Despite all the spam, e-mail is still the workhorse of online marketing. As a business owner, the lure of fast, cheap and easy communication to hundreds if not thousands of customers is too hard to resist. But e-mail is certainly not a “perfect” media. Response percentages can be low to non-existent and you can quickly make a lot of people angry if you don’t use it properly.

First and foremost, get your customers to give you their permission to e-mail them. Sounds obvious, but many salespeople are using LinkedIn or other sneaky ways to garner e-mails online for prospects they’ve never met or talked to. If you don’t mind making a handful of people REALLY angry with you, this might be an okay strategy. However, if you want to build a good relationship with the people you are trying to sell your services to, then work hard to EARN their attention, not steal it.
So how do you do that? By offering some type of valuable information or entertaining content to them in exchange for their e-mail address. This could be a “how to” webinar, white paper, eBook or buyers guide. For example, a realtor could offer a monthly newsletter on home sales and home values for their neighborhood. A vet could offer a free report on “How To Solve The Top 3 Misbehaviors In Dogs,” or “How To Choose The Perfect Cat.” A restaurant could offer coupons and specials exclusively for their newsletter subscribers along with recipes and invitations to VIP client events. This type of information should be offered on what’s called an “opt-in” page. You can see one of ours by going to:

Once you have their e-mail address, don’t abuse it by sending boring, off-target spam. That means you’ll have to work hard to consistently come up with good, valuable and interesting content or subscribers will ignore, delete and opt out of your list fast.  And finally, make sure you have clear opt-out instructions on every e-mail you send along with your full contact information; the law requires this and it’s just good online etiquette.