By Adam Tanguay, Weebly
Most small-business owners have a Facebook page or Twitter profile. Some may also even use Snapchat and Instagram. And yet when it comes to reaching an audience, email marketing delivers more effective results than even the most popular social media platforms.
Why Email Marketing Works
According to a joint survey of 254 retailers published last summer by eMarketer, 81 percent said that email marketing drives customer acquisition while 80 percent said they rely on the practice for customer retention. Social media ranked 30 and 36 percent percentage points lower, respectively.
Mobile could help to explain why email marketing is so popular. While Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram are made for browsing, email is a clickable medium. Receive a message, click to open. For retailers who target properly and deliver creative, interesting content via email, there's a huge and willing audience waiting to be fed. A 2016 study by Adestra found that nearly 75 percent of millennials prefer to communicate with businesses via email and more than half rely on email to make purchases online.
Unsure of where to begin with email marketing? These six ideas may help get you started.
1. Create an opt-in list
Not everyone who emails you or your business partners should be added to your email marketing list. Instead, take the time to answer carefully and include a link to "subscribe to my updates for more advice" in your email signature. Those who click will become opt-in readers who expect to hear from you, and as a result, they'll be more likely to open your missives and take action.
2. Segment to better target your audiences
Once your opt-in list grows big enough, you'll want to sharpen your email marketing pitches so that you're sending only to those most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
Say you run a law firm. A client in the securities business is unlikely to be interested in your musings on personal injury liability.
3. Write introductions rather than essays
Email is a naturally short-form medium that's designed to communicate information quickly. Honor that by writing short introductions – a sentence or two each for every article or offer in your note. Include links to the full content at your website or ecommerce store.
4. Use repeat images
Regular readers of your email marketing messages will expect a degree of consistency in your communications. One easy way to provide that? Keep a consistent library of images at your website and ecommerce store and then reuse them in your emails.
5. Make your coupons shareable
A modern website builder should make it easy to share any of your content to any and every social media platform. Email marketing tools will usually offer the same capability, which can be handy when sending coupons to your customers.
Also, make sure your offers are easy to redeem! A click-through to your ecommerce site might work for some, but sending a redeemable code to enter at anytime could encourage more browsing and buying.
6. Start a read-anywhere newsletter
While there's no hard and fast rule for what constitutes a winning email, an email newsletter that's responsively built to be equally readable on desktop and mobile devices could help you serve opt-in readers on a regular schedule and form a relationship in the process.
Email marketing can be massively effective for the enterprising web entrepreneur, but only if you use it responsibly and effectively. Ask clients for permission before emailing and be selective of who you send to. Employ brevity, make your images familiar, make coupons easy to use and share, and compile it all in a newsletter that's as easy to digest on a mobile device as it would be on desktop.
Your audience will appreciate the effort, and your bottom line will be the better for it.
Want even more small business ideas? Check out the Inspiration Center for more ways to grow your business.
About the Author
Adam Tanguay is responsible for SEO, content, and organic growth at Weebly, a simple yet powerful website builder used by thousands of businesses. For better email marketing, consider trying Weebly Promote.