Archive for September, 2008

A few weeks ago, I attended a business seminar for women looking to ramp up their businesses during uncertain economic times. The attendees I met were quite experienced in the business world. The majority went out on their own after years in the corporate world. They all had a good handle on who their intended customers were, had ideas on how to attract more potential customers, and understood the value of existing customers.

One of the topics at the seminar was how to use email to push your marketing message. The importance of “opt in” (letting your prospect sign-up for your e-efforts) was fully covered including how annoyed recipients can mark your unwanted email as spam, thus potentially labeling you as a spammer (even if you use a reputable email service provider who, in turn, will warn you about such tactics). I saw lots of note taking on paper, laptops and electronic gadgets.

So it’s surprised me to see the amount of e-stuff coming from some of these attendees – stuff I didn’t sign up for (and stuff that really doesn’t pertain to my own business). The cynical part of me wonders if all that note taking was actually writing some report, doing a grocery list or working on the next great American novel.

Sending an invitation to sign up for the e-marketing tool accomplishes at least 4 things:

  1. Makes a personal connection with a prospective customer. In addition to the usual marketing copy encouraging sign ups, include copy about the event you and the prospect attended and mention something you learned that can be applied to what your e-marketing tool is about. This method tells you prospect that you look at them as a person, not just another “target.”
  2. Increasing conversion. By allowing prospects to opt-in, you know know who is interested in what you have to offer. You’ve narrowed your list of prospects to those with the biggest potential of doing business with you. Your conversion and sales rates will go up.
  3. Reducing expenses in both time and money. By allowing prospects to opt-out, you no longer have to manage unwieldy databases, deal with bounce-backs from bad email addresses, waste time trying to develop messages that ultimately won’t be heard, and decrease the cost of your email campaigns (as most email service providers base their fees on the amount of outgoing email).
  4. Showing respect for your prospect. We’ve all got more inbound email every day than we really truly keep up with. By using an e-invitation, you’re saying “Hey, I know what I have is very valuable but I’m not here to waste your time or force it down your throat.” Not every prospect will realize this but you will and it will overflow into other areas of your business.

What else can be achieved by using opt-in invitations? Share your ideas here.


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I’ve just returned from the greater Seattle, WA area after a few weeks of securing new business, meeting with clients, attending the Washington State Watchable Wildlife Conference and the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau’s Quarterly Forum, and enjoying a bit of a vacation with family and friends and to just “chill” after a hot Las Vegas summer.

My road trip gave me the needed time, space and solitude to think about my business and professional life: mull over quandries and challenges, stoke the fires of creativity and optimism, consider new ideas, and, my favorite, await inspiration and exciting “ah-ha” moments. I captured those thoughts and ideas on tape – old-fashioned cassette tape – for later transcription and review (something I can do at the gym while on the treadmill or bike). I’m already at work putting a few ideas into play.

Given the cost of gasoline these days, you might naturally think twice about using a road trip as a business planning tool. But if you come up with at least one good idea that brings in new business, increases sales, reduces expenses, etc., then it’s time well spent.

You’ll also come home more energized, organized and mentally “refueled” – things we all can use more of.

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