What is E-mail marketing? Why use it? Does it work? How do I set one up? I am asked these questions and more by business owners both new and seasoned alike.

To begin with, there are a couple reasons you should consider implementing an e-mail campaign in conjunction with your other marketing mediums. Primarily, e-mail is the number one easiest and most cost effective way to stay in front of your customers. The main cost involves time; time spent to set up and evaluate its effectiveness. The other reason is that they work! How do I know they work? Well let me give you a recent example.

Between sips of coffee, while winding my way through my e-mails, I came across a message that caught my eye. It was from one of the sites that my design business, DocUmeant Designs, is listed on. They were offering a one-month free top position listing for every design business that generated 10 or more reviews from their clients posted through their website. Why were they doing that? Simple, increased traffic to their site, which in turn would elevate their Search Engine rating. A win/win for sure.

That isn't the entire story though. I immediately set to work creating my own e-mail campaign. When done I would have at least ten new letters of recommendation that I could use in my promotions and a free top position listing with this company.

I wrote up a nice e-mail with offer included as a thank you for writing the review. The next step was to test market my e-mail to ensure it would accomplish its goal. With the results in hand, I was confident that I had a well-designed and written piece that would get the job done. The next step was to prepare to send it out to my customers. To accomplish this task, I used a tool already at my disposal, Constant Contact. There are many good Contact Management Systems (CMS) available, such as AWeber, Ingeniux, and Joomla, besides Constant Contact. However, since I already had a CMS in place all it required was to upload my customer list to a new database in my existing account.

The next item on my ToDo List was to make a copy of the previous text campaign and link my new database to it. Once that was done, I generated a Thank You e-mail that gave them a link to a bonus eBook that was in line with my services and would be something that my clients would find both beneficial and useful information for their own businesses.

If your CMS happens to be an auto-responder, which most are, the task of generating your follow-up e-mail is just a matter of linking. Look for a CMS which is an ideal fit for your business. AWeber is a fine system, but it may be overkill for the small business owner. That is why I use and recommend Constant Contact. It comes with everything your small business, associations, or non-profit needs, is easy to use, is priced in the low to mid range, and they provide expert personal coaching on their system.

Now that all the pieces are together, the next thing on the ToDo list is to decide how to track the results. Most CMS companies offer this service, which makes the evaluation process a simple task. If however, you are doing your campaign through your e-mail server you will need to create a spreadsheet to track your success. One important thing to remember when using your e-mail server is not to send to more than 50 e-mail recipients with a single e-mail. Your server may view more than that number of addresses in one e-mail as spam and shut your service down. I always advise my marketing clients to check with their provider to find out what those limits are before sending out the first 'blast'.

Another tip is to put ALL of your e-mail addresses in BCC: (Blind Carbon Copy) instead of TO:. This will generate each e-mail with "Undisclosed Recipients" which protects your customers from spam-bots.

See how easy that was to set up? If you find it difficult to write an effective campaign Nibroc Marketing Solutions (NMS) offers two solutions. They can either provide you with a custom campaign or you can make use of the e-mail campaigns included in their monthly Rock Solid Marketing Solution E-zine. They offer a two months trial to get you started.

When we began, I promised to tell you how I know e-mail marketing works. Remember I told you I immediately accepted the offer I received? That, in itself is evidence they work. However, their offer was not the only benefit I enjoyed. What about my own campaign?

In evaluating my results, Constant Contact reported that of the emails I sent more than half of the recipients opened them, well more than half of those took action and 10% of those who took action hired me to do additional work for them. I would say that was a successful and worthwhile e-mail campaign.

Now you know how easy it is to set up and why you should implement your own campaign as part of your overall marketing strategy. What are you waiting for? The next step is up to you. If your still hesitant, and want assistance contact NMS and we will be happy to provide you with the tools necessary to assist you to implement your own e-mail marketing program.

© Copyright 2006 Ginger Marks

Author's Bio: 

Ginger Marks is the founder of DocUmeant, We Make YOU Look GOOD! For more information, visit www.documeant.net/ Her book Presentational Skills for the Next Generation, now in its second edition, is available through both Amazon & Lulu. She also offers insight into marketing solutions through her e-zine, Rock Solid Marketing, available at www.NibrocMarketingSolutions.com/