Sunday, November 18, 2007

Still Spooked by E-Mail Marketing?

Here's another article by my favorite internet consultant. (My husband!)

E-Mail has been around for roughly 15 years already depending on what you count as the beginning. Hard to believe isn’t it? Remember when you got your first email address? Maybe it was at work, maybe it was through Compuserve, Prodigy or AOL…you dialed a local number from home, sometimes several times to get a free line, then waited while the email crawled in. “You’ve got Mail” was a happy time back then. A lot has changed over the last few years and the term “email” has become a noun, a verb and sometimes a curse word. With all the filters, privacy tricks and even laws to protect us, email has certainly taken on a life of its own and there are a lot of folks around the world always trying to get around these various barriers causing the rest of us to be on the continual defensive.

I bet you occasionally get a good or at least necessary email though even today. Like a hole in one on the golf course (I’ve never gotten of those) it’s enough to keep you going back and slugging through the rest, for that relatively rare gem.

While I am not in a position to solve all of our issues with email today, I can report to you that on a dollars earned to dollars spent basis, email marketing for business is more than twice as profitable ($45.65 for each dollar spent) as the next most profitable direct marketing you can do which is internet advertising ($20.19 / $1) according to a study done in 2007 by the Direct Marketing Association. The numbers continued to decrease for newspaper, direct mail, telemarketing and so on. Yes in spite of what you may have heard about open rates (yes they are low) and automatic filters (they can tend to keep out honest messages as much as malicious ones) email marketing is extremely cost effective.

Some tips on using email marketing effectively: 1. Do NOT buy lists. There are plenty of better ways to get email addresses of people that are actually interested in what you have. Start by asking your existing customers. 2. Do NOT send emails too frequently. The correct frequency will be related to the value you are offering. Don’t send them just to send them, but have a purpose, and one that has perceived value in the mind of the recipient. 3. Do NOT abuse your list. Those who give up their email address to you do so with a level of trust. If you violate that trust you will lose them and probably sooner rather than later.

For more on proper and effective use of email you can attend a Lunch & Learn session at the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce on November 14th at 12 noon. I will be presenting and leading a discussion on how to use email most effectively. You do not have to be a chamber member to attend. Contact the Chamber at 328-6111 for more information or to register.

Using technology can be frustrating at times, but it is not going away so we can either try and run the other way and get crushed or we can learn to use it effectively and prosper with the best going into the future. With the Holiday Season upon us there is no better time to get a handle on this not so new but continually evolving technology.

John Geiger, owner of Webmasters ICE, has over five years experience helping small and medium-sized companies and organizations capitalize on the power of the internet through consulting, education, and supporting products and services. His focus and passion is the use of the internet in providing more effective overall marketing strategies and highly measurable levels of marketing success.

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