Why is email marketing thought of by many as an outdated market strategy dressed in bell bottoms and headbands?
Maybe the fact that we are overloaded with tweets, friend requests, Likes, followers and +1’s that most small businesses just aren’t all that excited by the less sexy email delivery approach any more. In the fast paced, digital world we are living in, there seems to be a new website, app, network or strategy popping up almost weekly and it’s hard not to relegate things like email as an effective marketing tool to the bottom of the pile.
Unfortunately many local business owners are missing out on a huge opportunity by not implementing the proven aspects of email marketing simply because it seems old hat.
Here are a few ideas that make a strong case for the argument that ignoring email marketing is likely lowering your potential bottom line.
Email Marketing Works
The days of going out and spending your money on a huge list of names to send your email message to are certainly over but a recent consumer survey clearly showed that 66 percent of those surveyed made a purchase based on getting a promotional email. This is why 67% of organizations planned to increase their email marketing budgets for 2012 according to MarketingSherpa’s Benchmark Survey,
Consumers Actually Prefer Email
Sure Twitter is awesome for real-time observations, comments and debates and Facebook is great for building connections and furthering relationships but solid research shows that 77 % of us want to get marketing messages via email and there’s really no close second place. A couple of takeaways here is that it is important that we understand and respect the fact that regardless if there are large number eyeballs in a particular online platform they may not be receptive to any marketing message while in that space and … email still has a HUGE audience!
So, while the growth statistics in search engine exposure and social media continue to be exciting, the reality remains that 72 percent of people check their email more than 6 times per day. This means email is most likely the most consistent way to get in touch with your ideal customers and clients.
Email Helps Propel Other Online Campaigns in Social Media and Local SEO
Are you launching new social media campaigns or local reputation management projects? Do you have any buzz-worthy / backlink-worthy blog post that could use a boost in traffic levels which will help your SEO? Do you think that having more reviews on Google + Local, Yelp and other directories would help your rankings, reputation and sales?
A sizable email list of interested recipients can really help you to tap into the enormous power of integrated marketing and strong email practices shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Top 4 Action Steps Can You Take NOW To Power Up Your Email Marketing Engine
- Start Building A List: I find it quite shocking when I consult with small businesses that many in today’s day and age still don’t have an email lists at all. Those that do I often find have lists that are long since neglected and outdate or are poorly set up. To get back in the game I don’t recommend buying a list – almost all studies I’ve seen show that they are simply a waste of time and money. What you want to have is two very simple list categories Current Customers and Prospective Customers then give your audience in these two categories and compelling reason to join your list. You can use contests, free reports, a special incentive – just look around at other businesses in different categories, join their lists to get some ideas and see what fits for you.
- Offer A Newsletter: All small businesses have knowledge in a subject matter that people are interested in. You can share tips, ideas, news stories and much more around what your ideal customer is interested in. And don’t think you have to limit your content to the exact products and services you offer either. Almost all business offer products and services that are part of a much larger, more general category of interest. Whether you outsource much of the writing of the content and setting up of the newsletter or do it yourself, make it a point to add in your character and really try to connect with your audience on a personal level. This will make your communication anticipated, welcomed, read and shared.
- Create A Series of Purely Informative Emails: This may take a bit more effort to think through and get right but the point to consider here is you want to nurture your list by having a series of informative and purely helpful emails that are appropriately spaced out which add real value the reader without coming across as salesy in any way. If you are seen as an obvious expert and willing to add value to your customer or prospects life then “on occasion” when you do make a request of an online review, ask them to partake in a social media campaign or send a promotional offer you won’t be offending them and your results will be much more positive.
- Track Everything: All marketing requires good tracking to know what’s working. Once you have implemented steps 1,2 and 3 above it’s vital to track your leads by their source. Small businesses are notorious for following their gut and reaching false conclusions about their marketing programs because they lack the data to know what’s really going on. If you don’t know how to set up solid tracking, seek help from a marketing consultant who does.
To Wrap It All Up
Email marketing is not very sexy and certainly not a hot topic of conversation in the small business world but don’t be fooled into thinking that means it is not effective anymore. Statistics still prove that it has one of the very highest return on investment of any form of marketing and needs serious attention by most small businesses.
There is a ninja quality about email marketing because it is delivered well out of the prying eyes of your competitors. It’s certainly not the only marketing effort you should focus on but it is an indispensable component in any modern small business marketing strategy. Once you have an active email marketing campaign and strong lists you will surely find that launching any social media, SEO or other local marketing campaigns will be benefited by the ability to “blasting it out to the list.”