Email marketing has been around for a long time. There was even a period in digital marketing history where building up your email subscription list was one of the most important things. However as time has gone on, GDPR has become a thing and we’re purging our inbox subscriptions more than ever. So, is email marketing still effective for SMEs?
There really isn’t a yes or no answer. When it comes to whether or not email marketing is still effective for SMEs there are alot of determining factors. Some you will find easy to change and control. For others, you may need a little bit of practise. Like everything in digital marketing, in order to be successful, you need to test, test and test again. After all, you really do not know a campaign’s effectiveness without at least trying first.
Timing and frequency
The timing and frequency of your emails has a massive impact on how well they’re received. Send out too many emails too often and you’ll see your unsubscribe rates soar. Send emails in the early hours of the morning on a Sunday and you’ll receive barely any interaction at all. Timing and frequency is all about finding that sweet spot. Start off by looking at your target audience your target audience. What day of the week are they most likely looking to purchase your products and/or services? What time of the day are they looking through their emails? For example if your SME is a local salad bar with regular customers who are employees of other local businesses you should tailor your mailing schedule to this. Try sending out money off emails an hour or so before lunchtime on weekdays. Or if you’re debuting a new seasonal menu offering, send it a day or two before it’s available to build up some excitement. Whatever you do, make sure you keep trying out different timings and keep an eye on your analytics.
Messaging and value
Consumer’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. So, in order to capture their attention you need to make your emails valuable to them. Firstly you need to grab their attention. A great way to do this is to write a snappy subject line or add in some personalisation. Once you’ve intrigued them to open your email you need to think about messaging. What is the customer getting from opening your email? Providing value within marketing emails doesn’t just have to mean offering promotions. It could also mean spreading an important message, answering a frequent question or just brightening their day. Think about what you want to achieve with your SME’s marketing emails before embarking on sending them.
Quality of contacts
Another important aspect to think about is the quality of your subscriber list. It is tempting to value quantity over quality when it comes to subscription lists but you’ll find this will wreak havoc on your efforts. If you haven’t gone through your list in a while we’d suggest doing a re-engagement campaign with your subscribers. Send them an email asking them to update their subscription preferences. This is not only a great way to see who wants to keep receiving your emails but also customers preferences. Use this opportunity to ask customers how often they would like to receive emails and what kind of content they prefer. If you prefer not to do this you can also go through your current list to see who is regularly engaging with your emails. If you come across subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in a while you should consider removing them or send a re-engagement email. This email could say something like “we’ve noticed you haven’t been opening your emails from us, would you like to unsubscribe?”. Whilst this seems a bit counter-productive this will help you in the long run. After all, the best email lists are full of highly engaged contacts who care about what your SME has to offer. In this case it’s better to have 100 engaged contacts than 1000 who never open your emails.
The last word…
In 2022 we’d like to think that email marketing is still effective for SMEs. Just as long as you are focusing on timings, frequencies, messaging, value and quality of contacts.