If you’re like me, you already get too many e-mails, and the majority of them are junk and of absolutely no interest to you. Neither you—nor your customer—need more of those, right?
But no matter how much spam you get, I bet you still manage to find time to read e-mails that offer real value in relation to your interests, your business, or your lifestyle.
My point here is that in spite of spam, everybody still reads e-mails of value.
When you send out marketing e-mails of value or interest to your customers, not only will your e-mails get read, but they’ll help you grow your business by building relationships. And building relationships with current and prospective customers is a great way to increase your sales now and in the future.
Before you think this article is going to be too techy for you, let me say that this isn’t about technology—it’s about how to market your products and services effectively using the Internet. If you’re in business, you need to grow that business, and one of the best ways to do that is by using your customer e-mail list.
Do You Have a Customer List?
The greatest e-mail marketing campaign is useless without a list of e-mail addresses to send them to. The better (more accurate, larger) your list, the more likely you’ll receive responses to your promotional e-mails.
Most businesses build mailing lists by asking customers and prospects if they would like to receive e-mails from their shop or place of business. For example, they ask customers for their name and e-mail address at the time of a purchase, or design their website to ask for the information when visitors go to their website. The important part here is having a list, and knowing how customer information is being gathered.
It’s also critical that you constantly update and grow your customer list. Do you know how many people are on your list? Once you’ve compiled a current customer list, decide on how you are going to use it to help you grow your business and forge strong customer relationships.
Any outbound e-mails you send to your list should offer more than just sales promotions. Depending on the expectations of your customers when they signed up for your list, sales pitches may be fine, but a steady stream of “sales only” e-mails isn’t as powerful as e-mails that offer customers information about things they are interested in or want.
“Value” can mean just about anything related to the products and services you provide. Your marketing e-mails should include content about things your customers are interested in, such as…
· Services you offer
· Benefits and features of products you offer
· Top Ten lists of products ideal for moms, dads, grads, etc.
· Your USPs (Unique Selling Poitions)
· Install tips, product reviews, media reports about you/your products
· Brief how-to’s for the “do-it-yourself” customer.
Send out e-mails with this kind of useful content and you’ll quickly amass a list of subscribers who actually look forward to reading your e-mails!
As a rule, your e-mail content should be around 80% valuable information and 20% sales copy (sales text such as “visit our website to subscribe to our monthly e-zine,” “order now to save 25%,” or “come to the big sale this weekend.)
Don’t forget that you can also use your marketing e-mails to guide prospects to your website, where they can learn more about you and the products and services you provide. There are several ways your website can “capture” visitor information.
One way is by having visitors fill out subscription forms on your website. If you sell products and services online, you can use your shopping cart to collect your customers’ e-mail information, too.
One of the best tools we’ve found for managing and ensuring that our e-mails get delivered is to use a third-party service like AWeber.
Sending e-mails that include valuable content to your customers can do wonders. Following the 80/20 ratio will make your e-mails irresistible to your customers. By including content that they are interested in reading about, you also increase the chance that they’ll forward your install tips and product reviews to their friends, who will go to your website and add their name to your mailing list.
Then they’ll forward your e-mail to their friends, who’ll forward it to their friends… and before you know it, you’ve got a viral campaign that is unstoppable.
So while no one may need another piece of !$&#%@ junk e-mail, customers will continue to read your marketing e-mails as long as they contain content that interests them. Your customer list will continue to grow, and so will your business.