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Email Marketing for Small Business Success

-- 2011-08-29 2:00 am --

Email marketing remains one of the strongest ways to ensure small business success. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 92% of online Americans use email, with 61% checking their email every day. If you can build a strong email list, you will have an audience you can market to for years to come.

Email Success Versus Spam

One thing every email list struggles with is the perception of spam. You can overcome this perception by controlling your list with an opt-in requirement. By using an auto-responder, you can ensure that every subscriber has chosen your list and confirmed his subscription. In addition, every email received will contain a simple unsubscribe link.

Once subscribers sign up to your list, you should monitor your unsubscribes to get a feel for when your emails are too frequent or promotional for the taste of the audience. If you overdo the promotion, some people will mark you as spam rather than merely unsubscribing.

How to Get People to Opt In

You can encourage email sign ups by offering a freebie that entices prospects to give up their email address and take a chance on letting you into their inbox's. Popular freebies include:

* E-books
* White Papers
* E-courses
* Podcasts
* Webinars

Once you have a desirable gift to offer, a good sales page will ensure the highest conversion rate. Also known as a squeeze page, this page emphasizes the benefits of your offering and overcomes any objections to subscribing. You will not want to lose interested prospects to poor sales copy, so this page deserves the best copywriting you can afford.

Keeping Your Email List Active

Look for ways to offer good information on a periodic basis to your subscribers. This will:

* Overcome their perception of your emails as spam;
* Increase the chance that they will open your emails;
* Keep them aware of your brand.

One thing you should not do is let your list go quiet for several months and then suddenly spring a bunch of promotional emails on the list. This can do more harm than good if people have forgotten your brand and think you are spam.

Useful Email Information

If you want to keep them reading your emails, offer information that helps them succeed. Of course, the best information sells your products while helping them succeed. You might give them tips about:

* Seasonal activity (gathering info for taxes);
* Maintenance schedules (how often they should rotate tires);
* Troubleshooting common problems.

Any information you can provide that benefits the reader will raise the value of the emails in the minds of subscribers, and you can always include a promotional message at the bottom of the email.

Rinse and Repeat

Once you have a list of email subscribers and have found the mix of information and promotion that works for your list, you will have a money machine you can keep reusing. Email marketing costs very little more whether you send to 10 or 10,000 subscribers, so your costs actually go down while your revenues increase.