re on the internet, you use e-mail. According to an ongoing study by the Pew Research Center since 2002, e-mailing has been ranked as the most popular online activity in nine out of ten US adults.
Why Use E-mail Marketing
E-mail is very cheap to reach targeted prospects in contrast to regular advertising like print ads, radio, television and even online display ads.
A regular e-mail newsletter is a great customer touch point to stay top of mind with people who have not purchased from you as yet, or from whom you want a repeat purchase.
E-mail also allows you to spend time marketing to a set of people who have explicitly told you they would like to receive communication from you by subscribing to your newsletter, and not wasting time on others who may not want to hear what you have to say.
How To Get Started
Once you’ve decided that you want to start an e-mail marketing program for your business, it is easy to get started. If you collect e-mail addresses from leads, customers and partners, you can get those together into a database to begin your e-mail marketing program.
Create a spreadsheet with columns for a name and an e-mail address and add the information from your contact database into the new spreadsheet so you can upload it to your chosen provider.
Use an E-mail
If you want your e-mail marketing program to be a success, you need to use an E-mail Service Provider (ESP). These are companies that offer a service enabling users to send permission-based e-mail marketing campaigns to their subscribers. They provide a specific service: to send commercial e-mail.
E-mail marketing is trackable and accountable when conducted through an E-mail Service Provider. You can get information on how many people and who opened your e-mails, what links were clicked and the number of forwards and unsubscribes.
Good E-mail Service Providers keep the sender compliant with anti-spam laws and also keep your e-mail address on the right side of e-mail spam blacklists.
They also provide easy-to-use templates for formatting your e-mails. This is very important since sending e-mails with fancy formatted images require the use of HTML, the code used to create websites. You cannot create HTML e-mails with your regular web-based e-mail like Gmail or Hotmail. This is the domain of E-mail Service Providers.
If you’re beginning your e-mail marketing program with a list pulled from your present contact databse, you would need to choose an ESP which allows you to upload a database. Not all ESPs allow this as they require you start your e-mail database from scratch with a double opt-in process.
Opt-In, Double Opt-in
When setting up your list in your e-mail service provider, there are two ways people can add themselves to your database. The first is by single opti-in. This means they add their information (name and e-mail address) to your website form and they can begin to receive your e-mails. There is nothing else for them to do. While this is the easiest way, it has the drawback of people adding e-mail addresses that they don’t own to your e-mail database.
Double opt-in defeats the drawback of single opt-in. With double opt-in, when someone signs up for your e-mail communications, they are automatically sent a confirmation e-mail to verify that you did indeed sign up to receive those messages. All the person has to do is to click a link in the e-mail to confirm. In my observation, most legitimate e-mail marketing is conducted after a double opt-in process.
All commercial e-mails must include an option to unsubscribe from future communications in order to comply with anti-spam legislation in the United States. So if someone is wrongly added to your e-mail list, or if they no longer wish to receive your e-mails, they can quickly and easily unsubscribe themselves.
Letters or Both.
You can choose the type of e-mail marketing communications you would like to send to your list. The easiest type to get started with is a regular e-mail newsletter. You can send a monthly or fortnightly newsletter to your e-mail database through your ESP. Examples of content for your newsletter are a short article relevant to your industry, a cartoon or graphic and some links to content on the internet that your subscribers would find useful. You can also include an ad for a specific product or service you provide in your e-mail newsletter.
On the other hand, you can also send a sales letter to your e-mail list. If you’ve got a sale coming up, you can promote that specific event with your e-mail communication, or you can send a sales letter to promote a specific product or service.
Market. Don’t Spam.
In order for your e-mail marketing strategy to be effective, you must remember that it’s okay to send commercial e-mail, but it’s not okay to spam. If you’re creating a list from a database, let them know in the first message why they’re receiving your commercial e-mail and that it’s easy to unsubscribe if they no longer wish to receive similar messages from you in the future.
Space out your e-mail communications in regular intervals so that it doesn’t become an annoyance.
E-mail is a great weapon to add to your marketing arsenal. In just a couple hours, you can create a great customer touch point that’s cheap, easy to do, direct and accountable.
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