For many small businesses, E-mail blasts are a very inexpensive way to stay in touch with existing customers and to drum up new business. In a future blog, I’ll discuss content for the E-mail blast, but the point of this entry is whether to do them at all. Are they worth the time and effort?
What About the Mailing List?
The decision to do any E-mail blast is predicated on you having access to or maintaining a list of customers or prospects. Perhaps the greatest cost of doing an E-mail blast is the list rental, which is available for nearly all customer types, from third-party suppliers. If you have your own list, built up over several years of networking and completed projects, then the cost of doing the E-mail blast is even lower.
This is not to say that it doesn’t make sense to do the E-mail blast campaign if you don’t own the list, but it will be more expensive to conduct. Even if you need to rent or purchase a list, any sales you generate through the campaign can easily outweigh the cost of the list.
Won’t I Risk Annoying Potential Customers?
An argument against doing E-mail marketing campaigns is that the majority of people will not open your E-mail, consigning it to the deleted folder as quickly as they see it. That is true. Today’s busy business owner is used to quickly scanning the subject lines of incoming E-mail, opening any of interest.
Consider this scenario: If you send out E-mail blasts to 500 contacts (both existing and prospective customers), you may get the bulk of your existing customers to open the E-mail because they recognize your name. You have succeeded in one important goal of the program—continuing communication with your customer! Here’s the second major benefit: If say 450 of these contacts are new prospects, and only 20 (4%) open your E-mail, you’ve just qualified a solid number of contacts for new business. You can communicate directly with these executives, and perhaps two or three may contact you directly to inquire about your services, and depending on the nature of the sale, one may more than enough to pay for an inexpensive E-mail campaign!
I Don’t Have the Time or Knowledge to Set up a Campaign
Another argument against E-mail marketing campaigns is that they are difficult to organize and conduct. Nearly every customer relationship management (CRM) database, like Salesforce for example, make it easy to choose which mailing list you’d like to use and offer templates for E-mail campaigns. They also help you set up the “unsubscribe” buttons to keep the mailing list targeted to only those who want to receive your communications.
For those without CRM programs, free programs like MailChimp, or inexpensive providers like Constant Contact, can help you design simple, yet effective E-mail campaigns.
In essence, there are few downsides to doing E-mail blasts to your customers. The next question is, what will be the content of those blasts? We’ll discuss this critical subject next time.