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  • Launching an E-mail Campaign

    The backbone of any e-mail message should be useful information and advice about your products and services. Be selective, though, about how you choose the recipients for your e-mail. Just because there's no printing and postage associated with each piece doesn't mean you should randomly send electronic advertising to every e-mail address you can find. E-mailing unsolicited promotional pieces (called "spamming") and sharing e-mail addresses with other parties without getting the recipients' permission will alienate customers and mar your reputation.

    Here's a step-by-step approach to help you get started in the right direction.

    1. Develop an E-mail List

    Capture addresses for current customers, phone and walk-in prospects. Coach your employees to include e-mail addresses along with any other contact information gathered from customers and prospects. Modify your forms to include a space for recording this information. Ask customers and prospects if they would like to receive periodic e-mail announcements about your specials, as well as your newsletter. Qualify contacts as direct e-mail recipients on the spot.

    2. Purchase or Rent Direct E-mail Lists

    Another way to acquire an e-mail list is by purchasing or renting a list. When a prospect receives your e-mail advertisement or newsletter, however, you want them to be as receptive to your message as possible. You can send your advertising to a pre-qualified audience — one that has expressed interest in receiving floral-related information — by using an "opt-in" e-mail list. Be sure, however, that the recipients have requested floral information and not information about related topics such as home decorating — unless, of course, your newsletter contains information on how floral arrangements and silks can enhance the appearance of someone's home.

    3. Decide Who Will Receive E-mail Responses and Inquiries

    Usually it's best for all e-mail responses to funnel to one mailbox. This will allow you to monitor the effectiveness of your campaign, ensure that each response is answered promptly and effectively, and manage e-mail when someone is out of the office or terminated.

    4. Secure Your Customer Information

    Having one person receive all of your e-mail allows you to control privacy issues, such as a credit card number a customers provides to confirm an order. This person also can manage your master e-mail list to ensure that it's accurate, up-to-date, secure and backed up — so you don't lose this valuable asset.

    5. Quickly Follow Up on Leads

    Any positive response you receive is worth its weight in gold. You've spent a lot of time and effort generating this lead, so don't drop the ball when it arrives. Quickly answer all requests and confirm the online orders you receive.

    6. Be Prepared to Answer Questions

    Studies show that you will receive 80 percent of your responses to a direct e-mail campaign within 36 hours, and that you can expect a 2 to 5 percent response rate — twice that of a postal direct-mail effort. Most people, however, will expect a response to their e-mail inquiry within 24 hours, if not sooner. Before you start sending e-mail advertising to your customers and prospects, make sure you're prepared to manage the activity your e-mail marketing campaign will generate. Expect to receive requests for additional information, newsletter subscriptions and even a question that will require personal phone contact.

    7. Create E-mail Form Letters

    Using standard e-mail responses to answer common requests will improve your level of communication and save time. For example, develop a standard message to welcome someone requesting a new subscription to your newsletter or to provide information about your shop hours. Craft these responses carefully, making sure the information is current, accurate and personalized.


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