Simple yet effective, promoting your small business with email marketing creates a direct line of communication with both existing and prospective customers/ clients.
This makes email marketing a powerful tool.
GetResponse and Smart Insights conducted an email marketing report, asking 2,500 marketers from throughout the world to measure the effectiveness of email marketing against other techniques in digital marketing, such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, direct mailing, and paid digital advertising such as Google ads and Facebook ads.
Taking the lead, email marketing ranked as the most effective by far. 53.6% of marketers graded email marketing as either good or excellent, putting it ahead of any other channel for digital marketing.
According to 2,500 marketers from around the globe, the top benefits of email marketing include:
- Generating more leads 23%
- Improved sales 19%
- Improved conversion rates 17%
- Reduced marketing costs 13%
- Identifying better quality leads 12%
How to Use Email to Market Your Small Business
You want to send effective emails that will generate more customers/ clients, improving sales for your business. But how?
Think about the emails that are in you own inbox – the ones that you regularly open, read, and engage with. What do they have in common? The give you value.
And the others – the emails that you delete without reading, ignore or unsubscribe from – are probably irrelevant to you or come off as spammy.
Remember that as you’re creating your own email marketing campaign.
What’s the takeaway?
There is a marked difference between being an interesting resource to those on your mailing list and using email to push sales. Emails that come off as sales pitch will end up in the trash before they are even opened. However, provide your subscribers with something of value to them and they will surely read and appreciate it.
These are the three types of email campaigns you can employ to market your small business.
When someone subscribes to your mailing list, a welcome email should immediately go out to them, thanking them for signing up.
Why is a welcome email important?
Consumers are expecting to get one. 74.4% of new subscribers look for a welcome email.
On average, subscribers who receive a welcome email show 33% more long-term engagement with the senders’ business/ brand.
Compared to other bulk promotions, welcome emails generate 4x the open rates and 5x the click rates.
Welcome emails can see more than 3x the transactions and revenue per email, when compared to regular promotional emails.
The most likely email to be read by your subscriber list, you need to make your welcome email count.
Anatomy of a welcome email
- Welcome subscribers
- Introduce your small business in 2 or 3 sentences. What’s your business? Why should they care?
- Set expectations so they know what to expect to get from your emails.
- Grab their attention. Share a video, provide some helpful tips, link to content, or share a video.
When crafting a welcoming email, remember to ask yourself “What’s in it for them?” What value are you providing?
Once you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on your welcome email, it’s time to look at the follow up campaign you can employ to market your small business: the nurture campaign.
A nurturing campaign will make up the majority of you email marketing. These are the regular, simple emails you’ll send that provide your subscribers with valuable information that pertains to your small business.
Positioning your business as a trusted resource, nurture emails create an atmosphere of helpfulness and reciprocity with existing and prospective customers/ clients.
Rather than pushing services or products, the goal of a nurture campaign is to add value for your recipients. Again, “What’s in it for them?”
While there may be a lot that your business can offer them, your subscriber list is populated with real people who will engage with content that caters to them on a personal or professional level.
Create a relationship with your subscribers by providing them with value. But how?
Teach your subscribers something directly related to your small business’ niche or with content that would be helpful to your demographic.
Tell a Story
Who doesn’t love a good story? Weave a story that both entertains your customer/ client base while gaining their business at the same time. Testimonials are one of the best ways to illuminate the things that set your small business apart from the competition.
Anatomy of a nurture email
- Discuss a problem.
- Outline a plan that solves the problem.
- Describe how life can look for the reader once problem is solved.
- A typical email nurturing campaign would look something like this.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use email to promote a new product or an upcoming sale/ promotion. It just means that you should add value to your audience before asking for the sale.
For example, here’s how 1 month of email communications could look like in a value-add nurture campaign:
- Email #1: Nurturing email
- Email #2: Nurturing email
- Email #3: Nurturing email
- Email #4: Sales email with call to action
How often should you send emails out to your subscribers?
If you mail too often then you might be turning yourself into a nuisance. However, if you email too rarely you won’t be able to create a relationship with subscribers on your email list.
33% of marketers surveyed around the globe email 2-4 times per month
19% email 4-6 times every month
You will learn the right combination of content, timing, and frequency of nurture emails for your subscribers over time, by watching which emails see the best open and engagement rates.
Over time your subscribers may gradually lose interest in your email, no longer opening or clicking.
The main reasons that readers stop engaging with emails:
- Too many emails with too much information
- Subject lines that are misleading and don’t deliver on their promise
- Hard to read on mobile devices
- Content that is irrelevant or repetitive
- Life circumstance changes, such as new job or re-location
When your subscribers lose interest in your emails, a re-engagement campaign (also known as a win-back campaign) is what you employ to regain their interest.
MarketingSherpa used a re-engagement campaign to win back 8.33% of CNET’s database. Then they used a list-cleansing campaign to re-engage an additional 8.57%.
"Throughout the year, we reach out to our inactive user base to re-engage them with a compelling offer of some kind," said Diana Primeau, Director of Member Services, CNET. "Then, when we are ready for the list cleanse, we let them know if they do not engage, we will remove them."
It is common for a re-engagement campaign to include an element of list-cleansing where inactive users are intentionally removed from the subscriber list.
Anatomy of a re-engagement campaign
- Email #1: Reminder: “Would you still like to hear from us?” “This is what you’ll be missing”
- Email #2: Make offer: enjoy this free ebook, guide, or tips to help with pain point/ problem
- Email #3: CTA: Invite them to change email preferences or unsubscribe
- Email #4: Inform them that they will be removed from the list
Removing Subscribers Works
But why? The more the merrier, right?
It may sound counterproductive to remove subscribers, but if they aren’t engaging they are holding you back on key metrics, such as:
- Open Rates
- Click Rates
Having a smaller list of readers that actively engages with your content is much more valuable than having a large list of subscribers that aren’t opening or clicking.
Lists that have high numbers of inactive subscribers have higher spam complaints, bounce rates, and unsubscribes than lists where inactive users are regularly weeded out.
Furthermore, internet service providers like Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail will penalize you if you continue to send emails that go unopened. Do it often enough and your emails will be flagged as spam, landing them in junk mail folders. Unfortunately, this decreases overall deliverability, even to subscribers that are interested in engaging with your email marketing content.
What Should You Expect From Your Email Marketing Campaign
A benefit of email marketing is that you are able to track and measure metrics, comparing your’s against industry benchmarks. Find your industry benchmark for open rates and click rates. If you find your email marketing campaign isn't performing within an acceptable range you can simply adjust the content, delivery time, frequency, or messaging of your emails to improve your results.
And, when all else fails, it could be time for a list-cleaning. Don’t be afraid to make room for the people who actually want to read and engage with your content.
Being thoughtful about what you write, who you send it to, and when you send it is the key to a successful email marketing endeavor. Then, when subscribers need your services, your small business will be their trusted resource and will likely be the first they reach out to.