If you feel that social media has replaced email marketing, you’re missing out on an effective marketing tool. Especially for small businesses, email marketing is economical and effective. It is the winning choice for building your brand and increasing sales.

According to Campaign Monitor’s email marketing statistics, email marketing is the second-most popular marketing strategy for small businesses, with 64.1% of small businesses reporting that they use email promotions. And since 89.45% of Americans over the age of 15 use email, chances are their email will reach their audience. Compare that with Facebook: nearly 70% of small businesses use Facebook marketing, and about 70% of Americans have ever used Facebook. While social media marketing is definitely not going away, email marketing is still a powerful marketing tool.

Emails build your brand as well as increase sales. Regularly scheduled emails keep you in touch with your customer base and teach potential customers the value of your business. Emails build loyalty as readers feel a personal connection with the business. You build your brand by explaining your expertise, product differentiation, new product uses, and offering incentives or sales.

What will you use email marketing for?

  • Acquisition emails encourage non-customers to make a purchase. These include names of those who have provided their email on your website, social media or at in-person meetings.
  • Promotional emails sell products and services and build your brand. Targeted at both current and prospective customers, they are effective in selling to first-time customers and introducing current customers to new products.
  • Newsletters build loyalty and provide information you know your customers are interested in. When sent on a regular basis, customers view them as educational and feel the value your business provides them.

Other types of emails include abandoned cart emails, sent when a customer puts a product in their cart but doesn’t complete the sale. Constant Contact says, “25% of customers actively appreciate being reminded about the products they were thinking of buying. Nearly half (45%) of abandoned cart emails are opened. Of the email users who open them, 21% will click through to their cart, and half of those users will buy the items.”

Effective email campaigns rely on great content. Know who your target customer is so you can create content relevant to them. Make the message personal and engaging. When describing your business or your products and services, keep the focus on benefits. Why should customers purchase from you rather than the competition? Videos help engage readers. Our blog on Boosting Email Marketing with Embedded Videos describes how to make videos work for you. A great subject line will encourage users to open the email. MailChimp offers great ideas for creating a successful subject line, including being descriptive, using personalization, creating different versions for different customer groups and keeping it short. Studies have shown that personalizing an email increases the open rate by 50% over non-personal emails.

Just as important as content is having a good email list. It will take time and effort to build a good list, but you’ll have one with names of people who are genuinely interested in your business. It’s not advisable to purchase an email list. Some targeted methods for building a good list are:

  • Ask for email addresses whenever a purchase is made.
  • Use Email capture campaigns on your website or social media. These pop-ups include messages such as, “sign up and get 10% off” or “sign up for a giveaway”. Don’t overwhelm the visitor – a smallish pop-up will do the trick. Don’t ask for too much information.
  • If you have a walk-in store, make visitors a special offer if they provide an email address.
  • On social media, pitch your newsletter and have readers sign up for it. Mention that it includes early notice of sales and new products.
  • Referral programs. Use existing customers to bring in new leads by referring a friend and rewarding them.
  • Host a social media live event, requiring email addresses to view.
  • At trade shows or events, ask for names and email addresses in exchange for a giveaway.
  • Facebook ads with a call to action can generate reliable email leads.
  • Gate access to content on parts of your website.

Other factors to consider include:

  • Timing: For email newsletters, once a month may be the right amount for your business. The timing for promotional emails depends on the business. A grocery store will send 1 or 2 a week, but most small businesses may prefer one a month or quarter.
  • Be sure to optimize emails for all devices to reach as many users as possible.

Email marketing is an important part of your marketing strategy. Take the time to develop an email program that you can maintain as you grow your business.

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