Is email old hat, just a poor second cousin to social media? Definitely not
Despite their reputation for being decidedly old school, email messaging and e-newsletters are digital tools of choice for small businesses eager to reach customers and prospects. But are email blasts and e-newsletters still viable marketing channels in the age of social media and mobile texting campaigns?
Yes, according to a survey of small business owners. Email tops the list of small business marketing tools. It was cited by 98 percent of respondents to a survey by Constant Contact, an online marketing company offering email marketing, social media marketing, online surveys, event marketing, digital storefronts and local deals tools. Social media, at 87 percent, was second on the list. When asked which marketing activities they find effective for their organization today, 83 percent of small businesses chose email marketing.
“I love the power of social media, but email is how you monetize social,” says Ron Cates, director of marketing education at Constant Contact. Far from denying the value of social, Cates believes social media and email can work well together. “We’ve seen some businesses that make their email shareable on social gain up to 60 percent in the reach of their emails,” he says.
Email Best Practices
Small businesses can use best practices to assure their email campaigns are effective.
- Set your goals. What do you want to accomplish with your e-blast? Increase awareness or attendance at a sale or special event? Drive readers to your thought leadership content? Whatever your goal, make sure the content in your blasts links back to something that supports it on your website.
- Keep a newsletter calendar. Want to do a single e-newsletter to see how it performs? Don’t! Instead, construct an editorial calendar that schedules future issues and serves as a way to archive previous editions.
- Craft a great subject line. The subject line may be key to whether your e-newsletter is opened at all. Work to make it compelling, but don’t include such terms as “sale” or “70% off.” These are flags to spam filters and may cause your future e-communications to be blocked from inboxes.
- Consider your call to action. An email message or e-newsletter should prompt the reader to do something: Download a white paper, register for a webinar, access a coupon or come in for a sale. Consider your call to action carefully, and make sure your links are clear and straightforward.
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