Effectively running a small business requires executing certain fundamentals to insure that you not only survive, but thrive and grow. Taking care of your accounting functions, tax compliance and payroll are all examples of the X’s and O’s that can make or break you. Marketing your business is another one of those fundamentals that can mean the difference between just getting by or creating long term success. If your business is not engaged in consistent email marketing efforts, read on for an overview about why to get started today.
What is Email Marketing?
Think about all the emails you see in your own inbox when you check email for the first time each morning. What catches your attention? Which emails do you read every time and which ones do you delete without every reading? The inbox is ground zero in the battle for customer’s time and attention. If your small business is not engaged in email marketing on some level, you are probably missing out on some significant opportunities to grow your company—opportunities that may be getting scooped up by your competitors.
Why Email Marketing?
Worldwide there are over 4.92 billion email accounts that generate over 206 billion emails every day. How many different times during a day do you have to use your email address to login to a website or application? Email is a necessity to function in today’s digital society. Depending on your targeted demographics, your customers may or may not also be engaged on various social media platforms, but it is safe to say that 99% of your customers have and use an email address daily.
Email marketing also offers you the ability to measure the specific results of each campaign. If you send traditional marketing materials in the mail you have no way of knowing if they even make to the mailbox, let alone if the targeted customer spent any time looking at it. With email marketing you can get detailed reporting on how many of your emails were delivered and opened. These analytics can even provide specific details about how many times links in your email were clicked and by whom. By using analytics and paying attention to what is effective over time, you can continue to improve your messages and keep the attention of your audience.
The Purpose of Email Marketing
There are a wide range of specific purposes for an email marketing campaign. Each time an email from your business lands in your customer’s inbox, this is an opportunity to remind them about the value they receive from maintaining a relationship with your business. Do not abuse the privilege of access to their inbox or you might see your unsubscribe rates increase and have your messages become white noise. Here are some specific purposes that will be a part of a successful email marketing strategy for a small business:
Every business needs a steady source of new potential customers. A primary function of an email marketing campaign is to generate leads and turn prospects into valuable customers.
Warm Up Your Leads
It can take time to build interest with a potential new customer and get them to take action and actually buy goods or services from your business. Use periodic emails to keep your products or services top of mind.
Inform Your Customers
Whether you are emailing prospects or loyal customers, each time you reach out to them it is an opportunity to educate and inform them about your products and services. Be careful not to be too pushy or salesy all the time, as this will annoy users and likely hurt your business reputation. Share information with them that will resonate with them and have value.
Types of Email Marketing
The formats for the various emails you send your customers can also vary depending upon what you are trying to accomplish. Here are some examples that are commonly used in email marketing campaigns.
Send customers and prospects invitations to events hosted by or taking place at your business. This could be a product demonstration by a vendor, an educational talk by a subject matter expert or any other type of event where you want your customers to attend.
Email marketing is an effective way to communicate with customers about new products you are selling or to highlight a service offering they may not know that you provide.
A periodic newsletter is a way to share many different types of information in one email. Be sure to provide a healthy mix of information that is interesting to your audience and marketing of your specific products and services. Keep the first level of the articles brief and easy to digest by the reader, but also provide them an opportunity to follow a link to your website for further details.
Using email marketing for a promotions should be designed with a compelling call to action for the reader. What are you offering and how can they take advantage of the offer? Keep things simple and easy for your customer to take action is as few steps as possible.
Hopefully this overview will give you some encouragement to start or improve your email marketing efforts for your small business. Just like making sure you balance your books each month, planning and executing an effective email marketing campaign on a consistent basis is vital to a small business.