According to the 2016 State of Small Business Report, 54% of small businesses use email marketing tactics. Since email marketing has the highest return on investment over most conventional marketing tactics and is one of the most cost effective marketing tools, it should be a lot more than half of small businesses utilizing this strategy. Below is an outline of some of the major benefits of email marketing and how you can implement them in your own small business marketing plan.
The Benefits of Email Marketing
1. Complete Control
A large advantage of email marketing is that your email list belongs to you and remains in your control. Unlike marketing strategies through your social media platforms, which are online real-estate that can change on a whim – like Facebook’s ever changing algorithm – your ability to reach the subscribers on your email list doesn’t change, unless of course they unsubscribe.
2. Targeted Marketing Opportunities
When someone subscribes to your email list, you gain access into a personal space. Unlike the mass public messaging via social media, you are able to tailor-make a message for each specific subscriber on your list. Beginning with being able to address them specifically by name, and based on information that you have of their interaction with your company, you can send specific marketing messages to them that are more likely to convert.
3. Higher Conversion
Your subscribers have given you consent to contact them by opting in to your email list. You have already converted them. Furthermore, opting-in to your email list shows that they are already interested enough in your company to want to know more. There is a much higher chance that they will actually read or engage with the information that you have sent to them. It is like having a customer that has already purchased something; they are a lot more likely (having already engaged with the company) to purchase again. And since acquiring a new customer costs five times more than to retain one, these already converted visitors are more profitable and worthwhile to invest your time and energy on.
4. In Mind and Always on Time
This is the next major advantage of email marketing: visibility. I know what you’re thinking, social media platforms have the potential for enormous visibility as well, and you’re right, but success on such a rapidly updated platform is hit or miss. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of tweets, status updates, and posts that we miss each day merely because we are not engaged with the platform at that moment. Your email in their inbox, however, is there and waiting for them whenever they do check it. And when they see it they are instantly reminded of your company and you have escaped being out of sight and out of mind.
How to Execute Email Marketing
First and foremost, you need to choose an ESP (email service provider). There are many great options out there to choose from; however, you should stay away from using a free platform like Gmail, since sending out bulk emails from this type of ESP will likely get your account shut down. You need to choose an ESP specifically designed for email marketing, with features like those available with this provider, which include email management, forms, layout templates, and performance analytics so that you can gauge the success of your marketing campaign.
Second, you need to build your email list. This can take time, but ultimately the best way to do this is to continue creating superior content that people want to engage with. Also be sure to make your email sign-up or opt in very visible and accessible online. Lightbox pop-ups are a good option, as it prompts the viewer to sign up if they are about to navigate away from your site. Since the majority of first time visitors to a site don’t actually return, if you are successful even to capture a small percentage of these visitors on their way out, your opportunity to eventually convert this visitor just went from 0 to an actual possibility.
Finally, you have to be smart about it. Create your content for your email marketing campaign very wisely. If you simply put in your marketing email the same information that you just posted on your company blog, you are really shooting yourself in the foot. Strategic and targeted content is key. The information you circulate needs to be well thought out and offer something of value to your subscribers. The general rule of thumb is to use common sense and discretion.
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