Email marketing: do or don’t? In this blog, we’ll share with you what email marketing is about and highlight five reasons why it’s a must-have in every small business’ marketing strategy.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is the use of email to develop relationships with leads, customers and partners alike. Used at its best, it allows your small business to tailor your marketing message and keep your audience informed and engaged. Email marketing is a proven revenue-generator, great for new customers and repeat purchases. In fact, marketers rate it as the most effective marketing channel.
A few ways to use email marketing to your benefit:
- Announce company news
- Promote upcoming events
- Send special offers
- Entice people to visit your website
- Nurture your target audience to remain top of mind
"Doomsday prophets have been declaring e-mail dead for years, but for ourselves and our customers, it remains one of the most important parts of our content strategy. It helps leveraging existing content fast and efficiently, while waiting for other channels (like organic search or referral) to kick in. If you succeed in inspiring your customers with your email content (without being pushy), they’ll be more likely to buy from you. And as long as you keep it informative, relevant and personal, e-mail will always have a premium position in your digital communication." - Steven Van Duyse (Digital Strategy Lead), digital marketing agency Mia
Although we're in the age of social media and a lot of your customers are probably on social too, emails are still just as relevant. Even today, prospects and customers are more likely to see an email than a social media update. An email sits in your inbox until it’s read (or deleted). According to Forrester, 90% of all emails get delivered, whereas only 2% of subscribers to your Facebook newsfeed see an organic post.
The goal of each marketing message is to get a response from your readers. To do so, you’ll need the following:
- A strong subject line to stimulate readers to open it
- A valuable offer to retain their interest
- A clear call to action (CTA) to prompt a response
Done right, email marketing is a great way to get more traffic to your website, boost your revenue and grow your business in the end.
Why is email marketing important?
1. It has the highest ROI out of all marketing channels
Although rumour has it that email marketing is declining, it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it has never been as relevant and alive as it is today. A survey from the Direct Marketing Association illustrated that the ROI of email marketing campaigns is four times higher than other channels such as social media or paid search.
According to Campaign Monitor’s annual email marketing report of 2016, email marketing generated $44 for each dollar spent. That’s an increase of $6 compared to 2015. So if you want to get the most bang for your buck, email marketing is definitely a marketing channel to consider.
2. It’s easy to measure and improve
There’s very little guesswork involved in email marketing: the statistics of how your emails are performing speak for themselves. When you use inexpensive email marketing software like Campaign Monitor and MailChimp you can easily measure the most important metrics:
- Who opened your email? (i.e. open rate)
- Which links were clicked? (i.e. click-through rate)
- How many people unsubscribed? (i.e. unsubscribe rate)
This way, you can optimise your efforts and know where to improve: do you need a more catchy subject line or a more prominent CTA? Are you delivering the wrong message? With every new email you send, you will get some more info on how to improve.
Useful tip: many email marketing tools allow you to test variations of the same email, commonly referred to as A/B testing. This type of split testing works best if you change just one variable: a subject line, call-to-action, or different send date for example. Which subject line do your customers respond best to? ‘Get your 25% discount’ or ‘We have an exclusive offer for you!’?
3. It’s cheap
Email allows business owners to reach a large amount of customers at almost zero cost per message. For small-business owners, this makes it a much better choice than any traditional marketing channel (print, radio, etc.) or a more digital method like search engine advertising which is usually more expensive and complex.
You can use a free service with basic functionalities or pay for it depending on the amount of contacts you want to send emails to… which makes it a very accessible channel for small businesses.
Don’t reinvent the wheel to start with email marketingWant to kick off email marketing with a rock-solid strategy? Use these following steps to help you get your efforts off the ground.[c] Plus, the web also gives you plenty of inspiration: websites like Really Good Emails allow you to browse through different type of emails and get inspired. A great way to learn what good emails are about, is to subscribe to high-performing newsletters yourself and catch up when you have a few minutes to spare.
4. Checking emails is the preferred activity on mobile devices
Suppose you’re at the dentist’s office waiting for your turn. What do you do? You’re probably checking your phone, and so are your customers: during their commute, at the grocery store... everywhere, and all the time.
An Exacttarget study says that 91% of people use their smartphone to access their email which makes it the #1 activity people do on their phone. Not using email as a marketing strategy means you’re missing out on a channel the majority of your customers are using.
5. It’s easy to integrate with other marketing strategies
In marketing, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Email marketing actually ties in perfectly with other marketing strategies. Here are a few ways to use email marketing and other strategies side by side:
- Let people know an offer is expiring
- Invite people to attend an event
- Add social media sharing buttons to your emails
- Encourage people to subscribe to your blog or news section
Today, email marketing is the ideal way to connect and engage with leads and customers. From crafting a monthly newsletter to keep customers informed to sending a promotional offer, email marketing statistics make it easy to take your efforts to the next level and drive more conversions.
Curious to see what’s next? Learn how to craft a thriving email marketing strategy in this special ebook.