E-mail can help you cut business costs, save time, gain referrals and develop customer relationships and more! Discover how.
Based on Debbie Mayo-Smith article
"Neil! I can't believe you're calling all the way from Ireland!" I squealed over the phone to one of my clients. "Debbie, I just have to tell you this", he said. "You know the online newsletter you sent out for me last week?", "Yes", I said, feeling a bit worried. "Did we mess up? Well, you're not going to believe this, but we got an order in from someone we never even heard of for $30,967.74. One of the 128 people whom we sent the newsletter to had forwarded it on to a colleague and look, a great sale completely out of the blue!"
I could tell you quite a few stories like this or even better ones. And guess what? This could be your reality. New business, slashed operating costs, improved customer service, increased income, referrals. All from the simple use of clever e-mail marketing strategies with your customers and prospects.
So from this lovely success story generated by an e-mail newsletter, let me introduce you to the concept of using e-mail for marketing, business development and newsletters. It should be one of your greatest business tools.
1. Unlock the added value of e-mail
You might not realise the extensive use of the Internet (and thus e-mail) but chances are your customers and prospects are online. Why not use it with them? According to Forrester Research, e-mail is the most popular use of the Internet, with 96% of people with Internet connections using e-mail. If your target market is based on income you should know that 80% of individuals earning $80,000 per annum regularly use e-mail (AC Nielsen). Internet use is growing world-wide, even in rural areas.
2. It's not spam
When I talk about using e-mail to communicate with customers and prospects, I'm referring to people you already have a relationship with. That is, if someone has given you their e-mail address, in essence it's permission marketing. If your hairdresser sent you an e-mail prompting you for a cut, you wouldn't consider that spam would you? Spam is unsolicited, untargeted, unasked for and unwanted e-mail.
3. E-mail slashes your operating costs
Beyond your normal Internet access time charge, it's free to send e-mails when you do it in-house. By providing value to readers and thus keeping their permission to e-mail them, you can market your company and services without spending a dime. You save on wages, stationery, faxing, postage, administration, printing, long distance and mobile calls. Each letter that you can replace by e-mail saves you at least $1.00 when you add up the cost of stationery, postage and overheads.
4. E-mail saves you time
With a push of a button you can e-mail your newsletter, price list, quote, sales update, invitation etc. to hundreds, even thousands of people each one personalised with information from your database. Think about that precious commodity - your valuable time (or that of your staff) when you eliminate some of the printing, folding, stuffing, mailing, phoning, faxing from the daily routine. With the new email merge features in Office 2003, and the online newsletter templates in Publisher 2003, it's never been easier or more effective.
5. E-mail can increase your business revenue
Did you know that people visit a website at least seven times before they make a purchase? Once someone visits your website why should they come back? But grabbing that golden jewel their e-mail address - and a bit of information allows you to pull them back to you time after time after time after time. Plus, it's so easy and effortless for recipients to take immediate action and with little effort.
6. Referrals, referrals, referrals
The joy of communicating online (such as with newsletters) is the ability for your readers to forward your e-mail onto friends and colleagues. My newsletter's subscription base increased from its original distribution of 100 to 1100 in its first year solely from referrals. Our business income skyrocketed, and now the newsletter is known as one of the best of its kind.
7. E-mail helps you improve your customer service.
How often do you call, write or visit with your customers and prospects? It should be at a minimum every 90 days when you touch them in some manner. When you maintain a regular conversation with your customers and prospects, it makes them feel more loved and valued. This is an expensive exercise done personally and by post. But not so by e-mail.
8. E-mail for relationship management
I know, I know. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Ahhh, but where it was too expensive or difficult before to keep in contact with those C's, D's or prospects you can now maintain a regular conversation. Use e-mail.
9. E-mail gives you an (unfair) competitive advantage
How many people do you know that are harnessing the communication power of e-mail with their customers and prospects now? At least in a clever, interesting, value-added manner? You could be one of the first or the best in your industry or area to use e-mail to your competitive advantage.
10. E-mail is easily operated.
Once you know the do's and don'ts e-mail is so easy to operate. If you have MaxBulk Mailer
, you couldn't ask for a more accommodating software to send out simple and formatted e-mails. The e-mail merge is utterly fantastic. With ease you can merge any (or all) pieces of information in your database into an email. Imagine the possibilities. Your e-mails can look like the most expensive design company productions while they're just created by little-old-you in Golive or using newsletter templates. And don't get me started about how easy FileMaker, Excel or even Address Book are for storing your data (the difference between using the various software is the size and level of information you want to keep).
NB: Remember, if you're collecting customer information you must comply with all national privacy and spam laws and obligations and make sure that any collection of customer information is permission based. That is, the customer has said yes or asked to receive your communications.
Based on Debbie Mayo-Smith
Debbie Mayo-Smith is a keynote speaker, trainer and leading specialist in e-mail and Internet marketing