In my last article, I walked through the 4 ingredients for profitable email promotions and today I want to give some ideas for how to actually use this in your business.

Now if you are new to email marketing and you have a “cold list” then you’ll need to first warm up your list before you try any of these 3 types of promotions.  By “cold list” I mean you haven’t emailed your subscribers in more than 30 days and you do not have a strong relationship with them.

In other words, would your subscribers know who you are if you sent an email to them or would they click the spam button?  If you have any doubt, then assume you have a cold list.  One of the best ways to warm up a cold list is to send out a brief survey to get some feedback, remind them who you are and why you’re contacting them (i.e. they may be old customers), and give them a heads up that you’re going to start emailing more frequently with helpful information.

OK, so now that you’ve warmed up your list, we’re ready to run an email promotion.  The 3 types of promotions I’m going to cover are:

  1. Flash Sale
  2. Lead Generation
  3. Partner Promotion


Flash Sale

A flash sale is typically a discount, although it doesn’t have to be a discount offer. The key is that the offer is available for a short period of time, with a tight deadline to spur immediate response.  You’ll want to make the offer available for somewhere between 1 day and 7 days for best results.

Two popular businesses running flash sales are:

  • Groupon
  • Virgin Airlines


The daily deal site, Groupon, will often run special offers that are only good for a single day. And Virgin Airlines often runs special 2-day promotions to drive quick sales for some of their destinations.

The shorter the deadline, the better because there is more urgency for your prospects to take action.  At Main Street ROI, we usually use 4-day or 7-day deadlines when we run promotions. That gives you enough time to announce the offer, and then send out 1 or 2 reminder emails so people have a chance to take advantage of the offer.

If your deadline is more than 7 days, then there just isn’t enough urgency for your prospects to take action.


Lead Generation

Email can be a great tool to generate more leads for your business.  With this type of promotional email, your goal is not to generate a quick sale.  Instead, you’re trying to get qualified leads on your email list to raise their hands and request more information.

Typically, we recommend you keep these emails short, and use some curiosity.  Your email needs to provide enough information to get your prospects interested, and the call to action would be to reply, call, or complete a form on your website to request more information.

You can also use free information to generate leads from your email list.  If you are in the roofing business, then you could offer a free report about “Repair or Replace? How to Determine If You Need a New Roof.”  Anyone who requests this type of report is a qualified lead who is probably in need of some sort of roofing assistance.  After your prospects request the report, you can follow up with more information about your services.


Partner Promotion

A partner promotion is an email campaign where you promote another business’s services or products to your list, and vice versa.  Most businesses have an opportunity to do reciprocal email campaigns with other businesses that offer complementary services or products.

For example, a chiropractor could team up with a massage therapist, and do a reciprocal promotion. In this case, the chiropractor could send out a coupon to his subscribers offering a discount on a massage. And likewise, the massage therapist could offer a free chiropractic exam to her prospects and clients.

Partner promotions are a great way to attract new customers, and it’s a win-win for both sides.  In both cases, the business is helping their subscribers by providing a special offer for another complimentary service.  Yet, most businesses don’t take advantage of this opportunity to provide additional value to their subscribers, form stronger strategic partnerships, and most importantly generate more leads and sales.


More Email Marketing Best Practices

If you’re interested in learning even more email marketing best practices, then I encourage you to claim your copy of our new CD, “How to Attract Customers on Demand: The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Email Marketing.”

We’re giving away 100 free copies to our email newsletter subscribers.  So if you’re not yet a subscriber to Main Street Marketing Tips, then click here to join and learn more about our free CD giveaways.

If you are already a subscriber, then click here to claim your free copy of “The Small Business Guide to Email Marketing.