As a small business, there are many ways to reach your customers. Content marketing, paid media, and direct mail, to name a few. But if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, you can’t overlook email marketing.
According to Litmus, email marketing gives you a return of a whopping $36 for every $1 spent. Furthermore, 80 percent of professionals say email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention.
But what exactly is email marketing, and how can it help your small business? And more importantly, should you invest in email marketing like many other small businesses?
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This guide will share what email marketing is, the benefits to small businesses, and tips for growing your business using email marketing.
What Is Email Marketing?
According to Mailchimp, here’s the definition of email marketing:
Email Marketing is the use of email within your marketing efforts to promote a business’s products and services and incentivize customer loyalty. Email marketing is a form of marketing that can make the customers on your email list aware of new products, discounts, and other services.
In other words, email marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on engaging leads and customers with relevant content and timely offers via email.
The Power of Email Marketing for Small Business
There are many benefits of a strategically designed email marketing program for small businesses. One of the major benefits is boosting customer acquisition and conversion by building trust and credibility.
Let’s dive into that and the many other benefits of email marketing.
1. Builds Trust and Credibility
People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Email gives you the ability to build credibility through relevant and engaging content.
That first step to building a long-lasting relationship is an individual subscribing to your email list. From there, it’s up to you to nurture and grow the relationship. You do this by consistently providing value and solutions that will help your subscriber.
Email Marketing Tip: When someone subscribes to your email list, they are essentially raising their hand and saying, I like what you’ve got; please share more. Don’t let them down by not showing up – i.e., not sending them additional content via email.
As you grow your email following, you need to remember that you can’t build credibility if people aren’t reading your emails. A big part of this is staying out of the spam folder.
According to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, these three things can help.
- Provide users with an “unsubscribe” link valid for at least 30 days after sending.
- Include your email and phone and your physical mailing address in your email footers.
- Never falsify headers, subject lines, names, or reply-to addresses.
By showing up and practicing good list hygiene strategies, you’ll have one of the best weapons in your marketing arsenal – a clean email list.
2. Has A Massive ROI
As we mentioned earlier in the article, email marketing has proved to return a whopping $36 for every $1 spent. A successful email marketing strategy can boost engagement, which leads to more sales.
If you’re like most small business owners, every dollar counts. According to SEMRush, 66 percent of small businesses face financial challenges, with 43 percent claiming the most prominent challenge is paying operating expenses.
Email marketing allows you to reach a large audience, create an online presence, and grow your business without the high expense of other marketing channels. Let’s look at a few strategies for achieving more sales with email marketing.
One way of increasing sales via email marketing is through direct promotional emails. Promotional emails trigger impulse buying, which can lead to predictable sales.
By emailing your list to let them know about upcoming promotions or discounts, you are reaching out to people who already like your product or service and are primed to buy.
Nurture Email Campaigns
Another way to increase sales via email marketing is through email nurture campaigns. These are multi-email campaigns triggered by actions your subscriber takes. The emails are designed to bring the subscriber down a path to a final action – typically a sale.
According to 80 percent of professionals, email marketing is a double win for customer acquisition and retention. Simply put, emails create more first-time buyers and more repeat customers.
3. Provides Massive Insight to Your Customer
The better you know your customer, the easier it is to grow your business. Email marketing opens up direct communication with your customers. And since it’s a two-way street when you send an email, your customer can respond accordingly.
Not only can you track open, click, and engagement rates, you can also track what types of content your customers prefer, when they are most likely to read your emails, and what types of emails make you more money.
The more information you can gather about your customers, the more you can personalize your content for them and find new prospects that look like them.
4. Allows You to Build Expertise in Your Industry
As a small business owner, you’re likely seen as an expert in your field. Therefore, you can continue to build this image by sending expert content.
Email marketing is more than sending out the latest deals and promos. You can use email marketing to deliver content your customers want and need to help with the pain points they encounter.
Not only does this build expertise in your industry, but it builds the reputation of your business. In addition, people will look forward to consuming your content, so when you send out the latest deal or promo, they’ll be quick to open and click.
Getting Started with Email Marketing
Email marketing has changed immensely over the past 20 years. But getting started has never been easier. You only need three things:
1. An Email Marketing Strategy
At VirTasktic, we believe everything begins with a strategy. So before you dive into email marketing, decide exactly what you want to achieve and create goals.
Here are some basic things you’ll want to think about when developing your strategy:
- How will you build your email list? (lead magnets? opt-ins on a website?)
- What customer information will you want to collect when someone subscribes? (name? job title? what do they most need help with? where are they located?)
- How often will I email my list? (daily? weekly? monthly?)
- What types of emails will I send? (newsletters? new blog or podcast notifications? promotional emails?)
Take time to think about these elements when developing your email marketing strategy and be honest with yourself. For example, do you have the time to commit to a well-executed email marketing strategy? If you don’t, you’ll waste time and money – something we see with many small businesses.
If getting started feels overwhelming, and you need some help, check out this article – How to Make the Most of Email Marketing for Your Growing Business. And if you still need some help taking advantage of the power of email marketing, get in touch with our team for expert-level consulting and email marketing services.
2. An Email Marketing Provider
Once you’ve laid out your email marketing strategy, you’ll need to find an email marketing provider, which is how you’ll send your emails.
There are countless choices for email marketing providers, including Hubspot, Aweber, and our favorite (which is the tool we use at VirTasktic) ActiveCampaign. Each has different features and price points depending on your needs.
When looking for an email provider, you’ll want to consider several things.
First, how easy is the platform to use? Can you or someone on your team set it up yourself, or will it require you to find additional help?
Secondly, you need to consider the different features you may want, not just today, but in the next few years. Each platform you look at will provide different features that they wrap into their services.
Some features to consider include CRM functionality, deal tracking, email automation, eCommerce integration, and website behavior tracking. Just because you don’t need a feature today doesn’t mean you won’t need it in a few years, so keep that in mind. The cost of having it now versus converting to a different platform down the road is probably much less.
3. A Contact List
To start emailing, you’ll need to have a list of contacts to email. When getting started, this may be a list of existing customers, friends, and colleagues.
As you get going, you’ll want to provide ways that people can opt-in to your list. This can be an opt-in on your website, through lead magnets that you offer, or forms collected from a trade show. Regardless of how you collect these subscribers, you need to ensure you have permission to email them.
The average non-permission open rate is less than 5%, while the average permission-based email marketing open rate is around 20%. That’s the difference between 1 in 20 people opening your emails versus 1 in 5. And those 1 in 5 are more likely to buy. This can drastically improve your ROI.
Additionally, sending to non-permission subscribers can hurt your sender reputation, which can greatly affect your ability to stay out of the spam box.
Email Marketing Tip: Don’t give in to the temptation to buy an email list. Connecting with a smaller list of engaged prospects is more impactful than blasting out thousands of messages to contacts that have never heard of you.
Email marketing, when done correctly, is a powerful part of any content marketing strategy. Just make sure you have a strategy with well-defined goals, the right tools, and the time needed to maximize your ROI.
Once you get rolling, you can look at these steps to kick your email marketing into high gear!