Email marketing can be a great place to start to stay in touch with your customers or donors on a grassroots level, especially if you’re old school and are still learning some of the social media tools – or your customer base isn’t likely to be on any of the new sites. But many people don’t know where to start with email. The best place? Your current customer list.
Permission-based email marketing is the rule these days, and you need to have a prior relationship with people you email to avoid violating CAN-SPAM laws. Sounds scary, but it’s not really so bad. CAN-SPAM, or Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (whew!), is Congress’s method of protecting citizens from spam and governs email and other marketing contact. Most of the time we are glad for the rule, when we’re on the other end of the email. But if you start by sending to your current customers, you meet this rule head on with no worries. And you can end up growing your list through WOM (word of mouth), the best way to do it anyway. So start with who you know, and you’ll be up and running in no time.
The second consideration is content. You have to have something worth reading, or you may end up in the junk mailbox despite your best efforts. No need to fear this part. Basically, marketing now is about providing education and resources and starting a conversation with your customers. You do this anyway every time you do business, so go with what you know here. Chat up your customers, and tell them a little about what you know. Be a tease, and lead them back home to mama (or papa) where the motherload of knowledge resides. That’s you if you weren’t following the parental metaphor….
Put together two or three short articles about the field of your service or product, and give customers some interesting tips about it. For instance, if you’re in HVAC, share tips on how to be more energy efficient and save money. If you’re a theater staffer trying to sell tickets, give email subscribers an inside look at the theater from behind the scenes, or describe your upcoming events, with theatrical flair, of course. And you can’t lose with coupons and offers. We all like to save money, especially these days.
I’ll have some future emails focused around each of these tips, but for now, they should get you started. Visit CRM Magazine for 8 Email Marketing Tips, and check out CAN-SPAM for the rules of the game. And you can sign up at Constant Contact for a free trial with templates for your emailing convenience. Once the trial’s up, they charge by the number of people you have in your list, so it’s very economical and you can start as small as you like. Go for it! Now’s your chance.