Why Your Small Business Should Invest in Email Marketing Right Now

It’s cheap, it’s more effective than social media and it’s less work than you may think.
email
Email can bring in new customers and help raise revenue.(Photo: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

As a small business owner, you probably enjoy running your business more than marketing it, but you know marketing is key to bringing in customers. So chances are you’re on social media; maybe you even have a website.

But do you have an email marketing campaign? If not, it’s probably time to start one. Here are four reasons why.

It’s a cheap way to increase revenue

According to some estimates, for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI. If you’re not using it, you may be leaving money on the table.

“A lot of companies say that email drives the same amount of revenue as their social media and display ad efforts combined,” said John McIntyre, host of the McMethod Email Marketing Podcast. “So email works, which is why small businesses should invest in it. They’re going to get a return on the investment.”

Phil Tortoroli, an email marketing professional in the music business, echoed the thought. “Email marketing leads to more sales than social,” he said.

It can also bring in new customers. According to a McKinsey report, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.

It’s direct

Sure, you can blast messages and deals out on Facebook or Twitter, but do you know who will see them? On Facebook, brand pages show up in only around 2 to 6 percent of their fans’ News Feeds according to Ogilvy & Mather

Email, on the other hand, generally goes where it’s sent. And while not everyone uses social media, nearly every consumer in the United States is an active daily user of email.

It resonates with customers and keeps your business top of mind

An e-newsletter allows you to create a relationship with customers and put your best foot forward, especially if you demonstrate you understand what they need.

“The fundamental idea of understanding the type of market, understanding what they need, what they want, etc. — that’s the most important thing,” said McIntyre. “It’s that information that’s going to drive the copy and the offers you make and the content you put out there.”

Even a small offer in their inbox, such as a 10 percent off coupon, will keep you on your customers’ minds. Since more than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, a well-timed email may even bring someone in while they’re out running errands.

According to Nielsen, 28 percent of online shoppers subscribe to store or product emails to stay informed; 27 percent subscribe to save money.

You may already have a major head start

For many businesses, one of the biggest challenges with email marketing is building a solid distribution list. But if you’re using a point of sale system (POS), it probably includes an email marketing platform that captures customer email addresses. Voila — you have a built-in audience of interested consumers.

If you’re already sharing content on social media and/or a website, you also have a head start on the content for your emails.

Keep in mind that email marketing platforms do some of the work for you. There is no shortage of options to choose from (MailChimp, iContact, Constant Contact, Benchmark, GetResponse, Campaign Monitor and Mailjet are just a few names). Most offer a choice of design templates and analytics to help you recognize which emails are working.

Some platforms have mobile apps that let you manage your campaigns from your smartphone. Some come with autoresponders that let you send, for example, a thank you email after a purchase, or even a “Happy Birthday” email.

Once you have your list in place, it’s easy to reach customers in season, off season and whenever you have a new product or offer to announce — or your sales need a boost.

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