Why Email Marketing Is Small Business’s Best Friend

small business email marketing

With all of the forward thinking hype surrounding social media marketing, its older brother, the email campaign, is often seen as something of a relic of a past. But for small businesses, email campaigns are still an important part of any marketing toolbox and may even drive more sales than social media campaigns.

Consider the following if you’re contemplating launching a new small business email marketing campaign.

Email Marketing and Social Media

A recent study of online marketing techniques found that email marketing generated new customers for online retailers at a rate of roughly 7%, while social media had a conversion rate for new buyers of less than 1%. That’s a huge finding and it’s a little bit surprising to everyone who’s been saying email is old news and social media is the way of the future.

I’m by no means saying that you should deactivate your Facebook account and pledge to never post another photo to Instagram again. There’s no one way to market online that will cover all your bases. Those forms of online marketing that rely on social networks do work, and they’re a great way to build a brand image and interact with customers even if they don’t always directly translate into immediate conversions.

That said, social media should be thought of as more of a long game, big picture strategy, with email working to gain more short-term conversions.

Tips for Small Business Email Marketing

Of course, like any online marketing, you need to have a strategy for your email campaign. Throwing together some text and sending it out willy-nilly is not the way to get that 7% conversion rate.

Try some of the following tactics to grow your subscriber list and send out high-quality emails that will actually be read:

Subscription Calls to Action

Post subscription calls to action on your blog, at the end of website pages and even on your social media pages. It’s no use sending out awesome written content if it’s not going to land in any inboxes.

Content That’s in Demand

Send the content subscribers want. Upon sign-up, allow subscribers to choose whether they want deals, business updates or tips about products. This ensures that subscribers will stay subscribers, and it gives you an idea of what kind of content is most popular.

Editorial Calendar

Create an editorial calendar. Know well in advance what you’re going to send out so you don’t find yourself scrambling to produce something.

Brevity

Keep it brief. Make sure that readers can quickly scan your content and get all the major information. Ideally, they’ll be interested enough to read the whole thing, but no one is going to commit to reading a big block of text without some idea of whether or not it’s relevant.

Check Spam Regulations

Don’t land in spam folders. Before you send anything out, make sure that it complies with all of the major spam regulations so it doesn’t get automatically funneled away from inboxes.

If you’re looking for more tips for getting an email campaign off the ground, Forbes’s offers a guide to email marketing for small businesses.

Email Photo via Shutterstock

21 Comments ▼

Amie Marse


Amie Marse Amie Marse is the founder of Content Equals Money, a small content generation firm based in Lexington, KY. She’s been a passionate freelance writer turned business owner for over 7 years. Her philosophy is that the essentials of content marketing do not change from the small business to the Fortune 500 level, and that creativity trumps budget every time.

21 Reactions

  1. We’re the same, for all the hype about new marketing tools, we think that some of the oldies still work the best. A letter in the post or an email campaign still generates traffic to our website that we could only dream about with Social.

    Fingers crossed our Social Platform catches up.

  2. Great article! I agree, you should give your audience various options when signing up for emails because it can increase your open rate

  3. If the goal is staying top of mind and having conversations, email will always be great. They already have done business with you or have given you an email address for communication. This shows they’re a more qualified person and therefore worthy of your time, attention, and best efforts.

  4. Martin Lindeskog

    Email will always be around. The question is how will we handle the massive amount of email messages?

  5. I believe that there is an art and a science to email marketing and, if done wrong, it could go very badly for a company. I have found a couple of very good companies that offer an email marketing service for small businesses that is not only effective, but also very affordable.

  6. I don’t know if I am just being pessimistic but with more and more people ignoring emails that advertise a certain product or service, I think that email marketing will probably die in the near future. After all, calls and personal contact works better. And so does social media.

  7. I think we need to look at the overall picture. Why choose one or another when you can have both?
    For social media, it does not cost anything to have accounts set up on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media websites.
    With social media you build those long last relationships with your customers which you can also leverage in your email marketing campaigns.
    I agree with you that any of your campaigns should look at the overall picture that you want to accomplish and then set your campaigns around those goals to achieve success.

  8. great tip..thanks i know what i am doing now

  9. Great article! I agree that throwing together some text and sending it out willy-nilly is not the way to get that 7% conversion rate.

  10. I get a lot of junk. I’m used to those. Once those are out of the way, then there are the newsletters. I obviously subscribe to them which is why I receive them in the first place, and I subscribe to them with the best of intentions, but there are actually one or two that I actually DO read.

  11. We recently decided to reboot our e-newsletter campaign after a two-year hiatus but ran into the problem of not being able to clean our e-mail list without spamming our subscribers. Unfortunately, none of the e-mail marketing services we contacted would allow us to send out a test e-mail so we’re caught between a rock and a hard place right now.

  12. Email marketing still remains one of the most reliable tools to help you connect with your prospects and customers alike, particularly for small businesses.

    One of the main reasons why small businesses should practice email marketing is to keep their leads engaged. There are multiple ways to engage your leads. Email marketing is still one of the most used, and underestimated digital marketing veterans.

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