How To Make Email Marketing Work for Your Small Business or Non-Profit

Still not using email marketing? Are you wondering why you should use it and if it will work for your business? Here’s what you need to know.

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective tools you can use to communicate with your customers, clients, or membership groups.  According to a study by Litmus, email marketing has a 36:1 ROI. In other words, for every $1 marketers spend on email, they get $36 in return.

Whether you sell products or services, email is a fast, efficient and inexpensive way to keep in contact with your customers and prospects, make new and repeat sales, and get people to visit your website or physical location.

But the ability to send email doesn’t mean your mailing will get opened and read. Nor does it mean those who do open the mail will be interested in your offers or click on links to your website. So how do you make email marketing work for your small business or non-profit?  Here’s what you need to know.

Why Email Marketing is Important

The main reason email marketing is important is that it is preferred by customers over other marketing methods.

As a business owner, you may sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of emails you get and think your customers will be annoyed if you market to them in email. But according to studies of email marketing, that’s not true. According to an eMarketer report, many people still consider email to be their preferred channel for receiving brand communications, and 54% have either made a purchase, visited a website, visited a store, or shared a promotion after receiving it in email.

Email marketing is more than just advertising. While it can and is often used to send coupons and promotions, email marketing lets you stay in touch with your customers and establish ongoing customer relationships. Besides promotions, you can use email marketing to send newsletters with industry information, tips related to your products or services, announcements, holiday greetings, invitations to take a survey, and more.

If you actively monitor the email address the email marketing messages are sent from, email gives your customers a way to respond back to you with their requests, likes, and dislikes, too. That gives you a better understanding of their needs.

Email Marketing Templates Make Your Business Look Professional

Email services give you a choice of ready-to-use templates you can use to market to your customers. Because the templates are professionally designed, they make your small business look well-established and professional.  They are easy to use, too. All you have to do is drop in your own logo, text, and images or special offers and schedule the mailing to be sent on the time and date you choose. 

Build Brand Recognition and Trust

Consumers and businesses like to buy from people they know and trust.  Sending emails on a regular basis can help keep your name in front of customers and build your credibility. By providing good content, whether it be newsletters with helpful tips, new product information, promotions, or requests for feedback, you’ll become better known and more trusted to your audience. You’ll also be helping them remember your products, services, phone number, location and website so they can easily do business with you.

Subject Lines Are Critical

Sending email campaigns is easy. But to get results, your email campaigns need to get opened by your audience.

Most people get dozens of emails a day – or more. When they look at the emails waiting in their inbox, what they tend to do is glance down the list and look at the subject lines. The subject lines that catch their attention are the ones they’ll open. Others may be deleted without ever opening them.

The subject lines that catch their attention will be the ones that speak to their needs and interests, not the interests of the sender.  A headline reading “Save 25% on Swimwear” would probably get someone looking for a bathing suit to open an email, whereas a headline that reads “Betty’s Boutique Product Recommendations” might easily be overlooked.

Increase Sales Quickly

If you’re in business, sales are your ultimate goal. Email marketing campaigns let you deliver promotions and special offers inexpensively to your customers’ inboxes. Depending on the size of your mailing list, and the promotion you send out, online sales or calls from customers who want to place an order or make an appointment can come in within minutes of sending out a mailing. If you have a brick and mortar shop, the email can point them to your location and drive sales there. You get results at a fraction of the cost of a direct mailing or print advertisement.

Send the Right Message to the Right Customers

To get good results with email marketing you should segment and target your mailings to appropriate customers.

If you own a pet store, you might have customers with cats, dogs, birds, fish, or reptiles, for instance.  While some customers might have multiple pets, many might only have one type of pet.  Customers who only have a cat,for instance, aren’t going to want promotions for the dog food or fish food you sell. Segmenting your mailing list according to the customers’ interests allows you to send the right promotional mailings to the right customers, thereby increasing your ROI and the customer’s satisfaction.

Email Marketing Helps Improve Marketing Results

Email marketing services have reporting tools that can help you determine what works best for marketing to your customers.  By looking reviewing the reporting data for your emails and comparing subject lines, headlines, days of the week, and other data you can determine which promotions and time of the day and week to market to your customers.

A Business Essential

The bottom line on email marketing is that it is an invaluable tool for small business marketers. It is widely accepted by consumers and businesses alike, helps build your visibility, your trust, and boosts sales.


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