Email – only for huge organisations, right? Wrong. It’s the perfect marketing tool for growing a business. Let me explain a little more…
Why email marketing will be your best investment, ever.
It can be tricky explaining email marketing to clients. Often, they are blinded by the ‘glamour’ of social media…certain that Facebook is where their fortune could be made. If only they could post better / funnier / more frequent content.
It’s kind of understandable, social media has far newer, seemingly more exciting channels, and right now is getting lots more attention.
But, email has a long-standing & proven track record of a far more compelling case. Here’s what I tell my clients, see what you think:
1. Mass reach
Did you know that there are three times more email accounts than there are combined Facebook & Twitter accounts.
2. Email gets your message delivered
90% of all email gets delivered to the inbox. This is compared to only 2% of Facebook posts showing in the News Feed of fans.
(This is because Facebook HQ has set limits on how many times your business post can appear in your fan’s News Feed. FB does this because it would rather you spent money on advertising to reach your fans).
Here’s some figures –
Let’s pretend you have 10,000 Fans on Facebook. Only 200 are likely to see your post.
Now let’s say you have 10,000 email subscribers. 9,000 are likely to receive it in their inbox.
3. Email has higher conversion rates
OK, so 9,000 email subscribers (of a 10,000 database) receive your email in their inbox. But who actually reads it, and does something as a result?
The average click-through rate of an email campaign is around 3% (of total recipients). This is average though. I work with many small business clients who achieve click-through rates upwards of 15% (of total recipients).
Compare this to the average click-through rate from a tweet, which is only around 0.5%.
4. Customers prefer it
Information overload means that for many people, the aim is now simplification. They prefer to keep social networks as just that, a very personal communication channel for staying in touch with family & friends.
Email has now replaced physical post as the more formal, professional communication channel. Through which people would expect, and prefer to receive information about your products and services.
Email marketing – your next steps
For a small business setting out to master email marketing, there are 3 pillars of success for any campaign.
Reach the right people
Whether starting from scratch with your database, or beginning to communicate with a long-established one. The quality of your mailing list is critical. Therefore, the first step should always be a good data tidy up.
The best place to start is Excel. I advise clients set up filters, to segment the database into columns. Existing customers, lapsed customers, target new customers at minimum, and then adding in others where possible. Consider segmenting per service type, for example.
If none of this is possible right now, then first name, surname and email address is all you’ll need to get started.
Also important is that you use a professional email service provider (ESP). An ESP is a company that manages your mailing list, delivers the emails and tracks the responses. ESP service levels and prices vary a lot. Effective Email is an excellent platform, and the one which I use to manage client campaigns.
Make sure they open your email
Might sound obvious, but take time to make sure that the email you are sending is of interest to the recipient. The more you can do to segment your database the better. From subject line, to the salutation, content and promotions.
It also helps to send marketing emails regularly. For many of my clients this equates to one email, every 2 weeks.
Different interest groups > different content > greater relevancy = better results.
Prompt them to do something (buy/call/enquire etc.)
Consider introducing offers that run for a limited time, competitions or exclusive incentives for email subscribers (free audit, delivery, product?). Give them a reason to stay on your list and make doing business with you as attractive as possible.
Utilise the tools provided by the ESP (email service provider) to track which recipients have shown an interest.
Perhaps 10% of your database clicked on a link providing information about a particular service. This means they are interested. Why not download this list and follow up with a friendly call?
Email might not be the most talked about marketing channel these days, but time and time again it is proven to be the most effective.
The advice I give my small business clients is this: Building an email list and sending regular, well-written email campaigns is a sensible long-term investment. It will pay off for many years to come.