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Is it E-mail or SPAM Business Sense


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									Is it E-mail or SPAM?
        By Carol McDonell
     Anyone with an e-mailbox knows         list or an offer that the customer          incentives such as discounts at the cash   e-mail you can easily test your message
that the big retailers have been            doesn’t need or want.                       register to encourage them to opt-in.      by sending it to a random sample of
bombarding us with more and more                 E-mails to strangers offering things   At the same time, you must provide         customers. Unlike direct mail, you can
messages. Some of those messages            they don’t want are spam. We all            assurances that their information will     quickly and easily make changes to the
are welcomed, and some immediately          know how we feel about marketers            be secure.                                 offer if needed.
deleted as annoying spam. Have the          who spam us. So how can the small               Now that you have created a
big retailers discovered something that     business owner use e-mail for               mailing list from your database of
the small business owner can also use       marketing and not be accused of             information about your customers, you
to increase sales? E-mail has been          spamming? To answer that question,          can also use the information to create          Business Sense
found to have a response rate of 48         let’s look again at the two most            the offer. By knowing your customers,
hours to one week versus 6-8 weeks          important keys to an effective e-mail       you can send e-mails that are relevant,
for a similar direct mail piece. It costs   campaign, the list and the offer.           personal, and anticipated. For
on average a half-cent per contact               The most important thing to            example, if you own a pet store, a
compared to 50 cents for direct mail,       remember when sending e-mail is never       piece of information you should have
and it has a response rate of 10            send it to anyone who has not given         is what kind of pets your customers
percent compared to less than 1             permission. When you give customers         own. You can send an e-mail about a
percent for direct mail. As a small         the opportunity to provide their e-mail     sale on dog food only to the dog
business owner, you probably have a         address, they are giving you permission     owners. You know the customer’s
limited marketing budget and want the       to contact them. In web marketing           name and can easily personalize the            E-mail marketing is a very cost-
most bang for your marketing buck.          terms, they are opting-in. E-mail           message further by saying “Dear Joe.”      effective way to reach your customers
Perhaps e-mail marketing can work for       marketing is best used for marketing        This message is relevant to the dog        and increase sales. Your local SBDC
you.                                        to existing customers, or someone           owner and personalized. In the future,     has consultants who can help you
     Like direct mail, the two most         who is already in the market for what       Joe will anticipate your messages          implement your e-mail marketing
important components of an effective        you offer. Therefore, the best list for     because he knows you only send him         campaign.
e-mail campaign are the mailing list and    sending your messages is the one you        information he can use. Joe does not
the offer. Many businesses spend a lot      build yourself from your customer           consider your message spam because
of time and money on the creative           database. Begin to collect names,           he had previously given you
aspect of the e-mail while neglecting       addresses, e-mail addresses, and any        permission to contact him. However,
                                                                                                                                   Carol McDonell is a business
these two components. While a               other information that will help you        things can change, so always provide       consultant in the Athens office of the
pleasing appearance that is compatible      tailor your offer to the specific           a means for the customer to opt-out        Georgia SBDC Network. To find
with the rest of your marketing in terms    customer. You should collect customer       on every message.                          your local SBDC, call the state office
of image, look, and message is              information online and offline. Many            Before sending your e-mail, ask        at 706-542-2762 or locate it on the
important, it will not make up for a bad    businesses provide customers                an objective outsider to review it. With   web at

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