Email remains one of the most powerful and valuable ways to reach existing customers and attract new ones. It’s no surprise, given that 92% of Internet users regularly check and send email, with the average person checking email up to 15 times per day. And, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, checking email is now easier, faster and more convenient. In short, not taking advantage of the potential of email marketing could be a huge missed opportunity for small local businesses.
So, why is email so good for small businesses?
1. It’s best for customer acquisition and conversion
Studies show that email marketing yields far better conversion rates (getting a person to buy a product, book an appointment, etc.) than social media and other forms of communication. That means that, while time and effort spent on social media are certainly not wasted, a small business’s marketing strategy is incomplete without a strong email component.
2. It gives businesses more control
Email offers businesses the opportunity to send the right messages to the right groups of contacts, at the right time. If you use an email marketing service like Constant Contact, for instance, you’re able to have multiple lists, and choose to only send certain emails to certain lists of customers. For example, you can send a different message to the group of folks who signed up to be on your mailing list at a recent event, than you do to the group of customers whose emails you got through a contest you held last year.
Compare that with social media, where it is difficult and time-consuming to pinpoint specific segments of followers/fans with which to share a particular post or ad, and you’ll notice just how much more control over the conversation email gives businesses.
Aside from the many options for what messages to send to whom, there is also more creative control involved in the way emails look and feel. Email marketing services often offer many templates, making it easy to choose the perfect design and color scheme for an email’s intended audience and goal.
3. It’s more personal
Email, by its private, individual nature, allows for more personal interactions than social media (where a large percentage of interactions are not only publicly visible, but also open to public comment). By sending messages directly to customers’ inboxes, which only they can view and to which only they can respond, small businesses have the opportunity to create a more personal connection with customers. Combine that with the ability to target messages to specific subsets of customers, and the rewards can be huge for small local businesses.
4. It’s direct and it’s everywhere customers are
As we mentioned above, most people check email every day (or multiple times a day), and over 90% of them use their smartphones to do it. That means that emails often have much higher visibility than social media posts and other forms of communication.
For instance, whether a customer sees a Facebook post or Tweet depends in part on whether he or she is on that social network at or around the time you share it. There may be large numbers of customers who don’t see your posts on social media because they aren’t on frequently enough, aren’t on when you post and have busy feeds (so your message doesn’t get displayed to them), or any number of other reasons.
But email doesn’t disappear from an Inbox if it isn’t read right away. It’s also easy to find, should the recipient not have time to read it through the first time and want to return to book or buy at a later time.
5. It’s easier to gauge results
A business can more easily tell the success (open rates, click rates, conversion rates) of an email than of a Facebook post, tweet or other social media endeavor. Email marketing tools track those metrics for the business, in fairly straightforward and clear ways. Businesses can quickly determine not only if their emails are reaching their target audience, but if those emails are effective in helping them reach their goals (more bookings, higher sales, etc.).
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