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By Dan Forootan

An independent baker is faced with plenty of challenges as he or she tries to build a business and a career today. With giant wholesale stores such as Costco and BJís offering cakes and all sorts of party-sized pastries at rock-bottom prices, as well as the likes of Dunkiní Donuts, Panera Bread and Starbucks offering bagels, donuts and other pastries at affordable prices at thousands of locations nationwide, it is increasingly difficult for the "Mom and Pop" bakery to survive, never mind thrive.

The advertising battles are also tilted in favor of the chains, all of which have the budget and the muscle to advertise in newspapers and on television. So what about local and independent bakeries? Email marketing is the answer!

Indeed, the relationship between bakeries and email marketing is guaranteed to be a fruitful and satisfying one. It provides an easy way for the bakery and its customers to stay in touch with one another, all at a fraction of the cost of advertising in traditional media. All independent bakeries are operating on a budget, but the email marketing software required for these endeavors is inexpensive to purchase and easy to implement. Anyone at the bakery who possesses computer experience can manage the campaign, and do so in a brief amount of time.

Most importantly, the traditional media cannot match the impact delivered by bakeriesí email marketing campaigns. Most ads these days are either missed in the newspaper or ignored by viewers during television shows, but a bakeryís email message will be delivered straight to its intended audience and carry with it the type of immediate engagement businesses are constantly striving to attain.

The email marketing software provides for quick customization of the message and allows the sender to include as much information and as many "bells and whistles" as he or she would like. Each email, of course, contains vital information such as the bakeryís address, directions and hours of operation, but the software has advanced to the point where videos can be embedded, too. Give customers a personalized glimpse at the bakery with "behind-the-scenes" clips that show the food being made as well as employees interacting with one another.

For bakeries, an email marketing campaign will also allow these establishments to save on the printing and production costs involved with menus. Of course, thereís still a need for menus, but the menus can be included either in the body of the email or via a link to the bakeryís website. So the next time a customer is interested in placing an order, he or she wonít have to spend time rummaging for a menu or calling the bakery and asking if it has certain items. A simple search of his or her email will bring up the bakeryís email marketing message!

Independent and locally owned bakeries need to distinguish themselves from their big-name competition in order to remain in business. Investing in email marketing software is a great way for these bakeries to stay in the game. Look into starting a bakery email marketing campaign today!

Dan Forootan is the President of EZ Publishing. The firm specializes in helping businesses harness the power of the Internet for marketing and to automate business processes. In addition to custom web applications, EZ Publishing offers permission-based email marketing via StreamSend, a leading provider of easy, affordable and dependable email marketing software for creating, sending and tracking email newsletter and other campaigns.
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