As a small business owner or operator, there are endless initiatives you could be focusing on to market your goods and services.
Social media, blogging, search engine marketing, billboards, influencer marketing, event marketing — the list goes on and on. In today’s hectic business environment, how do you know what you should prioritize?
Our proposition: email marketing is hands-down the most powerful, effective, and efficient marketing tool for small businesses
If you’re not leveraging small business email marketing, you’re missing out on enormous opportunities to reach, delight, and serve your customers. And bring in a boatload of sales.
You might be thinking: what about social media? And it’s true — social media gets a lot of attention. Facebook boasts 2.2 billion users. Instagram grew over 13% last year. And over 500 million tweets are sent on Twitter per day.
But these social networks are dwarfed by email. There are over 3.8 billion email users worldwide. And unlike a social network, which is owned and managed by one company (we’ll let you decide if that’s a positive or a negative), email is decentralized in an open market. You can use any email client you want — you don’t have to be subjugated to one provider.
Consider this: 281 billion emails are sent per day. That’s 562 times the number of Tweets per day.
Why email marketing is king for local businesses
What do we make of this? Your business is built on email. Social networks come and go, but email is not going anywhere and therefore it’s worth investing in.
But emails get ignored, deleted, and filtered out by customers, right?
Wrong. It depends on the email. Bad emails get blocked and tossed, yes, but high-value emails that deliver insights, interesting stories, and good information are not only opened and clicked-through, they’re eagerly awaited by your customers.
For example, news media startup Axios opened its doors with a purely email-based business model. They refused the typical revenue model of content companies (programmatic advertising) and entrusted whole-hog their business’s success to… email newsletters. And it’s worked marvelously. Axios touts a 45% average open rate and charges anywhere from $8,000 to $150,000 depending on the newsletter, according to an article by Adweek.
Another successful business started from a mere email chain: Product Hunt, the online product discovery and community platform with now over 8 million users and multiple millions in venture backing, started with the founder simply sending emails to friends about interesting products he had found.
The ROI of email marketing is astounding. For every $1 spent on email marketing, it returns $42 in revenue, according to one study. VentureBeat wrote a post about how successful email marketing works:
“In a survey of companies regarding email use, enterprise companies saw 117 percent return on investment, SMB firms indicated their return was 183 percent, and midsized companies reported a whopping 246 percent ROI.”
Still not convinced? Keep reading.
The story of how Benjamin Hardy used small business email marketing to make $21,000 in one week
Benjamin Hardy, an Inc. contributor, author, and Medium’s number one writer of all time, built an email list of 300,000 subscribers in two years.
One of his mentors told him: “Email your subscribers and tell them you’re offering coaching. Then get those who are interested on the phone for a 15 minute strategy call to determine fit.”
Hardy spent the next week on the phone with 150 people for 15 minutes each. Out of this group, seven people signed up for coaching at a price of $1,000 a month for a minimum commitment of three months. Doing the math, Hardy sold $21,000 of business in a week! And it all started with one email.
Okay, you might be thinking, good for them. Axios, Product Hunt, and Benjamin Hardy can all be successful, but what about me, a super-small business in a town NOT located in or around Silicon Valley?
Follow these strategies and tactics to make an email strategy that works (well!) for you.
4 tips to make small business email marketing work for you
- Set up a routine that makes email marketing easier for you. If the idea of sitting down and writing an email to your subscribers opens your mouth in a yawn like the Cave of Wonders, or you just have too much on your plate, make it easier on yourself by setting up a routine. Pick a consistent day of the week and a time (studies show subscribers prefer weekly regularity!), establish an outline and a template for the email, and let it flow. A weekly practice like this will reap massive financial rewards down the road.
- Make your email about the story, not the click. Provide value in every email. Avoid over-selling or promoting your products or services. Make it personal, relevant to the times, or interesting, not salesy. Our brains our wired for stories, so tell a story in your email. Don’t just focus on getting subscribers to click through—this is a short-term mindset that won’t last in the long run.
- Avoid common email formatting mistakes. Triple-check your links to make sure they work! Keep your emails short (~150 words) and avoid huge walls of text that are tough to read on a mobile device. Make sure everything is spelled right and correct all typos. Test your emails with a few teammates and get their feedback before sending to your main list.
- Automate your email marketing. There are two sides of the spectrum you want to avoid: one, sending zero emails and two, sending too many bulk and generic emails. The key is to land in the middle—sending well-timed, personalized emails.
Lastly, one of the most powerful emails you can send your customer is a well-written thank you email after a customer shops at your store.
One final thought to leave you with: happy customers often don’t come back to your store. According to a Bain & Company study, 60-80% of customers who describe themselves as satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them. Why? One Forbes writer says it’s because there is a lack of connection.
Customers forget. It’s natural.
For small business owners, email marketing is the best way to create a lasting connection that keeps customers coming back with smiles on their faces and cash in their hands.
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