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E-mail Marketing — A Way to Increase Sales

By Holly Wade Like Sew Websites

Starting Your E-mail Marketing Strategy
Much of the business world has moved onto the online market place. Because of this, it is imperative to understand what techniques work best in this sphere. E-mail marketing is a technique that can work incredibly well, when done correctly. To become a successful e-mail marketer, complete the following steps.

Begin your e-mail marketing strategy by first gathering e-mails. While this is a first step, it is never really finished. You will want to continue your efforts to grow your e-mail marketing list as long as you are in business.

The best place to gather e-mail addresses is in the store. As your customers checkout, ask them for their e-mail address and let them know that you will use it to send them coupons, notify them of sales, etc. It is important to let them know that they will be rewarded for sharing their e-mail address with you.

If you do not have a physical store front, you can gather e-mail addresses at trade shows, as you travel to teach classes, and anywhere you see an opportunity.

All businesses should gather e-mail addresses on the home page of their website, especially those that are online only. Place an e-mail sign-up in a prominent place on your home page, above the fold (so customers do not have to scroll down). It is really important to offer an incentive and to ask for only their e-mail address. If you must, you can ask for their first and last name, however, the more information you solicit, the less likely people will be to sign up.

Avoiding Spam Filters
Your e-mails will not bring in any business if they aren't seen. In other words, make sure your e-mails don't get caught in spam filters. To bypass the filters, make sure your subject line is short, don't use all caps, and don't use the word free. These types of behaviors are common to spam, so if you don't want to be marketed as spam — don't do them. You also want to avoid using images as they also make you look like spam. If you really feel that images are important to your e-mail, be sure to include 200 words to balance out the image. Testing the success of e-mails with images versus those without images will help you improve your strategy.

Getting People to Read
Once you get your e-mail into their inbox, you want to make sure your customers read it. Make sure your subject line is short, but interesting, and that it mentions sales, discounts, new services, etc. In the body of the e-mail, be brief — people are busy. Instead of sending long newsletters, send a call to action: come to this sale, click this "like" button, use this coupon. Create a sense of urgency by sending something different every time and by noting expirations on coupons or discounts and ends of sales. If your call to action is completed online, be sure to include a link to your online store, your Facebook page, etc.

Timing for Success
When you send your e-mails, be sure to send them no more than once a week (you don't want to annoy people) and to send them at least once a month (unless your industry is seasonal— then you may send them quarterly, etc.) It is generally best to send your e-mails in the middle of the day (10 am-12 pm). Test to see what day and time works for your customer base, and then be consistent. Send your e-mails the same day and time of the day each week/month.

Testing to Reach Perfection
As with any type of marketing, it is important to test your techniques. Many e-mail marketing services offer tracking information to help you do this. You may also test your practices by using analytics, or (if you have a physical store front) by simply having customers print out and bring in an e-mail or coupon and manually tracking these numbers yourself.

Perfecting e-mail marketing takes time and work, but is well worth the effort. As your e-mail marketing tactics improve, so will your sales.

Holly Wade is a mother of twin baby boys, a devoted wife and a lover of words. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Literature and a fascination with language. She has been writing and working on websites with Like Sew Websites since June 2010 and has enjoyed learning many important strategies along the way. She has worked with customers to improve a wide variety of Internet marketing tactics and continues to work on search engine optimization and social media for Like Sew specifically.

Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional, August 2012