This post was originally posted on the BIG Blog.
As small businesses get more Web savvy they are being told to understand email marketing and to use it as a great way to reach their customers. For the first time in a while I see great advice about email marketing: if you send it out — be ready to reply to it. Seth Godin has a post that is right on the mark, titled: If you don’t want to get email…don’t send email. He advises businesses, especially small ones, to be prepared to respond to customers, clients, partners, or whoever emails after you send them a marketing message in an email. It seems like obvious advice when you read it, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t deal with the full circle of email marketing. If you are sending out a message to your customers, aren’t you inviting them to respond to you? Don’t you WANT to hear from them? After all, you are the one that is opening the communication channels with them. But time and time again I hear business owners complain about the headache of dealing with their customers’ incoming email communications.
I think one of the problems that small businesses face is a lack of the right tools to help them deal with new technology and their communications with customers. There are lots and lots of different low priced, quality, easy to use, small business email marketing systems and services out there — but what are missing are the low cost, easy-to-implement email response management systems. Large companies like Amazon and Microsoft spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on CRM and Help Desk systems that have tools for their customer service reps to handle incoming emails. Small businesses though, need to look to spend thousands of dollars per year to get any sort of quality solution — that is until recently, when Palo Alto Software launched Email Center Pro.
Never before has there been a low-cost, high-quality, easy-to-implement, full-featured email response system. Now you can send emails out to your customers until your fingers fall off from typing messages and know that you have a great system to help you answer each one of your customers replies. You can get ECP for free, or as low as $19.00 as month. Our highest priced solution has unlimited users for a mere $149.00 per month. And yes this is a shameless plug for our product. BUT, I truly believe that it is the missing piece of the puzzle — the tool that Seth Godin left out of his post, that can help you make sure you never leave an email from a customer unanswered.