The Benefits Of Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Email marketing has always felt like a gift for a business of any size. We will explore the benefits of email marketing for small businesses in just a moment, but done well, with an estimated ROI of 40:1 it can support all marketing campaigns. I sometimes have the discussion with small business owners as to whether email marketing is still valid, or has social media taken over? In truth it does come down a little bit to your target audience and of course how you use this powerful tool. Statistica released a report in November 2022 which advised there were 333.2 billion emails sent worldwide in 2022, this number was predicted to increase to 392.5 billion by 2026, in short I think at least for now, email marketing is not going anywhere.

Having said that, it is likely we will change how we use email marketing and use it to provide a more bespoke VIP service. With the explosion of AI and technology, we have seen for some time that personalisation is becoming increasingly important to consumers, see our previous blog on this topic here. Personalising content or the customer journey and making the audience feel special, is where email marketing can come into its own, small businesses definitely have the advantage here.

In marketing we talk a lot about the know, like, trust model as a way to help us connect with new potential audiences. There are many ways we can get in front of our audiences and depending upon budget these options will vary. Regardless of how you invest, email marketing forms the backbone of the process in engaging and converting our customers.

When we start out, it is important to choose the right email deployment platform to suit our needs, some popular ones for the more budget conscious are Mailchimp and MailerLite. They do offer some good free functionality but for more sophisticated needs and as your base grows, there is a sliding scale of payment options. It is the optimum at some stage in your business journey to link your email deployment tool with your CRM system and Active Campaign is a great tool for doing this.

As with any marketing activity, it is important to start by understanding what you wish to achieve, define your target audience and of course then outline your customer journey. Identifying how email marketing is going to support your customer journey from initially creating awareness, through to them purchasing your product or service is important. Creating clear, authentic, single minded and impactful email design will also be really important at this stage. So, let’s consider the benefits of email marketing for small businesses:

1. Creating a bespoke customer journey

We mentioned above the know, like trust model which has been talked about in marketing for some time, but plotting out the customer journey behind this is important. It fundamentally comes down to having a very clear understanding of your customer base, once you have this, you can then create a journey they are more likely to engage with.

For example, if you are a coach looking for some help in recruiting your first employee, a simple customer journey might be that you first meet a freelance HR Consultant at a network event or in a LinkedIn group. Then you may connect with them via LinkedIn and sign up to their newsletter via their website. As part of the journey, they might then send a cheat sheet about how to write a great job description as a thank you for signing up. As part of the LinkedIn contact strategy, they might then send a message – thanking you for connecting and share another useful resource, perhaps ten killer interview questions. From here, we might then plot out some additional steps to encourage a 1:1 discovery call.

ACTION: Take time to define your audience and plot out your customer journey, so you can provide useful and relevant content at key stages to aid conversion.

2. Tracking results

We are really fortunate in today’s digital world that for some marketing activity, we can see an immediate response and email marketing is one of those tools. We can generally see after about four hours of deployment the open and click through rate responses. If you are a product based business and also have this linked up to your website, you will also start to see sales as well.

It is important to review your results after any campaign and continually test and refine what works – always thinking, how can this be improved? With most email deployment tools it is possible to split test the subject lines ensuring maximum open rate. There will be an element of seasonality to consider here, but the analytics, even with the free tools can be quite insightful. Thinking about the time and day of deployment is also worth considering – knowing your target audience will help here.

ACTION: Look at the results of your last newsletter and identify the top five people that engaged with you.

3. Communicating directly with your audience

One of the main benefits of email marketing for small businesses is that we own the data. Unlike the social media platforms who are a business in their own right, we have permission to directly target our audiences. How you increase your base is the subject of another blog and with privacy protection laws in place (GDPR 2018), we need to ensure we do this in a considered way. In owning the data it also enables us to segment and personalise the content more effectively.

ACTION: Consider, who you could invite to join your mailing list today?

4. Generating sales

There are two key reasons we might invest our time and/ or budget into any form or marketing: to drive brand awareness or to generate revenue. You could argue that ultimately the first reason is to support the second, but invariably we invest in our marketing to help grow our businesses. The lines between sales and marketing, become a little blurred at this point and there is no doubt that the two functions should work together to achieve the ultimate result of business growth.

ACTION: Consider what you could change about your current email template to help increase sales conversion.

I hope that this has been useful, we have lots of resources available to help support our clients with their email marketing. Click HERE to read our “Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Small Businesses”; If you are keen to refresh your email marketing approach click HERE to find out more about our “Email Marketing Masterclass” and of course if you have a more detailed query, please get in touch to arrange a no-obligation discovery call.

Sophie Comas

A highly successful self-motivated and results driven, senior marketing professional. My passion lies within developing and delivering marketing solutions which make a difference in today's complex digital market place. A marketeer with a strong academic background and broad ranging level of experience working with small businesses and in the travel and hospitality sector, across the Thames Valley, I love a challenge!

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