Many small businesses have found email marketing is alive and well and a great way to thrive and survive in any economy. Some email providers, such as Constant Contact, who offer a discount of up to 25 percent for MO SBTDC clients, also allow you to personalize all your communications — look, feel, content and all.
Says Alan "Patric" McClure, founder and chocolatier-in-chief for Patric Chocolate, Columbia, Mo., and a MO SBTDC client, "No matter how tasty our Patric Chocolate bars are, unless people hear about them daily, we might as well not even exist ... Facebook, Twitter and a monthly newsletter have all increased brand and product awareness. The increases in sales haven't hurt either!"
While incorporating a monthly product into your marketing mix may seem daunting, it's probably easier and cheaper than you think. Here are six reasons for you to consider email marketing:
- Customer relationships and referrals. People buy from people they know, like and trust. Email marketing can help you become the expert in your field and help feed your customers trusted information so they believe in and trust you. Stronger customer relationships mean more referrals.
Customers don't care about how much you know but how much you care. Email marketing is a great way to nurture those customer relationships and show that you care.
"No matter how tasty our Patric Chocolate bars are, unless people hear about them daily, we might as well not even exist ... Facebook, Twitter and a monthly newsletter have all increased brand and product awareness. The increases in sales haven't hurt either!"
- Alan "Patric" McClure, founder and chocolatier-in-chief for Patric Chocolate, Columbia
- Affordable professionalism. You probably don't have a big budget for marketing and need to find a way to market affordably and professionally. "Affordable" and "professional" are two concepts that don't usually go together in the marketing world, but with email marketing you can create professional looking, customizable and affordable marketing campaigns.
Consider: For a direct mail piece you have the costs of design, paper, print, addressing and postage. That can easily run into the thousands. Email marketing can cost a fraction of a penny per email; proponents say email marketing's response rate is five times greater than direct mail and 25 times that of banner ads or printed advertising.
Email marketing can include newsletters, preferred customer promotions, sale notifications, new service announcements, new product announcements, how-to tips, videos, testimonials, event invitations, holiday greetings and much, much more.
- Keep 'em coming back! You know the phrase, "Out of sight, out of mind?" Well, if your customers don't see you they forget about you. It's more expensive to get new customers than keep current ones, and email marketing campaigns help you keep in touch with existing customers. Email marketing campaigns help remind, teach, engage, thank and reward customers so they will keep thinking about you, buying from you and referring you.
- Word of mouth on steroids. Word of mouth is probably the best marketing tool ever invented. Think of email marketing as electronic word of mouth — word of mouth on steroids. If the content you send is valued by your customers they might share it with friends, family, associates or customers. Fill your content with promotions, coupons, specials or tips they can share. Remember: It's not about you but what's in it for them. Give your customers a reason to read and share it.
- Call to action. Tell your customers what you want them to do. Really. Have at least three "calls to action" when creating email marketing campaigns: Come see us at our new location, Visit our website, Call now, Register today, Print this, Tell your friends, Refer us, Buy now, Check out our new products, Follow us on Facebook and so forth. Customers can't read your mind. You need to tell them what you want them to do.
- Measure success. Email marketing services allow you to get personal and find out what your customers really want. You can view reports after sending your email campaigns, see who opened your emails, when they opened them, what links they clicked on, who opted out, what the best time or worst time is to send emails, who shared your email via email or social sites and more.
Go to ConstantContact.com/sbdc for more information. As a SBTDC client you may be eligible for up to a 25 percent discount.
To learn more about the company, go to ConstantContact.com/learning-center.
For personalized help for marketing your business, contact your local MO SBTDC office. To find the center closest to you, go to www.missouribusiness.net/sbtdc/centers.asp.
This story was featured in the July 2012 newsletter