The concept of email marketing is not news to most small business owners. However many are still not using this tool to reach prospects and customers, whether they are unconvinced of the benefits or unsure of how to begin.
This guest column from Wendy Lowe, director of product marketing at Campaigner, gives a good overview of the benefits and some tips to incorporate email marketing into your overall strategy.
Small Businesses Use Email Marketing to Reduce Costs and Increase Profits
By Wendy Lowe
Email marketing has clearly crossed the chasm and is now a mainstream small business tool. According to Campaigner’s 2009 State of the Small Business Online Marketing Survey, conducted by Hurwitz & Associates, 46% of small businesses surveyed rely on email marketing, and 36% will be new users by the first half of 2010.
It’s no wonder small businesses are jumping on the bandwagon. Email is one of the most valuable and best performing marketing channels today. With the right email solution, it can be one of the easiest and most cost- effective ways to market a small business. Email campaigns offer a quick and affordable way to reach customers and prospects.
Email marketing costs translate into great savings
Last year the Direct Marketing Association estimated a Return on Investment (ROI) of $43 for every dollar spent on email marketing. With that level of value, all small business owners who are looking for ways to reduce business costs and be more resourceful with their marketing dollars ought to find a way to incorporate an email marketing program into their branding and sales efforts.
It doesn’t take much time, energy or financial investment to develop an email marketing program. There are no printing or postage expenses typically associated with traditional direct marketing. And depending on what email marketing solution you use, the cost may only be pennies per contact.
Add email marketing to your traditional marketing mix
With the incentive to reduce business costs, small businesses are looking for ways to shift more marketing dollars from traditional activities to web-based email campaigns and programs. The question for many is how to transition effectively. Here are three tips that some of our customers have implemented with success:
- Supplement or replace expensive and static print ads with dynamic personalized and professional email campaigns targeted at segmented customer email lists.
- Replace direct mail printing and distribution costs with interactive email marketing campaigns.
- Cut back on costly telemarketing activities and launch online informational and promotional emails.
Follow the leaders! Learn from your peers
It’s always useful to research how other small businesses are using email marketing. It can inspire you with ideas. But statistics and big ideas are one thing – nothing beats true stories.
These are from a couple of small businesses that I’ve worked with recently. They’ve actually put email marketing to the test and won with cost savings, improved efficiencies and increased profit.
Telemarketing costs cut by 15% and online sales grow with email marketing.
Prior to using email marketing, a travel company selling vacation units on a yearly subscription basis communicated with customers strictly via direct mail and telemarketing. This was proving very costly, and the ROI was not paying off. The company’s marketing and communication process was not conducive to building customer loyalty so repeat business was low. The company turned to email marketing – and a combination of email and phone for membership renewals, email marketing became their prime vehicle for enticing sales. Telemarketing activity now only kicks in when necessary to support the success of a campaign.
By using email marketing, the timeshare company reduced overall labor costs by 15%. Email has proved to be very effective for marketing loyalty programs, promoting special deals and for communicating booking details. It is also a really great way to promote last minute deals in order to fill up vacancies.
Thousands saved by replacing print advertising with email marketing.
For one independent department store local ads were its long-time marketing strategy for driving sales and store traffic. However, declining circulation and a younger local population of non newspaper-reading shoppers meant fewer people were reading their ads and visiting their store to make purchases.
The owners made a bold move – by discontinuing most of their newspaper ads and replacing them with email promotions. The company made tremendous savings on advertising costs by moving most of its marketing dollars to email promotions that cost pennies per email versus thousands of dollars for each newspaper ad placement. After switching to email marketing, sales increased dramatically. The retailer continued to segment and target lists for more effective campaigns – constantly reaching out to new customers.
Get started with email marketing today!
With the right tools, email marketing is a great way to reduce costs, strengthen customer relationships, and will also enable you to engage with prospects and increase sales. Getting started is easy to do and the ROI is well worth it!
Wendy Lowe is director of product marketing for Campaigner (www.campaigner.com), where she leads the development of email marketing solutions designed to help small businesses succeed.