Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses of all types and sizes. No matter how you define success, you can achieve outstanding results with email marketing while investing only a small amount of time and an even smaller amount of money.
"54% of small businesses surveyed rated e-mail as the top online promotion to drive site visitors and customers to their web sites and storefronts." Source: DMA Interactive
"I think over time we'll see small businesses adopting e-mail marketing because it has the inherent advantages of being 'faster, cheaper and easier' to execute. Coupled with the potential to target more precisely than today's solo or shared mailers, there's a real win for the small business owner." Source: Neal Polachek, senior vice president of The Kelsey Group.
So, Why Email Marketing?
Email marketing is an affordable way to stretch a tight marketing budget - and whose isn't these days? Unlike direct mail, there is virtually no production, materials or postage expense. Email marketing is 20 times more cost effective than direct mail, and can cost as little as fractions of a penny per email.
"Previously, we were sending these kinds of mailings through first-class postal mail," said Robin Parker, owner of Studio: Dance, Arts & More. "With several hundred members and prospects, that really adds up quickly. Email marketing is much less expensive than sending out postcards or flyers. We save about $4,000 just in materials and postage."
Email marketing enables you to proactively communicate with your existing customers and prospects instead of passively waiting for them to return to your Web site or storefront. It is a highly effective way to increase sales, drive site or store traffic and develop loyalty.
- Increasing sales
"In response to our first campaign, WatchZone received 100 online orders - all from a segment of 15,000 current customers," said Shavi Mahtani, CEO of WatchZone.com, a leading site for fashion and sport watches at discount prices. "The average sale was about $150 per order. We were very happy with that result. Frankly, it exceeded our expectations."
- Driving traffic
"The increase in traffic was substantial," said Travis Erickson, controller for GolfBargains.com, online "Pro Shop" for golf enthusiasts. "We've noticed that even if the recipient isn't interested in, say, our golfing irons promotion, they'll think, 'Wow, that's a great price - I wonder what else they have on sale?'"
- Building Loyalty
"We're technically not an e-business," said Robin Parker, owner of Studio: Dance, Arts & More, "but we're using email marketing to capture the names of site visitors so that we can provide them with information, news, and schedules that make their lives easier. That helps us build and retain loyal members. We believe email marketing will increase the lifetime value of our members by encouraging more frequent visits to the studio and strengthening our relationships with our members."
- Increasing sales
Email marketing generates an immediate response. The call to action is clear: "Click here to take advantage of this offer", or "to learn more about this service". Initial campaign response generally occurs within 48 hours of the time the email campaign is sent.
"Orders pour in within 24 hours after I send my newsletters," said Emitations.com CEO, Au-Co Mai. "In an economy where most companies are suffering, I can't believe that I'm actually thriving and breaking revenue goals every month."
You can easily segment your lists using a variety of criteria or interest groups so that your promotions go to the individuals most likely to respond to your offer.
"Because many of our customers are collectors, they are only interested in hearing about the newest collectible arrivals," said Lars Mohlin, President, House of Ascot, a mail order gift and collectible business. "While others are looking for promotions, the collectors often dislike receiving mail messages offering discounts. We target email campaigns to our subscribers' opt-in interest categories, this has resulted in a 40%-50% jump in revenue."
There are Web-based email marketing products for small and medium businesses. Most include professional HTML templates, list segmentation and targeting capabilities, as well as, automatic tracking and reporting. So, you are free to concentrate on your unique message.
"This is definitely something a non-techie can do," said Shavi Mahtani, CEO of WatchZone.com. "It took us about 45 minutes - start to finish - to build and compose our e-mail. And each campaign since then has taken less time to set up."
"I don't need a Webmaster or a technical person to handle my newsletters anymore," said Raphael Baekeland, general manager of Kuartos.com. "My product manager and I can do everything very easily."