SXSW, Inc. – This lean organization organizes some of the most well-known events in the world, including the SXSW film, music and interactive festivals held every year in Austin, Texas. The goal of their marketing team is to increase ticket sales and attendees at these events, so they use email marketing to keep subscribers up to date as new artists and speakers join the lineup.
If you are able to consult with customers one-on-one, ask any new clients how they heard about you. This will be trickier if you own a restaurant or clothing store since you won’t be able to track down every customer to ask how they heard about you. In these instances, consider asking customers to take a survey on every receipt. Offer an incentive (coupon, discount, etc.) to increase the chances that people will actually fill it out.
This article is informative, but it does not offer distinguishing features between the services covered (other than mailchimp is free). You seemed to go to great lengths to say good things about each – although I’m sure each services has positive aspects. I would have benefited much more from a rating of some sort of the various features of each service, or at least the pros & cons of each.
If all Michael had was the 57k Facebook fans listed right below, I’m not nearly impressed. Combined with the big number above, however, the FB fan numbers serve as crucial verification. If your website has 1,500 FB likes, there is NO WAY I believe you have 500k viewers. But with Michael’s Facebook numbers, I start to believe in that much bigger number above, and it means I probably can’t afford to miss what he’s saying.
Particular groups of customers can be targeted or even individuals. Offering individual customers special deals on merchandise and/or services on the customer's birthday, for instance, is one example of email marketing personalization. (A restaurant might send an email to customers on their birthday offering 50% off an entree,) Email marketing helps a business develop and maintain a relationship with a customer over time that hopefully results in increased sales and increased customer loyalty. 
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