E-Mail Marketing Still the Best Way to Connect With Online Shoppers
E-mail marketing is still a winner when it comes to selling products and services. It’s less obtrusive than traditional direct mail, less interruptive than SMS messaging, and, according to the majority of online shoppers, email is a far more suitable medium for promotional messaging than social media.
A survey of US shoppers by CrossView reveals that almost 4 in 10 of them would elect to receive promotional information via e-mail, versus just 9% through social media and 3% through newspaper, TV and other offline channels.
Investing in building a solid opt-in e-mail list and delivering compelling e-mail updates to your customers on a regular basis is a fantastic way to build your business. E-Mail Marketing tools for small businesses
If you’re going to market your business using e-mail, you’re going to need to use e-mail marketing tools.
When you’re just getting started it may seem easy enough to manage your promotional e-mail using your desktop e-mail client, but trust me, that soon gets messy! It’s also tricky to implement long established industry best practice like double-opt-in, unsubscribe options and to comply with anti-spam legislation.
Dedicated e-mail list and campaign management tools are the way to go, and there are a host of options available to small businesses that can take the pain out of building and managing your own e-mail campaigns.
Do it yourself e-mail list management tools PHP List (www.phplist.com) is a fantastic open source e-mail list manager that’s ideal for coordinating your newsletter subscriptions and opt-in e-mail lists. You can download PHP list and install it on your own server for free, and once it’s configured and customised it does a fine job of creating, sending and managing all of your e-mail newsletters and marketing campaigns.
Installation and setup of PHP List is reasonably straightforward, but it does require some technical knowledge, access to your web server and some knowledge of HTML to get your e-mail messages looking great.
An easier option is to use one of the many hosted [http://www.cjwriting.com/benchmark]e-mail solutions out there that are specifically geared to the needs of small to medium sized businesses.
Hosted e-mail services Hosted e-mail solutions are particularly attractive to smaller businesses because all of the technical stuff is taken care of for you. You simply create your account, fill in the relevant details about your business, pick a professional looking template and start creating your e-mail marketing campaigns.
These email services typically offer a free or very low cost trial, so you can try before you buy, and go on to charge an ongoing annual or monthly fee based on either the size of your e-mail list or the volume of e-mail you send.
There are many services to choose from. Some popular ones that are geared to the needs of small-business e-mail marketing are Benchmark E-mail, AWeber and NewsWeaver; for more options simply Google “small business e-mail marketing” and take your pick.
E-mail is still an incredibly powerful way for your small business to connect with a highly targeted audience who are ready to buy what you’re selling. With hosted e-mail marketing solutions it’s quicker and easier than ever to get started, so give e-mail marketing a whirl for your business, and watch your online sales start to rise.
Calvin Jones is an online content specialist, co-author of the internationally acclaimed online marketing book Understanding Digital Marketing [http://www.understandingdigital.com/the-books/about-the-book/72-buy-understanding-digital-marketing.html] and the soon to be published “The Best Digital Marketing Campaigns in the World”.
Calvin recommends Benchmark Email Marketing to all his small business clients, and uses it to manage opt-in e-mail lists for his own websites.
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