Over the next few months you will see more direct-marketing companies running and launching e-mail advertising campaigns.

The reason; they have discovered that it works!

You can discover this too, for almost no cost and low risk — A hallmark of most of my marketing ideas.

E-mail marketing works because:

1.  It is inexpensive. In fact in many cases it is free. If you calculate the cost of everything from creative to fulfillment, e-mail marketing is definitely the cheapest medium. When you look at it in terms of cost per lead or cost per dollar of sales it exceeds every other medium.

2.  It is immediate. You begin to find out if your campaign is working almost as soon as it goes out. I have had responses within 5 minutes of sending out an e-mail broadcast. 

3.  It is usually highly targeted, unless you are a spammer. You can deliver a personalized e-mail right to the individual you want to connect with and you can tailor your offers to meet the needs of very small specific segments. 

4. The “sent by” name is the biggest single predictor of opening rates. If you send to your house list, your customers will know your name, recognize it and will almost certainly open your message.

In addition, over the last year or two, I have seen several research reports, that found salespeople make between 7 and 12 contacts per customer to close a sale. If you consider that many salespeople give up after one or two attempts, the cost of developing rapport with a prospective customer is astronomical. E-mail marketing can also help you overcome this problem.

Start small by sending offers of free information to your customer base. This information is best if it is not about you, but is of value to your customers.  Provide information that can protect them from the horrors of dealing with typical suppliers in your industry or unwitting mistakes they might make as un-informed buyers. Track click through rates to determine which information has been the most useful to your target customers.

As your base grows more confident with your advice, gradually introduce product and service announcements. Then watch what happens.

With regular e-mail communications, before you know it, you and your customers will have spent a lot more time together — and that will translate into more sales.