Email Marketing For Small Business

Using email marketing for small business is a powerful and affordable marketing tactic. There are a large number of tools and techniques available; yet many small business owners are not able to use them to their maximum potential. Armed with a few key tactics and strategies and the knowledge and ability to use these tools effectively, a small company can appear to be big on the internet. A successful marketing plan can increase a company's database, create or improve a company's image, or just highlight the expertise of a company. An email here and there will not do, though. Just as many other strategies in business, a plan must be developed and efficiently executed. A good plan will include a variety of email campaigns. The first thing to do is to figure out what outcome is expected for each type of campaign. Then, one must figure out what type of email campaign will meet the objective. There are basically three types of campaigns: 1) conquest, 2) conversion and, 3) loyalty.

Each of these campaigns types is important in building and maintaining a targeted email list. The first type of campaign is aimed at getting people interested in what you have to say about your product or service. Typically, in email marketing for small business, a list would be rented from a reputable company. Messages would then be sent out to the list. This is the equivalent of sending "junk mail." Although not appreciated by most people, these types of messages are an effective way to reach people that would not ordinarily know about the business. In the body of the conquest message there should be a link to sign-up to continue receiving such information. This is called permission based marketing.

Once a person has clicked through and signed up, it is time to put them into a database. This person now becomes a prospective customer. This is called conversion. In email marketing for small business, success is measured by converting an unknown person into a prospective customer. The next step is to market to this person in order make them into a customer. The prospect has already shown that they will click through, which is the equivalent of looking at a piece of junk mail. This is the best time to make a good offer. The point is to get them while they are hot. At the minimum, the person should be able to sign-up for a newsletter. The best case, however, is that they sign-up for periodic contact and purchase something upon the first click. Keep in mind that only 2% of sales are made on the first contact. Repeated contacts are the major factor in getting people to purchase. Actually, research shows that more than 80% of all sales are made after the 5th contact.

Once a purchase has been made, the goal with that individual is to get them to stay tuned for additional information about your company, products, and/or services. The type of campaign that is employed for a customer is called relationship marketing or customer loyalty program. In the case of email marketing for small business, this is the most flexible and easiest campaign to extend. A relationship can last a life time. In addition, with a good relationship, a customer will refer your product or service, over time, to many other people. Remembering that relationships are delicate and that people want to feel appreciated, incentives, rewards, and gifts will enhance the relationship and thusly, the lifecycle of the relationship.

Taking into account that a good strategy must be developed, in email marketing for small business, one must consider the limitations of money and time. The good thing about the internet is you don't have to have money to make money, but you do have to have time. If money is not an issue, then hiring an email marketing consultant would be the appropriate move after confirming the appropriate strategy. But, if you have plenty of time and not quite as much money, then learning how to implement the strategy you have chosen is crucial. Email marketing for small business is just like that of large businesses. The difference, in most cases will be that the owner(s) will be implementing the strategy themselves. This means that the owner must have a clear understanding of what they are doing.

But, before you can get to that part, the basic foundation must be laid. In email marketing for small business the owner is responsible for being able to create and effectively deliver interesting and poignant messages. It is important to learn how to write the type of message that people are interest in reading and more importantly write a compelling subject line. And even more critical is the call to action. There should always be a specific behavior sought after a person reads the message. After an appropriate number of messages have been developed, these messages must be plugged into an auto responder program in order to deliver them in a timely manner. A good auto responder will have the ability to do multiple campaigns simultaneously. A person can have several campaigns going that are intended to do the same thing; but the verbiage is different. This is called split testing. Once a successful model is created, all a person has to do is duplicate it over and over until they get to the level of sales they are comfortable with.

Developing effective email marketing for small business goes well beyond putting links inside the messages and counting how many people click through. "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." (1 John 3:11) Identifying key tactics and strategies coupled with the knowledge and ability to effectively roll out the campaign is critical. The ultimate outcome for this group of activities is to increase the bottom line; make money for the business owner.

Business To Business Email Marketing

A business to business email marketing strategy faces different challenges than a consumer-based marketing promotion. Basically, the phrase (also known as B2B) refers to suppliers who sell products and services to other companies instead of the consumer market. These suppliers may sell products or services to manufacturers, wholesalers, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or institutions such as hospitals, schools, and prison facilities. The products may be very specialized. For example, helicopter manufacturers need to either purchase blades or purchase the materials needed to make blades. They need to find suppliers for the helicopter parts and materials. In contrast, the products may be something as generic as paper products. A hospital purchasing department is not going to go to the local discount or grocery store and stock up on paper towels and napkins. The hospital department manager will have a relationship with suppliers based on such factors as pricing, availability, delivery, and reliability. For their part, suppliers work hard to build and retain positive relationships with clients. These relationships often have much more impact on purchasing decisions than the relationships required for the broader consumer market. Similarly, a business to business email marketing strategy usually has a different tone than bulk emailing directed to consumers.

Suppliers often have a sales force that personally calls upon clients and potential clients at their location, whether this is a factory or an institutional compound. This contrasts with the consumer market which usually has the customer going to a store or an online website and making purchases. The customer seldom knows the names of store clerks or the people behind the website store. But in B2B, the purchaser usually knows the supplier's salesperson. A relationship develops that paves the way for future purchases. An effective business to business email marketing campaign builds on these kinds of relationships by delivering messages consistent with the supplier's company image. Keeping with the above examples, the suppliers of helicopter parts and materials will probably want to project a company image of durability, respectability, and strength. A supplier of paper goods may have a more relaxed image while still stressing the ability to fulfill large orders on a timely basis. Both types of suppliers will want to have a business to business email marketing strategy that is consistent with the image and increases brand awareness. The importance of image and brand cannot be overstated. Once a supply company identifies its unique image and brand, the management needs to ensure that every aspect of the company reflects and upholds that image and brand. People often hear a certain brand name and immediately have a response built both on the company's advertising and their own experiences. People are no different in professional relationships. They want to buy their products and services from reputable companies and from people that they like. King Solomon wrote: "He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known" (Proverbs 10:9).

To develop a business to business email marketing strategy, suppliers may create an in-house team of employees or contract this function to a third-party vendor. Either way, the company will need to establish goals and objectives for the marketing campaign so that its success can later be evaluated. Software applications have been developed that provide detailed statistic reporting to help in the evaluation process. Experts suggest that B2B companies run tests of their marketing messages to see which ones are most effective. Two or more messages can be created and distributed to different segments of the distribution list and the response to each message can be tracked and evaluated. By taking this test step, the B2B staff or vendor can come up with the most effective message for their clients. The test messages may have different subject lines and the tracking software can provide the testers with the response rate for each one. This tells the testers which subject line was most effective in motivating recipients to respond to the business to business email marketing message. The most effective subject lines usually have some type of teaser that stands apart from the competition and makes the recipient curious enough to open the email. For example, the helicopter supplier may get more results from a subject line that says "Steel Blades for a Steal" then one that says "Steel Blades for Sale." Creativity and imagination can mean the difference between an email that is read and one that is sent, unopened, to the trash folder.

Experts also suggest that the supplier's offer or call to action is positioned in the message so that it is visible in the recipient's preview or reading pane. This way, the most important part of the message may still be seen by a recipient who is scanning through her inbox. When done effectively, the recipient may be motivated to open and respond to the supplier's business to business email marketing message. Experts also believe that the timing of the delivery can be important. A employee usually faces a full inbox first thing on Monday morning and may zip through the messages fairly quickly. The supplier's message may be overlooked or deleted. At the end of the work week, the recipient may be trying to wrap up loose ends before leaving the office. With the person's mind on other things, emails from suppliers just aren't a priority. For these types of reasons, experts suggest that suppliers send emails midweek and midday. This contrasts with consumer marketing strategies which sometimes recommend sending emails to subscribers on the weekends. In addition to testing specific messages, suppliers or their vendors can utilize software applications that provide templates for customized newsletters. These business to business email marketing newsletters, which can be sent to subscribers on a regular basis, can provide B2B customers with information about innovative products and special discounts that may be offered by the supplier's company.

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