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  • How to Start Advertising Online

    The low cost of sending e-mail, coupled with its simplicity, make it the most popular and practical way to begin promoting your shop online.

    E-mail — Pushing Targeted Messages to Your Customers

    E-mail Marketing

    Networking with e-mail via the Internet can open new opportunities for your shop to expand within and beyond your current service area. Much less expensive to produce and distribute, e-mail correspondence and promotional pieces have the added value of being immediate, dynamic and personalized. E-mail has already replaced the telephone as the primary source of business communication.

    E-mail has become such a strong online marketing trend that, today, many websites exist solely to build e-mail lists for marketing purposes. E-mail is the best place to begin your electronic marketing campaign.

    Active Promotions

    The real advantage of e-mail is that you can "push" timely and targeted messages to your customers and prospects for a fraction of the cost of designing, printing, handling and posting direct-mail pieces. If your customers are out of town or too busy to read your message, they can look at it whenever it's convenient. They can even retrieve it while away on a business trip, store it on their computer for future reference or easily forward it to a family member or friend who is in need of a florist — a far cry from the possibilities available with traditional direct-mail pieces.

    Lots of Options

    E-mail can be as simple as a short memo announcing a weekly special or as elaborate as a four-color narrated slide presentation. Almost any computer file can be attached to an e-mail message to add information and stimulate interest: animation, sound effects, music, cartoons, photographs and so forth. Consider sending a narrated slide show of your latest wedding, for example, showing the preparation beforehand, the beautiful bouquets and decorations, and the bride's delight with your work. Imagine the sales impact a dynamic, customized presentation will have compared to a generic brochure.

    The techniques and strategies you employ to contact your customers and prospects are only limited by your imagination. Be careful, though; some recipients may not have the computer capabilities to listen to your presentation, so don't rely totally on sound and special effects.

    Weekly Specials

    Each week, you can craft a short message announcing your weekly specials. This can be a simple text message, or you can attach a photograph to heighten, interest, much like a postcard does. You may even want your correspondence to appear as a coupon that users can print and bring to your shop so you can work with them face-to-face. Broadcast your weekly specials to your entire e-mail list or segment your offerings based on each recipient's expressed interests or buying patterns. Remember to include high-impact words such as free, save, exciting, new, exclusive and special.

    Sales Letters

    Use sales letters to promote specific products and services. Start with an attention-getting headline: "Don't Forget Mom on Mother's Day." Clearly and quickly tell your readers about the benefit that will impress them the most: "Tell her that you love her." Then pile on more benefits: "Show her that you care." Make sure you personalize the offer and impose a time limit so they will respond immediately: "Receive free delivery for any orders placed before May 5th."

    Newsletters

    Publish your own floral "e-newsletter" to keep your customers and prospects abreast of your new products and services. In the past you may have rejected the idea of a newsletter because of the production costs. However, with e-mail you can send shorter pieces more frequently, with less work and without incurring the overhead of printing and postage.

    Electronic Postcards

    Use e-mail as a fast and easy way to keep in touch with your customers. To show that you remember the person and that you are thinking about them, send short, meaningful notes, a birthday greeting, a funny joke, a beautiful photograph, delivery confirmation, or a follow-up note asking about the arrangement. Each positive contact you make helps build and maintain your relationship so, next time, they will call you first.

    With a modest investment in technology and training, any shop can create an online presence that will promote their products and services to online shoppers who might have never noticed them before.

     

     

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