Deciding where to invest your marketing dollars is a decision you can’t take lightly, especially if you are a small business owner. You need to attract new customers and keep your existing clients coming back, but you can’t afford to invest time or resources into something that isn’t going to deliver the results you expect. For small businesses looking to increase their sales and grow their business, email marketing is a great marketing tool that is sometimes overlooked.
You probably know a handful of people that aren’t on Facebook, and a few more that aren’t on Twitter. But how many people do you know that don’t have an email account? Email is universal, and until a more ubiquitous communication tool come along, email will remain something that everyone has and everyone uses on a daily basis.
Benefits of Email Marketing
Usually, most small businesses create special offers, promotions and reminders for their customers in the form of printed material. Converting this material into email format is not only quick and simple but also results in saving on print and postage expenditure. Email marketing allows you to manage campaigns successfully without hiring new employees or increasing the workload of existing staff.
In the business world, results are arguably all that matters. With this in mind, the main reason that most businesses invest in email marketing is the fantastic return on investment. As outlined in The Anatomy of a Perfect Email, email campaigns can have an ROI of 4,300 percent.
Increase in reach and brand awareness
You can target a specific audience based on geography, age, income, or whatever suits your needs. You can also integrate social media buttons within emails to allow social sharing and increase website traffic. Remember: even if your subscribers are not in the market for your product at the time they receive the email, your company’s brand or product is going to stay top of mind so that when they are in the market to buy they think of you first.
It can be used to provide important data
Email marketing can draw precise and usable tracking information to help you figure out what’s successful and what’s not. You can know how many people opened an email, how many clicked on a link, forwarded to others, unsubscribed etc. You can also use A/B testing (Split testing) to find out what subject lines, email design and content works and which doesn’t. Combine that with a business’s ability to track sales back to a source and you can identify customer engagement and response through an entire cycle with clear, easy-to-understand metrics. Editor’s note: Take a look at MailChimp’s How-to for A/B testing best practices.
It’s Quick and Easy
Email marketing is one the quickest forms of communication. It enables you to provide customers with immediate information and also allows instant access to their replies and queries. You can receive responses to your marketing campaign within 1 to 3 days compared to up to 12 days when using direct mail. Another great benefit is how easy it is for your subscribers to share your deals, offers and news with their friends.
Tips to Maximize Your Email Marketing Effectiveness
Are you doing everything you can to make sure your emails are opened, read, and responded to? You know your business best, but here are some helpful tips:
- Getting Started Start by building a list of loyal customers and potential customers that you can send great content to. Word of mouth will get you going but you should start collecting data on your website, social media profiles or in your store. While you work on building your list, think about the message you wish to share with your subscribers.
- Value Proposition – What’s in it for me?
People value email addresses, so “give me your email address please” just won’t cut it anymore. You need to make a valuable offer to your customer to get them to give up that precious email address. Is it a free cup of coffee or 10% off their next in store purchase? Depends on a lot of factors, but keep in mind that there is more to email marketing than sending discounts and promotions. Mix in information and include helpful content that adds value for your readers and establishes an interest in your campaigns and what you have to say.
- Content – Why should your customers open your email?
When your customers open your email they should feel engaged. Include elements that will make your emails stand out:
- Be creative with your content and make it personal: This can be anything from the tone you use to the images, videos or links you include. If you can reach your users on a personal level, they will be more likely to open your emails, read the content, take action and give you feedback.
- Create Enticing Subject Lines: Your subject lines need to make people want to open your email. Click-through rate (CTR) is higher when using the recipient’s first name in the subject line. Subject lines with 30 or fewer characters performed above average in opens, clicks and click-to-opens, so be concise and get to the point in as few words as possible.
- Educate: Stop the direct sales pitch. Persuade customers by educating them through leadership and industry Know-How. Slightly more than half of your e-mail messages – 50% or more -should be pure content: news, information, data, and other educational articles of interest to your subscribers.
- Choose an Optimal email frequency
Research shows that when you e-mail your subscribers more than a few times a month, the open rate begins to decline. So if your priority is having subscribers read your content, a monthly or at most weekly schedule is best. But if you are selling products directly on the Internet — e-commerce sites and especially info marketers — the more often you e-mail, the greater your revenues.
- Seize the Future – The Mobile Devices
In 2014, more than half of all emails were opened on a mobile or tablet device, Experian reports. Using mobile-responsive email templates that adapt to screen sizes ensures that your readers always have the optimal viewing experience. According to MarketingSherpa, more than half of marketers aren’t optimizing emails for mobile viewing. Unfortunately for them, 69 percent of americans will close or delete an email not optimized for mobile. What makes mobile-friendliness even more crucial is the fact that 64 percent of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices.
Email campaigns continue to play a prominent role in small business marketing. Remember to focus on content and building a high quality database. Email creates deeper relationships with a wider audience at a fraction of the cost, it’s shareable, measurable, and easy to use. Whichever direction you decide to take, email marketing, social data and a good strategy will increase sales and provide your small business with a great return of its investment.
Want help getting started, Get Online NOLA can design and build a great-looking email template for your business, and we can even help generate relevant content for your customers. Call 504.482.1096 or click here to get in touch today!