Why an email list is important for small businesses

When you first start your small business, probably the last thing on your mind is setting up an email subscription list. You’re more about getting your business set up, selling, and getting to grips with basic marketing and social media. But setting up your own email list is crucial to a small business and can seriously help you grow your business.

Social media is great and is a growing medium for small businesses. But, as lots of us have realised over the past year, the algorithm can make it difficult to keep consistency and, at the end of the day, you don’t own your social media account, and it can be closed at any point without any consultation with you.

If you have your own email subscription list of customers, it belongs to you. You own it, you run it and it isn’t going to suddenly disappear overnight, or a new algorithm suddenly do something you weren’t expecting.

Some stats

Email marketing is totally worth your time and investment because, as well as being cost-effective, it gives you the power to reach your customers in a place that most of them visit every day – their email inbox.

Let’s look at a few stats…

According to MarketingSherpa, 91% of adults like to receive promotional emails from the companies they buy from. And, according to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business get new customers.

Why use email marketing?

If you’re a small business, you probably have social media accounts. You post daily, targeting your ideal client. But your posts will be aimed at a large number of people. Email marketing is aimed at a specific group of people – those that choose to opt-in to your email, so you can make your emails much more personal and targeted. You know you’re talking to an audience that are already on board with what you offer.

You can also further segment that audience and send more targeted information based on their personal preferences. And email is more personal, you can write to your audience in a more friendly and personal way, so they really feel valued. It makes for excellent customer service!

We all get email spam every day, but if a person has opted into your email, they’ve given you permission to email them. This makes it legal, and they know what they’re signing up for. Now, I’ve signed up to email lists before and within a few months, have unsubscribed. The reason? Because they bombard me with constant emails, trying to sell me their latest ‘whatever.’ And not just one or two emails along the same subject line but loads – every day – for weeks! I hate this, so it’s not something I advise! I have a subscription for my business, but I only send a couple of emails when someone signs up – then I do a monthly email newsletter. To me, that’s enough…you may or may not agree!

Brand Recognition

Email marketing is great for your brand. Each email can be branded with your colours or images. But not just that, you can give your subscribers valuable content, helping them solve their problems – be it around marketing (like I do) or around a product or service you offer. If you are consistent with your content, your subscribers will begin to recognise your emails and even start to look forward to receiving them.

You can also use your email to get feedback on your products or services. You can ask them if they like the content you send, or if there is something else they’d like to see – or would they like to learn something different from you?

This will not only make your subscribers feel important and make them feel that you care, but also will give you new ideas for content and possibly even ideas for new products or services.

Budget-friendly

Email marketing is budget friendly. You can start your email using a site such as MailChimp or Mailerlite. Both have free versions for up to 1000 or so subscribers, which is a perfect start for your business, with no financial outlay.

The bigger businesses can afford to spend time and money on advertising space, but when you first start out with your small business, you won’t have that luxury. Email marketing is the perfect choice to get you in front of a genuinely interested audience.

The other good thing is that once you have set up your initial subscription email and follow up emails, it can be automated, so you just need to have the link on your social media pages or website with the sign up and your hosting site does everything else for you. It does require a bit of time commitment to set it up, but it is worth it. Then you can write your monthly, weekly, or whatever email when you have time and schedule it to go out when you want it to.

The other good thing about a hosting site is that you have the relevant stats to help you. You can see who opens your emails, and whether they click on any links.

Traffic to your website

As well as being a great way to connect to your customers, email marketing is also great for getting increased traffic to your website. You can include links to your blog posts, and of course to your website, where you sell your products or services.

Be seen as an expert in your field

Email marketing can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Your customers have subscribed because they want to hear from you. They like the content you send them. For example, if your audience love what you do on social media, they will sign up for your email because they’ll want to hear more.

You can use your email content to establish yourself as an expert. You can ask questions and use the email to answer them, giving solutions to all your subscribers, who may have the same problem or question.

You can talk in more detail about what you do and offer and show more clearly the solutions that you provide.

Perks

Everyone likes something for nothing! And we all like to belong to a group and feel that we are valued or special. I belong to quite a few groups on social media, but there are only a few I feel really connected to. Your customers want to feel that connection too, so you can use your email to build relationships and build excitement around what you do.

You can offer exclusive deals to your subscribers – perks of belonging to your ‘group.’ We all love a freebie or a special deal, so make sure that you thank you subscribers by offering them something unique that they won’t get from other areas – such as your social media pages.

For example, when people sign up to my email list, I give them a free guide to help with their marketing. Once they sign up, they are then given a special code, which gives them access to a hidden part of my website, where they can get lots of freebie downloads, checklists, workbooks – all aimed to help them with their marketing.

If you are a product-based business, you could offer your subscribers a 20% off voucher or a free gift in return for signing up.

This kind of offer is called a lead magnet – it attracts customers to sign up and could then be potential regular customers.

Test the water

Another benefit is that you can test the water for new products, services or even just ideas for new products or services. You can ask for an opinion or ask what really interests your audience.

It could be that you are going to have a stall at a big event, or you are running an online event. You can ask your email subscribers what they think…and you can use your email to advertise these events so that your audience know where you will be and can come along and meet you in person…be it via Zoom or face to face.

Conclusion

Email marketing reaches your audience no matter where they are in the world – it goes to their personal devices. So, no matter what time zone they’re in, your email will reach your audience 24/7.

It’s easy to set up and manage, and you will be reaching your ideal audience because they WANT to be contacted.

You own your email list, and it won’t be affected by algorithms.

It’s personal, so you can segment your audience, and send them more detailed information. It’s much more personal than social media.

And it helps you sell your products or services and encourage traffic to your website, blog, or online shop.

What are you waiting for? Make this year, the year you set up yours and start reaching your ideal clients on a more personal basis.