Remember when it used to be really exciting to hear “You’ve got mail?”
Fast forward 10 years, and opening your inbox is probably way more overwhelming than thrilling. You may be thinking “I can’t handle another email. I don’t want to bog anyone else down with more email either!”
But I’m here to tell you—If you don’t, you’re missing out on one of small business marketing’s most powerful tools.
Email marketing is both incredibly effective and incredibly cost effective. If you aren’t quite sure, here are 5 quick reasons to make email marketing a key focus for your business in 2016.
5 Reasons to Start Email Marketing in 2016
1. It’s inexpensive
What if I told you there is a marketing platform that costs almost nothing to set up and can generate big sales returns? Yes, it’s email.
Compare email to the cost of creating a TV commercial, radio ad, or billboard. Not only do you need to pay to design and create those advertisements, you still need to buy the media spots to run the ads. Those advertisements will cost your small business thousands of dollars. An email campaign can be set up for free.
How to get a free email marketing account
I highly recommend MailChimp for email marketing for our small business clients.
2. Email keeps you top of mind with prospects and past customers
One of the things I’ve noticed about most of our small business clients is that they consistently forget to market to past customers. They make the sale, do the job, and hope the customer will remember them if they need the product or service again the future.
Don’t leave future sales to chance. Stay top of mind with past clients (and potential clients) by emailing a helpful newsletter at least once a month.
What you should include in a monthly update newsletter
Don’t overcomplicate a monthly newsletter. You will get too overwhelmed with all the content you need to create to send it on schedule.
Also, don’t overcomplicate your newsletter for your customer. If you design a looonnng email with too many articles, you’ll lose readers before the end.
Here’s a simple, doable blueprint for your monthly newsletter:
- Your logo — Maintain brand recognition by including your logo at the top of the email
- A helpful article — What valuable information or how-to can you share with your audience? The main content of your newsletter should focus on helping your target customer, not boasting about your own news. For example…
- A lawn care company might write “4 Tips to Get Your Lawn Greener Faster in the Spring”
- An electrician might write “How to Save Energy During the Winter”
- A veterinarian might write “7 Signs Your Dog Needs More Exercise”
- A local travel agency might write “How to Efficiently Pack For A Long Weekend Trip”
- A small personal/company update — New employee? New certification or award? Share a quick blurb at the bottom of the email. If you have a lot of information on your internal news, post a full blog post to your website. You can include a short excerpt and a link to the post in your email.
- A special offer (if you want to) — Email is a great way to spread the word about promotions and sales. You could even create an exclusive offer for newsletter subscribers. However, don’t feel like you can only send a newsletter when you have a discount. If you write truly helpful content, your past clients and prospects will appreciate hearing from you even without a coupon.
- Your contact information — Make it easy for your reader to contact you by including your name, address, and phone number at the bottom of the email (For bonus points, invite them to just reply to the email if they have questions!)
Consider an automated newsletter that sends for you
Do you blog regularly on your website? Instead of (or in addition to) a monthly newsletter, you can set up an email that sends automatically each time you post. Check out our guide to setting up an automatic email newsletter.
To see how it works, you can sign up for our awesome newsletter, and receive our weekly emails when we post.
3. Email provides an easy way for customers to share and save
Want customers to hang onto your marketing messages and share them with friends? An email in their inbox makes it easy.
Your subscriber can reference your helpful information later if they archive the email. And if they want to share, nothing is easier than clicking the “Forward” button.
4. Email gives you amazing, actionable data
I’m sure you want to know if you’re getting great results from your marketing efforts. Email marketing makes this analysis easy.
No other platform will give you as much data about which customers and prospects are most consistently engaged with your message. Check out these MailChimp reports from a client we work with on weekly email newsletters.
Open and click through rates
How many people actually opened your email? Once it was opened, how many clicked on a link in the email (hopefully back to your site)?
MailChimp can tell you with their Campaign Overview report.
Comparing opens and clicks across campaigns will help you understand which topics are most interesting to your list and which subject lines caught your recipients’ attention.
Find out exactly who opened your email
But that’s not all… want to know exactly who opened your email, and how many times? Check out MailChimp’s Opened report.
With email marketing’s advanced reporting, you will know:
- Exactly who opened your email message
- The number of times each person opened the email
- Who clicked on your links
- Your most popular links
- And way, way more
Imagine the advantage this data gives your sales team in identifying engaged prospects.
5. Email is simple to set up
To get rolling with an email newsletter, there are only a few steps:
- Sign up for an account with an email marketing provider (we like MailChimp, but you could also try ConstantContact, Aweber, or dozens of other options)
- Create a spreadsheet listing past customers and prospects. Upload it to the email system you chose.
- Design a simple newsletter template with your logo, content, and contact information (see above).
- Write a super helpful article and paste it into your newsletter.
- Send your first newsletter to your list.
- Review and analyze the results.
The most important rule with email marketing is to keep it simple and valuable. I see a lot of business owners get stuck because they think an email needs to be very high design, with special graphics and fancy details like the big brands use.
While a nice, professional design is great, what’s more important is creating great content and pressing Send. From there, you can analyze what worked and step up your game in the future when you see the return.
So get out there, create a simple 1-column newsletter, and get it done in 2016.
And of course, if you’re stuck, we can get your email marketing all set up for you. It’s absolutely worth it.