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Promoting your business via email

Promoting your online business through email is one of the most visible aspects of internet marketing. It's a great way to keep and win new customers, while keeping marketing costs minimal and manageable. As ecommerce grows and expands, email remains a tried and true marketing tactic. If you market your business though email, you can keep prospects who are interested in shopping at your store appraised of important information like sales and promotions, reinforce your brand, and gain the trust of your customers. If you keep your emails short, interesting and relevant, and provide the option for your customers to opt-out at any time, you're sure to gain their attention.

Make signing up for your email honest and interesting

With small business email marketing, it's important to get your prospects' consent before sending them messages. You can get their permission with a regular opt-in choice, but to safeguard yourself over any accidental sign-ups, it might be better to provide a double opt-in feature so prospects can verify twice that they want to be on your mailing list. It's a good idea to let your recipients know exactly what they are signing up for, when you offer to put them on your mailing list. Customers want reassurance that their information will not be abused, sold or traded, and that they will not be barraged with unwanted correspondence. Let customers know what they can expect by opting-in to your newsletters, such as being offered promotions, sales and store news, and how often they will see your emails.

Include important information in your emails

When emailing your customers, make sure that every email has a purpose. You should customize your emails so that every one of them speaks to the recipient in a personal way. Your customers need to feel an intimate connection with your company, so you'll have to go beyond using their first names in an email -- try putting other information that you've collected about their region, behavior and demographics to use in the email. For example, if you have a group of customers that are from a specific region, create a special message that is tailored to them while email marketing. Small business tips often include personalization as one of the top ways to get and keep customers. By targeting emails like this, you can greatly increase your profits and grow your business.

Reinforce your brand

Small business internet marketing through emails is a great opportunity for you to reinforce your brand. Use the same fonts, color schemes and logos of your store in your emails, so that customers will be able to identify your emails. If your company is known for using a particular writing style, use that style in your correspondence. It may be worthwhile to create a promotional email template that has all these elements in it to save you time. Using branding in a promotional email template helps your prospects and customers associate the correspondence with you, just by skimming it.

Look legitimate

Customers who take the time to read promotional emails have trusted the sender to provide them with valuable information. That trust, however, can vanish if customers see misspelled words, an excessive message length, or links that don't work. Readers who have taken time out of their day to read emails expect to gain valuable information, and if that is not delivered, it may reflect negatively on your business. Proofread your emails and validate all your links to make sure that they're functional before sending emails off. Make sure to include a call to action at the end of your message to get your customers back onto your website and shopping for your products or services. After all, that is what business email marketing is all about!

Provide a way for customers to opt-out of emails

It may seem ironic, but providing a way for your readers to stop receiving messages may actually increase readership and trust in your email marketing. Small business beginnings can be tough, if your brand isn't already a household name, or at least recognizable. Providing a link at the bottom of your emails that leads to an opt-out function is all you need to let your customers know that they have a choice in reading your emails, and to keep them out of the "trash" section of their inboxes. It also reduces the chances that your recipients will report your emails as spam.

Know when and what to sell

Emails sent during the work week are more likely to get read than those that are sent on weekends. This is because weekends are typically considered time for family and friends, and that includes correspondence that is read. This is even more true in business to business email marketing, when you are trying to reach other businesses. In these cases, it's important to send business to business email marketing advertising during normal business hours so that an agent or employee can read it. You may also be able to gather more sales during holidays, and when your customers have birthdays, so make sure to increase your small business email marketing efforts during those times.

+ Jannelle Pierce