Stay Top of Mind with Customers: How Email Marketing Benefits Your Small Business
by Ellen Williams, Regional Development Director, Constant Contact
You earn your customers' trust through regular contact, and the easiest way to do that is with email marketing. Learn more about why it's so important for small businesses to build, grow and use their customer contact list.
Whether you’re a bookstore, a nonproﬁt arts organization, a wine consultant, or an accountant, you need a steady stream of business, referrals, or response from the people that keep your doors open. That starts with staying in regular communication with your audience. When you build an ongoing dialogue, you increase the trust and comfort level they have with you. They look forward to hearing from you. You’ll stay top of mind with them.
As a result, they’ll become more loyal, spend more on your products and services, donate more frequently, and be more likely to refer you to their friends or colleagues.
The easiest, most effective way to build that dialogue is with email marketing. And that’s why it’s so important for small businesses to have and grow an email contact list.
Why growing your list matters
You already have an audience for your business. When you have events, people show up. When you hold a sale or introduce a new product, people are there to buy. And when you open your doors each morning, you know you won’t be spending the day alone. Your phone rings, your website gets traffic, and over time your business grows.
If you’re not giving this audience a way to stay connected with you when they’re away from your business, then you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity. Building relationships with these customers will accelerate business growth by driving action around the things you’re already doing.
Once you understand the value of your list, it’s easy to understand the importance of continuing to grow it. As your contact list grows, so does the likelihood of your target audience receiving your message. You’re expanding to reach more people who can help your business grow by becoming repeat customers and spreading the word about your business.
Continuing to actively grow your contact list allows you to keep an ongoing cycle of customers, clients, and prospects opting in to receive information from you, which means more and more opportunities to be there when they need you and more chances to grow your business from the inbox and beyond.
Doing more with your contacts
Once you have a list of contacts, you can start to think differently about how you communicate with your audience online.
Rather than standing in front of an audience with a megaphone trying to promote the things you think are most important, you can learn what your readers are actually interested in and tailor your communications to meet these interests.
By keeping track of how your contacts interact with your emails, you can learn more about who these people are, what problems they’re facing, and how you can better position your business to address their needs. From there, you can make smarter decisions about what content to provide and which contacts to provide it to.
A simple strategy for list growth
Growing your list really breaks down to two things: covering your touch points and remembering to ask. Your touch points are all of the places that people are interacting with your business—whether it’s on your website, Facebook Page, or blog; at your store, restaurant, or office; or at your events. You want to make it easy for people to join your list at each of these places. Covering your touch points will guarantee your audience will grow and won’t require much heavy lifting from you or your staff.
Then, you need to make asking people to share their email address part of your regular routine. Most of the people who walk through your door, call your business, or connect with you on sites like Facebook or Twitter will be happy to hear more about your business—all you need to do is ask!
To encourage them even further, you can provide an additional incentive for signing up or simply tell that what type of content they’ll receive after their information is added to your list.
With this simple approach, you’ll be on your way to growing your contact list and opening your business up to new opportunities in the process.
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Ellen Williams, Constant Contact Regional Development Director, New York and Southern Connecticut
Ellen has over 20 years of technology and marketing experience and has presented to over 4,000 small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Her advice on best practices help organizations understand how to build great customer relationships that inevitable grow their businesses.