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Email Newsletters: A Small business guide

Email Marketing

Email newsletters – only for huge organisations, right? Wrong. They are the perfect marketing tool for growing a business too.

So, we asked Jill Willis, the copywriter who helps deliver our Eseyo email marketing service to give us the lowdown, and have set out her advice as a guide:

Why email newsletters will be your best marketing investment, ever.

It can be tricky explaining email newsletters to clients. Often, they are blinded by the ‘glamour’ of social media…certain that Facebook is where their fortune could be made. If only they could post better / funnier / more frequent content.

It’s kind of understandable, social media has far newer, seemingly more exciting channels, and right now is getting lots more attention. But, email has a long-standing & proven track record of a far more compelling case. Here’s what I tell Eseyo clients, see what you think:

1. Mass reach

Did you know that there are three times more email accounts than there are combined Facebook & Twitter accounts.

2. Email gets your message delivered

90% of all email gets delivered to the inbox. This is compared to only 2% of Facebook posts showing in the News Feed of fans.

(This is because Facebook HQ has set limits on how many times your business post can appear in your fan’s News Feed. FB does this because it would rather you spent money on advertising to reach your fans).

Some healthy figures –
Let’s pretend you have 10,000 Fans on Facebook. Only 200 are likely to see your post.
Now let’s say you have 10,000 email subscribers. 9,000 are likely to receive it in their inbox.

3. Email has higher conversion rates

OK, so 9,000 email subscribers (of a 10,000 database) receive your email in their inbox. But who actually reads it, and does something as a result?

The average click-through rate of an email newsletter campaign is around 3% (of total recipients). This is average though. At Eseyo we work with many small business clients who achieve average click-through rates upwards of 15% (of total recipients).

Compare this to the average click-through rate from a tweet, which is only around 0.5%.

4. Customers prefer it

Information overload means that for many people, the aim is now simplification. They prefer to keep social networks as just that, a very personal communication channel for staying in touch with family & friends.

Email has now replaced physical post as the more formal, professional communication channel. Through which people would expect, and prefer to receive information about your products and services.

Email newsletters – your next step

For a small business setting out to master email newsletters, there are 3 pillars of success for any campaign.

  • Reach the right people
    Whether starting from scratch with your database, or beginning to communicate with a long-established one. The quality of your mailing list is critical. Therefore, the first step should always be a good data tidy up.The best place to start is Excel. I advise Eseyo clients set up filters, and to segment the database into columns. Existing customers, lapsed customers, target new customers at minimum, and then adding in others where possible. Consider segmenting per service type, for example.If none of this is possible right now, then first name, surname and email address is all you’ll need to get started.Also important is that you use a professional email service provider (ESP). An ESP is a company that manages your mailing list, delivers the emails and tracks the responses. ESP service levels and prices vary a lot. Effective Email is an excellent platform, and the one we use to manage Eseyo email newsletter client accounts.
  • Make sure they open your email
    Might sound obvious, but take time to make sure that the email you are sending is of interest to the intended recipient.Crafting engaging and timely content is critical, but not easy. Even the most passionate and motivated business owner can come unstuck when faced with generating content for 24 email newsletters over a 12-month period.The key, as always, is forward planning. For clients, we design a simple content calendar, populated with company stories including product launches, anniversaries, award nominations and behind the scenes sneak peeks. Product updates and how to guides. Thank you messages, testimonials, help & support, guest blogs from partners, top ten tips, frequently asked questions and downloaded free advice. The list goes on and on.The more you can do to segment your database the better. From subject line, to the salutation, content and promotions.

    It also helps to send marketing emails regularly. For many of clients this equates to one email, every 2 weeks. But it may be more, or less, depending on your business and budget.

    Different interest groups > different content > greater relevancy = better results.

  • Prompt them to do something (buy/call/enquire etc.)
    Consider introducing offers that run for a limited time, competitions or exclusive incentives for email subscribers (free audit, delivery, product?). Give them a reason to stay on your list, click through to your website, and do business with you.Utilise the tools provided by the ESP to track which recipients have shown an interest.Perhaps 10% of your database clicked on a link providing information about a particular service. This means they are interested. Why not download this list and follow up with a friendly call?

 

In Conclusion

Email might not be the most talked about marketing channel these days, but time and time again it is proven to be the most effective.
The advice I give my Eseyo clients is this: Building an email list and sending regular, well-written email campaigns is a sensible long-term investment. It will pay off for many years to come.

 

jill-willisA bit about the author

Jill Willis is an experienced copywriter and PR professional. Working as part of the Eseyo team she delivers web landing page, blog and email newsletter content for a range of clients, helping to ensure their business story is engaging and delivers results.

 

Ready to start sending newsletters to YOUR clients?

Our email marketing service is flexible and cost effective.

Packages range from full set up and ongoing support (including email database and content planning, design & copywriting and distribution) though to DIY email hosting via our professional platform.

With prices at just 1p per email sent out, plus a campaign charge of £5. As an example, if you send out an email to your list of 850 customers this will cost you just £13.50.

Once your campaign has sent, you can log in to see a full report. Who opened the email? What did they click on? Who did they forward it to and so on.

An excellent tool for sales progression. Enabling you to follow up individually, and turn email contacts into customers.