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E-Mail Marketing Might Multiply Companies’ Sales



Question: What is the best way to start building my small business’s e-mail marketing list?

Answer:

No. 1: Don’t ask for too much personal information.

You wouldn’t ask people you had just met at a cocktail party for their home address and household income, so don’t do it online either. Start by only asking for e-mail address and name. Later, after you have earned their trust, you can fill in the rest of their demographic information. Be patient. Just like friendships, it takes time to get a clear picture of who your best customers are and what exactly they want out of your newsletter and Web site.

No. 2: Show them your privacy policy.

If your company appears trustworthy, it is not difficult to gather e-mail addresses. Provide a privacy policy on your Web site promising not to sell customers’ information to any outside parties or vendors. Let them know exactly what type of messages they should expect and how frequently. Also, let them know that they have the option to unsubscribe from your list anytime. This will give customers confidence to register for your list. Also, provide a valid, physical contact address on your Web site. Having a phone number and mailing address (rather than just e-mail) helps build more trust in your business.

No. 3: Collect e-mail addresses off-line.

If you have a storefront, this is a great place to collect e-mail addresses. Place a fishbowl or basket at the front desk, promoting a raffle for a free lunch, product or trip, for visitors to drop their business cards in. Trade shows and networking events are also great places to collect business cards and e-mail addresses, just be sure you have permission to e-mail your new contacts.

No. 4: Make the incentive to join clear.

Your e-mail newsletter must have some type of incentive for users to join as well as to stay on your list. Incentives don’t always have to be a coupon or product giveaway. Great content is a very effective incentive as well. Some ideas for effective newsletter content include upcoming event information or industry statistics or news.


Written by Holly Berkley, the chief executive officer and director of Internet marketing for Vantage Internet Services Inc., a San Diego-based Internet marketing, Web site design and technology solutions company. To learn more, visit www.vantageinternet.com.

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