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Posted 5/12/2011
By Angie Kilbourne, AAM

Web Wise: Making Email Marketing Meaningful

Making Email Marketing MeaningfulDo your customers ignore the email sign-up sheet you have prominently displayed on your service counter? Likely, it's because they've been burned one too many times by someone who spammed them to death with offers they really didn't find useful. One bad apple really can spoil the entire bushel, much to the dismay of small business owners.

The trouble is, email marketing is just so darned easy - not to mention cost-effective - for an independent repair shop to ignore the benefits. So let's examine some best practices for growing your email list and making those messages you send customers more meaningful to them.

    Give peace of mind: Provide a written reminder to customers that you will never sell, barter or trade their personal information with any other organization for any reason.

    Stick to the 80/20 rule: Your email marketing mailings should be about 80 percent relationship building and 20 percent about the products or services you offer," says Susan Negen, president of WhizBang! Training, Grand Haven, Mich.

    Reward returning customers: Make entry into your contests and giveaways conditional on subscribing to your newsletter.

    Make it interactive: Ask your customers for feedback, stories, submissions, testimonials, etc., in your email marketing pieces. Each message should contain at least one call to action.

    Look professional: Email marketing distribution services are more affordable than ever. Not only do their templates make it easy for anyone to send out expert electronic messages, but they keep you legal. ASA members, check out the Constant Contact discount available to you through the ASA Marketplace (

    Provide samples: Print out a few copies of your latest newsletter to give to potential subscribers. Letting them read your latest newsletter will give them the sense of what information you provide.

    Offer exclusives: Create a small e-book about vehicle maintenance, dealing with insurance companies, instructions of what to do in case of an accident or one on any other subject that you know is keeping your customers up late at night. Then give it away for free only to those people who have given you their email address.

    Ensure it's mobile friendly: Here's another place where an email service is invaluable. Make sure your emails can be viewed in HTML and text, as well as by smartphones and tablets.

ASA Web Ways: Need Answers?

ASA's online chat feature is available throughout its website ( to better serve website visitors' needs. Chat with a representative from ASA's membership department during the association's regular business hours, Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Central time, with no additional software needed. Look for the "Instant Chat" buttons throughout the site, including the Members Only area, to be connected immediately and get answers to your questions about ASA.


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