Email Marketing and Your Business

Email marketing came of age after direct marketing practitioners realized that their methods of engaging customers with postal mail could be applied to the Internet.  For those who are unclear about what email marketing is, it is using email to promote offers and/or obtain new customers.  Reports have proven that this is the next best marketing technique after search marketing.

You can rent a list, purchase a list based on demographics for your niche, or set up an opt-in page to gather list members from your target market.  Even though it takes longer, building your own email marketin list from scratch is probably the safest and most reliable method to use.

No matter where you begin with your list building, a well-written email marketing message can gain a prospect’s trust by disclosing relevant information that helps them to make informed purchasing decisions.  Email marketing also has potential to enhance relationships with existing customers if you continue to provide valuable communications that facilitate repeat or referral business.

The major advantages of email marketing is that there are multiple ways to automate your scheduled or broadcasted communications and it is much more cost-efficient than postal mail.  In addition, your offers have potential to “go viral” because members of your lists can easily forward messages to friends and colleagues who they feel might be interested, which increases your opportunities to make sales and add new customers to your email marketing lists.

Get Income BlogWithin a relatively short period of time, a large audience can be identified and targeted.  Autoresponders, like Aweber, allow you to monitor the responsiveness of your list with email open statistics and click through rates on your embedded links.  They can also help you craft a message that won’t be filtered out by built-in spam catchers.

The sales ratios of your email marketing campaigns or inquiries from members of your list may lead you to new ideas for products and services.  Email enables you to engage your customers in dialogue that helps you to scope your new product development by inviting list members to take surveys or provide feedback on ideas that you are forming.  Talk about convenience!

How Much and How Often?

Loose statistics from direct marketing resources indicates that new customers may need to hear about an offer up to 10 times before making a purchasing decision.  Equally important is that your messages must be timed in such a way that your new list members don’t feel overwhelmed.  For example, I’ve enrolled in campaigns and opted out immediately after receiving multiple messages in quick succession or too many notes in a week.

In my opinion, more than one email marketing message a day is too many.  I’m also of the opinion that more than a couple (3 or more) email marketing messages a week is too much volume, particularly prior to conversion.  Setting up your campaigns to send email every 4th day, or so, keeps your offer on the prospect’s mind without seeming overly aggressive.  That is the whole idea, right?

If all of your all of your email marketing messages are pitching something, people will learn to ignore you.  Keep your email marketing messages relevant and brief.  Most folks are dealing with information overload when they peruse their email inbox so your subjects must stand out if you expect your email to get opened.  Using fantastic email marketing titles that compel people to open may work according to some people but it also can make you seem less trustworthy.    To earn and keep the confidence of your list members, stick to actual facts about your offer and try writing messages that DON’T require disclaimers in tiny print at the bottom of the note.  🙂

Email Marketing Can Have a Dark Side

Some companies collect email addresses of people illegally and send irrelevant mails to them, which can be very annoying.  To get past spam filters, these messages will often have many lines of irrelevant text below the offer with “safe” words in them.

Some hackers intentionally design an email that looks like an advertisement but, when the ads are clicked, malicious software is downloaded that creates headaches for an unsuspecting or naive end user.  I will never understand why smart people, like hackers must be, use their creativity and talent to wreak havoc on people!  Even though your email marketing message is not malicious, you need to understand that everyone with a computer and email has heard one or more horror story and this will affect the success of your campaigns … especially if you have purchased or rented a  list.

In my previous post, I discussed the highlights of the CAN-SPAM act of 2003.  Caution is recommended for any list you choose to join but this does not keep you from receiving unsolicited email marketing, just as postal regulations do not restrict sending demographic based mail to your home.

Since the CAN-SPAM act only applies to US businesses, it is legal to initiate an email marketing campaign from a purchased or rented list as long as a physical address and a functional opt-out is included in the message, and email marketers are allowed up to 10 days following the request to remove people, the CAN-SPAM act seems to protects marketers more than consumers.  Sadly, my single voice isn’t loud enough to get these laws changed anytime soon and corporate entities with much more influence than me are working hard to loosen SPAM regulations, not tighten them.

Most email clients and webmail systems have spam filtering capabilities that can help to keep your inbox clean but those algorithms aren’t perfect.  How many times have you found a legitimate messages in your spam folder?  How many legitimate messages have you accidentally deleted?

Email Marketing is Only ONE Marketing Channel

As the saying goes, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  This is especially true for marketing and advertising expenses.  Email marketing is a great tool for building your business out there but you should also be testing other marketing methods and you should always be tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Go forth and prosper, and make sure you use this marketing method wisely.

How To Be a Conscious Internet Marketing Professional

When databases appeared on the technology scene, corporate marketing departments grasped the power at their disposal.  The possibilities seemed endless to develop and maintain high quality relationships with their customer base by understanding their purchasing habits.  Before the World Wide Web was in place, direct marketing was born.

As technology progressed, so did its marketing uses.  Eventually, direct marketers began to apply their knowledge and skills to internet marketing.  Even though databases and email made it easier to contact consumers, receiving unsolicited offers in email seemed more offensive to most people than throwing away mounds of envelopes. 

Internet marketers caught on to these techniques but, even after anti-spam laws began enforcing opt-in procedures, this hands-off approach to marketing is often found lacking.  Blasting out an offer to someone whom you have not taken time to know may produce sales but people don’t like to be sold and, eventually, they tune out or opt-out.

The goal of direct marketing campaigns, both in the early days and as technology evolved, was to emphasize customer retention by producing individualized satisfaction.  I may be mistaken but I believe that Amazon was the first company to use technology to recommend books or music based on purchasing trends.  As their stock prices soared, a point was proven.  Relationship marketing works!

Using social networks to develop business contacts is very powerful, if done correctly.  Before you begin interacting on social sites, determine what sort of person you would like to have in your business with you.  You must also know what you have to offer and, believe me, it is not a product, service, upline, compensation plan or business opportunity.  The only product that you have to offer is YOU and your unique skill set.

Perusing groups or forums is a good way to find individuals with similar interests.  While choosing a person with a smiling face who has taken some care to present themselves is important, you should also review their profiles before requesting to be friends.  Make a decision, based on your criteria, whether or not you want to know them.

Obviously, people may also request your friendship.  This isn’t a popularity contest and you should carefully consider whether or not you want to know them better by examining their profile before accepting.  Whether or not you initiated the process, always observe how they communicate with you and be mindful of how you communicate.  Relationship marketing relies on communication, as do most human relationships. 

A very important thing to remember is to NOT focus on immediate sales but to find some common ground with your new friend.  Determine their interests and motivations.  Once you’ve found some commonality, you can exchange ideas with your new friend about topics of mutual interest. 

If something leads you to believe your new friend might benefit from being in business with you, employ a consistent application of up-to-date knowledge by using stories about your experiences in your business.  Remember to be polite.  Ensure that they are interested in hearing these stories and remember to not always make the communication about what you are doing.  People also like to feel heard. 

If you have adhered to the guidelines of relationship building, there will be no need to use hard sales techniques to “close” your friends into your business opportunity.  You will have inspired them to want to learn more about you and what you are doing and will also have earned their trust by not trying to sell them anything.