Email marketing can provide wonderful support for your web site and Internet marketing efforts. But do it wisely....
Email Advertising and Marketing:
If you're smart you won't even think of developing an internet marketing plan & web site without marrying it to a strategically created e-mail publication plan. The web site is the shy partner who passively waits for people to come to him. But the e-mail marketing strategy is the bold, active partner who goes out to where people are and invites them to come meet her groom. Together they make a great couple.
E-mail marketing is primarily a way to conserve the people who have shown some interest in your business by coming to your web site or responding to one of your offers. One of the highest priorities of your web site MUST be to get your visitor to sign up for your free newsletter, white paper, discussion list or updates publication. Offer a variety of inducements or compelling offers -- entry into a contest, a free gift, a free coupon -- whatever you must do to insure a steady stream of subscribers to your newsletter. Once they are subscribers -- if you give them "great content" they enjoy and learn from -- they'll stay with you for years, and you can gently build their trust and your relationship month after month. When they're ready to make a purchase, your site is at the top of their mind, and they'll probably buy from you. Figure the lifetime value to you of a single subscriber. When you've completed this exercise, you'll know why beginning your own e-mail marketing stratgey is so vital to marketing your business.
Though some Internet marketers focus on sending stand-alone e-mail ads to their mailing lists, I do not recommend this method. With so much SPAM (unsolicited e-mail) abounding, it's too easy for recipients to mistake your promotion for just another ad, and unsubscribe forever. Though an occasional promotional e-mail may be okay, your email marketing messages in the context of news and helpful information is much more effective, and builds loyalty that you can never gain by just bombarding your customers with ads.
Of course, you probably know by now that sending out mass e-mails to huge lists of e-mail addresses is a no-no. It violates the principle of Permission Marketing that says people respond better to a marketing message they have agreed to receive. Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail (UCE) also runs contrary to a long-standing Internet tradition that responds to SPAM with angry flames and enough returned e-mail to cause your ISP to shut down your account very quickly. If you're interested in building a long-term business based on trust, don't send SPAM.