Small and medium-size businesses face many challenges when trying to market and reach out to customers. Budgets may not be large enough to support the writers and editors needed for content marketing or advertising. Yet there’s one tactic SMBs can always turn to: email.

Today we’re going to discuss why email is an SMB’s secret weapon and tips on how you can use email marketing to raise brand awareness and rally your customers.

Flexibility

Emails can be used for sharing many things about your business. You can send a monthly newsletter with content around your business and industry. You can email an announcement for your latest product or service. For seasonal promotions, who else would benefit more from a notification about promotions than your established customers?

Of course, the first step is understanding how you can add value through email to your customers. Consider the common problems your customers often face or the questions they most often ask. If you run a small cafe, would you like to highlight seasonal drink specials? If you run a small accounting practice, would your clients benefit from knowing about commonly overlooked deductions? From here, you can identify the content type most relevant to send.

Getting Personal

You can tailor your emails to give a personal feel (we’re sure you don’t like “spammy” emails, why would you do the same for your customers?). In fact, SMBs are more likely to get face time with potential customers with email than social media. This is because emails are sent directly to an email address, so they can be personalized. Big brands with thousands of followers may benefit from social media campaigns, but SMBs will do much better with that personal touch.

Establishing Authority

Emails also give you the chance to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Newsletters can include tips related to your products or service or highlight a recent client. You could even curate relevant news in your industry to show you keep up on the latest trends.

It’s important to remember that many SMBs aren’t savvy when it comes to marketing. They rely on online reviews, word-of-mouth, and years of being in business to establish their credibility. If you’re looking to focus on local or regional customers, the competition drops even more. By sending emails with information that current and potential customers value, you can easily separate your business from the rest.

Inexpensive

Perhaps most important for you, emails can be written and sent out with little cost. Write the emails yourself or have an interested employee take over. If you’re brand new to email writing, there are a variety of B2B and B2C email marketing examples you can follow.

Managing email campaigns also doesn’t have to cost much. Free or low-cost email marketing solutions like MailChimp, Benchmark, and VerticalResponse allow businesses to send thousands of emails per month. While there are certain features, such as MailChimp’s spam filter detection and higher monthly quotas, that require upgrades, there’s certainly enough with any of these services to get started.

Taking Emails to the Next Level

After you’ve sent out your first email campaign, take the time to learn about email metrics like open and response rates. Research benchmarks for companies within your industry and for your size. If your email only saw an open rate of 2% when the industry average is 5%, what can you adjust for your next campaign? Perhaps your email subject line wasn’t right. If nobody responded to your email’s free consultation offer, maybe you didn’t have a clear call-to-action.

Once your email campaigns are going to a larger audience or you want to expand the breadth of your email marketing, you should consider looking into hiring an agency with email marketing experience to help you scale. An agency will be a great help, especially if you are looking into designing drip campaigns or marketing automation.

Email marketing is a science and art. For SMBs looking to get the most out of any type of marketing effort, email is your best best. After all, we don’t call it a secret weapon for no reason.

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