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Using the Loss Leader Principle- Build Your Presence

-- 2011-02-16 2:00 am --

As a small business owner, you’re no doubt acquainted with the marketing principle of using a “loss leader” to draw additional potential customers to your business. Companies have continued to use this strategy of offering a free or extremely discounted item in order to entice shoppers, who will hopefully continue shopping at your establishment or on your website. The resulting increase in sales will, in most cases, not only make up for the “loss” you took on the initial offer, but also gain new customers and the potential for future sales.

This principle can be easily applied to online marketing and used to build a base of loyal customers for your website. Some initial effort will be required to set the campaign in motion, but the results will be well worth it.
For our purposes, we are going to apply the loss leader strategy to help you build or increase your email list.

You may have heard the often repeated Internet marketing chant, “The money is in the list.” That’s true because email can be one of your best marketing tools, but only if you have a substantial amount of subscribers. (What that amount is will depend on your own business goals and how many online customers per month you need to be successful.) And the best way to gain a quality list of subscribers is not by purchasing one, but by building it via your own website and social media marketing sites like Facebook and Twitter.

First you will need to decide what your offer will be. Free ebooks relevant to your market are very popular. If your industry is one in which potential customers typically do research before making a purchase, create an ebook (even a relatively brief one) or white paper with useful tips and information to help them make their decision. You can easily outsource this work by searching for qualified writers on sites like Elance.

If your product or service is relatively simple, you can offer a free trial or discount coupon to introduce them to your company. Set it up so that once they’ve opted in to your email newsletter and confirmed their email address, they will instantly receive the download link or coupon code. Welcome them to your newsletter and remind them to check their in-box weekly (or however often you plan to send emails) for future discounts and/or valuable tips.

Once you have built your list, keep your subscribers interested. Make sure your headlines catch the reader's attention and make them want to open your email. And always provide something of value within.

Continue to engage with your customers through occasional surveys. Just remember to keep it brief and offer a coupon or other reward for participating. Your surveys will help you get to know your customers and better meet the needs of your target market.

Successful email marketing does take some time and effort, but it can also prove to be one of your company’s best marketing tools.