Judging from the e-mails I receive, e-mail marketing is not handled well by most businesses. So I have assembled some tips and suggestions which will help you to get started or refine what you are doing now.
When to use e-mail as a communication / promotional tool?
A short list of ten: Create another ten yourself!
1. To keep your relationship with current customers strong
2. To gain referrals
3. To update customers on your business, product, industry or pricing changes
4. Prompts and reminders – time for your next service
5. To attract prospects to your website with a link so they can click straight through
6. As on-line newsletters
7. Invitations / event marketing
8. Surveys and test marketing
9. Relationship marketing
10. Thank you and congratulation messages
SIX EASY STEPS TO GETTING STARTED IN E-MAIL MARKETING
STEP ONE – Develop a Customer database
*First name and surname (in separate columns) *Company name *Address (physical & postal) *Email address *Website *Product purchased / serviceused *Date of last visit / purchase *Referral base (where did they come from) *Purchase history *Sales target.
STEP TWO – Start with a thankyou
The customer has just given you their e-mail address, or just bought from you, so why not start with a thank you as your first e-mail, with a gift or voucher they can redeem with their next order. You can betthey will be impressed and won’t delete e-mails from you in the future. Better still a voucher brings themback to you for another sale.
STEP THREE – Prepare a promotional program
Start planning a promotional schedule with objectives / targets for the next 12 months, with regular contact and rewards built into your e-mail communications.
STEP FOUR – Offer value for opening your emails
Give thought to making your e-mail communications as interesting and easy to read as possible and support them with rewards for those who open and read them. These rewards can be discount vouchers, useful information / articles / industry information etc. Anything that the customer would consider valuable or a help in their business or personal life will work.
STEP FIVE – Make sure your website has an “OPT-IN” option
If your website has not yet got a mechanism for visitors to request information or regular contact for special offers etc, then you should organise it right away. Make sure you have a really good offer and your website visitors can become part of your prospect database.
STEP SIX – Create prospects E-mail database
Prospective customers do not turn into buyers overnight, so it is important to keep them fresh through e-mail contacts and offers, until they are ready to buy. For prospects’ e-mail addresses you could consider buying or renting a targeted list from a reputable list broker as well as creating an opt-in response mechanism on your website where visitors could give their details and e-mail addresses in return for information and regular contact.
IMPORTANT…. ‘OP OUT’ Mechanism
Make sure you ALWAYS have an opt-out mechanism or invitation so that any customer or prospect can opt-out of receiving your emails and be confident that this will happen. When you receive a request for a recipient to opt out do it immediately and document the fact in case of a complaint.
MORE… On E-mail marketing
Email marketing is a big subject which I will continue with in future issues, where we will be exploring the best ways to write e-mails that will be opened, read and acted on to create enquiries and on-line sales.