Given the vast number of websites that exist these days, the chances of anyone turning up randomly at yours are vanishingly slim. And equally, if a person does visit your website, and you want them to return, it will take more than blind optimism to make that happen.
What you need is a means to lure potential new users to your site, and also encourage those who have already visited to come back again.
And, while other options certainly exist, using social media and sending out newsletters are both good methods of drumming up customers.
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Almost anyone who uses a computer can craft an email and send it to a long list of email addresses.
But doing this in a way that represents the company – branding and all – and isn’t automatically rejected as ‘spam’ by the majority of recipients’ email servers requires more skill and knowhow.
The obvious solution is to let a service provider handle the process, as it can manage the distribution of marketing messages, and also collate the responses to any customer engagement.
Service costs are entirely dependent on how many subscribers you are likely to have, and the number of emails or social media postings that you intend to make on a monthly basis.
When looking for the right service to deliver a marketing message, these are the features to bear in mind which are critical for it to be a success.
- A signup form: While most marketing projects start with a pre-existing list of subscribers, adding new ones should be one objective. So having a form to capture them is a necessity.
- Templates: For newsletters to look business-like they need to be structured using templates with all the branding predefined. Once these have been created a newsletter or post can go out very quickly, if needed.
- Unsubscribe: Not everyone will want to hear from you indefinitely, so some means for removing subscribers must be available and managed. Ignoring unsubscribe requests is a guaranteed way to annoy potential customers and scare them off.
- Blog trigger: With many business sites already creating a blog, what can save time and money is if these postings are subsequently repurposed as email newsletters and social media posts. A system to automate this process of repackaging the content is very helpful.
- Date triggers: Having a means to automatically trigger an email, maybe only to say ‘happy birthday’ if you have that information, can be useful. Or you could remind a user that a service that they’re paying for is about to be renewed.
- IP collection: While this isn’t a perfect means to identify the geographic location of a new subscriber, it’s better than just guessing.
- Statistical analysis: When you’ve sent a newsletter out, and it had feedback for a new product embedded in it, those responses need collating, and maybe comparing with similar questions you’ve asked previously. The more data captured – and the better analyzed it is – all contributes to providing useful information for future communications and strategic marketing.
Where to get this help?
The majority of web hosting businesses will provide an email marketing service, and some will deliver at least some of this functionality as part of a hosting or web management package.
GoDaddy, for example, has a simple tool that (for a monthly fee) can deliver all critical newsletter functionality. This, combined with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts, can have a big impact on your site visitor numbers.
There are also companies like Constant Contact that specialize in delivering these facilities, at a price.
Whatever approach you decide to take, making full use of social media and newsletters to establish a communication channel to your existing and potential customers is a critical component in the success of a website.
Therefore, it should be considered at the website planning stage, and not in the weeks after the site goes live and hasn’t had many visitors.