Emails are the lifeblood of modern communication.
They have become the de-facto go to for everything from a quick message between colleagues through to the signature on multi-million pound deals.
But with that, there is a downside. Spam emails have become an annoying part of the email ecosystem.
And with that marketing emails from companies often get grouped in that same unfortunate category.
I get it – marketing emails can be really annoying.
They are also vital to businesses.
We talk through emails, make deals through emails, grow business, close clients, provide customer service, and so much more.
Now the usual advice with email marketing is to “cut through the noise”.It’s a phrase we all know and probably use, but does it make sense?
One, you’re not a knife and two, how does one logistically “cut” a sound?
What you can do though is make your email subjects captivating, your email body attractive, and the call to action irresistible. Like a molten chocolate brownie with a dollop of ice cream…
Oh sorry, I got distracted for a minute, whoops!
So basically, thanks to the power of the internet small businesses can easily achieve success with their email marketing too.
Email Marketing is Dead – Sort Of
You will often see the phrase “email marketing is dead” plastered all over the marketing blogs and sites.
So called Marketing Gurus saying that this killed it or that killed it.
The truth is BAD email marketing is dead.
GOOD email marketing? Well, that is one of the most powerful things ever!
Because email marketing is so prevalent and widespread, best practices and expertise have come to the fore.
And with all the amazing digital tools available email marketing has never been easier to enter and develop and succeed with.
Even as a marketing team of one, you can ensure that you are reaching all the right people with a little financial investment, some patience, and a great deal of knowledge about your customers.
Email Marketing – Core Concepts
There are 4 main concepts of email marketing
- Building a list
- Designing/writing your email
- Nurturing your customer
- Maintaining momentum
Building a list
Building an email list is the first hurdle. It’s also where so many people fall down.
As a small business expect a small email list.
Because a small list means you can really get to know your clients, their needs, wants, desires, pain points, and issues to solve, you get the picture.
Now for the actual “how to” portion.
Ask them on your website, ask them on social media, ask them in person (if they’re willing to write out their email address).
Some people dress this up as “enter your email to unlock an offer/discount/content/etc” but the truth is just asking if they want to be part of it will open up opportunities.
Wherever it makes sense to ask – or whenever you have something really valuable to give away (like a discount or piece of amazing content) then do that.
Designing/writing your email
What to write and how to make it look good.
You don’t need to be Shakespeare or Picasso to have a fabulously good looking and well written email.
What you need is a bit of software and some thought and patience.
I am always talking about the importance of knowing your customer inside and out.
You need to have a clear understanding of:
- What your customer wants/needs
- How they talk and how they would respond to your email
- What you want to say in your email
Sometimes your email can just be talking about things that would interest your audience, sometimes it can be an offer on your services, and sometimes it can be a press release style update for amazing news.
Whatever you choose, by tailoring it to your customers and talking directly to them, about their needs and wants and providing solutions to their issues will provide the nurturing you need to develop them towards a sale.l
Nurturing your customer
Emails are like love letters.
You send them back and forth.
A relationship doesn’t spring into full momentum from a single letter (despite what a lot of old school salespeople would have you believe).
You should use emails to nurture and build relationships with your customers.
Let me put it this way, how many people actually like being hard sold to? Do you enjoy all the sales techniques pummeling you into submission?
Do you prefer developing trust with a person? They get to understand you, your needs, your specific wants and issues, and then provide a tailored effective suggestion?
It says more about you that you don’t always hammer offer after discount after promotion to people.
But instead, you take the time to understand their needs and who they are as people.
Using emails as another channel for consistent open communication between you as a business and them as a customer gives people a greater sense of trust in your brand.
The hardest part of all of these points is maintaining momentum.
Like so much of marketing consistency of delivery in your communication, your imagery, your personality, your brand, etc means that you need to keep that momentum going to build customer relationships.
“I’ve run out of things to talk about” would be a natural concern (and a justified one).
Luckily you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.
You can either update something you’ve spoken about previously, or inform people about changes to your business/legislation/products/services, and yes you can even throw in the odd discount or promotion if you need to.
The trick is to maintain consistency at an interval that suits you. That could be twice a week or once a month – whatever it is, pick it and stick to it.
Back to Nurture
So, why the title of this blog?
Because as a small business, you don’t have the time, expense, capital, or any of that shenanigans to mess around with.
You need to be able to build and maintain customers effectively.
That’s why when it comes to SME email marketing think of it as a long term game.
Small business thrives not on single sales but on repeat sales and therefore you should always emphasise nurturing and maintaining your email list.
It is the perfect way of developing customer service, a greater understanding of your customers, and the best way of keeping in touch (with a personal touch).