If your business stops and sputters for any reason whatsoever, here is an excellent email tactic that you can use in your marketing. Whether you're marketing online or offline, here is how you can get your sales rip-roaring once again. All you need is an understanding of this facet of customer psychology. Read on!

Richard Was Not a Happy Camper

Richard Palmer's fancy downtown clothing store was in big trouble. He arrived at the store one morning in June to find a road-works project well underway. The bone-shattering roars of jackhammers hit the pavement with monotonous frenzy. And the cement dust swirled around outside like it had a mind of its own. And it found its way into his store.

Richard was appalled—with the dust and the mess it caused, and at the fact that his sales were choking on it as well. He watched in horror as sales plummeted from thousands of dollars a day to less than a few hundred—on a good day.

The reason for this fiasco was clear. In their eagerness to avoid the road-works traffic snarl, potential customers stayed well away from his area of town. And when they did venture in, they avoided his side of the road. This went on for days, even weeks. And Richard didn't have the patience to keep seeing red in his account books.

Goodbye Disaster, Hello Customers

Rather than drowning in his own tears, Richard turned to the immediacy of email delivery. Announcing the Jackhammer Sale, he promised discounts and incentives if customers came in when the jackhammers were at their noisiest.

Segregating his customers, he offered preferred customers a free shirt if they bought one; not-so-regular customers got varying gifts, all of which were reasonably tempting for them to make a trip to the store.

If Richard had any doubts about the power and immediacy of email delivery, they were put to rest that day. The roar of the cash registers drowned the sound of the pesky jackhammers for good.

The Power of Using Email for Immediate Results

This emergency email tactic is almost a sure-fire way to get customers racing to their doors, yet most businesses never use this tactic. When faced with real discounts and incentives in conjunction with an immovable deadline, most customers will be spurred into instant action.

Those who need the product will burn rubber trying to get to your store on time, while those who were not even considering your product or service will now be giving it some very serious thought, and maybe telling others about the great deals. Instead of languishing sadly in one corner of the store, your products will flying off the shelves!

How This Applies to Services as Well as Retail

Nobody needs teeth fixed all the time, so says my dentist. Yet he uses the power of email to make sure that his schedule is filled to the brim. When times are quieter, he emails his customers, asking them to come in for a time-bound checkup and cleaning. About 65% of them respond almost immediately, even without the enticement of a bonus or discount.

His email enables patients like me to get treatment on time, before problems get worse and they have to spend a few thousand dollars instead of a few hundred. We're happy, he's happy, and everyone ends up not only feeling better but also in better dental health.

Your service-based business could use the same principle as my dentist's Check Up and Clean email system. Inevitably, you'll find little things you can tweak and improve in your customers' business. And at least 5% of them will want you to do a more detailed consultation. Bingo! Suddenly that time-bound email offer has brought in a whole lot of instant business.

Why You Shouldn't Ignore the Concept of Staggering

There's not much worse than too much demand and not enough supply. Too many businesses have been caught flatfooted trying to cope with a flood of customers. So be sure to space out your messages to customers. Send batches of emails at pre-determined intervals, because if your offer is tempting enough, you'll otherwise be buried under mountains of emails and phone calls that will drive you bananas and cause you to make mistakes.

The same principle applies to retail. The last thing you want is a zillion customers all at once. That may sound like manna from heaven, but in reality it's sheer disaster. Not only do you lose on the opportunity to cater exactly to the customer's needs, but also you throw away the chance to up sell and cross sell the customer.

So Why Email and Not Phone Calls?

Two words. Time Intensive.

Phone calls could take you all day, something you really don't want to do. Even worse, the person at the other end of the line might not be around to take your call. That would mean a whole round of new calls at another time.

Email, on the other hand, gets read when your customer wants to read it. And you can work it out so that batches of 50 emails or so go out at pre-determined intervals. All it takes is the touch of a button every couple of days or weeks, or whenever you choose.

Why This Entire Email Exercise Could Be Impossible for Your Business

Ask Maria. The recent Americas Cup Yachting Challenge in Auckland dried up all her business. People were more intent on getting to the water and watching the big boats sail than visiting her store.

An enticing email campaign offering goodies and special offers, valid only for certain non-racing days, would have gotten customers to come in on the days of her choosing.

Unfortunately, she had no email database.

While she could have snail-mailed many of her existing customers, that method was slower and more tedious to implement at a moment's notice. Instead of twiddling her thumbs, waiting for customers to walk through the door, she could have been laughing all the way to the bank.

As can you. Start asking for your customer's email addresses, and use the power of the email tactic. You'll transform every emergency into a winning business scenario!

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Sean D'Souza uses age-old psychology, marrying it to modern technology, on his Web site, psychotactics.com. Can "psychological tactics" make a difference? Go there and find out.