Growing a small business to profitability quickly can be hard to do – especially in highly competitive markets. The competition can be brutal, and getting a little recognition can be tough.
One marketing tool many small businesses employ is a long and growing email list. Email marketing can be one of the strongest, most effective ways to reach out to existing clients, leads and prospects with whom your business has engaged.
Your Email List Hits the Bull’s-Eye Every Time
Email marketing is highly-targeted at individuals and companies with whom you already have a relationship. They’re in your email contacts file, so you know them and they know you.
Some might be customers, others suppliers, sub-contractors or vendors who want to hear from you. Why? Because they had or have a good relationship with your business. They know you and your reputation, so they are more likely to accept your emails rather than sending them straight to the spam folder.
The CAN-SPAM Act: Play by the Rules
Before you undertake any email campaign, read up on the CAN-SPAM Act, signed by President George Bush in 2003. The CAN-SPAM Act covers bulk email and “…any electronic email message where the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.”
The CAN-SPAM Act lays out highly specific rules to follow and expensive penalties if you don’t follow them. Do a search of “CAN-SPAM Act” to learn what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
Play by the CAN-SPAM rules, and email can be one of the most effective marketing tools for businesses of all sizes.
Collecting Email Addresses
Each email address has value, adding to your list of contacts who receive updates, a monthly newsletter, appointment reminders, coupons, and other incentives that keep your company name in front of the eyes of knowledgeable buyers.
- Collect email addresses as part of the engagement process and consider each address you collect potential business in the future. Medical professionals and other businesses that use an appointment system should require an email address on the in-take form for easy communications.
- Collect email addresses at trade shows, conferences, local community events and other opportunities to put out a sign-up sheet, or exchange business cards with complete business information.
- Be sure to have an opt-in module on your company web site. Encourage site visitors to provide an email address by offering something useful in return. You will likely collect more addresses in exchange for something the customer opting-in can use – like a free eBook or white paper.
- Avoid buying email lists. The whole point of building your company’s email list is targeted, focused, pro-active marketing. When you purchase a list of 300,000 emails, most of those email owners have never heard of you.
The Six Advantages of Email Marketing
1. You design the message. Create different email groups and design messages for each group. Target email marketing with greater specificity to enjoy higher conversion ratios. Existing customers may get one email and prospects, another. Or customers who have purchased a particular product or service may be sent a targeted email suggesting another product that may complement the one they already have.
2. It’s regular. Don’t overload your customers or clients with daily emails, but do keep up a regular flow of information. If the information is useful, it will more likely be read.
3. It can be low cost. An email marketing campaign doesn’t have to cost a lot. Decide what tools and services you need to design, launch and maintain an email campaign to arrive at the total cost of email marketing.
4. It’s focused. Recipients have already engaged your company as customers, clients or interested parties eager to hire your business to deliver goods or services. This highly targeted marketing can deliver higher conversion rates, leading to a more robust bottom line.
5. Email marketing is trackable. If you use an email service, you can quickly see how many emails are sent, how many are opened, how many are deleted or sent to the spam folder, and you can see a direct correlation between email marketing and business engagement. If sales go up, you’re doing it correctly.
6. It’s proactive. Instead of posting an ad in the local paper or a billboard and hoping for the best (passive advertising), email marketing is proactive, with your company taking the lead to reach out and touch existing clients and customers, prospects and leads, regularly.
Email marketing should be part of an integrated advertising campaign that includes pay-per-click ads, print advertisements and even local cable TV for businesses serving a small region. It’s an often over-looked marketing tool…
…but a marketing tool that may deliver the results you’re looking for.
The information contained herein may not represent the views and opinions of Nevada State Bank or its affiliates. It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.