When you use e-mail to reach customers, everyone wins

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Q. How can we use e-mail to market our services?
A. Like having your own Web site, e-mail marketing can begin simple and then be taken to a very complex level.
For starters, I could never cover all you need to know about using e-mail to reach your customers. I would highly recommend looking for some books, using the Internet as a resource or even attending a seminar on the topic.
But let's start with some of the basics and what you can expect to learn and gain from using e-mail to reach your customers.
E-mail is a channel that can allow you to reach a broad range of customers quickly and very cost effectively. You may have a list from your existing customer base, or you can purchase address lists from many sources. The company that provides the list will likely send e-mails on your behalf to protect people who want to opt out and to prevent the list from being copied. Consumer lists typically range from $75 to $150 per thousand e-mail addresses.
The cost of reaching 1,000 people via e-mail is significantly lower than via direct mail. But it does not need to replace direct altogether; it can be a complement.You might send a direct mail to existing customers but precede the mailing with an e-mail telling them what's coming.This e-mail can suggest they forward the message to friends or colleagues. You could consider offering a reward system for referrals from the e-mail--everyone wins.
At a minimum, driving the customer to your Web site is a good idea, so you can begin to build your own list for future mailings. hme


Dave Rolston is vice president of e-business for Medline Industries. Reach him at (847) 643-4779 or drolston@medline.com.