E-mail Marketing Helps Catch More Fish

My boyfriend and I went out for dinner recently, and the fish special for the evening was a white fish called Tilapia. I'd never heard of it. Shortly after dinner out with my boyfriend, one of my girlfriends invited me over for dinner and she served Tilapia. The next week I was at one of those warehouse discount stores, checking out the freezer section and guess what I came acrossTilapia. Tilapia seems to be a part of life for good now!

Has that ever happened to you? You'd never heard of something, you are then made consciously aware of it and suddenlyit's everywhere.

That's how it is with advertising. The consumer needs to become be made consciously aware of the ad. The more times the person sees an ad, the more confident and trusting he or she becomes of the product or business that is being promoted.

The Internet gives you a great, inexpensive advertising resource to reach your potential clients, both old and new. While Web sites are your best Web tool as they provide the most information, e-mail marketing is another wonderful resource and by e-mail marketing I do not mean spam (junk e-mail)!

Now, you may ask if there is really a difference between e-mail marketing and spam. Yes, there is! When you're given permission to send people e-mail because they want to learn more about your product or business, then it is e-mail marketing and your message will get across. When it is a non-requested e-mail and it is sent without "permission," then it qualifies as spam.

Before we tackle just how you can go about getting e-mail addresses of those potential clientslet's talk about the many benefits of e-mail marketing.

E-mail Benefits
E-mail marketing is very inexpensive. Once you've constructed your e-mail list of potential clients, all you need is a little bit of time to put together the actual message you're sending. The message can be as simple as announcing a promotion or as involved as an online version of your company newsletter. And, you're not paying for postage, time or printing.

Via e-mail marketing, you're creating brand awareness and generating business. Branding your company needs to be done constantly, in good economies and in bad, even if most of your business is "referral based."

What consistent e-mails do is put your company in front of potential clients on a regular basis. This goes back to that act of building trust.

I probably don't have to tell you that it's a lot more expensive to go out and court a new customer than it is to retain a customer. E-mail marketing allows you to stay in communication with clients you've already done work for and are currently working with.

But, if you're dead set on the fact that you're referral based and you don't really need advertising, think about this. Send out e-mail marketing to past customers and they in turn can easily forward your e-mail to friends and family who are looking for someone to remodel their kitchens. You're simply giving your past clients a wonderful tool with which to refer you.

And, e-mail marketing is fast. It gets there in just seconds, and is normally read within the same day.

Spam vs. Request
Let's just begin with spam. Spam is bad. It is unwanted, junk e-mail that just clogs up your e-mail box and mine. Don't spam people. If you do, you'll probably just turn them against you, rather than endear them to your company.

Then there's "opt-in" or requested e-mail. Let's say you had a questionnaire on your Web site asking people to check a box if they wanted to receive your monthly newsletters and your upcoming promotions. That would qualify as "opt-in" e-mail, because those people have given you their consent to send them e-mail. Because they have requested to receive your e-mail, the chance that they will read it is very high. Hence, that e-mail is a great, inexpensive avenue of advertising.

There are actually different levels of opt-in e-mail. There is the "confirmed opt-in" e-mail. The way this works islet's say the consumer fills out that questionnaire on your Web site and checks the box saying that they would, in fact, like to receive your monthly newsletter via e-mail. Once they sign up, you send them a confirmation thanking them for signing up for your monthly newsletter. Confirmed opt-in e-mail is just a way of substantiating their opt-in decision.

There is also "verified" or "double opt-in" e-mail. The way that verified or double opt-in e-mail works is that this same consumer must take a second step to confirm they really did want your monthly newsletter. So, when you send out that e-mail thanking them for signing up, they must respond to your e-mail or follow a link to your Web site in order to be placed on your monthly newsletter e-mail list.

To begin this whole process, most kitchen dealers/designers tell me that they collect information from their homeowner client either at the beginning of the remodeling process or "officially" at the end, when they ask the client to fill out a questionnaire rating their overall experience with the remodeling company. It is during this time that you want to ask your client for his or her e-mail address. Not only do you want to ask the person for an e-mail address, you want the person's permission to send e-mails about your upcoming promotions or newsletters. Make sure that you word this question in a way so that the person realizes that there will be a benefit to receiving e-mails.

When you send out your e-mails, it's important that the consumer receiving your mass e-mails can't see everyone else's e-mail addresses. This is not Web savvy, and you might receive complaints from people if you don't hide their e-mail addresses from others.

So, be like Tilapia and get on the radar screens of your past and future clients. When it comes time for them to redo their kitchen or bath or refer you to a friendbe top of mind, thanks to your e-mail marketing campaign. And, for less than the cost of one Tilapia dinner, you can send out your e-mail marketing to hundreds of people.