Connecting with people via email can be an easy, effective way to market your small business online. To determine whether — and how — email could fit into your marketing strategy, consider the following:
- What would you like to share with customers? Email marketing is a straightforward, inexpensive way to deliver valuable information about new products or services, upcoming events, and special offers and coupons to your customers. It’s also great for sending thank-you notes, too. Even if you update your website consistently, email provides customers with a direct reminder of what you offer — and gives them a reason to visit you again.
- What action do you want people to take after receiving your email? If your desired response is for customers to, say, click on a link and visit your website or come to an event, email communication can be a very effective tool. For example, Caesar Snee from Z-Coil Pain Relief Footwear says he’s used an email marketing service to successfully promote a sidewalk sale. Delivering valuable content to customers via email keeps your business at the top of their minds, so they’ll think of your company the next time they need the product or service you offer.
- Do you have the email addresses of your customers or prospects? From your own experience, you can imagine that emails from unknown businesses are likely to be seen as junk or spam. But customers tend to appreciate emails from businesses with which they have existing relationships. Email marketing can also help you expand your list of contacts. In the next section, we’ll share some tips for collecting email addresses.
Getting Started with Email Marketing
If email marketing fits your needs, here are some tips for getting started:
- Make it easy for customers and prospects to sign up for your emails. The obvious place to get people to opt into your email communications is your website, thus some email marketing solutions offer a simple way to add a “sign up for my email list” tool to your page. Another good idea is to collect referral leads when customers and prospects forward your emails to others. If you have a storefront or host an in-person event, put a sign-up sheet at the cash register or pass it around to attendees. You could even offer customers an incentive to share their email addresses, such as a weekly raffle (e.g., ask people to drop their business cards, which usually include email addresses, into a bowl).
- Find a professional email marketing solution. In our experience, many small businesses try to use a standard email client for marketing. Unfortunately, this is likely to leave you frustrated and dissatisfied, due in part to the difficulty of use and the limited number of emails that can be sent at once from a standard software program (compared with a specialized email marketing program). An email marketing solution can help you look professional by providing high-quality design templates and a means of tracking your emails to see who opened, clicked, or forwarded your messages. This will help you test and measure which messages get the best results.
- Set realistic goals — and test different subject lines, messages, and formats — every time. Results will vary by business type and message sent. Start by establishing a goal that, if reached, will indicate that your email campaign was a success. As you test and learn, use the results of each campaign to optimize how you present your business and the types of messages and offers you send.
Here are some additional resources and tools for email marketing:
- Read examples of email marketing used by an independent wedding planner and by a national book retailer.
- Check out our email marketing solution Campaigner for Intuit App Center.
- Reach your customers on their mobile devices through text message marketing with Fanminder.
- Read the rest of our Online Marketing Toolkit.