I’ve got a feeling that a lot of business people view email marketing as nothing but being a spammer.
Let’s get the issue of spam out of the picture. Spam is the sending of unsolicited commercial emails (UCE), generally to people you don’t know. It works because if you send out enough (millions of emails are very common), a very small percentage will get an order. But more likely your efforts will get your emails blocked.
There is a different kind of email marketing, one that I can recommend every business use. Permission based email to a list of people who know you (and likely trust you).
That email marketing might be a notice of a sales promotion. Or it might be a newsletter with useful content. Or it might be a quick note with a link to a relevant article on-line.
The key to successful email marketing is 1) permission, 2) relevance, leading to 3) trust. Satisfy all three, your emails not only won’t be blocked, they’ll be opened.
You should be getting an email address from every customer or lead you come in contact with! Put a stack of sign up cards on your store counter. Include an offer on your website. Ask for the address on the phone. But get that address! And then use it wisely.
Don’t send an email to a group of people by copying their email addresses into the To: field of your email client. They may not want their email addresses shared. And using the Bcc: field can get your email blocked.
Once you have more than a few email addresses, you need to use a “real” email blaster that is designed for sending messages.
I use a PC application for my email blasting called GroupMail (http://www.infacta.com). It is cost effective, reliable, and has a lot of features I use. It can format HTML and create text-only alternatives automatically. I use its scheduling feature to set up emails to be sent weekly at the same time for a couple of months. That way I don’t need remember to send my weekly newsletter. It also can manage LARGE lists and handle unsubscribe requests automatically. I also use its exclusion list feature to make sure no email I send goes to someone who has asked to stop receiving emails.
If you’d prefer a web based alternative which doesn’t require any set up, I suggest the Emma email service (http://www.myemma.com/). I found Emma to be feature rich and very cost effective for most small business needs.
You can use email to build your business, what’s stopping you?
Gregg Marshall, CPMR, CSP, is a speaker, author and consultant. He can be reached by e-mail at gmarshall[AT]repconnection.com, or visit his website at http://www.repconnection.com