Sunday, September 26, 2010

Put Your Email Marketing On Auto-Pilot

This post has been reposted by Gary Gray aka garydotgray from articles by Jim Edwards.

Put Your Email Marketing On Auto-Pilot: "
One of the most important aspects of marketing (besides consistency) is having a flow and a rhythm to your promotions. We as human beings operate as “pattern recognition” creatures, meaning we respond and react to “patterns” in both the positive and negative. As small business owners, we need to find patterns that make it easy for us to market our businesses effectively, while still leaving time to actually operate the business itself.

Email autoresponders, specifically “sequential” email autoresponders, allow you to automate your online marketing while also creating an effective flow and rhythm to your promotions.

Email autoresponders create an automatic follow-up sequence of email messages that go out to recipients at intervals you determine. That means you can put together a series of emails for customers or prospective customers, and then deliver those messages to them at intervals you choose. Most sequential autoresponders also allow you to “broadcast” to your entire database whenever you have important news, updates, or specials to share.

To understand the effectiveness of sequential email autoresponders for a local business, let me share a quick story with you…

A friend of mine has a small seafood restaurant as a client in Georgia. The restaurant recently put their website online, which included a simple offer for email updates for anyone interested enough to sign up. The restaurant then contacted some of their friends and past customers and asked if they’d like to join the email notification list. With only 60 people in their database, they made a simple 2-for-1 offer through their email newsletter on a Wednesday afternoon (managed by their autoresponder) and got 30 coupon redemptions in about 72 hours.

In other words, they got 30 couples and families to come into their restaurant with very little advertising expense.

Moral of the story: even with a small list, a local business can leverage the power of email marketing and the automation of sequential autoresponders to make money and communicate better with current and prospective customers.

Local businesses can implement autoresponder marketing quickly in one or more of three ways:

  1. new customer follow-up
  2. email newsletters
  3. tips and resources

The key is to only send valuable information to your customers and prospects that they want, need, and expect. Never send email to anyone without their permission.

So that begs the question: How do you get customer or prospective customer emails? Answer: ASK, but ask intelligently.

Have a reason for them to sign up to your list that they can understand and appreciate immediately.

Do you intend to offer them online-only specials, coupons, tips or updates?

Take some time to really think this through before you start asking for emails because a self-serving, compelling reason to give you their email address is the key to success.

As for specific services you can use to set up a sequential email autoresponder, you can find many of them online.

“Constant Contact”, which caters to the small business market, offers most, if not all, the features you could ever need in an autoresponder at very reasonable prices.

No matter which service provider you choose, make sure they offer the ability to set up multiple lists or sequences, as well as the ability to broadcast subscribers in your database.

Very few online tools offer more bang for your marketing buck than a good, solid email marketing strategy built around autoresponder marketing. With some careful planning and a sound strategy, even the most basic campaigns carry benefits far in excess of the time, energy and effort necessary to implement them.


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