This wired.com posting, Email Is Crushing Twitter, Facebook for Selling Stuff Online, reminds us that sometimes the old fads are really the best traditions. Of course, this story doesn’t quite delve in to the “what kind of email works best” issue.
Take spam, for example. It may be effective — clearly some businesses are truly into it — but it seems a high cost/risk approach, especially if your goal is to build a great reputation and a solid business identity. (This virtually eliminates purchased or association lists, unless you have some special reason or circumstance.)
If we cut out spam, then the question is, from where are your e-list names arising? If they are previous clients, then presumably email serves primarily as a tool to remind, re-engage, and communicate with clients, spurring some more repeat business. That is good, but how does that help you find new clients.
Another possibility is your other marketing activities, such as social media postings, blogging and Tweeting result in inquiries and requests to be included on your e-list. This, I suppose, is the soft introduction to a relationship, but it is obviously much weaker than a more specific inquiry requesting an estimate, or more softly, a direct email or phone call seeking your advice or opinion on a topic of interest to the reader.
These observations suggest that email is more effective as a client retention than new business development resource.
The best longer-term approach may be to achieve true organic SEO success. And, here, the numbers speak for your ability to develop truly effective and creative content. You can then supplement or support (or recycle) that content with your email communications.
Tomorrow: A look at the difference between Canadian and US anti-spam regulations for email and broadcast faxes, and the implications for our businesses.