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E-mail marketing has some advantages

September 21, 2008|By BOB POOR

Q: I hear a lot about small business and e-mail marketing these days. Does SCORE offer any tips on how to apply e-mail marketing to my small business?

A: Recently, SCORE released a Q&A from Simms Jenkinshas, one of the leading experts in the fast-growing e-mail marketing industry. Here are a few of his thoughts on how e-mail marketing can benefit small businesses.

How widely used is e-mail marketing today?

E-mail has achieved almost universal penetration. Studies show that 97 percent of consumers use e-mail. And where consumers are, marketers want to be.

Last year, 82 percent of marketers planned to use some form of e-mail marketing.

Why should a small business consider an e-mail marketing program if it doesn't have one already?

E-mail is one of the most cost-effective ways to communicate with customers and prospects about your products and services.

It is a "great equalizer" for small businesses because they can build a relationship with them as easily as a Fortune 500 firm.

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How do you deal with obstacles such as spam filters and stringent e-mail blocking settings?

This is a big challenge, as nearly 60 percent of online customers routinely block images. The key is to code and format the e-mail so that your brand and call to action get across, even if other elements are blocked.

Not all small businesses have the resources to do this, which is why it is helpful to partner with a consultant.

How can SCORE help small businesses with entire marketing strategy and tactics such as e-mail?

Free local SCORE counseling is available by calling 301-739-2015, ext. 103.

Also, the SCORE Millennium Seminar Series at Hagerstown Community College's Valley Mall Center starts Oct. 4. Meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for four consecutive Thursday evenings, the series covers startup and operation of a small business, including operation, management, financing and marketing/sales.

To register, call 301-790-2800, ext. 236. The cost of the series is $49 and includes workbook and SCORE counseling upon completion of the series.

Robert A. "Bob" Poor is a small-business counselor and a regular contributor to the Ask SCORE column. Questions may be e-mailed to him at r.poor@myactv.net or by mail in care of The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Ask SCORE column. The Ask SCORE column appears every second Sunday of the month.

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