December 19, 2007
Are you used to the new vernacular yet? E-tailer, E-marketing, E-mail, E-trends, E-business, E-commerce - E-GADS! Let’s face it, our world and how we communicate is changing rapidly. Are you keeping up?
E-marketing is simply using electronic media to achieve marketing results. I should exist in conjunction to your normal marketing efforts as a powerful tool to get the right message to the right people. In this article we are going to cover E-newsletters.
The E-newsletter is a great way to keep in front of your current clients and promote new and exciting products or services you provide as well as special events and pricing. Some of the other benefits are that it has a global reach and can be viral (meaning each person may send it to many). It costs much less than printed pieces in production and postage. It is highly track able and measurable thanks to new technology - on average a website will experience a 300% increase in hits when the newsletter is sent out. You can also use any media you want such as graphics, video, audio and interactive media.
Some things to keep in mind before you start. Because of the CAN SPAM Act (read more HERE) you must be careful how you go about this. Let’s face it, nobody likes spam. You have to have an “opt in” and “opt out” method associated with your newsletter. Opt out means the recipient must have a way to stop receiving the emails. The opt in is permission to send the email to the client. Some services have a double opt in to be safe. Buying a list from a company without permission to send it to these users is expensive and get get you into trouble.
There are numerous legitimate companies, such as your local newspaper and magazines, that will “rent” you an email list. That is, you provide the art and they send it out to your target demographic. The problem is that you have to pay each time you send it with these lists. You never own the information. You can use this method while building up an email database of your own.
If you have a database of clients with no email addresses, there are services that can find the email address for you through various public records. A legitimate company will then send a form email to each address and ask if they wish to receive information from you as a method of opt in. You usually only pay for the number of email addresses you receive although there is a minimum charge. The least expensive I’ve found was $500.
Once you have your email list, you need to figure out how often. Once a day may be too many and once a quarter may be to few. I prefer once a month. If you sell products on-line and have weekly specials, once a week may be OK. I think if you do it that much people tend to just trash it without reading it. You can consult with your client base to get a feel for what is right.
Now you need content. I suggest that not only do you promote your products and services, but you give people information that will help them. If you sell widgets, include short articles on widget maintenance or how to choose the right widget for you. I also suggest that you use the newsletter as a teaser and drive the traffic back to your website to read more. Keep the newsletter short, concise and scan-able because we are all busy people.
There are some great methods of segmentation you can use as well. If you have birth dates in your data, send out a birthday special offer to each person born that month. Some services will let you personalize each email with the persons first name.
Their are several services out there to use to send your newsletter. I use YMLP.com. Other popular services are Constant Contact, iContact, Jangomail, etc. - just type “email newsletter service” in a search engine and you’ll get millions of hits. These services charge by how many emails you send out. Make sure that there are tracking and conversion tools built in, segmentations abilities and that you are comfortable with the interface. Some will even provide you with code for a sign up form to put on your website. Most will allow you a free period to try them out.
Now get out there and look good!
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