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How, Why And The Benefits Of Email In Small Businesses

Email marketing is quicker and better than postal mail

What Is Email Marketing?

Firstly, let's go back to basics - email marketing is simply the process of using emails as part of a marketing strategy. Essentially it is the same thing as sending out advertising leaflets or newsletters through the mail, with the purpose to "market" your company.

As most people around the world have already received an email, it will come as no surprise to learn that the only difference is that the mail is sent "electronically". Marketing your business or services using email is cost effective and an ideal way to raise awareness of your brand.

Email marketing will give you instant data on how well your marketing "message" was received by the recipient, allowing you to refine future emails. This is something which is not as readily possible with traditional and slower postal mail campaigns.

However, there is a thin line between spamming your recipients and successful email marketing campaigns - we will look at this later. There are also numerous ways in which you can use email marketing techniques to promote your company to your ideal audience.

Types of Email Marketing

There are three types of email strategies that you can use to market your business, these include:

Direct Email
Direct email refers to the practice of sending direct promotional advertisements and messages. The emails often contain announcements of money-off deals or special sales promotions that you are offering.

They can also be used to spread news about new services (or products) that your company is offering, or additionally, news about new locations you have opened.

Direct emails work best when they contain a strong call to action (CTA) that encourages the recipient to take some form of action in order to receive the promotional deal being offered. CTA's will normally ask the reader click on a link which directs them to your website, from there they will register their details to access the deal.

Alternative CTA's include calling a unique telephone number to schedule an appointment or speak to a company representative. The key point is to use a telephone number which is only used in your email campaign, that way the success can be measured.

Retention Emails
Retention emails are designed to continually engage your customers.  They are an important element of an overall marketing strategy since they help you to create long term relationships with your customers. The emails provide you with the opportunity to re-activate old and current customers by showing them what they are missing.

They also provide more advertisement and promotion options - although this should be subtly done so not to annoy them. A common approach is to send a regular newsletter with content which is valuable to the reader.

Email Advertising / Solo Ads
A large part of an email campaigns success is having a suitably large and targeted email database. If you email someone who has no interest or need for your service/products - then it is most likely going to be a failure.

Using email solo advertising is another type of email marketing strategy, it allows you to advertise in another persons email campaign.By carefully selecting someone who has a database of people who will be interested in your offerings, you can get in front of an audience that you don't already have.

Black Friday email campaigns

You can attach your advertisement to a newsletter or email that has been created by the other company, and they will send it to their database. The end goal is to get a percentage of those recipients to either buy from you or to sign up to your own email database.

Once they have done this, you can then send them direct and retention style emails.

The Benefits Of Email Marketing

Not only will email campaigns assist your small business to develop loyalty, desire and trust with your existing customers, it will also help you to win new customers. By engaging with existing customers and providing value, these customers will potentially share your emails with their friends, family and colleagues. This is not easily done with traditional mail.

Here are a few ways in which a well structured email campaign can benefit small businesses:

Cost Effectiveness
Email marketing campaigns are very cost effective when compared to postal mail. Direct mail campaigns require you to have a considerable amount of money to get a return. This is because you have a lot of upfront investment before they can be sent.

You will need a designer to create content such as printed newsletters or advertisement leaflets, then a printing house to print the material. Once produced, a mailing house is required to actually package and post the mailings.

Another consideration is "errors". If any errors are discovered in the print material, it has to be corrected and reproduced before it can be sent. This takes considerable time and money.

Email campaigns are more effective than postal

On the other hand, email marketing campaigns are often much cheaper to design and produce. If any errors are noticed, they can be rectified much quicker and cheaply.

By using email to send your campaigns, there are many free email platforms such as MailChimp, or paid options such as DotMailer, but in general, these are much cheaper and more effective than the cost of postal mail. 

Email Is Highly Targeted
With email, you can be very specific and target certain customers directly. For example, it means that you can focus on individuals who are likely to react to your messages, while at the same time avoid wasting your time and money in trying to reach those who are not likely to respond.

Simple things such as emailing females and males with different offers depending on their gender can make a massive difference to the success of your campaigns.

Likewise, if you were a pension provider, an email sent to an 18 year old about pensions and retirement is far more likely to fail when compared to sending the same email to someone in their 50-60's.

Tracking Data
Email technology enables you to track data that will demonstrate the effectiveness of the campaign. Since email marketing is performed  electronically, and if done correctly, it easy to track important data.

For instance you can track how many recipients opened your email, how many reacted and purchased a product, who forwarded your email to another person, as well as, who thought your email was spam and chose to unsubscribe from receiving future emails.

This data can make it a lot easier for your marketing team to deduce which email marketing techniques are producing positive results and which ones that are a waste of your time and effort.

Once you know this, you can decide how to amend your email strategies so that they can become more effective and produce better results.

Email Marketing Automation
The beauty of email marketing is that once you have identified the content that converts best for your different segments of customers, it is very easy to automate the process.

This means that you can be able to schedule newsletters and/or emails in advance on a weekly or monthly basis. The latest email platforms such as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign or SharpSpring are capable of generating complex workflows to take care of sending emails depending on different triggers.

These triggers can include reacting after a form sign-up, sending a followup email 3 days after a previous one was opened, sending a retention email if a recipient has not viewed your website after 14 days etc.

Email automation systems make life easier

Automation will greatly simplify the process for you. With this form of email automation, the systems free your time up allowing you to focus on other marketing channels. Automating your email process will save you time and money. Our CRM and marketing automation specialists can take care of this for you.

Emails Are Quick, Very Quick
Probably the best factor regarding email campaigns are that they work really fast. When you send an email marketing campaign, you normally do not have to wait weeks or months to see the results.

Once sent, the emails will instantly drop into the inbox of your potential customers. They will get to see your offers, read your newsletters or react to an advert in minutes.

This is why email campaigns are an ideal marketing channel for small businesses to keep their customers up-to-date and to grow their company.

Generate More Revenue
If an email is personalised to the recipient, they are 61% more likely to respond to it. This can help your business generate more sales and increase your profits. Email marketing is one of the best channels for transforming your business, if done correctly, it can outperform all other marketing channels.

We recommend that you implement email marketing as one of your key marketing tactics. As a small business owner, take the time to  create the right email content, then select the correct email platform to send your emails through so that you can gather valuable data.

One important area to test, is that your emails are not consider spam, otherwise your emails will get blocked and never reach the intended recipient. As part of our membership, we give you tips and tricks on how to avoid been caught in the spam trap.

How To Perform An Email Marketing Campaign

By now you should know why your business should be using email marketing to reach your customers, or to increase your revenue and build brand awareness. However, if you do not properly execute your email marketing campaigns, they will fail.

A lot of business owners blast out the same email to everyone on their database, whether or not it adds value or is of interest to them. This will annoy your recipients and cost you money.

It is essential that you know the proper ways to perform email campaigns, as this will help you avoid alienating your customers. Here are some basic areas that you must get right before you can begin:

  • Creating a database (a list) of people who will want to receive your emails
  • Drafting a informative and valuable email message so that it is not considered spam
  • Using an effective email platform to send the message to your recipients
  • Setting up an email tracking system so you can monitor the success of the campaign

By following these basic points above, it will put you on the correct path to enjoying success from your email campaigns. As you get more comfortable with email marketing, you can work on a number of more sophisticated and detailed tactics to improve your results.

Please keep in mind, you can out-source all the elements to email marketing to specialists.

Further Advice

Getting Started
For most business owners, there is a misconception that you have to be a marketing professional in order to successfully execute an email marketing campaign. Yes, it is true - an email marketing expert will get better results than someone just starting out. But do no think that you are not capable. The training courses in our membership site will explain how to get started.

Email marketing is often a lot easier that it sounds provided you get the basics right. Once you have decided to venture into email marketing, the next step for you is to start building your email list.

Building An Email List
They say "the money is in the list". Without an email list, your email campaign is dead before it starts.

You will require a list of names and email addresses to start with. Once you have a list, you can begin sending your email marketing messages. Start by gathering together all of your contacts into one master list. The best way is to sign-up to an email platform tool and store them in there.

However, you can start with a simpler solution such as a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet or Google Sheets. This will allow you to gather all the email addresses in a single location and then sort and filter duplicate addresses.

Please Note: since May 2018, a European regulation relating to sending email marketing campaigns came into force. The regulation relates to the appropriate "consent" to send an email to a recipient.

Turning Website Visitors Into Consenting Email Addresses
Given that the laws around email addresses are becoming more stringent, it is best if you can create a list of email addresses with the correct marketing consent.

You will have noticed that more and more websites that you visit prompt you to enter your email address and tick the privacy policy checkbox. This is so that they can market to you at a later date.

You should consider doing the same on your website. Of course, website visitors will not simply hand over their email address, they often want something in return.

It is important that you encourage your visitors to sign-up by giving them something in exchange for their email address. This may be a free trial of your service, a informative whitepaper, a free guide or a sample product.

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About the author

David Reid

David Reid

David previously worked with Europe’s No.1 Marketing Agency & the World’s No.6 biggest Integrated Marketing Agency, seeing first-hand how £150 million+ campaigns are executed to create household brands. Now he is the CEO of YewBiz and is focused on helping small businesses.

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