Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Why You Should Use Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Email marketing is more important than ever as a tool to help improve small business’s customer base and bottom line profits. This is especially true with competition being greater than ever in this prolonged recession. There is not much else that can impact a company’s bottom line faster than a well thought out email marketing campaign to a large and well-nurtured email list.

A business can easily and cheaply deliver a large number of customised and personalised messages at predetermined intervals for next to nothing, so why not take advantage of it? Every business, big and small should be doing this. Most Small Business have not developed a serious email marketing strategy and this is something that should be done sooner rather than later. They are leaving money on the table, so to speak, by not using this valuable method of marketing.

Before you can conduct any sort of meaningful email marketing campaign, you need to have a list of people’s email address and names if possible. There are a number of ways to get this moving fast. As they say “the money is in the list”.

What is a Customer Worth to You?

Customer Lifetime Value

Most Small Business owners won’t know this, but here’s how to calculate it:

Determine average net spend of a new customer transaction:______________

Determine average # of repeat purchases per year: ______________________

Estimate average # years a customer patronises the business: ________________

So, let’s say the average customer buys an item worth £100 profit to the business, and then repeats this process once again in the year, they are worth £200 to the business in year one. If they remain a customer for 5 years, they are worth £1,000.

Use any figures you want, but this is a simple way to view the worth of a customer

Building Email Lists:

  1. Website pages. You never know which page a visitor will land on when they arrive at your site from a search engine or link. You maximise your chances of getting a lead if you have a signup form on every page of your site.
  2. Special Internet-Only offers: Try to get your customers to get on your email lists to receive these special offers. The offers can be discounted products, two for one sales, coupons, vouchers or whatever you wish.
  3. Ask for email addresses. Get your staff to ask customers for their email address.
  4. Send postcards to your mailing list. If you have postal address information but not email addresses of existing customers, send them a postcard asking them to subscribe to your email list. You will want to provide them with some sort of incentive of course.
  5. Use Invoices: add a sign up box on your invoices.
  6. Rented Lists: Can be useful in building a subscriber list. Be careful and only use a reputable provider of such a list and make sure your list contains names and addresses of people who are specifically interested in your type of products or services. Otherwise a waste of time.
  7. Create a Newsletter:and promote it in all your company correspondence and advertising.

Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Do Confirm all new subscribers: This will be done automatically via your autoresponder.
  2. Do Use the “double opt-in” method to ensure the integrity of the signup. This confirms that the subscriber has given you their email address is done by having the subscriber reply again via email to confirm.
  3. Do use the Unsubscribe Link Feature:This is very important to let the subscriber know they can get off your list by unsubscribing. This stops a lot of complaints about spam. All reputable systems will provide this feature.
  4. Do Personalise Each Message: You can increase both your reading and click-thru rates considerably by putting the subscribers name in the email. It’s important to establish a relationship with each customer.
  5. Do Choose Your wording Carefully. Most email systems use spam filters that analyses the certain words or combinations.
  6. Do Use Eye Catching Subject Headings: When your email arrives in your subscriber’s inbox, there are only a few seconds to the subscribers attention. They will quickly delete your email or ignore it.
  7. Don’t add email addresses to your list: unless the person has given you permission.
  8. Don’t forget to sign your messages: Always include a signature at the bottom of your emails, as it’s one of the easiest ways to attract more traffic to your website. This signature should include your personal details, your company details, and an unsubscribe link.

Email Marketing Systems

Ok, now you have the basis of email marketing. Let’s focus on what you need to do next. You will need to select the Autoresponder system that best suits your requirements. Below are some of the more commonly used systems. These are not expensive and includes the hosting of the software (basically you only rent it) and your subscriber lists and follow up messages etc as well. These are all Hosted.

AWeber: Has some great features and is easy to use. Costs around $19.00 per month, but cost will go up once you go past 5000 subscribers. Highly reliable and robust.

GetResponse: Similar to Aweber, but a little more difficult to use in my opinion. Cost about $18.00 per month, cheaper with annual payments.

Trafficwave.Net: You get unlimited autoresponder and click track reporting. Price stays the same regardless of how many subscribers you obtain. Cost about $17.95 per month.

Imnica: A new and up and coming hosted system. It has the vast majority of features the others, same deliverability levels, and LESS strict policies. Imnica Mail also has a full blown API for easy integration with existing systems. Not as easy to use as some of the other, but a great price at $9.00 per month.

With Imnica Mail you also get unlimited lists, unlimited AutoResponder messages, and unlimited broadcasts to your list.

InfusionSoft. Good choice for larger businesses that need to send out huge quantities of email. It integrates email marketing, sales, e-commerce, and even customer service.

Autoresponders Generally:

Because email marketing applications are available as hosted solutions, businesses do not have to worry about using their internal systems to send messages, nor do they have to worry about managing the mail server or backing up their database. Most importantly, they don’t have to worry about legal issues and CAN-SPAM compliance. With these third party systems, all of that is done for them. Once the email system is setup with the chosen provider the next step is to develop the email list. As email is the primary method of online communication. You should have a website that captures leads and sales, nothing is more important than the email marketing system behind it.

Creating an “Opt-In” Form:

You create the Opt-in form within the Autoresponder. You chose the type of form you want, edit the wording and the system provides you with a code that you can cut and paste into your website.

Of the five above systems above, I recommend AWeber mainly for its reliability and ease of use. They also have a very neat “light box” feature that allows you to setup an opt-in form without needing to change the design of your website. They also have good tutorials which lead you step-by-step through the setup process and use of the system.

What Kind of Emails: HTML or Plain Text?

What does this really mean? Basically with HTML you can send messages with text plus graphics and banners etc. With Plain Text it’s text only.

Ideally, you would like to send your messages sent using HTML and graphics to get the full impact, just like in print flyers and direct mail. This works just fine, however, there are a few things to keep in mind with HTML email messages:

  1. Many people will only accept email in Plain Text and have “images” turned off in their email accounts. If you send HTML emails to them, they will only see the words and not the graphics…not really the impression you want to convey.
  2. Generally most of communicate in plain text (i.e. just words). It’s more personal and is more likely to be opened and read.
  3. Plain Text has is disadvantages as well. For example you can’t use all of the means at your disposal to get your message across, such as headlines, photos, pictures, etc
  4. I recommend that you start out with PlainText

Building Email Lists Through Offline Methods

All Businesses, both large and small should be building their email list offline as well as online.

A good example of this is a retail outlet dealing directly with customers. The staff could ask their customers if they want to sign up for Internet Specials. Staff could even wear a badge saying “Have You Heard About our Internet Offers?” When the customer asks a member of staff what the Internet Offers are, they say they change all the time so it’s best to email them to you each time they change…do you want to get on our email list? Your Staff can capture the email information on a small card specially prepared for this or on the part of the receipt that the business keeps. This method is a bit slow, but over time it will grow significantly. This same basic strategy can be used for any business where there is direct customer contact.

Summary:

Email Marketing for Small Businesses is vital and over 90% of them are not using email marketing at all, and the others are not doing it very well. As a Small Business Owner you can leap ahead of your competition if you take advantage of Email Marketing.

Small Business Networking – Tips for Leaving a Lasting Impression With a Handshake

When you start small business networking outreach and you meet another business owner for the first time, the first form of contact tends to be the handshake. We all of course know how to shake hands but not everyone knows how to leverage the handshake to make them look good and leave a lasting impression. If you want to make yourself memorable to put a firm handshake and a face with your business card then follows these tips:

Be Ready for the Handshake

As you approach another small business owner or individual at a networking event, be ready with your hand extended. When you make the first move and open yourself for introduction it shows that you’re more confident and self-assured.

Make Eye Contact

Always look the small business owner in the face when you shake hands and make eye contact. Studies have shown on repeated occasions that maintaining eye contact for just 3 seconds can make another individual feel more comfortable and develop positive feelings for you. By adding to the eye contact with a smile you are able to lighten the mood and build a general foundation of trust.

Use the Right Strength in your Handshake

It’s important to use the right kind of grip when you shake hands. A tight handshake is important but too tight can be uncomfortable for the small business owner you meat. Not everyone ropes horses and bales hay so try not to choke their hand like rattlesnake. It’s easy to pause for a split second to gauge the strength of the other person, the follow through and match their grip.

Avoid the Sweaty Handshake

You don’t have to be the nervous type in order to deliver a sweaty handshake. Sometimes this just happens naturally in a warmer environment, especially a small business networking event where you’re wearing a suit coat or warmer outfit. Make it a point to keep your hands dry, especially if you see someone approaching you that looks like they want to initiate contact.

Stick to the Right Hand

Tradition has us shaking hands using our right hand. If you’re at a company even or small business networking event, carry your drink in your left hand and always initiate a handshake with your right. This keeps your right hands free and dry – no worries about condensation from a tasty cold beverage.

Adapt

Various people have different methods for shaking hands. Some simply grip and twitch a bit while others while grab your arm and shake it like they’re trying to jar apples free from the branch of a tree. Handshakes even vary from country to country so if your small business networking takes you to other regions pay close attention to how people greet one another. Having the right handshake and the right style can help to cement you in the memory of the contacts you make.

Mistakes That Usually Happen In Small Business Websites

One most important thing to bear in mind if you have a small business – make your website your focal point. It must be able to express your brand whilst providing bridges to make your leads easily connect with you.

You might be wondering why a website is still needed even if your business is small. Well, studies proved that most of the potential customers come from online users who’ve been searching for business locally. Thus, creating a small business website does not only market your business to your possible leads, but will also provide you with the opportunity to interact with your prospects and build relationship with them.

Whatever you apply to your business should all lead back to your site, making it the hub of your entire marketing venture. This is the main reason why your website should be on top of things.

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that with a small business, less effort is required. Aside from this wrong notion, below are the usual mistakes that occur mostly on small business websites.

Absence Of Blog

Blogs can drive visitors to visit your site. Without it, who else would want to browse through your web pages? What’s great in having this feature is that can attract more customers, stimulate more traffic, and helped turn your website a go-to-resource for your line of business.

No Opt-in Feature

The main objective of having a website is to attract visitors and turned them into frequent guests. And to be able to do this effectively, you must add an opt-in feature to your website itself. Compiling email addresses can widely open better possibilities of developing acquaintances with your prospects, which in turn can be your avid followers who will voluntarily spread the goodness that they have benefited from your website.

Disorganized Website

Websites need not to be extravagantly sophisticated. Simple and neat designs are preferred by viewers since these are easily comprehensible. Most of the visited websites mostly have white backgrounds with a complemented text, a header, and footer. Observe some of your favorite websites and see for yourself that simplicity and orderly can really run a long fruitful way.

Got The Right Fold?

Whenever an internet user visits your small business website, the section they first view is characterized as the “above-the-fold”. This part mostly depends on two things – the screen’s physical dimension and resolution. Make certain that you were able to post a good content on this portion as this will help hold the viewer’s interest stimulating them to read further, thus, knowing your business more.

You can check your website now and see for yourself if you’ve got these usual mistakes. Fix at least one error and determine the difference it has made on your small business website. Notice that in no time the odds will favor right on your side, driving more prospects to your website profitably.

Heavy Aesthetics

There’s nothing wrong in having excellent designs in your small business website. However, if the images you’re using are too large, your website may take some time to load. A certain study revealed that internet users could not wait for more than three minutes for the website to load, neglecting it otherwise. So what’s the use of your good content and design if people can’t view or read your page.

How To Drive Traffic To Your Website For Your Small Business

You can’t hold up a sign saying “come to my website”…so as a small business owner you need to be strategic, clever, and smart in your methods in getting better qualified prospects to come to your website so that you can get more clients, leads and ultimately make more money. A wise man by the name of Bill Gates stated that in the year 2015, “If you don’t have any web presence for your small business, you will soon be out of business.” Yes it’s true so let’s start it off by getting a website designed to enhance your brand and attract the prospects and clients you want. Qualified prospects are searching the web for qualified business’s before they make a decision so it is crucial that you use these proven marketing strategies to attract the right traffic to your website.

As a small business owner you need a simple and easy to implement strategies to get qualified prospects to your website so that you get the results that you are looking for. Working with my clients, I have found it to be 5 major strategies that every small business owner can use to drive qualified prospects to their website.

A very clever and strategic way to start would be to get into Pay per click online advertising. You might be afraid of pay per click advertising but don’t be. Pay per click can get you up higher on the search engine faster; with the proper headline and copy people will see your ad through the clutter and with the right words you will easily attract the qualified prospects to your website.

Another sure way of driving qualified prospects to your business website is article writing. There are many places to upload your articles and put them on the web for little or no money at all. In those articles about your business and or product you can put links in there and qualified prospects are able to click the link bringing them straight to your website. This will build credibility for your small business and build a trust for your products and or service, and when a prospect trust you they will buy from you. Not to mention your business website will move up higher organically on the search engine.

One other way of getting qualified prospects to your business website is to create a Affiliate program. You partner your product and or service with another business owner’s product and or service that serve your ideal client, giving the customer more value. For example: Wouldn’t it be nice if you joined a gym and every time you went you got a coupon to the health food store down the street or online? (HINT) This is helping both business owners. The owner of the Gym and the owner of the health food store. By both business owners working together they are able to give the customer better value and a great purchase experience. So find yourself another small business owner that serves the same type of client you serve and start an affiliate program it is a win, win for both business owners.

Qualified prospects are watching TV on a daily basis. People are now using cell phones to watch TV or commercials, so it’s only right that Video marketing become a priority! Make a quick video with a portable flip cam showing the benefits and features of your products and or services upload it throughout the web and wait for the traffic, you will find qualified prospects visiting your business site frequently and you will find you deposits in your bank account on a consistent basis.

Since we are in the information age we need to use it to our advantage as small business owners. As a small business owner you can use social networking on the social sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter just to name a few to your advantage building relationships with qualified prospects. Get in involved with these social networks, leave a link (leading back to your business website) at the end of you statements and you will find qualified prospects visiting your business website daily.

Like that old saying where there’s a will there’s a way and by judging the things we have talked about I have showed you 5 ways to get qualified prospects to your business website, do you have the will?

If You Are A Small Business Women Or Man And Would Like To Know The #1 Secret To Building A Solid Client List visit: http://www.TheMagicInYou.com