Practical Ecommerce

Quick Query – Michael J. Katz

<strong>Do ecommerce businesses do a good job of marketing to existing customers? </strong>

One of my favorite questions to ask somebody is, "What do you do now to systematically stand in front of the people you already know?" I always get a sort of embarrassed silence. Then someone would say something like, "Well, you know, we send them holiday cards and invoices."

<strong>Isn't it cheaper to market to people who already know you? </strong>

No one disputes that marketing through existing relationships is more effective. There are all kinds of studies that say it is 6 to 10 times more efficient than going up to strangers. Everybody believes that, but when you actually sit with people and say, "Show me how you're spending your money to market your company," and, invariably, the vast majority – like 95 percent – of their money is spent talking to people they do not know.

<strong>What makes an electronic newsletter so special? </strong>

One of the things I love about them is they happen over and over and over again. Once you get into swing of something like a newsletter and commit to doing it, it becomes part of the way you operate your business. A newsletter has the ability to touch all the people you know from your best friend down to the guy you met at the business meeting this morning – and everybody in between. It is about the most efficient one-sizefits- all tool I have found.

<strong>How often should an enewsletter be sent to customers? </strong>

I recommend that people do it monthly.

<strong>Most business owners barely have enough time to keep their shoes tied, much less add something to their “to do” list. How much time will this take? </strong>

It does vary, but I figure it will take you a day for every issue – one day a month. The same CEO who told me he went to three networking events the previous week, a couple of dinners and a breakfast thing feels really good about spending his time reaching out to people. The same time you spend randomly wandering around at a business meeting, if you took that and applied that to your newsletter production day, you get much more benefit by reaching many more people.

<strong>I suspect sending an enewsletter would be among the less expensive ways to market my business. Correct? </strong>

Four or five years ago, you had to hire somebody with HTML webmaster-ish skills to get a nice-looking newsletter out. Today, there are dozens of vendors who sell email marketing products that allow you to – in pretty short order and without any technical skill—create something that looks professionally done.

Practical Ecommerce

Practical Ecommerce

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