Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Have you ever thought "I must do that!" and yet never get around to it?
I find that has been the case for me with things like sending out cards to people I've met to thank them for their time when I've enjoyed meeting them, or just to say 'hi' to someone I have not seen for a while. Definitely I should have sent more cards to my mother, in between my visits to see her, when she was in aged care before she died. (People in care are so bored and a regular card would be like a miracle to many).
Keeping in touch with clients and customers is often overlooked in the rush to keep up with the 'urgent stuff' that comes up in a business on any day. And yet this attitude to how we keep in touch with our customers is a key to letting them know that we appreciate their business and we care to keep a relationship with them.
Newsletters are one way that we can keep our clients informed of topics that will interest them around the business we are in, and additionally, to make available special promotions just for them. Too often, businesses create promotions to reward people who have never supported them, and yet do nothing for the customers who come back time and again and show their loyalty and support for the business. Sending a newsletter is a relatively easy thing to do and to send it professionally means that you need to use a service that is geared to proper distribution and has all the elements necessary to make it easy to keep on the good side of regulation aimed at stopping spam. This means amongst other things, that there is an opt-in, an easy way for people to opt-out or unsubscribe and that you have tools available to be able to monitor how many of the newsletters are opened, what links they click on and ensure that your list is always clean and up to date. As well as keeping in touch with clients, an opt-in box (special code to add to your website and emails) lets others know about your business and offers and lets you spread word of your business even further.
Some Email Tips:
Don't use Outlook for mailing your newsletter.
Don't send your email as a .pdf file or attachment
Do have an easy way for people to opt-in
Do start building your mailing list
Do collect email contact details from customers as a way to reach them
Never automatically put people on your mailing list without permission
Create a template so you can easily fill the different section for a consistent look
Make it easy to read, and not too long! Consider a short summary and links to more detail.
Building Your Mailing List
Building a list is an important step for any business, and it is a big deal to have a list of subscribers who have opted-in to agree to receive your newsletter. This should be valued as it is an asset to your business and one that you can build over time, and can be a combination of customers as well as people who have never bought from you yet but may in the future. You can build a mailing list if you have a retail business, a manufacturing or service business, or even if you are a work-from-home-mom. What matters is that you build your list and people with an interest in what you do are able to find you and be kept up-to-date.
Using Snail Mail
While many people are taking up computers and social media... or perhaps because so many people are now using technology... something tangible that we can hold in our hand and read from paper suddenly has a new novelty. Not everyone is using online communication so remember to consider those people in your business network, customer database and personal relationships who would like to get something from you in a way they can touch. A quality piece of mail, written to the individual has the potential to be a very compelling item. It is also - if crafted with care - something that WILL get opened and something that will often be kept. Sometimes for an amazing length of time.
The Greeting Card Is In The Mail
Even though I have known for years this is a good thing to do, I have still been bad at getting to the shops to buy a card... finding a card I liked enough to want to send, then getting to the post office to send it out in good time. Just too many hoops to jump through and why I prefer to use an online service to send out cards via the post. I can personalise them to suit me, and make sure the message is completely on target and I don't have to bother going to the post office to send them out, or be limited to doing it in business hours. It is not uncommon for me to be sending out cards at 2am for mailing. ;-)
Some people who send Christmas cards and birthday cards to clients have told me what response is like when they speak to someone who may have received a card on their birthday - and it was the only one they got! But don't just stick to the Usual times for cards. Send a message 'Just Because' or to welcome a new customer or to thank them for something. Or just because you know they are having a hard time with something. They will appreciate it and you will too.
Your connection with your marketplace is a vital component your business needs to market effectively. And since marketing is to your business, like breathing is to your body, it is worth spending some time to create a strategy for doing this well, and with intention.
And it's a lot of fun too!
Your marketing plan should include actions and strategy for your communications with customers and prospective customers.
ACTION: What do you need to do now to get your mailing list up and enrolling people?
Send Your First Email Newsletter Today - AWeber Communications
PS. Let me declare I have an interest here, but if you are looking for solutions, you can test drive Aweber here for email marketing and this great greeting card service for sending cards. This one has option for retail or wholesale. And if you need to get cracking with your marketing plan download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook!
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