Email marketing is a powerful way of building relationships with your customers and to send updates and special offers to your customers. This essential effort helps to drive your customers back to your business. Furthermore, email marketing helps you build up a network of contacts.
I am just surprised that not enough small businesses use email marketing. With a network or database of customers, you can continue to market to them and have them continuously refer their friends & family members to you.
As such, it is important for you to try to capture your customers and prospects’ contact information at every opportunity and touch point (on your website, at tradeshow, at point of sale in your store, surveys, at seminars, etc).
Once you have your prospect’s email, you have to make a genuine effort to build relationship and gain their trust. You have to establish yourself as the expert in your field so that they can count on you anytime they need help or their friends/family need help.
You can establish your credibility and expertise by providing them with useful and valuable information pertaining to your business and industry.
An email costs you almost nothing. By using an “autoresponder” email marketing service, you can send an email to your list of prospects and customers automatically. A good starter autoresponder service for small businesses that you can use is Aweber, probably the most popular one out there. It costs only $20 a month.
Since Aweber is an established email service company and is recognized among Google, Yahoo, AOL, your email messages will have higher delivery rate and not end up in the SPAM box.
Another good email marketing program to use is Vertical Response. With Vertical Response, you have the option of paying per email sent. If you don’t send email as often, you may prefer to use Vertical Response.
You’d need to give your clients and prospects some incentives in order to get them to sign up and offer their emails to you. You can use incentives such as offering them free downloads, free whitepapers, coupons, discounts, immediate notice of new items arrival, or when you are offering specials.
Other incentives may include a special report or E-book that they can immediately download. Be sure to mention these incentives and encourage your prospects and customers to give you their emails on your website, brochure, at the cashier checkout, at tradeshows, or on any other marketing literatures and events.
For example, if you have a restaurant, you can instruct your waiter/waitress to ask for the customer’s email in exchange for a free dessert coupon on their next visit.
This is called “permission” email marketing. In other words, you only e-mail people that give you permission to e-mail them. It’s important that you never send mass, unsolicited emails to people. Doing so is ineffective and may lead to legal troubles for your business.
Here are some best practice advices to follow to maximize your email marketing success:
To learn more about email marketing, you can visit the Aweber website. They have many great articles on email marketing best practices.