You may have seen my byline here a few times, but I am sure I have never said much about my background.
But as is happens, I run a marketing organization called Impact Analytics (www.impactanalytics.com). We specialize in “aggressive” email marketing, which means that we might send as many as several emails per day (between news content and advertising) to an ever-shifting email base. Our clients send over 5 billion emails per year, 100% legal opt-in, NOT spam.
Small businesses can benefit greatly from email marketing, and it is surprisingly easy.
First, let’s distinguish between two different kinds of lists. You may have one or both.
Customer List – These are people who are your current customers, who have purchased some from you. And they will be worth several times their last purchase in the future, because you and EVERY experienced small business person know that it is much easier to sell to your existing customers than it is to acquire a new customer.
Treat these folks with kid gloves, like family, you want to be very careful that they do not unsubscribe from your list. Only send information to them that will benefit them. Don’t send too often, make them glad to hear from you. You may even consider sending an “insiders” newsletter that speaks to their needs. Content is everything, easy on the solicitations.
Marketing List – These are leads that come in from people who are not your customers yet. The emails could be people coming from your website, Facebook page or other lead generation activities.
You want to hit them hard with offers they can take advantage of. Your best shot of converting a lead into a customer is in the first couple of weeks. Even a small purchase, even a purchase at a LOSS is good if you have a mature process for upselling them later. Unlike emails on your customer list, emails on marketing lists are easy to replace. If they unsubscribe at high rates, just get more. Understand your ROI calculations, cost per lead vs lifetime value of a lead.
You may find that it is worthwhile to extend your relationship with these folks. You can do this by publishing an occasional newsletter, and sending your sales information as part of the email. If you are hardcore, you can start a relevant news site and send out content every day (one our Impact Analytics‘ specialties). It is a “reciprocity” process — if you provide good content, then your email list will tolerate a higher level of sales pitch. Try to keep the ratio no higher than one to one.
Some other tips:
Small lists – If you have a small list, say less than 10,000 and you only want to send a couple of times per month, try Mail Chimp. It is easy to use, has a number of great templates, and is cost effective.
Aggressive lists – If you want to be more aggressive, sending an email every day, Mailchimp will kick you out, since they are very sensitive to aggressive programs. You will need a more specialized email platform. We use DMS (www.dmsgs.com), which gives you many options you will need, include dedicated IP addresses, reputation management, registration of your name in various whitelisting programs and much more. You will need this kind of support to run a truly aggressive program, but the rewards are huge.
We had a customer a few years ago (I can’t share current data, but we have current stories equally spectacular), who was earning over $400,000 per MONTH from a list of about 500,000.
List Rental – If you have a decent budget and want a lot of leads very quickly or want to acquire a great many new customers in a short time, you may consider “renting” a list. Renting simply means that you pay a fee to send your advertising through someone else’s lead list.
However, you must be very careful with this since there are a lot of people trying to rent essentially dead lists. To remedy this (if you have no one to trust), you may want to consider a CPA arrangement. CPA means cost per “action” which could mean that the list owner is compensated based on sales generated to you. Later when you have confidence in the list you can rent CPM, or cost per thousand, and get a better rate.
We use a company called Emailabilities (www.emailabilities.com). These are folks who work with some of the biggest and some of the smallest names in the business, and who are intent on developing long term relationships. We have known the people there for over 14 years, and trust them implicitly.
Now you know a good portion of our secrets. More to come…