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The world of internet marketing has opened doors for businesses in more ways than one. In general, the internet has destroyed traditional boundaries by connecting businesses with client prospects and potential customers from around the globe. Unfortunately, the worldwide exposure doesn't necessarily translate to increased sales.

In order to take advantage of the increased exposure that the internet offers, the key component to improving your sales revenue is to convert your site visitors to customers. The percentage of the visitors to your site that buy your product or services is referred to as the conversion rate. Understanding, tracking, and improving your conversion rate should be the goal of any online business.

For this reason, business owners will place a heavy emphasis on those items that entice a person to buy. These items often include but are not limited to website graphics, sales copy, and sales mechanisms necessary to close a transaction. Although all are important and vital to the success of your online business, most businesses will only convert somewhere between 1 - 4% of visitors (for sales transactions).

To better illustrate this situation, let's look at an example of a site that receives 1,000 unique visitors per day. We'll assume a fairly high conversion rate of 4%. This means that 40 of your visitors are purchasing your product or service and are converted into a customer. The other 960 visitors leave your site without a completed sale.

What happens to the 96% of visitors who leave your site without making a purchase? In most cases, you've lost this person as a potential customer.

Yes, it is true that some will bookmark your site and return at a later date to make a purchase. However, most of the visitors to your site will leave without making a purchase.

Are you resigned to the fact that not everyone will make a purchase? Is there something that you can do to increase your overall conversion rate of visitors?

The solution is e-mail marketing. E-mail marketing is important because it provides you with a way to contact many of those who left your site without making a purchase.

How? All you have to do is entice your site visitors to provide you with their name and e-mail address. As soon as they do, you will begin to grow an e-mail list which is often considered to be the single most important asset in marketing your business online.

There are two main advantages of using e-mail marketing as part of your business strategy. First, you gain the ability to sell future products to those people that have purchased from you in the past (i.e. your customers). This is an extremely effective way to increase your sales by selling to your "warm market". The first sale is always the most difficult; subsequent purchases are usually easier as the customer knows and is familiar with your website and products.

The second advantage of e-mail marketing works directly to improve your conversion rate. E-mail marketing enables you to contact those visitors who did not purchase from you but who did give you their name and e-mail address. Why is this important? Many statistics show that people often will not make a purchase until sometime between the 5th - 8th time that you contact them. Consistent contact and follow-up with those visitors through e-mail marketing techniques will help to convert additional site visitors to buying customers.

Using e-mail marketing to promote and grow your business is no longer an option; it is absolutely imperative if you want to maximize your business by using the internet. E-mail marketing is the hidden internet gem that many businesses overlook or avoid.

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