Recently I spotted a large coffee mug with this inscription on the side of the cup: Question: Do senior men prefer boxer shorts or briefs? Answer: Depends!
That is the same answer I give people who ask whether they should use email or snail mail to market their products and services. It depends!
Almost everyone receives dozens (sometime hundreds!) of emails daily and nearly 60% routinely block images or attachments. If your email recipient doesn't know you well enough to recognize your name or email address, they will more than likely delete your electronic message as spam and will block future transmissions from you.
E-mail avoidance has become a major challenge as the deluge of junk mail builds daily. How can a small business prevent its email messages from being lost in the growing clutter of cyberspace?
Pay attention to your FROM and SUBJECT lines. Customers or prospects should be able to immediately recognize what your message is about. Emails are scanned, not read, much like a newspaper page. You have to catch the attention of the reader almost immediately; otherwise your message will be deleted.
Be careful purchasing or renting so-called permission based contact lists. Not many people knowingly sign up to receive mail without first knowing who will be contacting them and why. Many Internet users change their email addresses frequently.
Build your own list.
Start where you are. If that is 10 names, so be it! Set up your own program to capture permission based (opt in) mailing list names on your own. Offer customers, prospects, contacts and visitors valid reasons why they should sign up for your mailings. Be sure to include a simple means to opt out. Very important.
Opting in does not mean you have made a contact for life. Relevancy is critical. You need to know what your customers or prospects consider relevant and forget about what YOU think they need to know! Get to the point and get to it fast with a minimum of spin. Spin means spam and spam gets canned!
Give your newsletter or whatever message you send serious forethought. Make sure your offering or message is newsy, timely, valuable (to the recipient), and light on bloviating. Think Kiplinger Letter for style if you are producing a newsletter or e-zine (electronic magazine). Short, sweet and to the point. Remember that the point always hinges on what is in it for the reader to read and possibly save or act upon your message.
Many newsletters are ho-hum at best and not worth a second look at worst. Subscribing to a canned newsletter series and attempting to camouflage it as your own is about as effective as passing out vendor produced literature with your business name rubber stamped on the piece. Fugedaboutit!
If your mailing includes an offer, make it specific to your mailing list recipient. Duplicating your newspaper or broadcast advertisements lessens the value (to the recipient) of your mail message. Email recipients should feel they are getting special treatment and inside information. This strategy allows you to measure the effectiveness of your mail campaign vs. other media.
Many believe that email is much less expensive than snail mail! Depends! You can and should measure the true expense and effectiveness of the two methods (electronic and postal) by mailing the same offering or missive to the same list.
How many leads or phone calls does each campaign generate? How many of these leads or phone calls converted to actual sales? What is your actual cost per lead? These kinds of back of the envelope measurements can provide insight into effective use of your time and money as regards promoting your business.
Do not get caught up in thinking that you need to mail THOUSANDS in order to test. For a smaller business, 50 or 100 will do very nicely for testing purposes. Lose the Cost Per 1,000 mentality.
Email can be a cost effective way to communicate with your customers and prospects about your products and services. It definitely levels the promotional playing field. Your Main Street business can build a relationship as easily as a Fortune 500 firm by assisting you in building a solid relationship with your customer base.
Effective email advertising is not easy and it is not automatic. IT DEPENDS!
Bob Schumacher books and articles give entrepreneurs a clear coffee-shop English perspective on how to steer their business or profession into the top 20% who achieve 80% of the business and profits. Visit http://www.20do80.com for a complete directory of his articles and books.