Getting people to notice your business is the first step towards success but if you can’t sustain their interest then you are going to have trouble growing. You can keep trying to build your audience from scratch every time you have a new service or product to offer or you can make sure that each big change is announced to your old customers and anyone new who will listen. But how do you stay in contact with old customers? This is where a mailing list can be useful, whether you are sending out physical mail or email.
One of the more interesting things about doing business today is how older marketing tools are being updated to cater to a more digitally savvy market. Some ideas are fundamentally sound whether they are put into practice with physical ink and paper or digital ones and zeros. And thanks to computers and the Internet setting up a mailing list and using it to contact people is easier than ever. If you think that keeping in touch with your clients or potential customers directly through email sounds like it might work for you then read on.
Before you can send anything out in the mail, digitally or otherwise, you need to come up with a list of addresses you want to send your message to. You can use your existing contacts, pay for a list of email addresses or collect addresses from people who come into contact with your business or website. To decide which one is right for you it’s worth looking at them all.
If you have used email for a while, as most people have at this point, you probably already have a contact list built up. For people who are just getting started and want to announce something to as many people as possible one option is using your contact list and emailing the people on it. The upside is that this is easy to do but the downside is that the results can be questionable. For one you don’t know if anyone you end up emailing will be interested. Then there’s the fact that you may accidentally annoy people who might have been valuable contacts if you mailed them in a more personal manner.
For contacting as many people as possible, as quickly as possible there are places online where you can buy email contact lists. These services range from moderately reputable to complete wastes of money. Anyone who knows email understands the annoyance of getting unwanted spam messages. Even if you have a product or service you know people want or need thanks to the newest spam filters there’s a good chance your message will end up deleted before it’s seen. If you send out thousands or even millions of emails you may get some positive responses, but you could also end up wasting a lot of money and damaging your reputation.
Using your personal email list or buying one can work in some very specific cases but generally speaking the best way to build a contact list is by simply asking people if they would like to hear from you. In the past you might have kept a list in your business and asked people to sign it if they wanted to hear from you, now the process can be fully automated. If you have a WordPress site check out the dozens of plugins that will help you start collecting emails today.
Sending Out Emails
Getting a decent list of email addresses is a big first step but the moment of truth happens when you actually decide to contact the people on that list. You want to stay on their mind, whether you are sending them an offer or simply reminding them you exist by giving them an update on what is going on with your site or business. Always keep the concept of spam in mind and do what you can to avoid sending out messages that appear to be unwanted, worthless or spam.
If you have a blog one good idea is sending out emails when you put up new posts. Of course this doesn’t always work, if you like to make more than one post a day this can be a bit overboard. Stick to sending out messages only when you have something significant to say. If you’ve got a big offer, a highly valuable new post, or something of similar importance then an email might be warranted. The key is quality over quantity.
The other thing you need to think about is how you will be sending out your emails. It can be difficult to send out dozens, hundreds or even thousands of emails at a time and deal with the potential responses. Managing all of this tends to be impractical without using some of the programs available now that automate the process. AWeber and MailChimp are two of the most popular options but there are more out there. Before committing to any one tool you should examine your options and consider your needs.
The Importance Of Offering Something Of Value
Despite the fact that mailing lists have been around for over a century and that many of the biggest companies use them lots of people still feel uneasy about using this tool themselves. Skepticism is a good thing here, your reputation is one of your most important assets and you don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize it. Mailing lists are like any other tool, there is a wrong way to use it and a right way.
The key to just about any successful business decision is providing something of value to the people who are most likely to be interested in it. The problem with most spam emails is that they are selling questionable goods and services to people who never asked to learn about the subject. On the other hand, successful email lists are started by asking people if they want to be on the list and following up with quality emails that people will be glad to find in their inbox.
As with any marketing tool mailing lists aren’t for everyone, but you should at least consider the option and figure out why it will or won’t work for you. If you were going to send emails out to your customers or the people you would like to be your customers what would it say? Do you have the kind of website that would inspire people to sign up for a mailing list if you had one? Whether or not you do decide to create such a list answering these questions can help you make better decisions regarding your website and business.
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