Social media today has become such a central marketing tool, especially for small businesses on a smaller budget. In fact, a few businesses that are starting out forgo a website in place of a Facebook page. A little risqué, if you ask me. Yet, a viable solution until the funds are established.
I recently visited a small public market, which houses various local vendors/artists who can set up a small shop/table to sell their goods. I landed myself at an olive oil and vinegar specialty shop. They only had a table set up because, behind them, they were actually building a shop, with walls, to showcase their plentitude of bottles. I was asked to sign up for their email list and was promised that there would only be one email sent to me – when the shop officially opened. I was shocked. You take the effort to collect these emails to only send one email – that your shop is open??? It was like taking a dagger…never mind. I had to ask why. The shopkeeper told me it was because Facebook and Twitter can handle the same job. ‘Most people’s email boxes are inundated with emails, they don’t need any more’.
Has all of this fuss and excitement over social media replaced the not-so-sexy marketing email? I wouldn’t remove email marketing from your marketing plans anytime soon. Here is why;
Email Marketing is more sophisticated
With email marketing, businesses are able to include more valuable information. Information that includes links to their website…which allows recipients to linger, browse and eventually make a purchase. This information is also taken more seriously with recipients. It is one-on-one time, not time competing with best friends, favorite bands and new baby photos. It allows for more intimacy and privacy. So if there is a reply, businesses can follow-up promptly and privately.
Email marketing, done properly, can target the exact audience the business is going after. Most sophisticated email programs allow users to segment by most any category; age, gender, locale, preferences, pet, etc. This way, recipients do not receive a bombardment of irrelevant push ads, just the ones that apply to them. And emails are there when the recipient is ready to read them. It doesn’t get lost in a sea of tweets or disappear onto the second page of Facebook posts.
Don’t forget, these people willingly signed up to hear from you!
Emails provide nice layouts to include photos, brand colors and logos as well as any other eye-grabbing details. Again, some of the more sophisticated email programs (I love Mailchimp!) offer templates, so don’t worry about having to hire an expensive designer. Just drag, drop and fill in the blanks!
As always, it is very important to remember your audience preferences when developing your marketing mix. If you are selling to teenagers, then social media will be your primary communication. But businesses, adults, professionals…using email marketing should definitely take a large piece of your pie.
5 Steps on How to Make Email Marketing Effective
1. 1. Easy, Appeasy. (Okay, I know that’s not a word, but it’s my eternally optimistic 4-year old's favorite saying right now - easy peasy). Emails should be easy to glance over, especially on mobile phones because that is where most people read them! You can always include links to your website for the expanded article. Just grab their attention with titles and interesting summaries.
2. 2. Useful, interesting. Make the information useful to people. Don’t just sell. Educate them, ‘wow’ them, let them have some fun, so the next time they see an email from you, they will be sure to open. In the Olive Oil example, they could include recipes, tips on storing, tutorials, invitations to tastings & sales, etc.
3. 3. Clean, targeted. Keep your lists clean. Make sure you remove names of people who have opted out. Every 6 months or so, send a ‘are you still interested?’ email to those who have not opened your emails in the last 6 months.
4. 4. Scheduled appropriately. Don’t send too often. Don’t let them forget about you in between.
5. Links, links, links – include them to your website page(s), Linked In, Facebook…everything tied to the business name! The longer they browse, the better chance they will be a return customer.