By Rakesh Raman
All of us know that email application has been the most explosive outbreak on Berners-Lee’s brainchild called the World Wide Web (www) or in short – the web.
Although it’s not possible to count the number of daily emails (or mails) that fly across the cyberspace, some estimates suggest that over 300 billion email messages are sent per day while there are over 2 billion Internet users in the world. And only a few of them are genuine emails, rest are bogus – called spam.
Despite junk mails, email is considered the best form of business communications particularly for smaller businesses that want to cut traveling costs normally required in business deals. But email handling is a specialized job – a scientific art, perhaps.
For smaller players, the right and wrong use of email can make or break their businesses – in that order. So, here are a few suggestions for smaller companies to effectively use this business tool, called email.
After creating your website, now it’s time to inform your buyers and potential business partners about your company. Today, there are millions – estimated 500 million websites – in the world.
Although your site is now available on the web, others won’t know unless you tell them about it and thus about your business offerings. Email is one of the ways to inform others about your new site.
And email management techniques are different for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) categories. For example, if you’re selling some auto parts to car manufacturers (B2B category), your potential buyers are limited in number. That means, you’re operating in a niche market.
In this case, you can search about the target car manufacturers in a particular geographical area using search engines or online business directories. You can know about the right contacts in a car company from its website. Now, you’ve to tell them about your products and specific offers.
Here comes the most important part of email marketing: your mail content. You need specific skills to write your mail text, which has to be to-the-point, expressing maximum about your business in minimum words. So, be brief.
To inform your buyers about the additional details about your products, etc., you can always invite them to your website by giving them its web address in your mail.
And take care your mail has to be formal. Don’t start it abruptly and don’t start it just with a ‘Hi.’ Rather, address the right person like “Hello Angelina” or “Dear Tom,” etc. Then come straight to the point after your initial hello. Similarly, close your mail with respect ensuring that you’ve put all that you want to say in the right sequence.
Now, suppose you’re in the B2C category – say, selling garments from your new factory that you’ve set up on the outskirts of the city. In this case, you can’t contact your potential buyers directly as we did in the B2B case.
Here the number of your potential buyers can be relatively very high. You do not even know how and where you should send your mail. But you need not take it to heart. There is still a ray of hope in the form of dedicated databases that are offered by such mail database companies.
You can even select the consumer group that you want to target. For example, if your products (say, garments) are for college students, you can hire the mail addresses of such college students from the database company.
In fact, you’ll not be provided the actual email addresses of the consumers, but you can always ask for a small sample where your marketing email is supposed to go. Such database services are not expensive. By spending just some hundred bucks, you can get your mail sent to thousands of recipients – your potential buyers.
But you must ensure through the sample that they are genuine consumers. Plus, your mail should not land in their spam boxes. Database companies can give you this assurance. You can also ask them about the success rate or open rate for your marketing mails.
That means, the number of people who opened your mail out of, say, every 100 emails that you sent. That will give you some idea on the impact of your mail marketing campaign.
Remember, in B2C mail marketing, it’s always better to create an eDM (electronic direct mailer) instead of a text-only mail. Actually, an eDM can go with some creative text along with the pictures of your products.
An eDM is like a small digital brochure or an ad pamphlet – usually written and designed by professionals. The price for such services can start from $100 or something. And probably your database company can also create an eDM for you.
Your eDM must have all the relevant information like product varieties, pricing, discounts, retail locations, your website address, your office address, and so on.
In both B2B and B2C cases, you should repeat your mails at regular intervals. Plus, email response management is an important part of email marketing. You should be quick and careful for sending responses to the mails that you receive from your buyers, etc.
Although there’s no cookie-cutter recipe for email communications, these are some of the steps that can help you start email-based promotions for your products and services.
If you’re stuck at any stage, don’t hesitate and just get back in touch with us at RMN Digital.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a government award-winning journalist and runs free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.