In their marketing to tradesmen, manufacturers are always looking for cost-effective ways to reach out to both existing and potential new customers. E-mail marketing is one tool that can do both.
Manufacturers who sell through a distribution channel have the most difficult challenge in that they sell their product to a middle man, who in turns sells it to the ultimate end user. Distributors for the most part are very protective of their customer list, so the challenge for the manufacturers is to get their names.
One way is to use product warranty or registration forms to develop a database. This also helps you segment your list for addressing specific issues, either on the product or industry application.
Other ways of generating e-mail addresses is to sponsor e-newsletters from trade publications, inquiries from your web site and trade advertising, as well as trade show and distributor open houses and counter day promotions. A note: when having someone fill out a form, make sure somewhere on it you have them OK (opt-in) so you can send them stuff via e-mail.
Research from Datran Media shows e-mail is still important:
- Driving incremental sales
- Reinforcing a company’s brand position
- Improving customer relations
I read an article from GlobalSpec that outlines ways you can improve your e-mail marketing. Here are some highlights from the article:
- Manage your list. You need to segment and grow your opt-in list. We talked a little about ways above on how you can do both. The key here is to make sure we have permission to e-mail to them. The last thing you want is to be black-listed because of spam.
- Be relevant. Don’t say something for the sake of saying it. We talked above about segmenting your list. One of the reasons is so you can talk specifics about a product or process that is relevant to the reader.
- Deliver on your promises. If you say you’re going to put out a monthly newsletter, you’d better deliver. There are no right or wrong answers on frequency other than being consistent. Unless your products or services change often, I’d suggest starting them quarterly.
- Use e-mail to generate leads and sales. Even if you don’t have new products coming out, you can use white papers or case studies to generate interest.
- Look beyond your own list. Partner with respected third parties in your industry to expand your reach.
Read the entire article: Five Practical Ways to Improve E-mail Marketing