If you're a business owner then you know that starting up a new business can be quite an exciting endeavor, but trust me, it also comes with a lot of learning. Some things you'll have to become familiar with are the business, marketing, financing, and other aspects that are associated with running a successful business. There will be times when you will become overwhelmed, especially when learning about all the digital tips and tricks of the trade.
DON'T FREAK OUT! It may seem like a lot to take in and learn in such a limited amount of time. Instead, take a deep breathe.....now go ahead and start one project at a time.
Once your business is finally established, it's finally time to start digging into marketing. You may have very well already started this by using typical marketing methods. Some examples of these include, newspaper listings and directly mailing information throughout your neighborhood. One thing I would suggest you do is get on board the digital marketing train as fast as you can - more precisely, email marketing!
Why Email Marketing in Small Business?
Funds may become slightly tight during some times as a small business owner. What does this mean? Well, for starters you want to make the most out of every dollar that you have. One of the best ways to do digital marketing is through email marketing.
One of the top opportunities to build brand awareness is through the use of various social media platforms, though it seems to be lacking in distributing the kind of relationship that your business wants to have with your targeted audience. A recent study suggested that social media is a channel in which a lot of small businesses utilize, even though only one platform was picked above email marketing as well as direct mail.
So what exactly does this mean? Simply put, email marketing is still considered to be the most popular choice over most of the social media platforms for marketing in small business.
Marketing Sherpa says that 72% of consumers preferred to get promotional content in inboxes. Compare this with the 175 who said that they preferred seeing similar content in social media feeds. Fun Fact: 4.24% of people from email marketing tend to make a purchase, as compared to the 2.49% of people visiting from search engines, like Bing and Google, and 0.59% from social media platforms.
Don't get me wrong, social media is great when it comes to building brand awareness, but if you're wanting to truly connect and turn prospects into consumers, then email marketing is definitely the way to go!
Top 5 Email Marketing Practices for Small Businesses
When coming up with an email marketing strategy, it's important that you are aware of the do's and don'ts to make sure that there is nothing but success for your business. As you read on, you'll discover a short list of key tips that I recommend keeping in mind while constructing your strategy and all throughout your whole email marketing practice.
1. Know Your Target Audience
Want to know where the best place is to start when it comes to email marketing? First, and foremost, get familiar with your targeted audience. Even though lots of people tend to go into business with this one concept in mind; try to sell to anybody that you can. NOTE TO SELF: This is something that you have to realize will never seem to get accomplished. Not one brand is going to stand out to everyone and each one of their needs, so don't even bother trying.
Instead, try putting as much of your time and attention into your specific audience. Not sure who they might be? Ask yourself this:
Who will most likely be the best beneficiaries of your products/services?
This audience is the one you want to reach out to because they are looking for something that only you and your brand will be able to address.
Once your targeted audience has been identified, you can now begin to get to know them so much better. Make sure that you are interacting with your audience as much as you can! You can do this in-store, your website, social media, etc. This is one very important step in the following tips, very much so when it comes to building an email list.
Using email preference centers are great for those small businesses who have already started building a small following or email list. Email preference centers will allow you to further get to know who your audience is.
Go ahead and offer your audience members preferences. This will show them that you do have a genuine interest when it comes to getting to know them as well as their needs, instead of just trying to sell them your products. HELPFUL TIP: Segment and personalize each of your email messages once you begin to design your email marketing campaigns.
2. Responsibly Build Your Email List
Email lists are a very crucial part of the digital marketing strategy. This list should be constructed and cared for with responsible measures. Want to know what the sad part about it is? Not many small businesses are familiar with how important building a email list responsibly is. They usually end up opting to buy pre-made email lists. This may seem like a simple solution to having little to no email list at all, but be alarmed, it will surely end up harming your brand in the long run.
So instead, I recommend adding relevant links to your website as well as to your social media pages that will instruct your readers to go to a signup form.
Once this has been done, you may want to follow up with a confirmation or verification email that will make sure your subscribers truly do have an interest in the information you will end up sending to them.
3. Investing in Email Automation
Why should small businesses invest in email automation? Here are several reasons:
- Some stress will be taken out of day-to-day activities.
- Will increase sale productivity by 14.5%.
- Readers will be ensured that they will be getting only the most relevant content and so much more.
You may be wondering, what is email automation anyway? Email automation is best known as the process in which email campaigns are automatically sent out based on predefined triggers. Triggers can be set up for just about anything! Examples of such triggers include birthdays, anniversaries, becoming a VIP client, and so many more!
The beautiful thing about the use of automated campaigns is that your audience will be receiving highly personalized content depending on what status they may have and how they seem to be engaging with your brand. Here is an example: let's say that your brand ends up selling a product and is known to have VIP status, these users could be set up to automatically receive news about brand new product launches that other customers would end up having to wait on.
Here is a great example that BAUBLEBAR did for their VIP customers:
Another reason you might want to consider using email automation for your business is because it will save you time and resources, which is extremely important for any small business. Once you're done with setting up your triggers and campaigns, they in turn will end up doing all the hard work for you. Your teams only responsibility is to take the time to go over and review your campaigns and make sure that they are performing the way that you intend them to.
4. Become a Niche Expert
As a business owner, you're end goal will always be to make a sale. In order to make this happen, you first need to prove to your targeted audience that you are in fact the expert that you present yourself to be. What if you were selling pet products? How are you any better than PetSmart or Chewy? We aren't just simply talking about prices that tend to be lower or "Made in the USA" tags. What knowledge might you have stored within yourself about the needs of pets that Chewy and PetSmart may not even have bothered putting their focus into?
Email has been an excellent channel when it comes to sharing regular updates with targeted audiences. This means that your intentions are to share informative content with each one of them, along with your basic promotional content as well. A Consumer Email Survey that took place in 2018 stated that 39% of customers preferred brands that put their focus more on emails that informed the reader rather than those who seemed to only be wanting to sell them products.
So why not make your readers think a little by sending them an informative newsletter every once in a while instead of just making them aware of the latest sale or product release? Here is what BAREBONES presented to their readers:
5. Put Focus On Mobile Users
In today's era, almost half of all emails get opened up on mobile devices, which should not come as a surprise to those owners of a small business, especially with the popularity of smartphones only continuing to rise. I would recommend designing your emails on mobile-friendly and responsive templates instead of only viewing them on larger devices. These types of templates will open up and render correctly, no matter what device you are using to open up the email with. This makes these templates worth investing in.
Wrapping It Up
As you may have come to realize, small businesses tend to have a lot on their plates, especially if they're just starting up. This is why it is so important to put as much time and energy into their marketing strategy.
Keep these 5 tips in mind when building your email marketing strategy:
- Take as much time as you can to get to know your targeted audience
- Responsibly build your email list
- Think about investing in email automation
- Strive to become a niche expert along with building brand credibility
- Put your focus on those mobile users
Want additional tips on email marketing and how it can drive revenue for your small business? Check out our services and learn more about simple, cost effective ways in which you can use email marketing to increase your businesses revenue!
Malinda is a Content Creator @ Troyer Websites, a full service Web Design & Marketing Firm in Orrville, Ohio.