Roland Reinhart has seen the poorly composed e-mails from some small business owners who aren’t aware of the finer points of electronic marketing.

Some will list all of the recipients in the “To” field on a mass e-mail, exposing addresses to everyone else on the list and likely raising privacy concerns.

The unsubscribe requests start flooding back to the sender — who also risks getting blocked as junk mail — and the business owner begins to think e-mail marketing is a dirty phrase.

Instead, Reinhart suggests sending private messages with a compelling incentive that gets customers or prospective patrons engaged in the brand, whether that’s through discounts or customer-feedback surveys.

“So now you’re beginning to re-engage these people with a relevant message and an incentive to try to get them to come back to you, and it doesn’t seem like that spammy mess you originally sent out,” he said.

“How do you do that as a small business owner if you haven’t done it before?” Reinhart continued. “You contact a marketing consultant. That’s really what it is. You need somebody who has that experience to walk you through the process, educate you and then maybe over time, you become responsible for it, and I step away from the picture.”

Reinhart said he founded Reinhart Consulting Group in September 2008 on the principle that “technology should help — not hinder — your marketing efforts.”

With more than 20 years of direct marketing and advertising experience, as well as a passion for technology, Reinhart bills himself as someone determined to help businesses grow by choosing the right custom marketing strategies and establishing points to measure improvement along the way.

Because so many business owners keep themselves busy just trying to stay afloat, contracting an outside expert can jump-start marketing efforts that go beyond more traditional — and often reactive — methods that may have lost their impact or don’t properly prepare for the future, Reinhart said.

Reinhart can get to work with a cell phone, a laptop and an Internet connection. He said he first attempts to understand a company’s philosophy and the issues, which need to be addressed by everyone in the company. They include customer service and price.

Getting each staffer involved in the process ensures that the company is prepared to deliver on its message, Reinhart said.

“It’s not just marketing. It’s not just sales,” he said. “Every point in your company needs to have some sort of vested interest in saying the same message about what you do so that anybody they (customers) talk to, they’re always able to explain it.”

Reinhart’s message is one of dedication to his clients. Whether he’s establishing Internet domain names on the cheap or introducing podcasting or online video projects, Reinhart calls his recent work a “useful ministry” because he tries to leverage assets and excite business owners about new ideas and technology.

“I may not be an actual employee, but you bring me in because I’m a marketing partner who’s going to have a vested interest to make sure your business is a success,” he said. “Because the more successful you are, you’re going to keep me engaged over the long run.”

March 4, 2009
By Brandon Lausch
Staff Writer