One of the most important issues in any business is staying on the mind of your customers when the time is right. For example, people that buy DVDs know that new releases are issued on Tuesdays. When a new DVD is near release, the DVD publisher starts commercials to alert the public. Best Buy, Target and Walmart then pick-up the ball to get customers in the store to make the purchase. How many commercials did you see this week for Bolt and Quantum of Solace? The word was out and the customers responded.
Most small companies can’t afford to produce splashy commercials and buy time in primetime to promote your business. Sure, there is radio, but unless you are pushing a memorable product, there will be a disconnect between hearing the ad and acting (calling to place an order, going to the web, etc.) So, what can you do with a modest budget to reach your customers??
Try an email campaign! The customer is at their computer (or phone) to receive the email. They are just a quick jump away to your website or even giving you a call to action. Most importantly…it keeps your company on their mind when they need your products or services.
Now, you could send everyone in your Outlook Contacts an email, but that’s not very professional. To send a REAL graphic email just like the “big boys”, try Constant Contact. For a monthly fee (based on the size of your contact list), you can send as many emails per month as you like. Constant Contact also has pre-built templates so that even the beginner can have a polished look.
Here are some pointers for an email campaign:
- Establish a routine. A campaign means more than one! Try to send a new email every 2-4 weeks. The routine trains both you and your customers to get in the habit.
- Establish a look and stick to it. Your customers should be able “at a glance” to identify the email as coming from your company. Email newsletters are a great way to mix “news” and “specials”.
- A routine and a consistent look will increase your open-rate. If your customers expect the email, they will be more like to open it and see “what’s new” with your company.
- Make sure the email is worth opening. If the customer opens the email and it is not what they expect, you discourage them from opening the next one.
- Unwanted emails quickly become SPAM or unsubscribes. The last thing you want to do is to alienate your customer base. If the customer clicks the “SPAM” or “unsubscribe” button, you may never be able to communicate with them again through email. Worse yet…too many SPAM reports will get you “flagged” by the email provider who could then block ALL of your email. AOL makes it too easy to report SPAM. Keep this in mind.
- Be sure your list is an “opt-in” list. You may be able to send emails to your customers because you have their email address, but do you have the right to send it?? I am not talking about a moral issue here…it is a business one. Having the “right” will allow you to fight any accusation that you are sending SPAM.
Keeping in-touch with your customers helps to maintain your current relationships. Remember…the competition is just an email away!