Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tech Wednesday

Hello all! Stephanie here with this week's Tech Wednesday.

In today’s era of instant-gratification social networking sites, e-mail can sometimes seem like a slow and outdated method of communicating with customers. The medium still has some advantages – its longer and customizable format allows for sending out more information (newsletters, promotions, surveys) than you can squeeze into 140 characters. If you really want to put e-mail to work for your business, then you should take a look at the e-mail tools offered by Emma Email Marketing. While their services can be a bit pricey, they do some gorgeous graphic design work that may be well worth the price to your business. Let’s face it, a few lines of text and some haphazard links can’t compare to something like this.

How it works:
Once you sign up with Emma, you can create an e-mail layout using some of their premade designer elements, or even work one-on-one with an Emma designer to format the visual elements of your e-mail template. From there, you can set up your contact database (and even import some of your existing client databases/spreadsheets) and start communicating with your customers.

Features/benefits:
- Personalized, unique layouts that help build your brand identity
- E-mail scheduling and auto-response features
- Automatic welcome/event e-mails (Happy Birthday, etc.)
- Response tracking to see who is opening your e-mails and clicking links (graphs included – everybody loves graphs!)
- E-mail surveys and forms, and track results
- Archives of campaigns available for download and publishing (taking the e out of e-mail, in a way)

Pricing:
Emma is a great service, but you have to be willing to spend for both a design package (one-time fee ranging from $99 to $399) and a monthly e-mail plan, starting at $30/month and increasing based on the volume of e-mail sent per month. This probably isn’t the most cost-effective way to go for small businesses that are just starting out, but larger firms may find that the benefits of improved customer relations will more than offset the costs. Full pricing schedule is available here.

Do you use e-mail to promote your business? Have you ever received a good e-mail discount from another business? Leave a comment and let us know!

1 comment:

Jim Hitch said...

Thanks for the nice write-up, Stephanie. You have some good points about email's place here, but my favorite is your example campaign. Sometimes there's just no substitute for a great visual. Cheers!