The first step in building a relationship with current and potential customers is finding the right people for your mailing list. Yes, you can purchase a mailing list and send your sales letters, marketing postcards, and other advertisements out at random..but you may see more profits by targeting the right people, rather than targeting as many people as you can.
So how do you get the "right" people to see your message?
1. Make sure the letters, postcards, newsletters, and other mailings are worth reading. Take your time with design and writing. Be picky. Proofread carefully. Try to write something that you would be interested in reading! Make it look good and be easy to read.. and print it on decent paper. Make the information interesting, relatable, and useful.
2. Make it easy to sign up for your newsletter. Don't make your potential readers jump through hoops to get your information. A simple "enter your email address for a free monthly newsletter" box on every page of your website can help you build that mailing list. If you go to any trade shows or seminars, have a form for people to fill out to join your mailing list.
3. Giving a lecture or seminar? Be sure to pass around that sign-up sheet. Offer a free gift, discount, or consultation to everyone who signs up for your newsletter. Just be sure you follow up! And follow up quickly -- you want to act while your name is fresh in the mind of the potential customer.
4. Give readers an incentive. Pick one subscriber at random to receive a free gift or coupon for discounted services. Introduce a "refer a friend" program and award prizes for referrals. Use your mailings as a friendly heads-up when you have something new and exciting going on -- not as a high-pressure, annoying sales pitch.
5. Use your newsletter content to direct people back to your website. Refer to articles from previous issues and provide a link. Talk about changes at the site, and feature new products.
6. Spread the word. Post your articles anywhere and everywhere, with links back to your site. Set up an RSS feed so people can get your new content immediately. Join message boards and online communities that are related to your business. Include a link to your site with every post you make.
7. Get your readers to spread the word. A simple note at the bottom of your mailing like "feel free to share this with friends and family" can get your message moving.
8. Be patient. Immediate results are exciting, but it will take a while to develop a relationship with potential customers. Provide genuine value over time -- through interesting and useful articles -- and your relationships will grow. Some people will drop off the list; some people will spread the word and bring friends and family to your business.
9. Don't abuse your knowledge. People hate spam. Assure your potential clients that you won't be sharing their personal information or selling their addresses to spammers.
10. Don't forget your subscribers once you've got them. Make them feel special with coupons and offers that are only available to people who receive your newsletters.
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