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Sunday, October 30, 2011
Letter from the Editor
Welcome back to the latest issue of the Shoestring Entrepreneur Newsletter!.
The publishing schedule of this newsletter has been a little erratic lately. I was very busy with some consulting and marketing work, which is a good thing for me but not so good for this newsletter. None of us are perfect and to be honest one of my faults is time management.
In the beginning the Shoestring Entrepreneur was to be a group effort with myself and a series of guest writers. I'm sorry to say that time, there's that word again, commitments have kept the others from writing as well. No matter, I will continue to publish this newsletter, even if it's an erratic schedule because i believe the value you can get from this is second to none. So on with the show.
In this week's newsletter, I'll share an article titled "The Value of Email Marketing." In it we'll look at the reason email marketing is still an essential strategy in your business.
To your success,
The Value of Email Marketing
by Brian Carson
Once you start building a loyal list of prospects and customers, you can send emails to them from time to time and start building a relationship.
Email Marketing has been around for a long time and isn’t going away anytime soon. Regardless of what some so-called experts say.
Most local business owners are familiar email marketing, but have not considered using this method within their own businesses. This is a mistake because email marketing will dramatically reduce your marketing costs while bringing you more business at the same time.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tools that a business can use to connect with local customers and prospects.
By using an email Autoresponder system, you can stay in front of existing customers and prospects on complete auto-pilot.
This will create a constant stream of new customers as well as repeat customers.
Benefits of Email Marketing
Email Marketing allows you to easily build trust, credibility and relationships with your prospects and customers. You can:
- Increases sales and profits
- Costs less than most other advertising methods
- Converts more prospects and website visitors into customers
- Completely hands-off and automated
- Easily deliver important messages to your prospects and customers
- Easily track results
Every business wants to connect with local consumers without spending a ton of money in advertising. Email Marketing will allow you to do just that.
With an email marketing campaign, you can truly stay connected with potential buyers 24/7.
Preparing for Your Email Marketing Campaign
To start building your Email Marketing campaign, you will need an autoresponder system.
This system will deliver your messages and allow you to manage and track your campaigns.
You’ll also want to make sure that every page on your website has an email opt-in form installed.
Opt-in forms are created within your autoresponder system and an HTML code is provided, which should be installed on your website.
In exchange for their email addresses, offer your visitors something of value. So start thinking about what you will offer. This could be a free information report related to your industry, a coupon, a discount, a video, audio, or whatever you see fit.
If your customers come into your business, you should also capture their email addresses there. Again, offer them something nice in exchange for their email addresses.
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Choosing and Setting Up Your Email Autoresponder System
In order to run an email marketing campaign, you will need an Autoresponder system, which is a web-based email marketing software that will deliver your email messages to your list.
Autoresponder systems are affordable and make the emailing process truly “hand-off” once you set everything up.
1. Choose an Autoresponder service company to use. These companies charge you a small monthly fee to hold your list of email addresses and messages.
Some of the most popular are Aweber.com, iContact.com, and Constantcontact.com.
2. Add contacts to your Autoresponder system. This can be done manually. However, if you have an opt-in form on your website, they will be automatically added.
3. Create some starter email messages and add them into your Autoresponder system so you can start following-up with your list. Continue to send them messages that contain valuable information. Never let your list run cold!
4. Generate an opt-in form to place on your website. Once your Autoresponder is setup, you will have the ability to generate an opt-in form to place on your website.
An opt-n form is a simple HTML code that is generated by your Autoresponder. When setting up your code, you will determine what information you want to capture.
Obviously, you will need their email address, but you can also ask for additional information such as their name, address, phone number, etc. However, the less you ask for, the more subscribers you will get.
Capturing Email Addresses on Your Website
It has been proven that giving away a free gift in exchange for email addresses works better than any other method.
Visitors are more apt to give you their email address if they get something in return. However, whatever you decide to give them must be valuable and something they would benefit from. Make sure it’s enticing enough to make them leave their email address to get it.
As mentioned earlier, your Autoresponder opt-in box on your site will be responsible for collecting email addresses, but you must have a way to entice your visitors.
You can offer things such as:
Discounts and Coupons: Most businesses sell products and services that benefit from the use of coupons. Everyone wants to save money these days so offering a discount or coupon could prove to be very powerful for building a list.
Free Ebooks/Reports: A lot of people are online searching for solutions to a problem or need that they have. Free reports are the perfect way to give them the information that will solve their problem or fulfill their need.
Free Video Guides: Video is quickly becoming one of the most powerful marketing methods online today. Many people would rather watch a video than read an e-book, so you should definitely cater to this market.
Free “How-To” Tutorials: Tutorials are an excellent way to build an email list. This is because a tutorial provides a LOT of value to subscribers who are looking for a solution to a problem.
Emailing Your List
Once you start building your list, it’s time to connect, educate and “soft-sell” by providing them with valuable information...
This could be things such as newsletters on topics of interest, “how-to” tutorials, etc.
Coupons and promotions should be worked in - do not bombard your list with hard-selling methods. It is not effective.
The most important aspect of email marketing is “relationship-building.”
Use email to get familiar with your list and to allow them to get to know you.
People buy from those they know, like, and trust - this is a known fact. So establishing a relationship is one of the most profitable things you can do to get a strong connection with local consumers.
Whatever you do, just be sure to provide your list with valuable information and don’t bombard them with promotional offers.
Also be somewhat conservative about how often you send emails - there is a such thing as “too many emails” when it comes to email marketing.
Don’t hit your subscribers with constant emails because this will reduce the perceived value of being a part of your list. Once the value is gone, people will quickly opt-out.
Instead, only send out emails periodically and this could vary depending on the nature of your business.
However, in most cases, just sending one email per week – or even two emails per month is more than enough to build a strong connection with your list.
Brian Carson is the president and CEO of the Market Ownership Group. Before founding the Market Ownership Group, a marketing consulting/business coaching company, Brian owned three brick-and-mortar businesses that he ran profitably for over 15 years. Brian sold them off to focus all his attention to the formation of the Market Ownership Group, founded in 2008. Brian has created marketing strategies, done for you marketing materials and given advice in a diverse range of businesses, from restaurants to barber shops to online only businesses to small retail stores, and financial advisors. If you would like to grow your business to new levels of profit and growth, or if you need help starting a business from scratch, email the Market Ownership Group at email@example.com.
On this week's episode of THE BRIAN AND LEE SHOW, our guest will be author and entrepreneur Wayne Breitbarth. Wayne is the author of the new book, “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success”. He’s a Certified Public Accountant who received a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an MBA from Marquette University. He is an owner of M&M Office Interiors in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
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