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Why email marketing strategies are crucial for small and medium businesses.
4 min read
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This may sound strange, but email is basically the radio of the internet. Like radio, which has an impressively wide global reach, email permeates just about every nook and cranny of the digital world. While there are undoubtedly still some holdouts, just about everyone communicates through email to some degree. From jokes forwarded by your relatives, to newsletters from a course you signed up for in 2012 – if you’re online, you’re receiving emails.

Even compared to mighty social media, email’s reach outshines any other method of online communication. Out of everyone who can be classified as online, 95% have email accounts. Of that 95%, about 91% check their emails every day.

Unlike the constant stream on your Facebook timeline or Twitter feed, email will sit in your inbox until you finally acknowledge it. Though this doesn’t guarantee that every email will be opened, it does increase the chances of that message being seen. Rather than fighting for attention in a sea of competing information and trying to catch people at the right time, you have direct – and more permanent – access to your email’s recipient.

For marketers, this is a promising distinction. In 2015, the average open rate for marketing emails was a whopping 22%. While this might not sound like much, I say “whopping” because that 22% actually means that your message is five times more likely to be seen via email than on Facebook.

Email doesn’t die, it needs to be killed. Email sits there inside your subscriber’s inbox waiting to be acknowledged, even if it’s just to delete it, it requires of an action to end its life.

In recent years, email marketing has proven itself as one of the most effective ways to reach your audience. In 2013, 66% of online consumers made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message, which is one per cent higher than direct mailings like coupons, letters, and catalogues. You might not be surprised to hear that in 2013, 65% of 18-24 year olds made purchases influenced by an email marketing message. What might surprise you is that 71% of consumers between 45 and 54 did the same thing. Fact.

With these numbers, you’d think that everyone would have an email marketing strategy in place. Strangely, this is not the case (particularly in Atlantic Canada). While many businesses do have an email marketing platform (such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact), they’re frequently under-utilized. For small and medium sized businesses in particular, this is a missed opportunity for affordable and effective marketing.


Make it effective.


All email marketing platforms come with some personalization tools. Whether you’re adding the recipient’s name to the subject line or using dynamic data throughout the email, research shows that even the smallest amount of personalization will increase the chances of your email being read. Some research suggests that personalized subject lines alone can increase unique open rates by 26%.

77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns.


In its basic form, email segmentation makes it easy to send people content they actually care about. Nobody wants to be seen as spam, so naturally you want your content to be interesting, valuable, and engaging. So how do you figure out what type of content people want? You ask them!

When a user signs up for your emails, you can allow them to select the streams of content that are of interest to them. Not only does this help you target more effectively, but provides insight on the kind of emails your audience is interested in receiving. Even when a user clicks the dreaded “unsubscribe” link, you can give them the option to narrow the number or type of emails instead of coming off the list altogether.



As my coworkers know all too well, I’m a big proponent of testing and iteration. While there are certainly best practices you can follow as you embark on your email marketing journey, there’s a lot of value in measuring and adapting your approach. For example, even a small amount of A/B testing can go a long way. Comparisons between “open” and “click through” rates on emails with changes to the subject lines can reveal insights and guide you further down the road of making timely and relevant content for your users.


Putting your strategy in place.

As outlined in our banter on content marketing (Storytelling vs the Hard Sell), it’s important for marketers to find new ways to entertain, inform, and engage with potential and existing customers. Email marketing is a great way to build relationships, and is an ideal content marketing tool because of its ability to measure and tailor its messaging. While email marketing is often overlooked by SMEs, these are really the businesses that can reap the highest rewards from a well strategized email marketing campaign. Thoughtful consideration of content and iterative testing can give valuable insights to your client base and increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

If this sounds like something your company could benefit from (and trust me, it is) give us a shout here at Think. Whether you’re starting from scratch or revitalizing an email strategy that’s grown stale, we can get you fixed up with everything from content, layout, and design, to segmentation, personalization, and even (wait for it), automation.