Email Marketing for Small Businesses

Okay, first let’s address the elephant in the room. How many of us wake up to an inbox that’s full of sales and promotional emails? I mean, whatever happened to the friendly note from an actual person? How many of us spend the first few moments on our phone automatically deleting these emails, and not even opening them?

I have to be honest, I actually took a few weeks to unsubscribe from emails I knew I wasn’t reading. It was incredibly life changing. Okay, not really, but it did feel pretty awesome to stop getting so many unwanted emails.

As a small business owner, you might feel hesitant about launching a consistent email campaign. A lot of my clients are worried about becoming one of those businesses that are pestering their clients and being thought of as SPAM. Yikes. And I don’t blame them. As their trusted marketing professional, that’s the last thing I want for them. There are a couple of things I outline for each client, before we launch any type of email campaign.

We launch a CRM or email marketing platform that helps us keep track of your clients, what they’re interested in and what they have purchased in the past. This helps us send targeted emails to clients for things they might be interested in. For example, one of my clients is a local cleaning service here in Denver. We are going to start keeping track of any clients who have also purchased gift cards for cleaning services. We can then send targeted emails to just these clients and remind them of holidays when a cleaning gift card might be appropriate. We aren’t emailing everyone and we aren’t emailing them all the time.

We aren’t going to send an email unless we actually have something to say. I am not interested in getting a sales email three times a week for the same sale. (I’m talking to you, West Elm). One of my clients is a custom trim carpenter, and creates custom built in cabinets, entertainment centers and wine racks for their residential clients. If they happen to hear of a great wood varnish or treatment that will help prolong the life of their custom wood work, sending an email to clients who have hired them for these types of pieces is a great idea. Adding value to the lives of your clients is the best way for your clients to open your emails and even share them with their friends.

Speaking of sharing, once we’ve created targeted email lists and defined the type of content we want to send, we have to make sure that each email is shareable. Including sharing links for email and social is the best way to spread the word about your small business and share the value you are giving your current customers. If a client reads something in an email you sent, and likes it enough to share it with their friends, we have reached the holy grail of email marketing. More subscribers equals more customers. Another client I have is a financial non-profit. They send newsletters to their members to keep them educated and informed of new policies and compliance standards in their industry. By including the sharing links in their emails, they are able to share the content with non-members, ultimately increasing the awareness of this non- profit within their industry and motivating more industry professionals to join.

Email marketing takes work, careful planning and consideration in order to be effective. But with the right systems and content in place, email can grow your small businesses and effectively nurture leads to purchase.