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  • Newsletters and Marketing Emails

    Hi folks,

    I'm going to try really hard not to turn this into an advert, or to be too badly offtopic!

    Therefore, short version: We are looking at building a newsletter management service, available to the general public, on a fully pay-as-you-go basis. There are quite a few out there already, but we have what we hope are a couple of valuable unique spins on the take.

    My question to the nice people here who currently run their own online shops is:

    Do you send a regular newsletter to your past customers?

    If not, why not?


    There we go, not a link, or blatent ad in site! Really this is part of my market research - I'm working on finding out more about how small businesspeople in different sectors use newsletters and email marketing - I know what we do, but every business is different!
    --Matt

    Web Development
    Beads, Charms & Findings - Jersey Craft Shop

  • #2
    As a customer I find emailed newsletters very annoying. I don't know why, because I like them when they come through the post. It might be because when I'm at my computer I'm doing a task/working and don't like interruptions.
    With a 'magazine' it sits near the coffee and I idly flick through while I'm waiting for the kettle to boil and it doesn't feel as if I'm wasting time.
    I don't mind emails that say "This is on offer to day" (really short and sweet) and lets me click onto a link to find out more....which could be a newsletter.

    I'm trying to be helpful, honest, not make you sad or cross. Maybe I'm just weird but I definately look at stuff with pictures if it's lying about the house and I don't look at advert stuff that's emailed to me.....unless I was just about to buy something specific and the company has targetted me really well. The two that can do that are a gardening company and Amazon but the latter get it wrong much more than they get it right - and that can get very annoying.

    Ah..... but one company sends me a magazine a week which goes straight into the bin and I use their big catalogue to order things, and a wooden shapes company send me humerous emails which do draw me to look at their site.......

    That's just flawed my argument. People are complicated
    All the best with your ventue
    AnnieAnna
    AnnieAnna

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi

      Hello yes I do send out news letters, I have only started to do so as I only starte the business in September, so it took me a couple of months to get a client list building up.

      I do not use any newsletter mamagement system though. I just send them out by email using bcc as I am still only working on a smallish number of people.

      Would be interested to know more about your idea though, and how it is better than what I am currently doing.
      Harriet

      www.seasparkle.co.uk


      www.thechildrensjewellerycompany.co.uk

      Comment


      • #4
        Another customer point of view (but remember that I am one of those grumpy, awkward old s*ds!).

        Anything that comes more often than quarterly is sworn at before being deleted without being opened.

        Anything that comes unsolicited through e-mail is deleted without being opened.

        Anything that I actually want to receive (currently numbers one from a local group I belong to) is skimmed through then filed electronically to never see the light of day again.

        Linda
        I can be quite nice sometimes - honest!

        Comment


        • #5
          I must be the odd one, I like newsletters either email or paper format as they keep me informed and jog my memory, so that I am not spending all day searching sites on the web for what is new. I get about 15 per week and generally read them through.

          I am going to start my own newsletter next year both email and post for existing customers, to inform them of new product lines. As a business to rely on them remembering to check your website for updates I think is a bit difficult as I don't check suppliers all the time, again the newsletter reminds me when something new is on, it might not make me go to the website if not particularly interested in the new line but 9 times out of 10 it does plus it brings them to the fore again as a supplier/retailer.

          I would probably only use my existing customers with a link on my website as I would not be prepared to pay to access customers that may or may not be interested in my line. I have looked at the pay sites and feel that the cost does not justify the end result, which is informative.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Caroleecrafts View Post
            I would probably only use my existing customers with a link on my website as I would not be prepared to pay to access customers that may or may not be interested in my line. I have looked at the pay sites and feel that the cost does not justify the end result, which is informative.
            I should probably clarify on this (trying not to come back with too many details, as I don't want to turn this into a sales pitch!) - we won't be selling email lists -just providing tools for people to use with their own permission based lists.

            Essentially this has come around because we want to add more-or-less automated newsletter management to the back-end of our eCommerce system - so customers can sign up on the sites (either explicitly, or via a permission checkbox when placing an order) - and the site owner can then send out product updates, etc.

            I'm happy to give out more specific information (apart from costing - simply not at that point yet), but didn't want to fill up the forums too much with it

            The primary benefits are probably things such as the ability to automate messages (e.g. welcome to my newsletter), auto-validate permission based contacts (you have requested a subscription to xyz - please click this link to confirm), automated list-removals (click here to be removed!), as well as scheduling - prepare your newsletter in advance, and so forth.

            Not to mention various data management niceties (backups, easy list management, no accidentally pasting stuff in the TO field instead of BCC - I've done that before myself!), and so forth.

            To the two who have posted feedback as a recipient - thanks very much Very valuable info as well - because if nothing else we can use peoples opinions to prepare advice for potential customers - and/or tweak the system so that people who don't want mails don't have to keep getting them!
            --Matt

            Web Development
            Beads, Charms & Findings - Jersey Craft Shop

            Comment


            • #7
              I've often considered it but never have sent newsletters to the customers on my database. Part of the reason is that I'm worried it'll annoy them, I know I get peed off when I'm continually bombarded with emails (hello amazon and interflora!). Another reason is that I'm not 100% sure where I stand legally sending emails unsolicited, although I think I'm ok if they are people who have bought from me previously And the third reason is probably because I've been too lazy to look into how to do it properly.

              Hope that helps
              Visit Natty Netty for a huge selection of Iris Folding supplies

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by nattynetty View Post
                I've often considered it but never have sent newsletters to the customers on my database. Part of the reason is that I'm worried it'll annoy them, I know I get peed off when I'm continually bombarded with emails (hello amazon and interflora!). Another reason is that I'm not 100% sure where I stand legally sending emails unsolicited, although I think I'm ok if they are people who have bought from me previously And the third reason is probably because I've been too lazy to look into how to do it properly.

                Hope that helps
                Very helpful.

                The key really is "permission based marketing" - if you asked them for permission to contact them, then you are probably OK.

                Permission for contact relating to the order they placed is (in my opinion) implied - e.g. if there is an issue with payment, and so forth. However it would be a bit grey to add them to a newsletter without specifically asking.

                Planning to get around that by ensuring that any system put in place will first send an email essentially saying "[Such and such] has requested that you subscribe to their newsletter about [thingies], because [you did something], click this link to confirm." - if they don't confirm, they have opted out.

                It's vital to make sure that any 'customer agreement' is handled via opt-in - e.g. they ask to be contacted.

                I think theres a fine balance between annoying and informing, too! Amazon irritate me as well, but some others (Hotel Chocolat!) don't. That might be because I have chocolate problems, though...
                --Matt

                Web Development
                Beads, Charms & Findings - Jersey Craft Shop

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't send out newsletters, mainly because my business is new, have not got any customers yet and wouldn't know what to put in it anyway!?! - Not been doing this business thing long enough yet

                  From a customer point of view, I love reading ones with sale info, new products and pictures - short and sweet. I don't read anything more than a sentence or 2 long and, it would have to have an opt out clause!

                  Stacey

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re 2 sentences -
                    if one sentence says get (blah de blah) FREE, I'm hooked and I do look at the Newsletter.
                    What a thing to confess eh?

                    I also think it's a bit complicated.
                    Eg if I've bought a ton of shrubs to plant up a new garden I won't want to buy any more. But....I might be wanting some bedding plants to fill in the gaps or to tart up the front garden ....Then 3 years later the garden's lovely and I won't want anything. Then I move house and start wanting stuff again all over again.
                    I'm not sure how suppliers are supposed to second guess what I want.
                    Amazon thinks it's clever because it offers you books connected to what you've just bought. But.....if I'm making a living making C16th costumes they think I'll be interested in C19th costume books. No. No. No. The whole point is I'm spe******ing in C16th. And the daftest one is my son once used my computer and Amazon keeps shoving heavy metal CDs in my face. 'Fraid I'm a namby pamby aging hippy flower power peace and love kind of girl ....
                    So Matt - maybe you could come up with a more innovative way of letting us choose what we want to recieve? Something that's more targetted to the future us?
                    AnnieAnna

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I use Zencart which is free and already has an inbuilt facility for customers to sign up for and opt out of a newsletter, which can be designed through the admin panel. It works really well but I am mindful of bompbarding people with Newsletters. Fire Mountain Gems send them all the time and I don't bother opening them - in fact I must remember to cancel my subscription and I suppose i should go design a Christmas wishes one
                      Chris xx
                      My Website
                      My Blog

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kiamyka View Post
                        I use Zencart which is free and already has an inbuilt facility for customers to sign up for and opt out of a newsletter, which can be designed through the admin panel. It works really well but I am mindful of bompbarding people with Newsletters. Fire Mountain Gems send them all the time and I don't bother opening them - in fact I must remember to cancel my subscription and I suppose i should go design a Christmas wishes one
                        Very nice

                        One of our motivations here is, infact, to add access to this functionality (for free) to our eCommerce system - Zencart has been around a bit longer, so they are ahead of us on this one!

                        For some of the other posters - I think using some sort of automated framework is better than DIY via an email client because you can gain:

                        List management (add, remove, allow people to auto-unsubscribe, etc)

                        Template management - reuseable nice looking HTML templates, if you so with!

                        Scheduling (send this email on Christmas Eve - means you can prep them in advance) plus other automation.

                        Some more stuff besides, but don't want to write a sales pitch.

                        We're probably looking at something in the region of less than £1 to send a message out to upto 100 recipients (the last workup suggested 75p for 100), so it will definitely be coming in under some of the extant pay-for solutions!

                        Merry Christmas-Eve-Eve to you all!
                        --Matt

                        Web Development
                        Beads, Charms & Findings - Jersey Craft Shop

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We have an opt-in option for stallholders and event organisers to receive newsletters from us. I wouldn't just assume and send them out otherwise. We'll be sending our first one out once our developers have fixed a software issue. A few people have recommended something called Constant Contact for newsletters etc.
                          Gail.
                          http://www.stallfinder.com
                          Twitter http://www.twitter.com/stallfinder

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