November 23, 2010
Many small business owners still fear the unknown and are afraid of taking the plunge into the world of email marketing. However, whilst many are still hesitant to move away from their tried-and-tested methods, others are rapidly discovering that email marketing is one of the most effective means of generating sales.
So, aware of all the millions of messages that consumers are exposed to each day, why should small business owners embrace email marketing as an effective channel? There are of course many reasons why and the sooner they start to believe in the following principles, they will gain confidence and become regulars.
Interestingly enough the DMA Annual Client Email Report highlights that regular email users are now increasing their email budget at the expense of a wider variety of channels than before, but particularly direct mail and print/press advertising. The report also notes the positive press about email marketing during the recession has also attracted many organisations that are new to the channel. So why email?
Many small businesses start promoting their products and services by placing adverts in a phone directory or a local community newspaper, or by using direct mail.
The problem is that to see those promotions your customers and prospects have to first stumble across them. Whereas email marketing, goes directly to their inbox, a place they're already regularly looking. Plus; unlike paper-based mail or adverts; email gives them the opportunity, with the simple click of a mouse, to contact you directly to get a quote or more information.
Most forms of advertising are based on the idea that if you hit big numbers with your message, even though it may mean nothing to most recipients, a few are likely to respond.
Email marketing is based on the idea of sending the right message directly to the right people based on their preferences, local market conditions and other factors.
You can build a master list and then segment it by geographic location, marital status, gender, age, income, time of year, etc to get rid of a lot of the guesswork that makes other forms of marketing so inefficient.
It's difficult to find anyone who doesn't have at least one email address, which means you can reach out to your entire customer and prospect base. Just be sure to get their permission first by asking if you can add them to your mailing list.
If you're using an email marketing platform like Extravision, you can run reports that show which emails or messages worked and which didn't, so you can improve your next campaign.
The 2010 DMA Annual Client Email Report shows that 31% of organizations will use an ESP (email service provider) over the coming 12 months and that the leading reasons for choosing an ESP (email service provider) are perceived level of deliverability, reputation, customer service, product functionality and product robustness.
You can even run split tests, sending one offer or message to half your list and a different one to the other half, so you can get a better feel for exactly what makes customers and prospects buy from you.
The objective is to build a relationship with a broader base of prospects so that they think of you whenever it's time to make a purchasing decision.
Email marketing allows you to do that by bringing them advice, updates on trends, seasonal items, and special loyalty-program deals on a regular basis. It's a great way to engage with them—and to keep them engaged.
Most forms of advertising or marketing require a big up-front investment before you see any results, which can prove expensive for a small business striving to keep expenses down.
Email marketing has very little up-front cost, allowing you to market effectively without having to stop your core business work for long periods to get it done.
According to eMarketer; UK offline spending dropped by 16% in 2009, while on line advertising rose 5.7%.
Unlike telemarketing calls, email marketing doesn't interrupt a prior activity to deliver a message. Opening email is the activity your customers and prospects are engaged in when they see your message. If you've done a good job of building that relationship, they'll look forward to seeing what you have to say.
Econsultancy's Email Marketing Industry Census 2010 shows that email continues to be a vital marketing tool, now accounting for 17 per cent of digital marketing budget (up from 14 per cent in 2009).
You may find it useful to take a look at our case study on Essential Spa to see how a small business can directly benefit from using email marketing as an effective advertising channel.
When done correctly, email marketing helps small businesses become and remain visible to current customers and prospects with highly targeted messages at a minimal cost; all while delivering outstanding, measurable results that will quickly ripple out from a pool of existing customers.
If you would like to organise a free trial campaign, please call 0161 817 2929 or email [email protected] and we'll help you take that first plunge!
Posted by Jenni Malley
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