How To Cut Communication Costs for Your Small Business

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In the 80s, my grandmother had to find ways to lower the costs associated with running her hair salon so she moved her shop to her home, swapped out costly magazine subscriptions with cookbooks for her clientele reading material and (shhh….don't tell anyone) watered down the shampoo.

Today, small businesses are still looking for creative ways to save money and often times look to cutting their communication costs. Here are a couple of ways to use Internet-based services to make your business more efficient. 

E-mail marketing

A sure way to lower communication costs is to reduce your print advertising services such as newsletters and brochures and instead promote your business through e-mail marketing campaigns, thus eliminating shipping and printing costs. There are many e-mail tools available to small businesses that allow non-technical users to easily and professional build an e-mail to promote a new product or announce a sale and distribute to your customer base.

These email marketing tools include a good deal of functionality and flexibility with the ease of use of pre-designed templates. The user can scroll through a vast set of templates to find one that works for their message, and then customize the content. The user can also, upload customized graphics or pull from the image gallery to add a little character to the message before it is blasted out to their base. Additionally, these tools will maintain your customer contacts and provide reporting data on how many users opened the e-mail, how many clicked on a link and landed back on your website, etc. The contact management function also handles the opt-out functionality so you do not unitentionally offend those who prefer not to receive the e-mail.

E-mail markeitng, paired with a solid website (since clicking on a link in an e-mail is much more likely than dialing) can drive new sales, and keep good customers informed about your products and services.

Fax over Internet

Another communication costs that can be eliminated or lowered is long distance fax charges, paper and ink cartridges by moving to a fax over Internet platform. This allows you to send and receive faxes through your e-mail, store important fax files to your PC and access fax documents from an online fax tool anytime and anywhere you have Internet access.

In addition to the cost savings, you are ensured that you will get your fax even when you are not in your office. With the availability of e-mail on every PDA, why not get your faxes as well? The ability to respond timely may generate significantly more revenue than the savings seen from embracing this Internet service.