Email Marketing for Small Business Part I – Before the Inbox

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August 19, 2012 by marceladevivo

emailmarketing1 Email Marketing for Small Business Part I   Before the Inbox

The average consumer of today is constantly plugged into their email. Thanks to cell phones, laptops and tablets, we can now reach out to customers and potential customers 24/7. That’s why email marketing should be a staple in your Internet marketing diet. Email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach a targeted group of people and easily convert them into customers.

The Power of Email

According to the Email Marketing Metrics Report, more than 90% of Americans use email every day. Email allows you to reach a large audience of interested consumers in a way that is most convenient to them. As mobile usage becomes more widespread, marketers will have the ability to reach consumers at the right place and time. According to ClickZ, 40% of people check their email regularly from their phone. When we focus in on people between the ages of 27 and 38, that figure increases significantly to 70%!

How Email is Used by Small Businesses

How you choose to employ email marketing is up to you and it will vary depending on the nature of your business and your target market. Small businesses are using email for a variety of reasons, including newsletters, announcements, sales offers, event invitations and customers surveys, according to a study by Flowtown.

Whyemail Email Marketing for Small Business Part I   Before the Inbox

What are the Benefits?

The infographic by ccLoop sums up the benefits of email marketing nicely. First and foremost, email allows you to reach your customers via mobile. According to the infographic, 38.5% of mobile time is spent checking email. Email marketing also allows you to reach a large audience on your terms for a fairly reasonable price, if not free.

Whyemail3 Email Marketing for Small Business Part I   Before the Inbox

Harvesting Email Addresses

In order to have a successful email marketing campaign, you need a list of email addresses to send it to. There are a couple of ways you can go about collecting email addresses, but keep in mind, the more organically you grow your list the better. You want the recipients of your emails to want to receive your emails, rather than simply delete your email before they even open it. Here are 5 ways to harvest email addresses organically:

  1. Ask happy customers for their email address at checkout (this works both in-store and online)
  2. Offer your email recipients special offers
  3. Email and social media go hand-in-hand – Encourage email subscriptions on your social networks
  4. Put a “Subscribe to Our Newsletter” button on your website
  5. Offer email recipients an incentive to refer their friends to subscribe

Bigger is Not Always Better

Intuitively, you would think that the bigger your email list the more success you will see with email marketing. However, according to the Email Marketing Metrics Report that is not always the case: Lists with 25 – 499 members average a 28% open rate, while lists of 500 – 999 see on average a 22.3% open rate. Once your list exceeds 1000 email subscribers, the open rate drops off substantially to a mere 12.2%.

To make sense of this, think about your own experience with receiving corporate emails. The ones you elected to subscribe to, you are genuinely interested in what the email contains. On the contrary, if a company mysteriously obtained your email address, you probably grumble every time one of their emails comes in and immediately move it to the trash. You continue doing this until you eventually come to your senses and unsubscribe. The reason for this inverse relationship between list size and open rate is that smaller lists tend to be more targeted with information that is more relevant to recipients. So as you build your email list, remember to think quality, not quantity

Planning Email Campaigns

Alright, so you’re sold on the importance of email marketing and you’ve harvested a couple hundred email addresses. Now it’s time to plan your first campaign.

Choosing an Email Service

There are plenty of great e-mail marketing services available that make it easy to create and track your e-mail marketing campaign. MailChimpConstant ContactiContact, and Vertical Response are just a few of the big name e-mail marketing services available to choose from. Not only do these services help you design impressive, professional-looking emails, but they also provide you with valuable statistics for each campaign, such as open rate, new subscriptions, click rate, and other very useful data.

Frequency

Depending on how you decide to incorporate email into your marketing strategy will influence how often you send out new emails. For example, if you’re using email as a regular newsletter, monthly or bimonthly is probably enough. However, if you’re using email to inform customers about promotions, the frequency of your promotions will dictate the frequency of your emails. According to KISSmetrics, the best email sending frequency is between 1 and 4 emails per month.

emailfrequency Email Marketing for Small Business Part I   Before the Inbox

Timing your emails is even more important than determining your email frequency. Send out your email campaign between the hours of 10:00pm and 5:00am, and you may as well not bother sending out an email at all. KISSmetrics claims that emails sent in the early morning receive the highest click and open rates. Other research studies offer slightly different suggestions on the specific time at which to send your emails, but all tend to agree that morning is the best time of day to send out your email.

clickrates Email Marketing for Small Business Part I   Before the Inbox

openrates Email Marketing for Small Business Part I   Before the Inbox

Once you have identified your purpose and goals for email marketing, and have selected an email client, you’re on your way to launching an effective email marketing campaign. From there, it’s just a matter of creating the content and following through. Stay tuned for our next segment on email marketing, In the Inbox.

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