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E-Mail Marketing

If you're like most small-business owners, you need a generous supply of potential customers' names and e-mail addresses to effectively market your offerings online.
 

The good news is you don't have to deceive or spam people into getting them. The bad news is that too many others have already taken that route, giving online marketing a shady reputation. Unlike the offline world, where everyone receives junk mail daily and simply tosses it into the recycling bin, unwanted e-mail messages offend people and trigger nasty replies. People are more protective than ever of their e-mail addresses.

So, how do you build your database of names and e-mail addresses? Here are seven tips to consider:

  1. Be upfront: Put an e-mail sign-up box prominently on your home page. Why not just tell customers what you want? In return, offer something of value, earn their trust, and build the relationship. The offers could include free tips and advice, news alerts, newsletters and/or new product information. Be creative, but allow people to opt-out of these e-mails anytime they want.
  2. Make your promotions and special offers worth the click. Contests for cash prizes or free trips will always attract lots of sign-ups, whether the offers are made through banner or e-mail newsletter ads. Make the offers worth the trouble. Yet also know that the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this strategy, because those signing up are often not long-term customers. Still, an incentive-based offer is a way to gather hundreds of names and e-mail address, which are especially viable if your site is frequented primarily by your target customers. It's a way to gather names and build business relationships.
  3. Put ads and links in specialized e-mail newsletters. What newsletters reach the audience your business wants to reach? By targeting your ads and promotions in specialized e-mail newsletters, you may get more promising sign-ups. It builds credibility for you and your business.
  4. Do your own free newsletter too. So you hadn't thought of this already? Regular e-mail newsletters provide an incentive for people to stay in touch with you and your business, if you provide worthwhile content. What tips, advice, resources and other information can your newsletter provide – beyond simply touting your services? By following tips nos.1 and 3, you can build traffic and acquire customer names. Even peaking at a subscriber base of 500 may be worth your while in terms of customer loyalty and industry visibility.
  5. Think geographically (and think beyond ads). A common mistake among many small businesses today is that they fail to realize their best online customers are generally nearby. To that end, what are the online publications and web sites that serve your geographic area? What are the e-mail newsletters that are geographic in nature? Here is where playing up your physical location is most helpful. Think local, not global. Know what publications people locally read, where they hang out online.

    Besides placing ads in these publications, write articles, submit letters to the editors, and send posts to discussion lists – all including your business name and web site address.
  6. Partner with other complementary businesses in e-mail and ad campaigns. Exchanging e-mail and online ads with other businesses in your industry or geographic region is often an effective way of targeting your customer acquisition efforts. The trick is to find such businesses that aren't your competitors.

Alas, you still may be tempted to buy or rent that cheap list of names of people who haven't given their permission to be e-mailed. Resist. Think about the junk that comes into your inbox – and whether your business should be regarded that way.

Click here for more information about e-mail marketing services, or call:

(281) 829.0223 or information@allstarsb2b.com
Houston, Texas

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