The Basics of Email Marketing
Internet marketing is a significant way of reaching your customers in an affordable matter. One component of this is email marketing which is being added to, or replacing, direct mail campaigns. Direct mail is sending mail pieces directly through traditional postal service mail. Instead you can now reach your current and potential customers at home and work via email at a much more affordable price.
When you start investigating email marketing, you will hear the term "opt in". This means your customers have signed up and submitted their email to you instead of you purchasing a blind mailing list. Sending out unsolicited sales pieces is considered spam. Interested customers can sign up for newsletters or other promotions via your Web site or blog and they have the option of canceling at any time which is "opting out". This provides a more loyal and engaged list and can be an add-on to your "snail mail" pieces.
Typically, to start an email campaign, you will sign up for an online service. Samples of these online services are Aweber and 1 Shopping Cart and both offer a free trial period and nice templates (text or HTML) and other tools to get your email marketing off to a solid start. You will also want to look for a service that provides excellent database management of your contacts, optional surveys and solid customer service.
Email marketing is just one piece of the pie known as "Internet marketing". Internet marketing encompasses things like social networking, pay-per-click advertising, banner ads, blogging and more. All of these are important in creating interest and loyalty in your readership-enough so that they register by entering their contact information in your sign-up box on your Web site or blog.
Once someone has visited your site, they will often encounter what is known in marketing terms as a "squeeze page". How it got that name, I'm not sure, but a squeeze page is really just a pop-up box or page that invites readers to subscribe and tells them the benefits of doing so. It is a sales piece and often includes a report, a tutorial, an e-book or something for free to entice them to offer their email address to you. This is the "opt in" point, when the reader agreements to sign-up.
After your new subscriber has entered in his or her contact information, they receive an auto-responder message. An auto-responder is a thank you message and verification tool in one. You've undetected received one of these with a link that you click on to verify that you actually subscribed or which gives you the option to change your mind by not doing so. There should be something persuasive in this contact as well so that the reader follows all the way through. Some businesses and entrepreneurs actually use video at some of these junctures to greet their new subscribers!
As easy as it is for a new subscriber to "opt in" and subscribe, so it is easy (and legally required) that they have the ability to opt right back out by unsubscribing. Your job is to give them many reasons not to do this: respect (never sending them junk email or selling their information) and value (information and tools they really need). If you are not creative, you can outsource writing valuable content to a professional writer.
Remember to let your subscribers know that they need to add your email address to their contact list. Email accounts have pretty advanced spam filters now and newsletters / marketing pieces are suspect to filters. By letting your subscriber know, via the auto-responder message, that they should add your email as a contact, you drastically reduce the chance they will never see your mailings.
Using email marketing is a creative and affordable way to reach interested current and potential customers. Offer solid and unique content and product / service offerings and do not just see email campaigns as a push for a sale. Treat your subscribers with respect, do not give away your contact information, or sell it, without their permission. By giving them a reason to read and return to your site and review new material or products, you create a real relationship with them and this is invaluable for your business.
With 30 years of business coaching experience, Steven Schlagel provides training and coaching for startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners. Check his site for more articles to increase your success!