Marketing through email

Many small businesses make the mistake of seeing email as simply a way to communicate with business contacts; however email has the potential to offer a very cost effective, easily measurable method of marketing products or services to customers.
The more traditional methods of direct marketing – take printed flyers, for example – can cost significant amounts of money and make a big dent in what is likely to be a very tight marketing budget. It’s also very difficult to gauge the success of this type of direct marketing but one thing is fairly certain: when a leaflet drops through the letterbox, the majority of people are likely to put it straight into the bin.
This is where email marketing comes in but although it is a much more cost effective marketing medium, you must make sure that the people you email have given their permission. To start creating an email marketing contact list, you need to start collecting email addresses at every available opportunity. There a number of ways you can do this such as encouraging customers to sign up through your website, making sure your web address is at the bottom of all of your literature (including your email footer) and asking every contact you meet for their business card. Remember that each and every contact you make – whether in person or via the internet – is a potential email contact.
Whilst there’s no denying that building up a decent email marketing list can take time, the results can be well worth it – don’t forget that by agreeing to be on your list, all those who have given their address have expressed a direct interest specifically in your business, products or services.
So once you’ve got your email list, what should you send out? An email newsletter is a great way to grab the attention of your readers but it’s important to make every second count. This where the email subject header bar comes in: be clear from the start about what you’re offering and provide your readers with an incentive to read on; for example something like ‘click here for a discount’ usually works well.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that that a printed ad you’ve designed to go in your local paper will work well when sent by email and this is unlikely to translate well through email. An email marketing agency will be able to offer further advice and it can be worth using an agency to design an ad, specially developed for targeting customers through email.
Even if you end up using the services of a digital marketing agency, the cost of email marketing remains low in comparison to other methods of marketing. The money you need to set up an email marketing database can be measured in terms of the price of buying any special software you need, along with the time you spend setting everything up. Costs going forward will depend largely on the frequency of your email marketing mailings: email newsletters need to be issued on a regular basis to be effective and any special sales or discount promotions should be slotted in around your regular sales strategy. However, don’t send out emails too frequently as you’ll run the risk of people opting-out if they feel as though they are being inundated.
Marketing emails cost anywhere from £4 to over £10 per thousand emails and the final cost will depend on the amount of data you send and whether you use an agency. If you plan to contact a small number of email subscribers, using an online email marketing service is likely to be the most cost effective option.

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