“Those that shy away from email marketing because of their own perception that emails are a nuisance will fall behind their competitors who have embraced it.” –Active Demand

Email marketing got a bad rep somewhere down the line and still has some business owners believing that customers, clients, and potential customers “don’t care about what we have to say” or assume that all email marketing is spammy and junk.  This perception couldn’t be farther from the truth…that is, when email marketing is used properly.

It shouldn’t be surprising that 91% of consumers check their email at least once per day on their smartphone, making it the most used functionality. (ExactTarget) Between checking work emails, personal emails, and killing time whenever we find ourselves “bored”, consumers are on their phones, on their computers, and checking email is a large part of our daily digital engagement.

Recent Studies also report that 70% of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies. (ExactTarget) and 95% of those who opt into email messages from brands find these messages somewhat or very useful. (Salesforce)  Is Email Marketing Still Important? YES! So now, the question shouldn’t be whether or not your company should be using email marketing, it should be, “how should we be using email marketing”?

At Stina Bee, our clients that use email marketing as a part of their marketing mix see greater customer retention, sales, brand awareness and loyalty built among their subscribers than those who do not use email marketing.  For those that choose not to use email marketing, one of the main reasons is due to not yet building a client list.   If you’re thinking about using email marketing, you need to take inventory of your list, then determine ways to grow it, and finally stick to a consistent plan of email nurturing.

Taking Inventory of Your List:

Do you have an existing customer list of email addresses that were given to you for the purpose of receiving information from your company?  Most companies will be surprised to discover they have an untapped resource within their walls. It’s shocking that a large percentage of companies collect email addresses and don’t use them OR only use them to provide generic, unpersonalized messages their subscribers care about.

Ask yourself a few questions and put yourself in the shoes of your customer:

  1. If I was this person, why did I sign up?  What do I want to receive?
  2. Will my email improve the reader’s day?  Will they learn something and be delighted?
  3. What calls to action can I include to take them a step further with my company and deepen our relationship?

By asking yourself these questions, you’ll have some insight into the type of emails you should be sending.  Hubspot reported that companies using email to nurture leads generate 50% more sales-ready leads and at 33% lower cost. And nurtured leads, on average, produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads.

Easy Ways to Grow Your List:

  • Provide a sign up sheet at your front counter or point of sale.
  • Always collect visitor information when exhibiting at a trade show or sponsoring an event.
  • When you collect someone’s business card, ask if they’d like to be added to your email list to receive “insert what you’re sending”.
  • Remind social media fans to join your email list through sign up apps.
  • Have a sign up form on your website.
  • Offer a giveaway, download, white paper, or webinar in exchange for an email.
  • Host a contest with your employees and staff on who can collect the most permission-based email addresses

What To Send To Your List:

At Stina Bee, we love email marketing so this is where the fun really begins!  We recommend planning 6 months to a year in advance for your email campaigns, at the least, stay a month ahead on the upcoming emails and themes.  This will save time and energy, while ensuring you don’t “skip” emails because you got too busy!

Depending on your industry and client base, the type of emails you send will be different.  Here are some typical email types that many of our clients use and find successful.

  • Company Newsletters
  • Industry Newsletters
  • Investor Newsletters
  • Survey Invitations
  • Emails with links to topical/interesting videos
  • Promotional Emails
  • Event Notifications & Invitations

Regardless of what type of email your send, there should always be a PLAN and goal with every email that goes out.  We also recommend that you make sure that it ties in and is consistent with your current marketing mix (website, handouts, social media, magazine ads). Whether or not you choose to outsource your email marketing or manage it on your own, you might find it interesting to learn that small business owners estimate that getting an extra hour in their day back from doing their own email marketing (and other activities) is worth $273/hour. (Constant Contact).

The key takeaway from this article should be that your company’s main goal with email marketing should be to strengthen and nurture the relationship with the subscriber.  If you put that first, the rest will come easy.