Managing a small, local business is a juggling act. You work with limited resources and personnel. Still, your customers expect the same online presence, marketing, and service levels they’d receive from a multinational company.
Unfortunately, unless you started off with a large trust fund or a ton of seed money, you won’t have the marketing budget of the big guys. You’ll have to choose your channels wisely and optimize where you can to market your business effectively.
That’s not all bad news, though. In some ways, these limitations can help focus your marketing efforts and help you get creative with finding your voice.
One of local businesses' most successful marketing platforms is the email newsletter. While other platforms have come and gone, the email newsletter remains as compelling as ever.
Why an email newsletter?
An email newsletter will benefit your bottom line no matter what kind of company you run. 99% of consumers check their email daily! If you run a B2B company, you must include email newsletters in your strategy. More than 40% of B2B companies say that email marketing is the most critical component of their digital marketing strategy.
Depending on your business, you might choose to include different types of content. But, whatever you decide to include, it will be a practical part of a digital marketing strategy.
How to use email newsletters
For many local businesses, their email newsletter is an excellent way to update their customers. They use it to inform customers of changes to their website or new products launching soon.
Others know that customers enjoy receiving discounts and offers. By using marketing emails to highlight deals and special offers, businesses can train customers to open and read before relegating the emails to the trash bin.
Some businesses even use their emails to increase engagement. They post questions to their customer, directly soliciting feedback. Or maybe they link to blog articles that are gaining lots of traction, encouraging readers to get involved in the discussion.
4 tips to get the most from a newsletter
Sure, the stats are great, but what are they really telling us? Why are marketing experts sold on email marketing overall? What is it really doing for your business besides blasting out information?
If you’re still on the fence about how to optimize an email marketing campaign to do more for your business, consider these helpful tips:
1. Email consistently to establish yourself as an authority in your industry
Getting information in front of your customers consistently is crucial to any marketing strategy. Customers will naturally build an affinity towards a brand the longer they are exposed to it.
Of course, you can and should try all the various social media platforms to stay top of mind for your customers. But, you’ll be competing against every other brand and interest a customer has. Facebook’s algorithms no longer favor businesses, and it’s more complicated than ever to cut through the noise.
However, with email marketing, the customers have opted in directly. They’ve signed up and asked to receive information from you. You don’t have to fight an algorithm to be seen. You'll be seen as long as your messages aren’t winding up in the spam folder.
With an email newsletter, you can regularly stay current and in front of mind with your customers. All you have to do is make them valuable and keep on a consistent schedule. Of course, you can change when you send based on statistics, but we’ll get to that later. But try to stay regular with the number of emails you send out. Don’t spam unnecessarily, but don’t go so long that customers forget they’ve signed up for information.
2. Personalize fields and information where you can
Personalization is growing in importance for digital marketing. Customers expect it these days. If you’re sending out emails that say “valued customer,” they’ll send you straight to the spam folder.
Simply using the person’s name goes a long way to improving the reader’s experience. This is the minimum you should strive for with any email newsletter.
Depending on how much time you have and the services you use, you could take things even further. You could also segment your email lists by where people are in your sales funnel, what they’ve expressed interest in, and other details. This requires some time digging into your stats and really knowing your customers. But taking the time to send targeted emails will see your clickthrough rates and engagement numbers climb.
3. Use your analytics
We say it repeatedly, but digital marketing offers you much more information than traditional marketing campaigns. You’re never left guessing about what worked or didn’t with anything digital. The numbers are there, clear to see, for better or worse.
With a newsletter, you can gather all kinds of information by digging into the statistics, like:
Open rate: see how many people are actually clicking to open and read the email (tip: you can always test different subject lines to see if different styles get more people to open).
Bounce rate: see how many people are opening emails but not clicking through to the offer or CTA.
Clickthrough rate: see how many readers actualize and act as you intend by clicking through to the offer or page you’ve highlighted.
4. Always send with a next-step action in mind
Newsletters aren’t just passive marketing tools with information for your customers to read. The best email newsletters are crafted with a specific intention in mind. Do you want customers to visit your website? Or do you want to convert a customer who was sitting on the fence about a purchase? Each of those newsletters should be written and designed differently.
You should strive for consistency in your email marketing, and every email should have a specific next step in mind. You have your customer’s time and attention. How will you use it? Don’t waste the opportunity that’s in front of you.
Yes, it’s great to promote a new product or service. It’s even better to easily step them into the next phase of that process. The next email they read might cause your customers to immediately forget whatever you just sent. Don’t allow them to forget, hoping they’ll come back later. Make a clear call to action that’s easy to use (and tracked, of course).
Get started on your email newsletter today
Local businesses have an uphill battle in front of them. But it’s not all bad. All the expectations for different social media platforms, website SEO, etc., are opportunities to communicate different facets of your business's personality.
Knowing what to use when is half the battle. Then, it’s just doing a little bit of study and research to develop a strategy that works for your business.
Email newsletters have remained a powerful marketing tool for businesses throughout the online era. Don’t overlook them when setting up your digital marketing strategy.