The Worlds best salesman (as verified by the Guinness book of records) Joe Girard was a master of keeping in touch with his customers. As a car salesman he sent out a card every month to his customers, including Birthday cards, Easter cards and Christmas cards when appropriate. He was successful because he knew the value of keeping himself at the front of his customers minds when it came to buying their next car.
If you don't keep in touch with your customers it is likely that your competitor will be talking to them just at the point when they are considering buying the service or product you offer. If you are not in their mind just at that point - someone else will be.
It is 5 times dearer to find new customers than it is to retain existing customers (source: Peppers and Rogers). Because chasing new customers is expensive it is good to concentrate on increasing the referrals and sales from your existing customers. The way to retain and profit from existing customers is to keep in touch.
There are many ways you can do this - but the most cost effective is to use permission based email marketing. The 'permission' part means you are mailing to people who have agreed to receive your emails, i.e., they have given their permission to be on your list. Permission based email is up to ten times more effective than using direct mail (IMT STrategies).
Joe Girard used direct mail - he became the worlds best salesman way before the advent of email and the World Wide Web - but I'm sure if email was around when he first developed his marketing systems he would also have become a master of email marketing (he may be now).
Don't use your desktop PC email application to run your marketing campaign - it is likely to become inefficient as your list grows and it is also likely that your ISP will get upset if you starting sending hundreds of emails. You need is a system that has been designed for the purpose - something that can grow as your list grows, can send to thousands of at the one time and is easy to use. Generally this means signing up for one of the web based email marketing services such as Aweber (the one I use and recommend) or Constant Contact. There are may others - google 'email marketing services' to find them.
When you sign up for one of these services you will find that their websites are full of good information about how to run your campaigns and how to make best use of email to keep in touch with your customers. These servcies are not free to use - and certainly it is cheaper to send emails directly from your PC - but this is a false economy. Time is money - and using the right email marketing tool will ultimately be more efficient and help you do a better job with your marketing.
An article by Jim Byrne