Often times when being approached by small businesses designers have a lot of ability to make a lot of strategic decisions in the benefit of their client. For numerous reasons, this can be both good and bad. A recurring trend I have seen when working with these clients is that often times they are so focused on obtaining new business that they almost completely forget about their existing customers/clients/patients. Usually it takes some persuasion, but the idea of building an email marketing campaign to leverage existing customers is adopted by the small business.
WHY EMAIL IS APPROPRIATE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Email has to be the most appropriate tactic I can think of for most small businesses. Not only is insanely cheap to send, but it completely compliments the business model of most small businesses. Here are a few examples:
- Most small businesses already do direct mail. Because most small businesses will send special offers, promotions, and reminders to their customers they are already in the habit of developing these materials. The transition from a printed piece to email should not only be easy for these clients, it should also save them money in printing and postage.
- Email is can be tracked and is easily segmented. Many small business owners will be sold once you show them all the information they will receive once they send their first campaign. Information such as open rates, links clicked, and
- Email is inexpensive. The pennies it costs to send an email as compared to the printing and postage expenses of direct mail can easily be made to fit within the budgets of small businesses. Not to mention that emails are usually designed as templates with content being added by the client. This means that after the initial invest their costs are far less.
- Email marketing is convenient and a relatively small commitment. For a small business, it is very convenient to update and send email without ever having to install any software or call up the designer. Additionally email campaigns can be successful with only 4 sent per year. This lack of commitment means small businesses can manage the work without having to hire new staff or add significant responsibilities to current staff.
- Small businesses already are used to providing great service. Most small businesses remain competitive by offering superior service as compared to their larger competitors. A side effect of this is that their communications are often seen as more genuine. People are more willing to hand over their email address to a small business they have grown to trust rather than a large corporation.
TIPS FOR HELPING CLIENTS BUILD SUCCESSFUL EMAIL CAMPAIGNS
- Have them add a sign-up form to their website. A large percentage of visitors to small business websites are often made up of loyal customers, who would be more than happy to sign up to receive news updates and special offers.
- Discuss the difference between opt-in and SPAM. Small business owners may not be as technically savvy as you and me, make sure to explain to them what constitutes SPAM. Explaining how people who choose to opt-in to their program are generally more responsive and the costs avoided by only sending to interested individuals usually sells this in right away.
- Develop an email strategy that supports current marketing initiatives. Small businesses usually participate in or hold local events, think about how email can be used to help promote these initiatives or how they can be used to find new subscribers. Also consider how current promotional/sales events can be used to obtain new subscribers.
- Provide documentation on the email delivery system. Because small businesses may lack a large number of computer savvy individuals, in-depth documentation should be provided to ensure that you are not receiving a ton of support calls, and that the program is not abandoned.
In addition to the design of the initial template, the recurring revenue of email campaign mark-ups can be a great way to secure some steady passive income. The great thing about email programs is that as your revenue grows so does the client’s. Email is something that allows you to provide a great service, help a business become more profitable, and make a living all at the same time, something all projects should hope to achieve.