E-mail Marketing: Is It Worth Your Time?

emailMany of us design HTML templates for our clients’ e-mail marketing campaigns, but what about for your own business? E-mail marketing can be a viable way to grow and expand your business if you’re willing to put in the time and effort it will take to maintain templates, a distribution list and regular campaigns (even if you limit yourself to plain text e-mails).

In reality, many of us probably already have sign-up forms on our websites, allowing us to collect addresses from interested parties, but then how often do we actually send out an e-mail blast? And what about your own address book? I know I have hundreds of contacts that would probably be interested in the information I would consider sending out. If this sounds like you, it may be time to take a serious look at the benefits of e-mail marketing and what types of messages to send.

The Benefits

E-mail marketing can have a number of benefits for any type of business, freelancer, or entrepreneur. Your mailing list can include current and past clients, colleagues, unqualified leads, prospective clients, friends, past contacts and even people you don’t know.

The focus should be on developing a method of regular contact because it can:

  • Communicate important news to clients/colleagues that they wouldn’t otherwise know
  • Keep you on the minds of potential clients
  • Put you in a position to receive regular referrals
  • Make your sales process easier and more productive
  • Help people get to know you in a light, informal way
  • Start conversations with people you are targeting

What to Share

You may be thinking that you have nothing to share, but an e-mail marketing campaign doesn’t have to be complex. It doesn’t even have to be a formal newsletter; short and to the point can be effective, too.

Information you can send out to your distribution list may include:

  • Site launches for other clients
  • New products or services you are offering or your clients or colleagues are offering
  • Special discounts or limited-time subscriber benefits
  • Client testimonials
  • Products or services you recommend that may be useful to your audience
  • New partnerships or collaborations
  • Surveys or requests for feedback
  • Articles, blog posts and other informational resources

Not Crossing the Line

There are some important things to keep in mind when launching e-mail marketing campaigns. You’ll want to make sure you are sending messages in moderation, when you have something truly valuable to share and not simply for the sake of sending something out. And please, give people a chance to opt-in before you start sending away, and make sure there is a clear way to unsubscribe. Crossing the line and doing too much too often, or sending unwanted mail will do the opposite of what you want it to do and can hurt business.

Stay tuned for my next post about e-mail marketing services for you to consider for your future mailings.

Do you collect contact e-mail addresses on your website? What do you do with them?

Image credit: Nick Cowie

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  • http://www.dangrossman.info Dan Grossman

    “E-mail’s ROI in 2008 was $45.06 for every dollar spent on it, according to the DMA’s just-released Power of Direct economic impact study. This compares to $48.34 last year, and a projected $43.52 in 2009, according to the annual study.”

    http://directmag.com/email/1014-email-roi-dma/

    That’s a pretty killer stat.

  • http://www.avertua.com Alyssa Gregory

    Pretty killer is right, Dan. And thanks for beefing up my post with some stats. :-)

  • Zaf

    I agree. Moderation is the key. Being bombarded by too frequent emails gives the impression of desperation and makes it easy to dismiss. Short and sweet means that the sender values your time and has something really important to share.

  • Tim Walsh

    I found a company on EmailResults.com called http://www.DatabaseEmailer.com which has developed a desktop email software program that can synch with 3rd party USA based Webhosting/Email Servers. The benefits are that the users do not have to manage an email server as the software controls the email server from the local desktop bypassing the local ISP. Also the cost is about $30 to email 7 to 10 million emails.

    The software has query capability built into it by simple dropdown instead of knowing how to write SQL query code. Handles bounces and opt-outs too. Nothing like it on the market. Check it out and let us know what you think.

    Tim

  • markfiend

    Tim Walsh: that looks to me suspiciously like a popular canned meat product…

  • valencio

    I will recommend using ePostMailer for all bulk email marketing needs. Its the best free mass email software I have used so far.

  • floater

    This is why the “To All:” button was a mistake. The fact that we have email robots to basically do the same thing does not make it better. $48 to $1 may look “killer” but you would have to know your audience because frankly this is the kind of thing that really rubs some people the wrong way.

    If someone I knew sent me spam I’d let them know right away and if I don’t get a response with a very sincere apology…

  • http://www.dangrossman.info Dan Grossman

    E-mail marketing and spam are NOT the same thing! Legitimate e-mail marketing is about communicating regularly with your customers and other people who have given you explicit permission to e-mail them, and can change their mind and opt out at any time.

  • Hostpitable

    Yes bulk emails and a targeted newsletter are quite different. See Dan’s stats above. Reading about the McColo spam somebody at the Washington Post quoted a spam insider as saying they get a conversion on average for every 12 million emails. The numbers are quite different for targeted vs spam as you can see moral issues aside.

  • http://www.google.com KonstantinMiller

    I have been looking looking around for this kind of information. Will you post some more in future? I’ll be grateful if you will.