Many small business shy away from email marketing because they think it’s not a good way to reach customers. That couldn’t be farther from the truth—in a recent MarketingSherpa study, “72% of all consumers said they prefer businesses communicate with them via email.” Email is a direct line of communication. It gives consumers freedom and flexibility to read your message on their terms. It also allows businesses the opportunity to be highly targeted and personal in what is sent. Tell customers about sales, offer promotions on items or use it to send a personal follow-up message to a purchased item.
To get started, you will need a “validated” list of email addresses. The best place to start is with your current client roster. These names and email addresses are the people who have already expressed an interest in your products. You can collect this information when customers visit your business, or you can have a form on your website to collect the information. Both work. Make sure you ask enough questions so you can segment your list—categories for interests and industries (if you are B2B), for example, help you send the right offers to the right people.
Hint: To increase your signup rates, offer your customers incentives to join your email list. People love getting things for FREE. It could be a coupon, and extra discount, or (if you are a B2B company) an ebook.
Once you have a great list, make sure you keep it up to date. When you send out campaigns, remove emails from the list if they bounce. And if you want to bring on other data sources to reach new prospects, use the customer demographic information you’ve collected to help with renting or purchasing from a data vendor.
For more inspiration on how to create a successful email marketing plan, watch this video of highlights from the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015. It’s a half hour well spent for anyone who wants to learn how to do email marketing right.