If you’ve been hesitant to implement email marketing into your marketing strategy, let me give you a BIG PUSH! If you’re not using email marketing, I’m going to assume it’s for one of two reasons-
- you’re uninformed, or…
- you hate money!
If you fall into group 2, I can’t help you. If you fall into group 1, then I’m advising you now – email marketing is a boon for small business and in this post I’m going to show you why you simply can’t afford not to make it part of an integrated marketing strategy to grow your business and your bottom line. So, let’s get right to it!
A 2016 survey of US marketers concluded that email achieved a return on investment of 122%, over four times any other format examined in the survey.
The monthly cost of an email service provider will vary, depending upon the size of your list and the robustness you need from your platform. For most small businesses, a basic service will do. I use AWeber (Full disclosure: this is an affiliate link. If you purchase from this link, I will receive a commission, and I’ll be grateful to you for it 😊 ) and the cost is embarrassingly low.
When done correctly, email can produce high sales conversion rates for reasons that we’ll get into in the rest of this post.
Through the use of tagging and other segmentation features email marketers can nurture subscribers through the conversion funnel based on their response to previous offers and content. A well-designed email campaign puts the right offer in front of the right prospect at the right time.
For example, a subscriber who clicks a link in an email to a blog post review of “The 5 Top Picks for Hiking Boots in 2018” can be tagged as “interested in hiking boots”. Once tagged, the subscriber can be sent a series of emails designed to lead him through the hiking boots sales funnel from “interested” to “buyer”.
Email service providers, such as AWeber (Full disclosure: this is an affiliate link. If you purchase from this link, I will receive a commission, and I’ll be grateful to you for it 😊 ), MailChimp, and others are referred to as “auto-responders”. That means that a key feature is that you can set up a series of pre-written emails, or campaigns, that launch automatically based on the criteria you specify, as was the case in our previous example. Depending on a subscriber’s response to a call-to-action, other campaigns can launched accordingly. Once set up, a robust email marketing strategy can run on auto-pilot.
Nurturing your prospects to become brand advocates requires that they know, like, and trust you. There’s no better medium than email to nurture that relationship. The keys are authenticity and providing value. If you’re in the habit of constantly trying to sell your prospects without ever providing value, insights, and a chance to get to know who you are and what you stand for, then you’re missing the boat.
Don’t be afraid in your emails to be vulnerable. It can go along way toward building your brand and trust with your prospects.
In essence, email marketing is a form of re-targeting and, as such, a very cheap one. Obviously, most prospects aren’t going to take the desired action the first time they see your offers. Unlike other forms of re-targeting, it doesn’t cost anything to send an email to your subscribers to put another offer in front of them. If you market high-ticket items, they may take several months to become buyers, so being able to re-target them with lower ticket items to get them comfortable with spending money with you can help move them down the funnel.
And for a variety of reasons some subscribers will never open or click the links in your emails. We call them “disengaged.” Disengaged subscribers can hurt your delivery rates, so it’s best after a few attempts to re-engage them to remove them from your main list or segment them out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t re-market them. By uploading them to your paid advertising platforms as a custom list, you can begin placing ads in front of them. This, too, is a very low-cost way to put your message in front of prospects who are already familiar with you and your brand and have shown previous interest in your products.
As a stand-alone strategy, email provides good insights into subscriber behavior, which you can use to optimize your campaigns. When integrated with other strategies, like content marketing and re-targeting, you can capture very detailed information about your market using tools like Google Analytics. Armed with this information, you can become laser-focused with your overall marketing strategy.
Mobile is where two-thirds of your subscribers are, and email is one of the very best ways to connect with them there. When choosing your auto-responder templates or designing your emails, be mindful of whether they’re mobile-friendly. Shoot for giving your subscriber the best possible experience.
Drive Traffic to Your Website
Your website or blog is where you can really connect with your current subscribers by providing massive value. Using email to drive them there serves two important goals. First, by driving traffic to your website and keeping them there to consume your valuable content you’re increasing your online presence, which will pay dividends for local search engine optimization. By increasing your local search rankings, you’ll also be generating new leads who find you via search. Just make sure that your website is optimized to take advantage of them when they visit.
Educate Your Market
With email, you can use a variety of other forms of media to educate your prospects on the products and services you offer. For example, product tutorials, how-to’s, reviews, maintenance tips, etc. are all great value to a prospect who’s in the evaluation stage. You can use video, text, info-graphics, side-by-side comparisons and a host of other tactics in conjunction with email to get your message to your audience.
So, as you can see, there are many advantages to including email in your overall marketing strategy.
Founder and CEO, Southern Arizona Digital Marketing and DecideToBeFreeOnline
Scott Anders is a digital marketing trainer and consultant living in Southern Arizona. After more than 30 years in corporate life, including the US Army, he began pursuing his passions as an entrepreneur in 2016. He loves helping small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs take advantage of the incredible opportunities available in the digital economy to enjoy greater freedom and fulfillment.