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Small Business Email Marketing: The First Commandment

Posted by Cheri Gaudet on 5/22/11 8:40 PM

Thou Shalt Not Manage Your Mailing Lists in Excel

We get it. Email marketing in small businesses often happens between meetings with customers and suppliers and trying to keep your inbox from getting too full. You hardly have time to get actual work done, let alone learn how to use an email marketing service for managing lists.

But while keeping your lists in Excel seems like a no-brainer, saving you time, money and headaches in the short term, it can actually cost you in the long term.

  • It costs you time.
    Email marketing services track email history, opens and click-throughs for every contact, helping you gauge individual interest as well as tie campaigns to revenue. It would take a team of Excel gurus days to do all that. And what could you do with the time you spend removing bounces and unsubscribe requests from your lists?
  • It costs you money.
    Specifically, you could be leaving money on the table. For example, having an email list sign-up form on your website can funnel one-time visitors into your lead pipeline. And if you don't have time to honor removal requests, who knows how much revenue is lost from the hit to your reputation?
  • It's more painful.
    If you're managing lists in Excel, it's a good bet you're not tracking when and how people opt in, leaving you vulnerable if you receive a spam complaint. And what would happen if your system crashed and your mailing list was not recoverable? Anyone need an aspirin?!

A couple other things...

Don't forget, the people on your email lists are potential customers, so you want to treat them well. People expect small businesses to handle their personal information with a basic level of respect, and it's the business of email marketing services to make sure that happens.

For example, have you ever accidentally pasted your list into the "To" field, essentially making every email address public? Ouch. An email marketing service will help you ensure your list information remains confidential.

People also expect that you will honor their preferences. Have you ever forgotten to update your list with removal requests before sending out another email blast? Have you ever sent an email about Product A to a prospect who told you in person that they are specifically interested in Product B? An email marketing service can help you keep your lists up to date while ensuring the right content gets to the right people.

A little help?

Need help choosing an email marketing service or creating an email marketing plan? Contact the email marketing experts.

Topics: email marketing, email marketing best practices, small business email marketing, email marketing basics