Email marketing for small businesses.

Many small businesses run into the difficult task of trying to find affordable marketing tools to help launch or maintain their business. There are many opportunities for businesses to promote themselves through tools such as Groupon, Google, Facebook Ads, Facebook Business Pages etc. The possibilities are endless, making the task of finding the right marketing strategies overwhelming.

Email Marketing – An Effective Marketing Tool:

Last year I attended a marketing workshop about effective marketing strategies and user engagement for small businesses. One of the key strategies a presenters spoke of was the use of email marketing.

Many small businesses owners have never heard of email marketing but here is a brief overview:
Email marketing is an effective marketing tool where a business uses existing or prospective client email addresses to build a relationship with their clients.

Email campaigns or newsletters may be sent out weekly, bi-weekly or monthly depending on the service or product of a specific business. These emails may contain monthly promotions, latest news within an industry, new classes/workshops or any changes within a business (new location or grand opening).

The reason why email marketing is so effective is as follows:

  • You have already built a relationship with the customer, whether they came into your office once or acquired their email through a guestbook from your last art gallery exhibit.
  • The prospective or existing client has already expressed interest in your product/service, use this as an opportunity to create a long-term business/client relationship.
  • It is a “green” marketing approach, paper free
  • You can track how a campaign is doing through the email marketing campaign reports
  • You get a better ROI on email marketing versus direct mail.

Creating Customer Groups

This form of marketing can be targeted by creating customer groups with  specific email campaigns to engage a specific group.

Within your email marketing program you can create a group name and select email addresses that best fit this specific user group.

Here is an example of a customer group and email campaign:

Pretend you are a bridal photographer and have over 1000 email addresses from clients, create a user group such as “2014 Wedding Clients.” Consider offering them a 25% off anniversary photo shoot if they (the client) recommend a friend or family member and this referral translate into a new client in 2015.

Where do I get email addresses?

Many businesses acquire email addresses through in-take forms (dentists, massage therapists, physical therapists) and make the mistake of not utilizing this information to engage a new client in becoming a regular customer. The best approach, when using email addresses from your intake forms is to solicit the user to subscribe to your email marketing tool through an on-line form.

Opt-in Subscription – Very Important.

To avoid penalties for un-solicited emails through the Federal Governments’ Can Spam Laws, a customer must sign up through an on-line form . If a user does give you their email address through your guestbook, make sure you state clearly what your intend to use their email address for.

Personal Email Invitation:

If you are a physical therpay clinic, use your business email account to send out an email to your client email list. The subject line may say something like this: “We invite you to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.” The body of the email should tell your clients about your monthly campaign or newsletter, invite them to subscribe by including a link to your email signup form.

This will encourage clients to subscribe to your monthly newsletter to learn more about upcoming classes, new products or special deals.

Once the client subscribes to your newsletter, then you can be assured that your newsletter will go directly to the client’s inbox instead of their junk folder.

Facebook Business Page:

If you don’t have a large list of email addresses but have a Facebook business page with plenty of likes, solicit these prospective or existing customers to subscribe to your email marketing program as well. Make sure you include a link to your signup form.

Website:

Incorporate an email sign up form within your website. Make sure you state exactly what the email subscriber will be receiving (monthly newsletters, special deals, etc.).

My email campaign didn’t get the results I wanted, what should I do?

Be consistent!

Not all campaigns are going to yield the results you would like, but whatever you do, don’t give up on your email marketing tool. It is easy to get discouraged when there isn’t user engagement, however try to learn from each campaign. See what works and what doesn’t by keeping track of how well each campaign does by downloading a report from your program.

If you are struggling with this program, contact their support for assistance.

What Email Marketing Programs are out there?

There are so many different email marketing programs out there such as Vertical Response, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp the list goes on. If you are interested in learning more about these programs and how they are rated by consumers, visit this link: http://email-marketing-software-review.toptenreviews.com/.