Overview of business model
As a provider of e-mail reminders, the basic service you would provide is creating a Web site with a software-driven automated e-mail reminder application.
The operator of this business will have to design comprehensive input forms not only to gather the important dates and occasions from all the clients and enough other information to be able to send them the reminder, but also to make appropriate gift suggestions.
For example, a client may want to be reminded of all of his or her niecesâ€™ or nephewsâ€™ birthdays. In addition to gathering the birth dates, you would also want to gather the childâ€™s name, age, sex, and toy preferences. By doing this you can customize the reminder e-mail to read something like this:
Your niece Mykhalaâ€™s birthday is coming up in 10 days. Mykhala will be 9 years old, and she likes Barbie dolls, Gamecube games, and Nancy Drew books. Click here to find links to some of these gifts should you want to take care of her birthday gift today.
These links would be from your site to retailers online where you belong to their affiliate program and will receive a referral fee for any sales that come from your site.
Dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, Valentineâ€™s Day, Secretaryâ€™s Day, special days (Motherâ€™s Day and Fatherâ€™s Day), and corporate special occasions are what you will usually be reminding clients of. However, where your service includes recommendations, you may find clients including dates like Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, and various cultural and religious holidays.
The trick to this operation is providing the service for free and having a high number of clients, because your income will be generated, for the most part, from banner advertising and affiliate program revenue. You will want to have this service fully automated, either by developing a program or by purchasing software that can perform this function. High traffic caused by repeat users will attract various online advertisers, resellers, alliances, and affiliates.
The e-mail reminder service is perfect for someone who is punctual, organized, and a clear communicator via e-mail.
Cost to start this business
The cost to start this business will include the cost of designing, developing, and hosting your Web site. You will need a computer, appropriate software, a printer, and an Internet connection. The e-mail reminder service software should be flexible and should match or exceed what the competition is using. We estimate the start-up costs for this business to run between $5,000 and $20,000. The advantage to this type of business is that there is no inventory.
Number of employees needed to start
This business can easily be started with one part-time individual.
Solely language barriers govern the global potential of this business.
Important business issues to be addressed
The advertising opportunities must be seized or the business will not make a profit, since the actual reminder service is free. Utilizing the timely e-mail contact you have with clients is the key to success. Gather personalized information from your users so that when an announcement comes along, you are able to suggest what gifts to purchase for their family, loved ones, bosses, co-workers, and friends. Join affiliate programs for popular e-stores and market their wares in your e-mails. Youâ€™ll make profits off the click-through and sales commissions.
Online marketing techniques
- Develop a comprehensive link strategy. Generating links from other, related sites is an excellent way to bring targeted businesses to your Web site. You will want to be linked from sites that cater to your target market (busy professionals with tight schedules). You might establish links from gift suggestion sites, e-stores, calendar and event management software sites, and other, related directories.
- Include testimonials from clients who have used your service in the past.
- You might include a viral marketing technique like Tell a Friend on your Web site. This will allow your customers to tell their friends about your service directly from your Web site.
- Get linked from online gift site directories.
- Develop a sponsored listings campaign to bid on appropriate keyword phrases with the popular search engines.
- Launch a banner advertising campaign or, better yet, join an ad network that can pinpoint the niche markets for your service and place your banners in the best locations.
Additional income could come from other services rendered through e-mail such as wish lists, wedding gift list e-mail updates, and reminders of this nature.