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Build Sales with E-Mail Marketing


									How to build a successful e-mail marketing campaign
E-mail marketing can be a cost effective way to retain customers, but companies first must build a contact list, draft a
clear, targeted message and be able to track results. Small businesses often benefit from e-mail marketing service
providers, who are better equipped to deliver and track e-mail campaigns, according to one business expert.
Entrepreneur (4/2005)

Build Sales with E-Mail Marketing
Follow these three steps for an affordable campaign that yields a strong ROI
April 18, 2005

If you're looking for a highly effective, yet low-cost way to up-sell or cross-sell current customers, consider setting up
an e-mail marketing program. Since it can cost as much as five times more to win a new customer than to keep an old
one, retention programs using e-mail are a solid small-business marketing tactic. E-mail programs to in-house lists
perform at least as well as direct mail--and often considerably better--without the postage or printing costs. And results
are easy to track and measure.

Here are three steps that'll help you build a successful e-mail marketing campaign:
1. Build your list. Today, having a terrific website is simply not enough. You need a marketing program that drives
traffic there and keeps visitors coming back. And since e-mail to rental lists is often kicked out as spam, it's essential to
build your own opt-in list of customers and prospects. These are individuals who have visited your site and given you
permission to contact them.

Prominently post a sign-in box or button on your home page accompanied by brief copy that induces visitors to join
your list. This simple one-click button or single-entry form should click through to a more in-depth form where you can
gather demographic and other pertinent information. To induce visitors to register, you can offer entry in a
sweepstakes or contest, special notification of sales or new products, a free newsletter, access to members-only
content, or even the ability to post product reviews or participate in message boards. Brick-and-mortar retailers can
also capture e-mail information by asking for e-mail addresses from customers at checkout. And service businesses
can contact satisfied clients and gain permission to add them to an e-mail list.

As you build your list, it's easy to add the e-mail addresses, names and demographic information to an in-house
database using contact management software. Affordable off-the-shelf software products, such as ACT! 2005 from
Best Software and GoldMine 6.5 by FrontRange, will help you track all sales and marketing activities as well as
maintain vital demographic and sales information.

2. Send the right message. For many e-mail marketers, it's beneficial to alternate promotional messages with softer-
sell communications, such as newsletters. This helps avoid list burnout and may increase the frequency with which
you can successfully communicate with your customers and prospects. The most crucial element is to make the
content of your e-mails relevant to the needs of your recipients, because off-target e-mails and those that come too
frequently are generally treated as spam.

E-newsletters allow you to share information with your customers, position your company or yourself as an expert in
your field, introduce new products and services, and get vital feedback from customers. There are two types of
editorial styles: short blurbs with links to longer articles, or one major article interspersed with ads or promotional links.
The key to success is to make your newsletter content so compelling that customers and prospects will look forward to
receiving it. Choose a name for your e-newsletter that communicates something important to the subscriber, and keep
your design, tone and format consistent from one issue to the next.

In addition to e-newsletters, e-mails that include sales promotions, coupons, customer reward information and
invitations to events are generally well received. Nearly one-third of respondents to a recent DoubleClick consumer e-
mail study said they'd made an immediate online purchase as a result of receiving an e-mail, and close to one-third
said they'd clicked on messages for information and later made an online purchase as a result.
3. Design and track like a pro. The two elements that most dramatically affect your e-mail "open rate" are the "from"
and "subject" lines. So it's essential to make it clear the e-mail is coming from you, a valued source of information. And
the subject line must contain a benefit, or at least convey what your e-mail contains--otherwise your open rate will
plummet. Comply with all CAN SPAM regulations by including your company's name and physical address in the body
of the message as well as an unsubscribe option at the bottom.

When it comes to design and execution of your e-mail campaign, it's not necessary to go it alone. In fact, it's difficult for
an entrepreneur to send more than 50 e-mails at a time, since higher numbers are usually blocked as spam by ISPs.
Fortunately, e-mail marketing services that cater to small businesses, such as Constant Contact or those available
through major web hosting services like Interland, will generally e-mail up to 5000 subscribers for $50 a month or less.
The service will also maintain and clean your list by removing bounces and addresses of people who choose to

Choose an e-mail marketing service that provides design templates for e-newsletters, promotional offers and coupons
that are easy to customize. Since only about 56 percent of internet users have broadband, it's essential to design full-
color, high impact HTML newsletters or promotions but still give recipients the option of receiving a text-only version.

Best of all, most e-mail marketing services will provide all your campaign metrics, which are vital to evaluating the
effectiveness of your mailings. You'll be able to identify who opened your e-mail and clicked on each link. Then you
can fine-tune your key elements--from your offers to your subject lines--for maximum ROI, and compare your results
from one mailing to the next.

Commit to e-mail marketing. Marketing through e-mail is flexible, cost-effective, easy to measure (assuming you put
the right tracking in place), and high impact. It allows you to easily drive traffic to your Web site, reach a broad
geographic audience and stay in frequent contact with your customers and prospects. E-mail marketing allows you to
market your services and establish your expertise with your audience.

Use it for newsletters, new product announcements or to share your publicity success—the ideas are endless. But
know that this flexibility and ease-of-use can cause problems. Remember, this is a marketing campaign. So be sure to
think it through, develop an appropriate message, create a piece that reflects your brand, know your objectives, and
make sure the information is valuable for your market, or people will quickly unsubscribe.

Keys to success: Don't be seen as a "spammer"! Send e-mail only to those people who have given permission. When
someone asks to be removed, respond immediately.

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