Marketing

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

 

Email is often described as the most effective marketing vehicle on the Internet today. Compared to banner advertising or other methods, targeted email marketing can deliver far better results at a much lower cost. It's also a very easy way to lose money!


While it's true that a well planned, targeted campaign can deliver astonishing results, a poorly executed campaign will just cost you good money. A good email marketing strategy is built on a foundation of seven key tactics.


Tactic One: Use E-Zines To Target Your Audience. Since you're probably not starting out with a mailing list of your own, you'll want to use opt-in email newsletters to find and reach your desired audience. Even as your own mailing list grows, e-zines will probably remain the most important vehicle for your marketing efforts. I recommend that you subscribe to and/or read several issues of any e- zine before buying an ad.


Tactic Two: Test Your Copy and Offers With Classified Ads. Your first efforts at writing a really profitable e-zine ad will probably be a painful learning experience. In order to keep it from being an expensive lesson, use low-cost (or free) classified ads to test different headlines and offers. Once you've built up your own mailing list, you should be able to test your ads for free with "ad swaps," and even make some money in the process.


Tactic Three: Give Good Ads Top Exposure. Once you have an ad that's tested well, your best results will come from "top ads" (also known as sponsor ads) in the e-zines you've selected. The best ads, running in the best spots, in the best e-zines, will usually give you the maximum return. Some e-zines also offer "solo" ads at a higher cost, which allow you to send an entire sales letter to their list.


Tactic Four: Write Articles & Reports. Writing short articles and reports on your chosen subject will let you get free advertising, increase your credibility in the eyes of your prospects and customers, and provide a ready source of material for your own opt-in newsletter. Free reports are also one of the best freebie offers you can make to increase the response to your advertisements.


Tactic Five: Build Your Own Mailing List. One of the most important parts of our strategy is to build your own opt-in list of customers and prospects. Over time, this list will become a serious source of revenue, and a vital strategic asset for your business. It costs little or nothing to mail to your own list, and sharing your knowledge through a newsletter will help you build a loyal following.


Tactic Six: Never Stop Testing. You should always be testing, making small changes to your ad, your offer, your website, maybe even the price of your product, to find the right combination. It's not uncommon to double or triple the total conversion rate over the course of a 3-month email marketing campaign. Little gains add up to big profits over time.


Tactic Seven: Offer A Well Targeted Bonus For Responses. It's often helpful to offer a free bonus in your e-zine ads, as an incentive to respond. Be mindful of what you're offering, though. After all, if you give away $10,000 anyone will respond. On the other hand, an offer of free Palm Pilot software will only attract people who own Palm Pilots. Use your bonus to target the people you want to respond.


While these seven tactics are a good starting point, it's impossible to reduce email marketing to a single 600-word article. A good starting point for more information is the About.com guide, at http://email.about.com/cs/emailmarketing


I wish you success.


Dan Thies has been helping his clients (and friends) promote their web sites since 1996, and operates a successful online publishing business. His latest book, "Search Engine Optimization Fast Start," is available now at http://www.cannedbooks.com





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