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Engage and Nurture your Customers: Email Marketing

Let's be clear on one point from the outset. The days of ‘lazy marketing' are gone – by this we are referring to the mass broadcasting of your products and services  to seriously large volumes of recipients. Neither targeted nor creative this method not only leads to rapidly diminishing returns, it can also prove very costly in terms of server / sender reputation, leading ultimately to severe repercussions on your entire web presence.

These days, it is just as important to build and maintain relationships with existing customers as it is to acquire new ones. The key is to nurture both current customers and prospect s via regular engaging communication.  The broadcasting of regular email campaigns and newsletters will build reputation with customers and maintain relationships.

Engagement is achieved through a variety of practices. Sending a company newsletter with helpful hints, tips, gossip and news articles tends to show you as the friendly face of your chosen market.  For example, prospects will tend to remember a company offering advice with any issues that they may face. Ultimately this relationship makes any future sales much easier. A press release is slightly more formal, yet can have the same effect as a newsletter.

Other forms of engagement include hosting a blog, running competitions and, increasingly, social networking. All of these encourage feedback, giving both prospects and customers alike a forum from which to air views and exchange opinions.  The power of viral marketing should also be noted. Amusing videos and emails can now be shared instantly across the globe. If this alludes to your product or service then your exposure will rocket exponentially.

Using any of the processes above aids in keeping your company name in the prospect's awareness and thus brand building. Remember, your competitors could already be doing the same so it is crucial that you continue to nurture your contacts.

When designing an email there should always be a clear and unambiguous call to action egs subscribing to a newsletter, direction to a website, requesting further details or a call-back. Using a forward to a friend link can also increase readership and provide an opportunity for referral.

Nurturing your customers works, but realistic ROI is achieved in the long term. It needs a dedicated marketing team to continue building this dialogue with your prospects and customers. It must be seen as a part of a longer strategy and cannot be used as a quick fix.

Nurturing and engaging may be hard work. Perhaps so, but then the investment will produce dividends in terms of an uplift in brand awareness and ultimately increased sales, possibly into markets hereto immune to standard email sales flyers.

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