Does it work? Has anyone found success with using email marketing? And if so, what did you include in your emails and newsletters?
My parents own a business too and are really pushing the email marketing in their business and are working on growing that aspect quite a bit. They think that its ok to send out sales/newsletter/marketing emails to anyone that has ever emailed you or that you have emailed....I thought that there were laws against sending people sales emails if they didn't officially subscribe? But my parents say that depending on the content I'm sending that I'm offering people a service....which I agree with but I feel like I can't just send people emails that haven't consented to subscribe to my newsletter....does that make sense?
This got a little longer than I meant it to be lol but I wanted to give the full background Thanks friends!!
What your parents are advocating is pretty close to spam, and yes their are laws against it. If you're using an email service then you have to tell them how you got your list. And if you're just using your own computer, your service provider can shut you down.
Two really good and free email services are MailChimp and FireDrum.
Not entirely true leah.
Email marketing is like the do not call list - if you have any type of connection with the person you can email them. However, all mass marketing emails must include the option to "opt-out" and a physical location at the bottom of the email. It doesn't have to be something huge.
When sending our from your own email account you do run into some issues though. Your personal service provider can identify you as a spammer for sending out so many emails. A service really is the best option because you can track the emails and see who actually opens them. Also, so don't have to tell the provider where you go the list. At least I never have with the various services I have used for work.
Thats what I thought, that it is kind of like spam because I have no clue what the laws are. I have used Constant Contact a little bit in the past when I had a very very small email list going (like no more than 20 emails) and loved the set up and the way it worked, and it included an opt out option and all that good stuff. I just don't want to be sending out random newsletters and emails to people that I've had contact with just through emailing me about orders.
Personally I find that twitter and facebook are better ways to stay in touch with your customer base, as they are both opt-in.
If a business automatically signs me up for a mailing list just because I place an order (without giving me the chance to opt out), that business will never see another dime of my money, and if I feel strongly enough to write a review for said business you'd better believe that I will mention they are spammers. Luckily Gmail has an excellent spam filter so sometimes I don't even find out about these mailing lists until I check the spam folder, and a nice side effect is that legit emails from businesses who spam are often also classified as spam.
Well I wouldn't go that far....unless it was annoying, sending me 4 emails each day with usless information emails. But if its a legit, time saver email with great ideas then I would find it very useful and glad it got sent to me. But I just want to do things the right way, meaning legally. I guess I should probably just ask a lawyer or something the rules on that.
But has anyone actually done this and found success? I know at our local bridal shows, all of the vendors get the email lists and Ive gotton emails from dj's and florists and stuff but never any bakeries. So i just didn't know if it would be relevant to a bakery.
If a business automatically signs me up for a mailing list just because I place an order (without giving me the chance to opt out), that business will never see another dime of my money,
I know a woman who owns a networking franchise and she posted on Twitter "Just because I gave you my business card, doesn't mean I gave you permisison to add me to your mailing list!" This woman could do ANY business a great deal of positive word of mouth.
I made sure I had something in writing that implied permission before I added them to my newsletter mailing. My intro email included phrasing of "in addition to the attached information, I'll be sending you updates via our monthly newsletter. You may discontinue receiving this newsletter at any time."
One of my friends who's a marketing guy was talking about the possibiilty that there will be more regulations coming that will prevent people from distributing mailing lists to use for emails like that. I can't rememebr exactly what he said, but I'd stay away from sending out unsolicited emails.
You could put something up on your website to opt in, as opposed to people having to opt out. Have them sign up for a newsletter first, then you can send one out once a week or something along those lines.
This speaks directly to my past life before caking...
To answer your initial question, yes I believe email marketing is effective for any industry - but ONLY if you really research and refine what you are sending and there are major tricks to it... and you have to be consistent. Clockwork.
Now as for the laws, the CAAN-SPAN act is what governs what "spam" is. The way the law is written is that anyone that you have personally contacted at any time for any reason is someone you can contact via email. This could be a business card, a handshake, meeting them in a grocery store etc. What it makes illegal is the purchasing of farmed email/telephone lists from 3rd parties that you want to contact to sell your stuff to, or taking a list of names (for example, your kid's Girl Scout contact list), computerize the information and start emailing them to sell your services to them.
It also defines that you cannot send a mass email and not send it BCC, meaning you cannot select your entire address book and send an email where the recipients can all see each other's email addresses. You also have to have the the option to "opt-out" of receiving your solicitations.
If you want to learn more about this I highly recommend Constant Contact, they offer monthly free seminars all over the US, I think they even have webinars now if you can't attend one in person and they are awesome in explaining successful internet marketing without selling you their services (although I think they are worth it).
Not speaking to the legalities, but instead to the effectiveness, I'd say yes and no.
I did Constant Contact for a little over a year, one newsletter per month.
I had a nice sized customer base, an 'opt in' option on my website, and as I was marketing smaller type cakes, I got a LOT of business from it. I could be sure that if I sent out an email, I would need to clear my schedule because I would be receiving phone calls and emails all day and into the next week. I included featured flavors, cake of the month (my fave design from the month), a wedding window that showed a design, the location and the flavors (without disclosing names) the bride and groom chose. I usually featured a filling choice and why it was special, and then did a facts section about the differences between icings, how to store your cake, how to cut it, etc.
Needless to say, it was a lot of work! But it paid off in calls.
However, now that I have switched to mostly bridal and high(er) end cakes, I do not do it. While it would still be fun, these larger occasion cakes are not clients who will come to me for every single little thing, because now I'm too expensive for the dog walker's boyfriend's nephew's graduation cake. And the LAST thing I want is for an indecisive bride to get inspired by a posted wedding cake and then change her entire design and I have to meet with her again! (I know, that can happen anywhere, but it has happened to me through this!)
So I think it really depends on the product, the target audience, and how frequently you want or expect to hear from them.
Does that make sense?
Yes, that makes sense! And thank you for everyone's replies, it is really helpful! I understand it a little better now and I guess I have some work to do