Forget direct email marketing for a second, and tell me if this has ever happened to you. You go outside and open your mailbox. You get the usual: bills, bank statements, maybe a phoney million-dollar offer. But then, in the middle of it all, you see an envelope from your favourite restaurant. “Thanks for being a loyal customer,” it says. “Next time you come by, let us treat you to a free dessert."
Now I’m not exactly the coupon-clipping kind of guy, but when I run into an offer that’s so relevant to me, I simply can’t resist it. Millions of you are like that too. And guess what? Millions of you check your email more often than your actual mailboxes.
That coupon you received from your favourite restaurant, if you clip that coupon and come into the restaurant, their direct marketing efforts were successful.
However, to get that coupon into your hands, the restaurant had to pay for printing, buy and stuff envelopes, address them to you and then pay for postage. And chances are the restaurant hired someone to do the printing, maybe someone else to the design, the envelope stuffing, etc. If you’ve ever sent flyers or coupons in the mail, you’ll know it’s both expensive and time-consuming.
Here’s the beauty of direct email marketing. First of all, it is packaged so you can do it yourself. The emails are all pre-designed, and the backend is already taken care of for you. All you have to do is sit on your computer for about 10 minutes and click a few buttons. There’s no postage, no stuffing, no expensive printing fees.
And as small business owners have begun to discover the power of email, many email marketing programs are now built for non-technical folk. So even if all you can do on your computer is check your email and browse the web, you can still be an expert in these programs right away.
What’s more is you’ll still get access to the most advanced functionality. Let’s get back into the restaurant owner’s shoes. We’ve just sent a Free Dessert email coupon to all the customers who filled out our customer satisfaction survey and gave us their email addresses. We also included a “Forward to a Friend” link, so our customers can email the Free Dessert coupon to their friends.
Now, we can go into the Reports and Stats section of our email marketing program and get deep into our campaign. We can see exactly who opened our messages, and when they did it. We can even see who forwarded their coupons to their friends.
And we don’t have to stop there. We can group all our readers who forwarded their coupons to a friend and offer them an extra incentive (We know they like to tell their friends about us, so why not offer them 25% Off when they bring in two or more friends?).
Information is power, and direct email marketing is one of the most effective ways to gather that information and put it to good use. So next time you get that flyer for your favorite restaurant, think about how much unnecessary money and time that restaurant owner is spending. Think about how much information he’s missing out on, and think about how much better things would be if he sent that flyer through email marketing.
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