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Spam-Free Marketing

I received an email the other day from a work at homemom who recently started a small ... company. ... to start selling ... to other WAHM ... was ... about bulk em

I received an email the other day from a work at home
mom who recently started a small publishing company. She
wanted to start selling advertising to other WAHM businesses
but was concerned about bulk emailing them... with good
reason.

Spam is the four-letter word that most offends those of us
working online. Everyone with a website receives it and like
bad art, we all know it when we see it. But also -like art-
in a way, spam is in the eye of the beholder. I have
participated in discussions that disintegrated because each
member had his or her own definition of spam and was angry
at those who disagreed.

In the offline world, it is perfectly acceptable to
cold-call or snail mail a business to tell them about a
product or service you offer. When I worked in an office
environment, I took such calls all the time. Often, I said
'no thank you' and that was the end of it. But every once in
a while, the call came in at just the time I was searching
for such an item - and a sale would be made.

Of course, the power and low-cost of email make this an
inexact comparison. So what do you do when you have a
product or service that you *know* your target market
*needs* -- and you want to use the power of the Internet to
let them know about it?

THE PERSONAL APPROACH

The keywords are 'target market.' Find out who they are by
doing an Internet search to find them. Check out sites
which include directories of businesses in your target
market. Then, visit those sites - and send their owners a
*personal* email pitching your product. Be sure to use their
*names* and comment on something you learn about their
businesses from their sites. If they offer newsletters, sign
up for them and comment upon something you read there. This
establishes a prior business relationship and is not
considered spam by *most* people.

However, even this personal approach will offend *some*
webmasters, and it will cost you a lot of time relative to
the number of people you reach. A more efficient means
of getting your message out would be to join discussion
groups geared to your audience and announce your product
there.

ONLINE NETWORKING THROUGH DISCUSSION LISTS

But message boards and discussion lists have their own spam
issues. When joining a list, you must read their guidelines
and follow them. Sending out a blatant advertisement to the
members of a discussion list will not be tolerated - but you
are welcome to describe your business where it is
*appropriate* (i.e., someone asks where they can find a
product just like yours and you announce that you just
happen to sell that).

You are also allowed to put information in your sig line
that directs people to your website - so whenever you
contribute to the discussion, you have an opportunity to
promote your business.

When you join, sit back for a couple of days and follow the
conversation so you can get a feel for the tone of the
discussion, the people involved and what is customary among
them. Then, introduce yourself as a new member (which also
give you an opportunity to bring up the subject of your
business, website, product - within the guidelines they set
when you join).

An added benefit to marketing through discussion groups is
the fact that you will build new relationships with other
business people that can lead to joint ventures, assistance
and even friendship. In the offline world, it is similar to
being part of a chamber of commerce or other networking
group and it works just as well on the web.

At the ParentPreneur Club, we have our own discussion group, PPC
Advisory, where members brainstorm the issues they face as
work at home parents. To join,
email < mailto:ppca-subscribe@topica.com > .

Here are more of my favorite groups targeted to work at home
parents. You'll find others specific to your needs by
searching for them at < http://www.yahoogroups.com > and
< http://www.topica.com >

< mailto:clubmom-affiliates-subscribe@yahoogroups.com > This
group is made up of members of the Club Mom affiliate
program. All members have websites with mom-related content
and products, which makes them ideal partners for the Club
Mom membership program. You must be an affiliate of Club Mom
to be a member of this list.

< mailto:DirectSelling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com > For
direct sales consultants who exchange ideas and suggestions
on building a client base, fund raising, recruiting,
booking, inspiration, motivation, party games, contests,
merchandising, holiday ideas and more.

< mailto:EP-subscribe@yahoogroups.com > This is a function of the
Entrepreneurial Parents (http://www.en-parent.com ) website.
A forum for Entrepreneurial Parents (EPs) to connect
directly with each other, discussing topics ranging from
balancing work and family under one roof, to sharing
practical business tips, to collective brainstorming, to
supporting each other in responsible parenthood.

< mailto:themompack-subscribe@yahoogroups.com > The MomPack
(TM) is a cooperative, not-for-profit organization, founded
by working moms, run by working moms and for working moms to
exchange business information amongst each other to help
promote and advertise each other's businesses on and
offline.

DON'T FORGET THE SEARCH ENGINES!

Do not overlook the value of getting your site listed in
search engines, which will bring prospective customers to
*you*. There are still many engines that will list
your site for free. If you plan to do this yourself, walk
do not run to < http://www.jimtools.com >. Jim Wilson carries
one of the most complete free site submission resources we
have seen.

Merle at < http://www.mcpromotions.com > also has a wealth
of resources at her site. She specializes in promoting
websites and handles our monthly search engine submissions
for the ParentPreneur Club. Her prices are very reasonable.

GET PUBLICITY

Press releases should be part of your marketing plan, as
well. There is nothing so cost effective as having your
business mentioned in an offline publication or other
medium. One newspaper article could result in dozens of
leads for your business.
Karon Thackston has put together a free email course on how to write
effective
press releases. To receive it, send a blank email to
< mailto:pressrelease@zipresponse.com > Karon can also
handle your PR needs. < http://www.ktamarketing.com >

Another interesting offer comes from JeriLynn Thomas of
the Womens News Bureau. Jerilynn is offering a PR Boot Camp
tailored to the needs of female entrepreneurs. Check it out
at < http://www.womensnewsbureau.com/prbootcamp.htm >

EZINE ADVERTISING

Finally, there will come a time when you will need to pay
for some advertising. Ezines that go out to your target
audience give you a big bang for your advertising buck -
your cost per thousand (CPM) is generally way less than what
you could expect to pay in other media. Most sites that
publish an ezine carry an advertising page.

We could devote several more articles to the particulars of
writing ads and creating marketing campaigns. The one thing
you need to keep in mind is that writing advertising copy
is not an exact science. No one can guarantee how your
audience will respond to an ad, no matter how well you think
it turned out. The big marketers always test ads first and
we suggest you do. You can buy ezine ads at deep discounts
at < http://www.ezineadauction.com > (another site run by
Merle of MCPromotions). We use it ourselves to sell remnant
space in our ezines and have bought ads
in other newsletters at a fraction of their published rates.
This is a great resource for anyone who needs to advertise
their businesses.

As you can seeFree Articles, there are lots of low-cost options for
promoting your business online that do not entail bulk
email. They're easy to implement and are proven to work...
try them and see!

Article Tags: Each Other, Working Moms

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Donna Schwartz Mills is the work-at-home parent behind the
ParentPreneur Club < http://www.parentpreneurclub.com >
Find out how we're getting healthy while earning a healthy
living at home - < http://www.unitoday.net/socalmom >.



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