In today's world it is vital to find inexpensive marketing tools that get your message directly to your target audience. Such a tool already exists in e-mail. Chances are good that you are using email in your marketing efforts. But if you're not, now is the time to make it a regular part of your marketing efforts. If you are already using this fantastic tool, then make sure you are getting the most out of it. Done well, e-mail marketing can be one of the best tools in your marketing tool box.
In order to utilize e-mail marketing, you've got to collect e-mails. The single best tool you have for this is your web site. You want a high "conversion rate". This is the number of people that land on your site and then sign up. Many people that find your site through a search engine will land on pages other than your home page. Make sure you place an "opt-in? box on each page of your site to capture everyone who visits. Your customers are another great resource. These are people who already know you and your product or service. Each time you interact with a customer ask for an e-mail address. Include a way to join the list so that you capture those people who get the e-mail because it was forwarded by a friend or colleague. Your e-mail list is a valuable commodity and should be treated accordingly.
Make sure your e-mail marketing plans are part of a coordinated effort. You don't want different departments using the list for just anything. Make thoughtful decisions about how often and why you want to send something to your list and who is authorized to do so. Is this an ongoing effort, like a newsletter, or part of a particular campaign? If you want to advertise a sale or new merchandise then your strategy will be very different than if you intend to set up a quarterly newsletter. Since it costs almost nothing to send out it is tempting to treat e-mail differently from your other marketing efforts. This would be a big mistake. Make sure the look and message is consistent with the rest of your marketing. Don?t send something out every other day. You want messages to be timed with relevant and interesting information. Hammering your list too often is a sure-fire way to get people to unsubscribe.
Just as with your other marketing audiences, analyze your e-mail list so you can really target your efforts. Decide how you want to segment your subscribers so that it is consistent with the goal of your campaign. Make sure your segments make sense. You want to send people messages they are interested in hearing. Your customers that only shop sales aren't going to be as interested in your new high-end bed linens. When people sign onto your list give them an opportunity to tell you what types of things they want to hear about. They'll be much more likely to read and respond to your e-mail marketing efforts.
Make it a priority to track the success rate of your e-mail marketing campaigns. Did your list shrink or grow after? Did more people shop your sale this year? Whatever metric you use, find a way to determine whether your time and efforts were worthwhile. If your list shrank, find out why. When people unsubscribe, ask them to fill out a very short questionnaire. This is a great way to find out how you can do better. The best way to prevent list shrinkage is to put in the hard work from the beginning to make sure people get the messages they want to hear when they want to get them.
You can find lots of resources to help you with the more technical and aesthetic aspects of e-mail marketing. However, use common sense to plan your efforts. Gather all the e-mail addresses you can. Use your web site and your customers to build that list. Really make sure you integrate e-mail into your marketing and be intentional about how your use it. Use good judgment in deciding when to send messages and make sure they look good. Target efforts to segments that make sense are the best way to keep people on your list. You want people looking forward to your e-mails, not sending them to the spam folder. Find out why people unsubscribe. With a little effort and planning e-mail marketing can become a powerful tool to get the word out about your business.
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