A Brief History
On September 23, 1983, The MCI Mail service was launched as the first commercial email service to use the internet. Nowadays, it may look like big corporations have a bigger budget and, as a result, more marketing tactics and resources (designers, programmers, translators, etc.) to benefit from email marketing; however, small businesses can also capitalize on this communication channel due to its versatility and flexibility.
While it may take multinational companies much time to resonate with local customers, small brands can faster build close relationships with communities through more personal communication and human-like campaigns.
Let us take a look at email marketing’s 7 major characteristics that make it a powerful promotional tool for any small brand or startup.
1. Easy to get started.
You can edit basic email templates, build workflows and create contact segments without code knowledge and professional developers and marketers at your disposal. Your main task is to choose a professional ESP (email service provider) that offers functionality suitable for your particular needs. Most of them offer a free trial, so you can give each a try to make the final choice based on how well this or that system meets your expectations.
Email building at its basic also does not require tech skills. A good text copy and custom images are enough to create a campaign within a ready-made template. And with time, you will be able to optimize the design and tailor it to your company style.
An email for a company works as a business card for a person. Even a simple template with minor editing can create you a reputation of a trustworthy brand. The subscribers see you put time and effort into creating professional campaigns and presume you also put time and effort into providing professional service.
3. Informative and engaging.
Unlike social media or messengers, emails can include quite a lot of text, images, video, and different interactive elements. They provide enough space to send the necessary info and provide supportive visuals, making the message both useful and entertaining.
Having mastered the basic techniques, you will be able to move forwards and employ more advanced technologies, such as gamification or AMP, to give the receivers even more possibilities to interact with the email.
Emails are accessible from both PC and gadgets and can be stored to be opened later, for example, to use the promo-code. All emails contain an unsubscribe link (a must and an official requirement), and the subscribers who want to stop receiving from you do not have to wander through settings looking for the right option or send any requests.
What is more, you can add to your email the preference management link (advisable) and let people upgrade their interests straight from the email.
6. Customizable and personalized.
In terms of design, email templates can be created to incorporate your company elements (logo, colors, font) and raise brand awareness with every message. In terms of content, that’s way more significant, emails enable to deliver personalized offers and applicable info to people who are really interested in them at the moment, which is especially important for a small business, as a personalized approach and content relevance are its main advantage over bigger competitors.
When (and if) you decide to expand your marketing techniques, email campaigns will be easily incorporated in the new multichannel strategy. They will work well aside web pushes, mobile pushes and SMS, and create a smooth shopping experience.
How to Take Full Advantage of Email Campaigns
To make the above work for your growing business, make sure to follow these advice:
- Grow a clean subscriber list. When you only start with email marketing, the temptation to buy a list may be high, but it will not make you any good. Collecting subscribers takes time but it soon pays off as you send only to the target audience and avoid spam reports.
- Provide an easy subscribe option. Too many steps and too long procedure may scare off even the most interested users: you’d better include no more than two fields (name and email address) in the subscription form. Further, you will be able to give people chance set preferences in a subscription confirmation, welcome email and subsequent surveys.
- Stick to a schedule. B2B or B2C, people prefer to have business with those they know and trust. By sending regular campaigns (newsletters, promos, holiday offers, surveys, etc.), you establish brand awareness, raise visibility and make your brand recognizable.
Not all campaigns aim at generating instant sales. Half of them serve to keep people aware of your service and hold your company’s name top of mind. They may not need your product right now, but when in need, you’d be the first to come to mind. The subscribers received your regular campaigns, know your product range, checked some reviews and social proof and need no (or very little) investigation to make the choice.
- Analyze. Open and click rates are not the only metrics to consider; unsubscribers, spam reports, and bounces are equally important. A sudden rise of the latter tells that your contact base needs validation, and your content strategy – a revision and possibly a new approach.
To sum up, any business can benefit from email marketing, provided you follow a well-thought plan. Small companies can grow their contact base alongside the company’s own development that will help start building a loyal audience from the start. Email engagement, in its turn, will show if you’re moving in the right direction and indicate what may need fixing.
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever used email marketing for your small business? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Arnold, John. E-Mail Marketing For Dummies. For Dummies, 2011.