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For all of its strengths as an ecommerce platform, the Web has one big, unavoidable weakness: it is an inherently passive media. Customers have to come to you by clicking on a link. The best thing you can do is prompt them to click on that link. And one of the easiest ways to do that is with email. As part of your online sales solution, you absolutely must have automated email list software, which will allow you to put together lists of customer email addresses. Use these lists for follow-up marketing -- "Since you bought x, we think you might like to buy y" -- to announce new products for sale, pricing changes, etc. Many ecommerce software solutions include autoresponders, which in addition to sending out pre-written emails to specific responses, can also create and manage small mailing lists. If your lists start to get large and difficult to manage, you may need to graduate to specific email list software.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|