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Marketing Your Business Through Email

 

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 Work at Home Moms > Marketing Your Business Through Email > Lesson 1: Basic Rules of Email Marketing 

Marketing Your Business Through Email: Lesson 1: Basic Rules of Email Marketing

If you’re a Mom or anyone working from home, you are probably interested in learning how to market your products or services online (after all, that’s how we make our money!) And if you’ve done much reading about this, you may have heard that one of the most important tools for generating interest, creating brand identity, and increasing your sales is through email marketing.

What you have heard is true. After all, very few people buy from a web site the first time they visit it (unless you have an extraordinary product, price, and a highly convincing web site). But even with all of those, most people visit your site first to “check you out”, and see what you have to offer. So your web site should be designed not only for sales, but to get email addresses.

This is one thing that all Internet Based Moms need to realize: your online sales are generated from your email list. It’s how you contact your customers, and let them know what a great service or product you can provide them with.

Once you have a list (we’ll discuss this in more detail in lesson number two), then you will want to use emails to continue to create interest, and bring them back to your site.

This is the whole principle that email marketing pivots upon: create an email list, keep expanding it, and use it to bring customers back to your web site, where you convince them that your product, your service, and your value are outstanding. Your web site is where you will make the sale; the email is what will bring customers there.

But email marketing must be done correctly for it to work well, and there are some basic rules governing it. If done incorrectly, or if you ignore the basic rules of email marketing (at your own risk!), then you can actually drive others away from your list, and the “unsubscribe” button will be clicked on all too often. To avoid this, follow these basic rules, and you’ll see your lists expand, and have happier clients for your home business.
 

Things every Internet Based Mom should know. Today in the United States, there are over 10 million people over the age of 16 with Internet access using email, and the numbers are growing steadily according to a recent study by Nielsen-NetRatings. That’s a lot of potential customers, but be careful when emailing them; another study by Harris Interactive showed that 74% of those online believe that SPAM should be outlawed, and that receiving it makes them angry. Don’t make potential customers angry: follow the rules to see your home business take off.
 the effort worthwhile.

Email Rule Number One: Never, Ever, Ever, SPAM

Most likely, you’ve received SPAM, or unsolicited email, at some point (it seems to start just hours after creating your first email account). You may have even considered sending out a nice, friendly email to some of your customers, to let them know about your latest product or discount, and wondered if this is okay.

But if they haven’t given you PERMISSION to email them, it’s SPAM. And that friendly little email could get you into a lot of trouble (even if it’s just to a few people), and can create a very negative impression of you and your online business.

You should be aware that SPAM is illegal in over 18 states (as in if you are caught in California and Washington, to name two, they can bar you from your server and fine you large amounts). In addition, legislation is before Congress to create federal anti-spam legislation. And if you get added to a SPAM “blacklist”, your email address will be automatically filtered from major ISP servers, and your mails will never get delivered. Plus your ISP will terminate your service…you get the drift.

But most importantly for those of us marketing our business online, SPAM doesn’t accomplish what you want: target interested consumers. Response rates to your emails are much, much higher if you are sending emails to people who have indicated that they want to receive your information. There’s ways to get them to do this, and I’ll be discussing this in a later lesson.

Rule Number Two: Collect Addresses in a Responsible Manner

While SPAM doesn’t work, opt-in emails do. These are email lists created because the client asked to be added to the list. But there are methods that are considered ethical and responsible for collecting email addresses, and others that aren’t. Be ethical, and use permission marketing techniques (your customers ask to be added to a list, or willingly give you their email address in return for a service you provide them with, and for which you indicate that they will receive regular emails). Your customers will appreciate it, and you’ll see much better response rates and fewer angry letters and SPAM warnings.

Never, ever “harvest” email addresses, which is the opposite of permission mail lists (we’ll discuss this in more detail in lesson six). In addition to being unethical, it just doesn’t work. Harvested email lists normally generate clickthrough rates of less than 0.01%, which are abysmal, in addition to all of the negative perceptions and problems it causes (see rule number one above).

And please, offer those on your list (that they opted into) the option of unsubscribing from your mail list. While we all hate to lose email clients, you will have the assurance that those who are on your list are there because they want to be, and aren’t deleting your emails before they even open them.

Email Rule Number Three: Provide Contact Information

When people read your emails, they may have questions, concerns, or want to tell you how great your emails are. They may even want to learn more about your products or services. They can’t do this if you don’t provide contact information in the email, since hitting the “reply” button in some cases sends the email back to a list server address.

Let folks know who you are. It’s good business practice, and reassures them that you are a real, ethical, responsible business person that they want to do business with. When you provide them with a clear email address or toll-free phone number that they can reach you at in each of your email communications, you’ve helped establish your reliability.

Email Rule Four: Provide a Link to Your Web Site

If it weren’t sad, it would be funny how many people forget marketing basics when they send out their emails, letting them know about their great online product or service. We think “letter” and forget “marketing”. Remember the real purpose of email marketing was discussed above: to bring people to your web site, where you can sell to them. Include a clear link to your web site in each and every email communication that you send out, even if it’s a customer survey.

This way, you’re giving potential customers a chance to contact you, and learn more. And encourage them to do this: make your link entice them a bit. Instead of a plain link, why not say, “See our newest products” or “View our discounts available only this week” for your link. Of course, you can also use the word “free” to get them to contact you: “click here to see our FREE ebook (or newsletter, or software download).

Email Rule Five: Use Good Grammar

Have you ever received an email advertisement or newsletter that was poorly done, or contained numerous grammar errors? What did you think of the firm that created it? Email communications can be an important method of increasing customer loyalty, or creating the perception that others have of your online business. That image in their mind will rise or fall based on the quality of your communications.

If you aren’t a good writer, or are unsure how to create clear, legible email communications, consider hiring a professional to assist you. Your customers will notice the difference, and your business will be perceived as extremely professional (they don’t need to know that you work out of your home office, and are working in your sweat suit and slippers; they’ll see the polished, quality emails you send out and place you mentally with the real pros).

Rule Number Six: Be Honest In Your Communications

Have you ever received an email with a header that stated, “About what we discussed the other day…” Thinking that a friend had changed their email address, you clicked on the mail, only to be greeted by SPAM. The sense of betrayal and anger are remembered long after the email is closed and deleted, and I doubt that emails that use “gorilla marketing tactics” like this have much success, or positive perception from customers.

Honesty is the best policy in email communications, including headers. Don’t “trick” customers into opening your emails; instead, get them curious, or state clearly a benefit that your email will provide them with, then deliver it in your email. This creates a “win-win” situation: they’ve received real, honest help, and you’ve maintained positive contact with your customers.

Email Rule Seven: Be Polite

Which message would you rather hear: “BUY NOW AND MAKE LOTS OF MONEY!!!” or “Here are some helpful car maintenance tips that will help you get extra gas mileage.” The first uses capital letters and exclamation points (considered “shouting” online) along with a highly unrealistic promise that insults the intelligence of most readers. While there is a place for sales copy, the second is more likely to get customers to click and open it, since it offers them a real benefit directed towards a real need with today’s high gas prices. The fact that after highly helpful tips, it includes an ad for tune-up services at a national chain doesn’t annoy those who read it, since they’ve learned how tune-ups can help them get better gas mileage in the article they read.

Be polite, and offer your customers a real benefit for reading your emails to them. You may even get grateful mail back in return (and win a new loyal customer!)

Thank your customers for asking for more information in your autoresponders. Let them know that you appreciate them, and that providing them with outstanding client service is your top goal.

Treat them the way you would like to be treated, and you’ll see increased response rates.

Courtesy is at times a forgotten art in our busy, rushed society today. Treating those you email as real human beings, and giving them a refreshing dose of courteous, polite behavior will be remembered long after they close the email.

This was lesson one in our series, “Email Marketing Techniques.” Be sure to look for lesson two, in which we discuss “Building Your Email Mailing List”.

Email Marketing Tutorial Contents:

1 Basic Rules of Email Marketing

2 Building Your Email Mailing List

3 Email Marketing Strategies That Work

4 How To Write Irresistible Emails

5 Avoiding SPAM Traps: Trigger Words That Filter Emails

6 The Real Truth About Direct Email and Email Lists

7 Creating Compelling Subject Lines (That Will Ensure Your Emails Get Opened)

_________________

These lessons have been brought to you by Sheri Waldrop, the owner of  Pro-Scribe Writing Service, specialists in creating online marketing communications. If you need information and assistance with your online growth, we can help.  You can find out more information by emailing us at info@pro-scribe-writing.com

 

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