Welcome to Irus Design – Online Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses
Having a healthy email list is very important. Using a bad one will quickly get you banned by any major Email List Manager especially if you plan on using an US based service. Plus, penalties for spamming are quite serious. But what is a healthy list?
You collected it yourself
Buying a list or using email addresses of people who have no idea who you are will do you no good. In fact, it is more beneficial for a business to do nothing then try using an email list of questionable origin. Unless you want to promote yourself as a spammer, of course. It is worth remembering that penalties are very serious.
You let people know what you intend to do
Say you collect email addresses of your clients who believe you will only use them for business purposes – contact them if there are problems with their order, clarify details, etc. They are generally OK with that. Does that mean they will be happy to receive sales and marketing emails from you? Not necessarily. How they will react? Will they be OK with it or not? If not, they may ignore your emails, unsubscribe or complain. And too many unsubscribes or complains will get you banned. End of story.
You use the list regularly
Even a good list will go stale after a while. People change email addresses, move to other jobs, etc. Using your list at least once a month will keep it healthy because a good Email List Manager will clean out bounced back email addresses.
Well, it may surprise some people but no, email isn’t dead yet. Not even close, it seems.
According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, of all online adults, 92% use email, with 61% using it on an average day. See it for yourself here.
As a business tool, email is still invaluable. Social media is a great tool too but can you really conduct a meaningful business conversation via Twitter or Facebook? Posting or sharing confidental business documents? Could be hard, don’t you agree?
My latest e-commerce project was chiawarehouse.com.au, an Australian resellers of Chia seeds. The brief specified requirement for a fast project turn over including design proposal, web development, testing and roll out. Considering this and a small number of products offered for sale (for the moment anyway), my choice of development platform wasn’t a difficult one.
As a result, the site is a customised WordPress installation that took about 3 full days from start to finish.
The e-commerce part of the project was implemented using WP E-Commerce plugin that, although not perfect, was relatively easy to setup. The biggest problem I had with the plugin was related to somewhat out-of-date Australia Post shipping module that still has old postage prices and doesn’t include some of the options such as pre-paid satchels that, in our case, turned out to be a cheaper solution. As version 3.8 is about to be released, I didn’t want to spend too much time fixing this module. At the end, I used the weight rate to calculate the postage cost.
Project also included Search Engine Optimisation, Mailchimp integration, Google Analytics, AdWords campaign setup with Conversion tracking, etc.
Unfortunately, this project has been canned due to supply problems. Too bad.
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is a technique employed to drive organic or non-paid traffic to your website. Being on top of the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for your target keywords and getting majority of web traffic this way is the ultimate goal and desire of every website owner. Well, there could be other goals and desires but I will concentrate on those related to SEO.
Depending on your target keywords, this can be relatively easy or extremely hard to achieve. Easy or not, this will require quite a bit of time, 6 months or more, and some major effort. The search engine spider is a slow creature.
That’s why it is recommended first to test your chosen keywords using another technique known as Search Engine Marketing or SEM, which is all about driving paid traffic to your website via Google Adwords or similar service. The result is instant although not necessarily cheap, especially if you forget to set your daily budget or let Goggle helpfully set it for you.
Anyway, the major SEO benefit of the paid traffic is in the relatively fast fine tuning of your keywords or keyphrases before you begin full scale optimisation of your website for free traffic.
It is a fact – websites thrive with healthy traffic. Traffic stimulates activity, brings visitors and generates revenue. If you have something to say or sell, you will need to have visitors or customers and in some reasonable numbers. Your own promotional activities (including social media) aside, the vast majority of new users will find you via search engines (Google or not) so, unless you are in a market without competition, you have to make yourself visible and easy to find.
There two major ways to drive traffic via search engines:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) helps with driving organic or non-paid traffic to your website. The SEO is all about increasing findability of the website by search engines. Any serious results will take some time and effort although basic optimisation is quite straight-forward. Although it is often mentioned as an opposition to paid marketing, the serious SEO isn’t free or even cheap;
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) takes care of paid traffic. The result is instant and highly customisable. When set up correctly, you may find that it is not that expensive. It is a great way to test your chosen keywords before any serious investment into the SEO.