Using E-mail and online forms to get customers.

Atractive customers by E-mail


Marketing By E-Mail or Online Forms

E-mail showed enormous potential as a method of supplying and gathering information on the Internet.  It was looked upon as the perfect vehicle to use, allowing businesses to get close to their Online customers.  However, the status and method of marketing by e-mail has changed considerably.  Unsolicited individual or bulk e-mail (both better known today as SPAM) -- containing unwanted or blatant sales pitches -- has quickly become the scourge of internet.   Consequently, the majority of reputable and conscientious businesses have moved away from SPAM and gotten into an opt-in system (That is, e-mail by request).

The idea of (opt-in) permission email is to get visitors to your web site to complete a survey regarding their needs or likes as they are related to your products or services.   Or have your visitors complete a simple request form that they can complete online, requesting information or bargain offers related to their likes or requirements.

Opt-in (permission) e-mail advertising is without question the most under used form of Internet advertising (although that's beginning to change).   Research indicates that that click-through rates are higher than with banner advertising, targetability is excellent, and it is completely voluntary. 

The key is to put yourself squarely in the shoes of the customer.  What does he/she want/need?

One example of a simple, but effective Opt-in Email Survey Form - we designed for a successful travel site for ForCuba.com.  The purpose of the Survey Form was two-fold.

  1. To obtain travel information, that ForCuba Travel would use to improve the products and service to all their customers.   All the information obtained via the survey form is treated as confidential, to be used exclusively by ForCuba, and never supplied to third parties.  Each visitor that completes the Online Survey, has his/her name made eligible for a monthly prize draw.
  2. To request every visitors permission to receive by regular mail, e-mail or fax, information on travel specials or unique travel opportunities, based on the indicated travel interests each visitor has completed on the Travel interests segment of the Survey Form.

I think the benefits of the Opt-in E-mail program speak for themselves.   However, beware!  If you want permission to translate into long-term sales and a growing (ROI) return-on-investment, you need to keep that permission fresh and renewed.  With each sending of a permission e-mail, you must give the recipient the opportunity to renew, refresh or even withdraw his/her permission as part of the message or offer.

In an opt-in- based online relationship, the customer's perception is your reality.  So please, treat that permission with great care.   Look after it.  Respect it.  Renew it.  You must continue to earn it.  Otherwise, the entire concept of (opt-in) permission e-mail marketing could become nothing more than unwanted SPAM to all recipients.  

There are a number of services which you can offer on your web site which allow visitors to be rewarded for receiving permission e-mail in the categories they select.  There's www.mypoints.com, www.polk.com and www.clickrewards.com.    Also, Internet News Bureau exists to deliver press releases and web site announcements to a large number of online journalists who have asked to receive information in specific categories.   Check out www.postmasterdirect.com if you wish to get to specific target groups by targeted e-mail.

A final note:  NEVER buy bulk e-mail lists and send unsolicited messages to these people.  This is SPAM and it will create hostility in people, or they will simply delete your message unread.  If a targeted bulk e-mail program is offered to you.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK.  Check them out thoroughly, and determine the validity of the lists they are offering you -- regardless of the so-called exceptional price.

So quickly... what should you do?  Start with an attitude that opt-in e-mail is a genuine service that the customer/prospect will appreciate.  Be certain it's targeted to interested parties and completely voluntary.  Make your e-mails succinct and gently remind the recipient that your e-mail is something that he/she requested.  Then.... if your product or service is subject to variations in price (great specials), timing issues (limited time offer), and provides good information (of real and known interest), you may have a winning formula for generating new sales.


Homepage | Getting Noticed | Advertising & Marketing | Radio | Television
Web Site Index | Newspaper | The Internet | Great Links | Contact Us