For small businesses, identifying what marketing channels you should use is critical to your success. You can go with newspaper ads, magazine ads, direct mail pieces, pay-per-click, social media, and email marketing. We’d love to give you some pointers on all of them but today we’re going to talk about the benefits of email marketing for small businesses. So let’s take a look at this very important piece of the marketing mix.
Relatively Low Cost
Email marketing is a relatively low cost marketing channel. Most email marketing services charge based on the volume of emails/contacts you have, on a monthly basis. So for example, MailChimp, allows you to send 12,000 emails per month, to an email list of up to 2,000 subscribers, for free. If you are a small business just get started, that is a heck of a deal. Alternatively, you can “pay as you go” which charges you a few pennies for every email sent. This is still extremely cost effective.
You are more than welcome to compare that type of pricing to your local print shop who will quote your for direct mail pieces. For direct mail you have to pay for design of the piece, printing/production, and postage. Don’t take that the wrong way; we’re not saying that direct mail isn’t effective. In fact direct mail can have great ROI if done properly. What we are saying is that email marketing is an excellent use of your marketing dollars based on ROI.
Custom Audience Advertising
Another one of the benefits of email marketing for small businesses is the ability to customize your advertising to certain audiences. Let’s use a kitchen and bath remodeler as an example. If you have been smart at collecting potential customer information, you might have asked for their kitchen square footage or what type of residence they own (single-family, townhome, condo). The reason this type of information is useful is because you can then customize what you send them.
The single-family homeowner likely has a large kitchen space than the condo owner. Therefore you might be able to send them more targeted info such as 8 foot islands or hidden refrigerator cabinetry. For the condo owner, you might send them info on how to redesign a kitchen to maximize space and flow.
Let’s take a look at that from the customer viewpoint. The single-family homeowner might not need to maximize space and flow if they already have a large kitchen. The condo owner might already be well aware that an oversized 8 foot island is going to severely cramp their kitchen space. Why would either party be enticed to click on something that isn’t relevant to them?
Last Minute Changes
We’ve all had that “oh crap” moment when we realized we didn’t include something into a marketing piece or we noticed a spelling error. With a print piece, these last minute changes are going to be much harder to change. With email marketing, you can change anything up until you hit send or just before it is scheduled to send. So whether you need to fix a “there/their” situation or want to include an awesome promotion you just thought of, you can!
It costs less to keep a customer than acquire new ones. This long-held business belief still holds true today. The great thing about email marketing is that it is the perfect way to create customer retention. For ecommerce businesses, it means sending out new styles and new sales as they become available to entice some purchases. For a services business, it means staying top of mind to the customer. These can be timed perfectly with marketing automation too. For an auto mechanic you can send out an oil change reminder 5.5 months after their current oil change appointment with you. That kitchen and bath remodeler can take a look at their typical customer acquisition time (the time from first contact to purchase) and send out periodical emails within that timeframe to keep themselves in the running for the job.
Why Use an Agency?
If you are a savvy business owner, which you are, this might all seem pretty simple. Since it is so cheap to use an email marketing service, why would you hire an agency to manage it for you? There’s a few reason. The first being timed involved to execute. Do you really have enough time on your plate to devote to a quality email marketing campaign? Sure, the cost is low, but if you just start sending out random emails and don’t get any return, the ROI is going to be low.
Another reason you might want to consider a digital marketing expert is that they can help you develop a strategy. As with any marketing channel, you need to have some semblance of a strategy if you expect to reap any benefits. Marketing is an investment, not an expense.
Finally, you are a not a designer. A lot of email marketing platforms make it super easy for you to create an email marketing template. But that doesn’t mean it will look good. Spacing, colors, call-to-actions, typography, imagery, and more all play into how successful your emails will be. Letting a professional handle this aspect can greatly improve your chances for success.