Providing Great Customer Service is something every online business should aim to give their customers. Why? Because each happy customer is more likely both to return, and to encourage others to come too. If they recommend a friend, they are just as likely to recommend a bunch. Think about that, the cheapest marketing tactic, "referred business".
Of course thats fine with a business that has more visitors than you need, but as your traffic will start small, you need to hang on to any/all of the visitors that come your way. One way to do this is to encourage as many of them as you can to subscribe to your mailing list or opt-in list. This is essentially a list where visitors are agreeing for you to be able to send them promotional materials such as newsletters, catalogs and such that could keep them updated about your site, products, news etc.
When using e-mail as the media of your marketing and advertisements, you eliminate the need for high cost marketing campaigns (such as PPC). Email is of course free and if you can use a low cost graphics package and web design software to make professional looking promotional advertisements you can keep the costs down. With an opt-in subscribers list, you are pretty sure that what you are sending out is received, viewed and read by the subscribers and not simply being deleted. They have signed up for service and have consented in receiving it. It is very important to have a double-opt in script, this means that when a user subscribes they confirm their subscription.
Some times however a subscriber may unsubscribe (opting out of your newsletter), they do this when they feel that they are not getting what they want or expected, or they feel there are too many advertisements, and not enough benefits. Make sure that you have some time each week/month to review your marketing strategy. This way you will keep your subscribers happy. Now lets look at some things you can do in order to build a list of eager subscribers.
Make it fun and Informative! Its really important to make sure what you send out is of interest to your subscribers, and if possible fun. Try to use a little creativity but be careful not to lose track of the message. Build content around what your product or service is about. For example; if you are selling computer parts, put some pictures of what is new in the computer parts world, a new CPU Fan possibly that can fit any CPU.
Make it something they want to read about! If you do your research well, you will be able to write about things that your subscribers are looking for, and this helps you to stay one step ahead of them all the time. Imagine that they are going to look to you as the one who tells them about what is new, and what is happening, you will be the expert they want to hear from.
Writing Style! Remember when writing an article, someone will need to be motivated to read it, or the article is not worth the kbs its written in. So when dealing with info heavy subjects, try to keep the article fresh and lively, rather than deep and boring. When a subscriber enjoys an article, he will click the links in it, to read more, so you can use sample paragraphs from the full article, to drive more visitors to your site.
Can't write, won't write! If you feel you can't write, first, I understand, I really don't like writing, but when I get my mind on it, I can fire out articles, but if you simply cant get inspired, go to Scriptlance and hire a writer, for about $5 you can get 400 - 1000 word articles. You can also use a tool like Instant Article Wizard to help you research subjects. You may find writing hard as you don't know how to start, have a look at how this tool work (check out the video).
Keep writing! Once you work out the method of writing, keep going, Create and offer to send an E-book to your customers about a subject that is related to your business or site. Using your expert knowledge and experience in your subject field will be helpful to others, and will encourage people to sign up to your site.
Include links to your site in the e book and then share it virally, offer it free, offer subscribers the chance to offer it to their friends, it will build a steady flow of "Free" traffic to your site.
If possible you can use discount coupons in your newsletters, these can be used to drive customers to a particular product or category. Make sure they are not "unlimited" otherwise you may find that they use the coupon more than once, many e-stores such as OS Commerce include fully customizable coupons, so it shouldn't be a problem to get it right. Also by sending a discount code your users will feel more than happy to receive another newsletter from you.
Finally don't forget to make sure that your subscribers will get some benefits from your newsletters, this way they will eagerly anticipate them, please don't just send out information they don't need, or that has no value, it will only annoy subscribers, and you will find it hard to get a subscriber back after they unsubscribe.