Email marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool, especially when it is used right. Unfortunately far too many businesses use email inappropriately, and at one stage 5 or 6 years ago everyone’s email accounts were being flooded by spam emails. This is when permission marketing was forced upon businesses.
Permission marketing is effectively someone giving you their email address with the understanding that you may contact them via email at one stage or another. There are a number of ways in which this can be achieved:
- When people call your business, you could ask for their telephone number and an email address. An example of this working well could include when someone books an appointment at your hair salon, you could send that person a confirmation email with date and time of their appointment. Another example is where a printing company could require an email address to send over a quote or samples.
- At meetings or networking events you could offer to email someone free information such as guides or tips about a service your business provides.
- Enquiry forms within your website are a great way of obtaining information and allow you to begin building a relationship with a prospect.
- Hand written forms, questionnaires and competitions such as raffles are also other great ways to obtain email information.
It’s best to make it clear at the point of receiving their contact information just exactly how you plan to communicate with them, you could let them know verbally, send them a confirmation email, phone them or add it in the terms and conditions small print.
As long as someone has provided you with their contact information it’s usually acceptable for you to make contact with them. It’s when someone that has no recollection as to who you or the company is and how you obtained their contact information that misunderstandings are caused.
Avoid the temptation to purchase contact information such as email lists. You can buy thousands of email addresses at very little to no cost, but it’s important that you avoid such practices as you will get flagged up as a spammer which will lead to a poor reputation for your business.
Businesses often struggle to create emails that would be of any interest to their customers. Here are just a few ideas of what sort of content you could include in your email to make them more engaging:
- Product or Service information
- Information on new products and services
- Interesting industry related news
- Ask for testimonials
- Ask for referrals
- Product or service analyses and suitability
You should email your current and prospective customer base on a regular basis. At least once per month as a minimum. In most instances 2 to 4 emails per month works best as long as the information is useful and of interest to the reader. You can gauge the affect and impact that you are having upon your recipients based upon the data that an email marketing service such as Mail Chimp provides.