Email Marketing: Can’t Live Without It

April 25, 2017

As the positive impact of online marketing and social media has grown over the past 10 years, so has the negative view of email marketing. Packed inboxes, increased spam, and unsolicited emails have contributed to the negative connotation. When used well, however, email marketing still remains a very viable online marketing tool. Small businesses and SMEs should take advantage of email opportunities for their businesses. 

Four major advantages are:

1. Transactional medium - It is important to understand that email marketing is a transactional marketing medium. Businesses use email for practically everything...simple correspondence, making inquires, sending proposals, transmitting invoices, receiving payment receipts, or confirming orders. Due to its ease of use and familiarity to both businesses and consumers, decisions made from an email solicitation can be in addition to sales or other transactions from other forms of online marketing communications.

2. Social media is not replacing email - Although social media continues to increase as a marketing channel, it is still not replacing email. Practically every business from major corporations to local retailers use some form of email marketing as a key part of their marketing strategy. So, rather than social media replacing email marketing, the two should be used together to achieve the best results. Social media can build awareness while email marketing creates transactional communications. 

3. Return on investment - Email marketing is affordable. There are numerous email systems available for a low-cost investment allowing a small business or SME to begin using email as another marketing source. Studies have shown the return on investment using email marketing can be significant. 

4. Simple and quick - With a contact list and content, email marketing is simple and quick for a business to initiate. This is perhaps one of the easiest forms of effective marketing to get started.

If a business decides to use email marketing, then the next step is deciding what type of emails to send. The following are three normal uses of email marketing:  

1. Newsletters - Although most businesses do not communicate with customers and prospects on a regular basis, an email newsletter provides an excellent opportunity to keep all contacts up to date on what the business is doing, its current offerings of products and services, or important business related information. An email newsletter keeps the business' name on everyone's mind.

The key to an effective email newsletter is finding the right balance between selling and delivering value. Providing useful content to readers builds relationships that eventually turn into sales. 

2. Automated Follow-Up - Having a defined and tested sales process is crucial for every business. In today's competitive business world, consumers expect instant responses. Since most small businesses and SMEs fail to adequately follow-up on inquires and after sale customer service, using automated email for follow-up can be a key element of a successful sales process. 

The simple end of the follow-up continuum might be an instant email reply when someone makes a website inquiry. At the more advanced end of the continuum, there might be a series of emails automatically delivered at regular intervals over a predetermined time period. The strategy is to keep potential customers continuously aware of a business' products or services as prospects move through their decision-making process. 

3. Re-engagement emails - A major goal of any business is to develop loyal, long-term customers repeating their purchasing experience. Re-engagement emails sent to customers who have already purchased products or services can have a huge effect on revenue when added to revenue from new customers. Simply staying in touch with customers or offering rewards for loyalty enhances an already existing relationship. 

Clearly, there will continue to be a place for email marketing in the foreseeable future. Modern technology makes it easy and affordable for small businesses and SMEs. Businesses not utilizing this important online marketing tool are missing a valuable source in their marketing strategy.