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Setting E-mail Marketing Preferences for 2004

Year 2004 is already here. You may choose to run your business just like you did it last year, but how good the business was back in 2003? Does it need any improvements? Or a complete makeover, perhaps? I suggest you set your marketing preferences for 2004.

1. Narrow Focus
Focus helps businesses make more money by serving less clients. Every business and marketing textbook has a chapter about focusing and targeting. But what about e-mail marketing? How do you narrow your focus, when all you have is a bunch of e-mails? First, never buy or rent generic databases. Second, do remove e-mail addresses that yield no actions (purchase, inquiry, website visit or other) for a prolonged period of time - one year, for example. Third, about 50% of inventory titles yield only 10% of sales. Get rid of that half and leave the half that makes 90% of revenue.

2. Turn buyers into sellers.
It's called viral marketing. Your friend invited you to a new restaurant. You liked it a lot. So you bring your friends and they bring theirs. This is how buyers get turned into sellers. The same thing happens with books, good dentists, food supplements, wines, some religious movements and video games. The media calls it "buzz". Creating buzz does miracles. Be creative and get your customers excited.

3. Simplify
Simplify and things will get better. Simple message with clearly stated objectives will create more sales. Simple and short money-back guarantee or refund policy will get customer complaints to a minimum. Simple and visible shipping options will help customers tremendously. Just remember that simple things are sometimes the most difficult ones to implement. We like to unnecessarily complicate things.

4. Be offline
This may be the toughest concept for online businesses. You have to be offline, to get advantage online. This may mean sending greeting cards or even catalogs to your premium customers by regular snail mail. All major online businesses, like Yahoo, Amazon and eBay do have offline ads in print, billboards and on TV. Why do you think that is so? More and more online businesses turn to Yellow Pages and some even open "real" offices and brick and mortar stores.

Relevant links:

    • Extract e-mail addresses for your campaign
    • Email Verification program
    • Extract faxes and phones from web sites

Next week: Worst e-Business practices
Prev week:
Year 2004 - what's next for e-mail marketing?

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