Staying in touch: proactive communication with email marketing
How do you communicate with your customers and prospects? Are you waiting for them to return to your store, office or website?
It is vital to proactively communicate with all of your customers fairly frequently. Contact is necessary to nurture your customer relationships. As an added incentive, contact frequency will increase the amount of revenue you generate from your customer base.
Small and medium businesses often face challenges in reaching their customers. It costs each time a customer is contacted. If a direct mail campaign is used, there are printing, stationery and postage costs. This could amount to a dollar or more to talk to each client. With 50,000 customers, that’s over $50,000 and you haven’t even taken into account the amount of time it takes to complete the task.
What is needed is a way to communicate frequently with customers that is affordable. With the advent of email, we now have that medium. Email is virtually free and requires less time and resources than other forms of customer contact, allowing you to communicate more information, more often. It should be used as a way to strengthen the relationship with your customers. It also has the added advantage that the information is sent in minutes making the results imminent.
Your communications may take the form of newsletters, sales and follow-up notices, VIP customer promotions, product trials, new product and service announcements, event invitations, news, designed to keep in touch, inform and educate, as well as to attract customers to make a purchase.
As soon as you mention email communication to large customer bases, people immediately think of spam. Spam is unwanted, unsolicited email that appears in your email inbox. It’s the Internet’s version of spam. To reap the benefits of email marketing and ensure your emails are delivered, you must comply with antispam legislation.
These guidelines include:
o Get permission before sending an email. You need to make sure that the people on your email list have opted in, that is, they have given you permission. Consider the double opt-in option, where once you have permission, you ask the person to confirm permission. Do not purchase email lists, as your mail may become unsolicited and considered spam.
o Ensure that unsubscribing from receiving your email is easy by providing a relevant link or instructions on how to unsubscribe. This is absolutely critical to avoid being classified as a spammer and should be in each and every email.
o Identify yourself precisely. If you are a legitimate business you shouldn’t have a problem with this as you want the customer to know who you are. Your actual physical address must be included in all correspondence.
Another point about spam is that due to the vast amount of spam on the Internet, email services, including software that runs on your PC, have filters to capture and filter emails that look or they are suspected to be spam. This means that if the header or content of your message contains “wrong” words or phrases, it will automatically be considered spam. To bypass these filters, you need to ensure that your email wording and phrases do not contain the offending text.
To make sure you maximize the potential of email marketing:
o Pay attention to the structure and content of the message you send to avoid spam filters.
o Make the subject line of the email relevant to the content and avoid deceptive tricks.
o Provide your customers with valuable content. Don’t try to sell them every time. Try to educate them.
o Use the right tools for the job. Automatic responses can make mass email tasks more efficient.
o You really need to focus on what you are doing in this area to avoid being blacklisted and whitelisted successfully.
Communication with your customers is essential, and email is an easy and inexpensive way to build lasting relationships. Once you have established your database, you can really market effectively. As long as the number and frequency of offers is not too high, customers will respond and you will find that high frequency contact can generate a lot of revenue.