Featured Article: Email Marketing: 8 Reasons
why it is Ideal for Small Businesses
by Mark White
Email has revolutionised business communications over recent
years and has rightly earned the label of the Killer Application
of the Internet. The use of email marketing has had a similar
and profound impact for companies looking to promote their
products and services.
It has been especially powerful for small and medium sized
businesses (SMEs). Without the marketing budgets of larger
organisations, SMEs nevertheless have the same requirements
for a cost effective, successful and measurable method of
communicating with their customers. Email marketing offers
not only this but can be used in every element of the marketing
process, from building your brand, driving traffic to your
website or marketing special offers, to providing customer
service or technical support.
But just why does email marketing offer such possibilities
to small business and, indeed, organisations of all sizes?
Below are outlined 8 reasons why email marketing has to sit
right at the top of every SME's marketing activities checklist.
First and foremost, email marketing produces results! A well
designed campaign using a properly managed mailing list will
give response rates which are much higher than other direct
While there are many variables that contribute to response
rates, indications are that overall email marketing gains
a response rate about 5 times higher than direct mail. By
getting a much larger percentage of people interested in what
you are offering, immediately you are massively increasing
the number of potential sales. Added to this, the quick response
methods allow a much faster turnaround of questions and objections
thus clearing a way through to closing the sale.
Even though the unacceptable rise in Spam has had a detrimental
effect on the proper commercial use of emails in marketing,
the success levels of well run, targeted and fully compliant
campaigns using full opt-in lists continue to advance in leaps
and bounds. Effectively, whatever your goal, email marketing
delivers in a way that few , if any, direct marketing methods
The more targeted your marketing message is, the more likely
it is to be successful. Email marketing provides the means
of customising each message which is sent out, so that the
information, promotion or offer can be individually personalised
Effectively, using targeted HTML emails gives you the opportunity
to quickly and easily tailor the message to directly respond
to each prospect's own needs and interests. Results consistently
also show that the more you can personalise your messages,
the higher your response and conversion rates will be.
In many respects, a well run email campaign makes the concept
of "one to one marketing" available to all, because
of the way that it is perfectly suited to segmentation and
personalisation. Whereas printed mailers are created, printed
and fixed, with email marketing you remain in control of the
process for longer giving you more flexibility both in the
overall approach and offering.
3. Economic and Cost Effective
Email marketing eliminates the significant time and expense
of full graphic design, printing, postage, handling and so
on which is associated with printing and processing traditional
direct mail campaigns. Yet with graphic html emails, you are
able to create the same imagery and provoke the same responses
with the added benefit of having follow up information instantly
available via your website.
Perhaps just as importantly, with the correct maintenance
of an email list, the cost benefits increase as does the ROI
through the closer relationship established with the recipients.
Coupled with the higher response rates that email marketing
attracts, you therefore get more positive responses, more
quickly and at a lower unit cost! Win - win situation!
When using email marketing, you can track the results of
your campaign in real time thus providing you with instant
feedback on its success. This allows you to respond to developments
as they happen and to follow up while the campaign is still
For each message, you can see whether:
- it was received successfully;
- it was opened and read;
- the recipient used the links in it to reach your site.
There are two immediate benefits of this level of information:
firstly, it puts you in a position to be able to make changes
to a campaign already underway to improve its response rate;
secondly, when sending out follow up messages, you have the
possibility to segment your mail list according to the action
taken on receipt of the initial one. This allows you to respond
immediately to any issues which arise and to complete the
feedback loop quickly and effectively.
Moving forward, you also have a complete record of those
elements and links which worked best for you and those which
require changes to improve their performance. The experiences
taken from the campaign can then be applied to future campaigns
with a high degree of accuracy.
As the adage goes, "If you can't measure it, then you
can't manage it" and measuring the success of your marketing
spend is more important today than ever. To make best use
of your budget, it is essential to keep track of not only
the costs but also the results and the revenue that the campaign
specifically generates. This will allow you to focus your
activities with the most appropriate methods in future.
In addition to tracking the recipients' reaction to the email,
you can also follow their subsequent path through your website,
with the appropriate software. This allows excellent visibility
as to the success of the landing page and the anticipated
route through to the purchase or sign-up page, according to
your campaign's objectives.
Together, this information is invaluable when planning future
campaigns or being able to precisely calculate the costs and
sales generated by any email marketing activity that you undertake.
Hopefully, the ROI (Return on Investment) you achieve will
be as good as the campaigns run by companies which have reported
ROI rates 40 times higher than those achieved with direct
To achieve the best possible response rates, it is common
practice to send any intended piece of marketing material
to sample groups to test its effectiveness before starting
the main campaign. With traditional direct marketing, this
process can be time consuming and costly.
However, with email marketing, this process is fast and effective
with results available almost immediately, thanks to the instant
measuring of the results. Additionally, as there is no printed
material involved, the turnaround for any changes in layout
or wording required as a result can be incorporated into the
main mailing quickly and easily.
The speed at which business happens is constantly increasing.
Email marketing allows you not only to keep pace with these
changes but stay ahead of them, not only in terms of the speed
of response to the campaign but also the creation of the campaign
Firstly, the "Call to Action" can be immediate
and ideally handled through the website. When you read a compelling
offer in an email you can respond using the links in the message
itself, usually taking you to a specially created page with
additional information and recommendations. Responding to
a direct mail piece, on the other hand, requires a much more
active response, such as completing and sending off a form
or even just picking up the phone. Just as importantly, the
responses start to come back immediately! On average, 80%
of the responses happen within 3 days as opposed to the weeks
which is more normal for traditional direct mail.
Secondly, the creation and distribution of the email campaign
is also much quicker. Carefully constructing, producing and
sending a good html email which is going to bring the top
level results, need only take a matter of days (or indeed
hours if you are working with a supportive partner!) rather
than weeks for a printed mailer.
8. Flexible & Adaptable
Email marketing is adaptable enough to support your business
in many different ways and can help to achieve a variety of
different goals. While email marketing is often considered
stronger when you are looking to maintain customer relationships
rather than forge new ones, it is in fact able to fulfil a
variety of different purposes for your business. Some of these
- Increase the number of visitors to your website
- Attract new clients, leads or registrations
- Build stronger relationships with existing clients
- Provide improved levels of company, product or service
- Build brand awareness
These goals can be achieved through the use of emails to
distribute different items, each offering different opportunities
for strengthening the relationship with the company's customers.
Some of the more common ones include:
- Sales promotions / vouchers
- Account statements
- Company Newsletters
- Press Releases
- Product Announcements
Email marketing is in itself an excellent method of communicating
and distributing information and an essential part of an integrated
marketing strategy. Like all marketing methods, it is most
influential when used in conjunction with other media with
the result that the sum of the parts being more powerful than
the individual parts themselves.
With the use of RSS feeds and blogs gaining greater acceptance
as corporate communications media, there will undoubtedly
prophets of doom announcing the imminent demise of the use
of email marketing as a tool for the future. The astute marketer
will, however, develop these up and coming channels alongside
their email marketing program and so be ideally placed to
offer our customers the information they require by the method
About the Author
"Emarketing" Mark White is an emarketing specialist
working primarily with small and medium sized companies in
the UK. For help with Search Engine Marketing, Email Marketing,
Business Blogging and online business development, visit Rosetta
Alba Emarketing Services or his blog at eMarketingMark.com
Email Marketing Tools
Below, we have listed email marketing tools we believe
will help you design and execute successfull email
Dynamic Mail Communicator
- All-In-One email marketing and management
tool that will help you:
Build and manage
permission based email lists
and unsubscribe emain addresses
Remove bounce backs
merge, count and retrieve email addresses
from a file
Emails in Minutes
emails (Hi Jane instead Hi Customer)
with your logo, images and colours
Launch and Schedule
your Email Campaigns
Schedule the mailings
to be sent at the specific day and time
Send regular Follow
for instance, you can set your follow
up letters to be sent on day 3, day
7, day 18 etc.
software - No contracts and No monthly fees.
Learn how Dynamic Mail Communicator
can help to send targeted, personalized and professionally
Dynamic Email Validator
- simple but powerful tool that can verify
and clean up your mailing list.
This will help you to avoid bounce backs/undelivered
emails. Keeping your mailing list clean and
up-to-date is essential and it avoids ISP's
mail servers blocking or barring your email
domain because of you repeatedly sending emails
to non-existing account holders.
Dynamic Email Validator
is free when you have no more than 500 email
addresses. If you have more than 500 subscribers
you can still buy it at a fairly reasonable
price. Also, it's included in Dynamic Mail
Communicator (Professional Edition only) so
you get a complete email marketing set.
Dynamic SiteStats - analytics
solution to measure how email campaings
have impacted on your sales
After sending your campaing, you should
be asking a question: How many people clicked
on the link(s) within the message and took
an action you wanted them to take? That
can be: how many people ordered your product/service,
how many requested additional information,
how many donwloaded your whitelist, etc?
Dynamic Site Stats will help you measure
effectivness of your campaigns, reporting
on how many people clicked-through your
email offers/newsletters and how many took
an action. This will enable finetune and
tailor your emails in the future.
However, Dynamic SiteStats offer
much more than just email campaign tracking
- it's a complete website analytic solution
tracking where your visitors come from,
what keywords they search for, how they
navigate through your website. This will
help you to reduce the bounce rate of your
website (bounce rate is the percentage of
website visitors who arrive at the website
(Enter), then leave without getting any
deeper into the site (Bounce).
Learn how you can track your online marketing
5 Tips to Write
Keep it short and simple
There is a
big difference between writing in hard copy, such as a book
or magazine, and writing on the Web. On the Internet people
are more likely to read about what you have to write about
if your paragraphs and pages are short and broken down into
simple easy to read sections.
So let your first message be brief -- two or three short
paragraphs. Let the recipient request further information
via a Web page or a follow-up email message. Use the second
stage to do a more in-depth job of selling.
Words you should use and words you shouldn't
Write your message as a one-to-one communication. Pretend
you're sitting down and talk to a friend. Focus on the reader,
not yourself: try to use the words "you," "your"
and "yours" frequently. On the other hand you should
avoid over-use of such words as "free," "save"
and "money," -- and stay away completely from such
hype-tinged words as "fantastic," "unbelievable,"
"absolutely the best," etc.
At all costs, stay away from the look and feel of spam. Although
the first part of your write-up has to grab the readers' attention,
you should avoid screaming headlines, message in all capital
letters, multiple exclamation points, or deceptive "gotcha"
And don't forget to check the spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Take the time to edit your message for errors. If you're not
a good speller, get help from someone who is.
Put the emphasis on benefits
People want to understand clearly and quickly how your product
is going to benefit them. They want to know the key product
benefits, they want compelling reasons to believe the promise
being made, and they want information about the most valuable
features. Your message should be about the customer's needs
and how your product will fulfil those needs, not about how
wonderful you are and how great your product is (in your own
Make your offer exclusive
Tailor your promotion so that it's exclusive to the people
who receive it, then give them a strong reason to act immediately.
Once you've grabbed their attention and you have provided
the information (benefits), its time to make subscribers desire
your product or service: you should let them know that this
offer is only being made available to them and that it will
only be available for a limited time.
Call to action
The last part of your message should spur readers to action.
Be clear in your mind about what you want the reader to do
after reading your message. What do you want? A reply by email?
A visit to your Web site? An order called in to your toll-free
number? Let the user know what response you want, and let
them know in a compelling, urgent, benefits-oriented way.
Include complete contact information, and triple-check it