Email marketing is one of those things you know you should do as a small business owner but often gets shoved aside. After all, what is email marketing exactly? How does it work? And why is email marketing important for small businesses?
You’re in the right place. Below, we’ll break down the top benefits of email marketing for small businesses, what it means, and even some solutions you can try.
No matter what your current experience level or understanding is, you can turn email marketing into your secret weapon. And it’s easier than you think—promise.
What is Email Marketing?
Before we talk about the benefits, let’s clear the air. What is email marketing in the first place?
Email marketing is a way to promote your business while building relationships with your potential and current customers. Using email, you can stay top of mind with your audience, engage with them regularly, and generate revenue.
Email marketing includes a wide variety of email outreach including:
- Educational email newsletters that add value to your audience
- Promotional messages that offer special deals or discounts
- Answers to common customer questions
- Updates about your business
- And more
Here’s a simple way to think about it.
Sending an email to a list of existing or new customers is like fishing in a well-stocked pond. You know who sees it and that they’re qualified. Compare it to social media: You don’t control who sees your post and you’re not sure if the folks seeing it have ever or will ever be customers. It’s like fishing in a roaring river.
Which would you prefer? Both are important. But if you want to engage with a well-qualified audience (i.e., a well-stocked pond), you want to invest in email marketing.
7 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need Email Marketing
Now that you know what it is, let’s dive into why it’s important. Here are the top benefits of email marketing for small businesses.
1. Expanding your reach
In today’s hyper-digital world, most of your customers are using email. By sending thoughtful business updates 1-3x per month, you’re bringing your business top of mind to your target audience.
It’s a simple touchpoint that increases the chances that a potential customer spends money with you versus a competitor.
Still unsure? In a recent survey of thousands of small business owners on Alignable, nearly 60% said that email marketing helped their business grow.
“Email marketing has played a critical role in my 25+ years as a business owner. It’s easy to use, affordable, and trackable, which is key.”—Greg Chamblin, Owner of Freedom UNlimited Business Coaching in Pickerington, OH
2. Save money and time
While it’s true that you often have to spend money to make money, that amount might be less than you think. That’s the case with email marketing, which is a cost effective—and just plain effective—marketing tactic.
Email marketing is an affordable marketing strategy, and most service providers offer a free program or trial. So you can get started without spending a dime.
- Automate your emails
- Access easy-to-use templates to alleviate design work
- Organize your lists
- Get help writing and designing your emails
And that’s significant given that 45% of small business owners said that they struggled with sending emails consistently.
3. Strengthen existing customer relationships
Email marketing is a great way to engage existing customers and re-engage customers that haven’t purchased from you in a while. You can get creative and try different approaches until you land on ones that work with your audience.
Here are some tips:
- Be relevant: Send relevant and engaging updates about your business 1-4x per month.
- Stay true to yourself: Keep your messaging honest, consistent, and on-brand.
- Add value: Provide value—an offer, helpful tip, or insight—within the first 1-2 sentences of your email.
- Keep them engaged: Include surveys or links to additional content in your emails to keep your audience interacting with you.
- Grow your list with each purchase: Add an auto-subscribe feature when customers buy from you.
- Get personal: Let your customers know who you are and what your business is all about.
Although email marketing won’t guarantee your existing customers come back, it does increase your chances. Plus it’s a fun way to learn about your audience that you can then apply to future interactions, content, emails, social media, and more.
4. Build new customer relationships
While you want to keep your existing customers, it’s also important to develop relationships with new ones, too. By making it easy for new or potential customers to subscribe to your updates, you can stay in touch and top of mind.
Here are some tips:
- Expand your audience: Keep your new and potential customers in the know with regular updates, insights, and offers. But don’t stop there—make it easy for them to forward your emails to friends or family, too.
- Drive traffic: While you want to offer value in the email itself, make sure your audience has a way and a reason to visit your website, too.
- Keep track: Track your metrics often to understand what content is working. Do they like one topic more than another? A certain format? Time of day? Test one variable at a time to get important insights to help you grow.
- Be clear: Include a call to action in every email, so your customers know to read more, jump on a deal, sign up for an event, and so on.
If you haven’t already, start building your email lists today, so you can turn prospects into customers. Not sure how to get started? These email providers make it easy for any business with any budget to dive in.
5. Build your business brand
Around 70% of customers think that trusting a brand is more important now than ever, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report. And customers that trust your brand buy from your brand.
“Your brand is your identity. To stand out you need to have a brand that stands for something. Quality, value, and integrity are all qualities that can be attributed to a brand.”—Nancy Q. from New Image Inc. in Cheswold, DE
So make sure you’re building your brand and that your email marketing is helping you get there.
A few things you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Make sure you have a solid welcome email.
- Have set brand images that your customers recognize.
- Keep your tone of voice consistent to show your expertise in your area.
- Consistent and meaningful touchpoints will build loyalty to your brand.
6. Increase your sales
Email marketing has the potential to pay off in a big way for your bottom line. So make sure you have an actionable purpose and goal for each email.
Here are a few tips for driving sales:
- Use an email marketing tool with e-commerce capabilities to boost online sales. Campaign Monitor is a great one to try—get 10% off their membership here.
- Send a promotion or discount to encourage customers to buy.
- Expand your reach by connecting with people outside of your direct community and adding them to your email list.
If sales are down, give email marketing a try.
7. Measure your results
No matter what kind of email marketing campaign you’re running, tracking your metrics is critical. How else would you know if your messaging, offer, or content is working?
Depending on your email marketing platform, you might have access to a lot of data. Try not to get overwhelmed, and just focus on the basics.
- How are your open rates i.e. the percentage of people who are opening your emails?
- What about your click through rates or the percentage of people who opened your email and then clicked on something?
- How much revenue are you generating from your efforts?
You can also test things like subject lines, email format, email copy, buttons, and so on to see what’s most effective. Just be sure to take on one variable at a time so you have a better idea of what’s working and what’s not.
Need some help? This guide to measuring your email marketing success breaks it all down.
Hit the gas on your email marketing
No matter what kind of business you have or budget you’re working with, email marketing can help you grow. So get started on your first email campaign today and get excited about the future.
Do you do email marketing at your business? What works for you? Share your best tip in the comments.