With the popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter and modern modes of communication such as texting and instant messaging (think Skype), email seems the way of the dinosaur. Despite its “old school” stigma, don’t write it off!
Not everyone uses Facebook or Twitter on a regular basis and there are still lots of people who don’t text or instant message. However, just about everyone has an email address and uses it regularly.
While you can’t reach all your potential customers via Facebook, you can probably reach all of them through email – IF you have their email address. We’ll discuss the easiest way to do that at the end of this post.
As a small business owner, it can be tempting to think that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are “where’s it’s at,” and that email marketing is obsolete. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are so many reasons why small businesses should incorporate email marketing into their overall marketing mix. Here are just seven reasons why small businesses should engage in email marketing:
1. The transition from direct mail to email is easy.
Almost all small businesses have engaged in direct mail marketing at one time or another. They understand direct mail and are comfortable with the process. The transition from a printed piece to email is seamless and very easy to do since the two are so closely related. Instead of creating and mailing printed pieces, you are having your pieces created electronically and sent via email.
2. Tremendous cost savings.
While direct mail and email may be similar, the cost differences are significant. What does it cost to print and mail brochures or postcards? You can send the electronic equivalent instantly for literally pennies. The cost savings and return on investment from email is staggering when compared to direct mail and other marketing methods.
3. Increases customer loyalty and repeat business.
Customers become loyal when they feel they are in the know and are “special.” The mere fact that they are on “your list” and are getting direct communications from you will make them feel special. And regular direct communications with your customers will not only create loyalty but it will increase your chances of getting their repeat business.
For a small business, time and resources are often scarce. Emails require no software installation or consultations with a tech guru. Small businesses can manage the marketing process without having to hire someone or without having to add significant responsibilities to current staff.
5. You can measure your results.
Unlike direct mail, with email marketing you can actually track your results. You can measure metrics such as open rates (how many people actually read your emails), click through rates (how many people click through to your site), and conversion rates (how many people buy!).
6. Provides independence from the search engines.
If you have a large email list and are communicating regularly with your list, you won’t have to worry about your search engine rankings as much because you’ll still have a direct pipeline to past and potential customers. If you don’t have a list and you lose your rankings, your sales could potentially plummet overnight.
7. Leverages the costs of paid traffic.
Costs add up quickly when you pay for website traffic. Why not leverage what you’re paying by getting those visitors on your email list so you can continue to communicate with them even after they leave your website!
O.K., hopefully by now you can appreciate the benefits of email marketing – and why every small business owner should strive to build an email list. Now you’re probably wondering how to do it. The topic of building email lists is beyond the scope of this post but the easiest way to get started is to have an email opt-in form on your website like the one you see on this website.
Of course you have to entice your customers to trust you with their email address so you have to give them a reason for signing up. You can do that by offering exclusive discounts or specials. You can offer them a free guide – like the one we offer to entice business owners to join our list.
The main thing is you want to give your visitors something of value in exchange for them giving you their email address and becoming part of your list. Then once they join, you’ll have a constant, direct line of communication with your list!