One challenge facing small business entrepreneurs is the difficulty and expense of communicating with prospects and customers. Although a great deal of attention is focused on the “shiny penny” of social media marketing, don’t forget the effectiveness of that old stand-by – email marketing. A well-curated list and consistent communications go a long way towards engaging prospects and building relationships.
As evidenced in a survey conducted by Ascend2 and its research partners on marketingcharts.com, marketers continue to rate email the most effective digital marketing tactic. It still outpaces social media marketing and SEO marketing in effectiveness and ease of implementation. Given its strong ability to communicate a message directly to a target audience, here are some guidelines that small business entrepreneurs can use to incorporate email marketing into their communications strategy:
- Build Your List: Ask for email addresses as a routine part of every business interaction. Your website should have a way of collecting email addresses. Ask for emails at trade shows, at the end of your blogs and in any advertising. Use your signature block in outgoing emails to provide a link back to your website sign-up page. Your social media can remind prospects of the benefits of receiving regular email communications from you. Once you have a new name, add it immediately and then make sure to send a thank you note. At the other end of the spectrum, you must immediately honor any unsubscribe requests and remove any bounced or undeliverable addresses.
- Communicate Regularly, But Don’t Spam: You don’t want your emails to be seen as annoying, but you do want to communicate consistently. It can be helpful to set up an editorial calendar with educational topics you want to share on a monthly or bi-weekly basis.
- Mix It Up A Little: It’s okay to send an extra email every so often, when you have something particularly useful or exciting to share. Don’t announce every sale because that can get tedious, but it can raise interest if you offer a twice-a-year email only special. Introducing a new product or offering a targeted coupon are also great ways of keeping your small business top-of-mind with your prospects and customers.
- Get Personal: If you know something personal about your clients or customers, you can use it every so often as well. If you have a way of tracking birthdays, it can be nice to send a happy birthday note along with a small birthday gift or special offer.
If you are up to the challenge, you can start sending an e-newsletter on a regular basis. This might consist of informative articles, customer testimonials, and product information. It’s important to have your newsletter be educational so that it will be appreciated. WordStream has provided three examples which prove that email marketing is effective.
Email is a great way for small businesses to reach laptop, desktop and mobile consumers. Use it to establish contact and draw prospects in, so that they will become customers.