With the continued reach of social media advertising, business owners tend to overlook the power and effectiveness of email marketing. Many small businesses are focusing primarily on increasing their social media following rather than developing growth in their email marketing, which is limiting their full marketing potential and effectiveness. Not to say that you shouldn’t put significant effort into social media advertising, we are huge proponents of social media for small businesses, but rather you should put just as much effort into creating and implementing an effective email marketing strategy.
Why would I invest so much time and energy in email marketing?
“When used properly, [email marketing] can leverage sales, generate new customers and help in their retention. While social networks first need to engage people so that they can become customer[s]” (DAN). In other words, email marketing is one of the best ways to turn leads into customers, customers into frequent customers, and frequent customers into loyal customers or brand advocates. In comparison, social media campaigns have to first engage the audience within a minimal time frame, and then communicate any call to action. With email marketing campaigns, the email is the only thing on the customers’ screen when they open it, so there is more time for the audience to engage with the campaign. Also, when customers open an email, they are already expecting a call to action in there, so it is much easier to convince them to click through it.
Targeting and Messaging: Social Media vs. Email Marketing
Social media campaigns can be highly effective because they allow you to be personal with your customers through updates, announcements, promotions, and replying to comments/direct messages. But each social media platform has restraints. Twitter only allows you to utilize 280 characters to convey your message to your audience. Instagram is primarily built for pictures or a one minute video, accompanied by concise captions. Facebook is more lenient, but massive priority is given to unique video and photo content, which can take significant time and energy to put together. LinkedIn is a great platform for professionals to connect, not so much to promote products and services. By being a platform that is more expressive and lenient than social media, email excels because it is a hybrid of each of these platforms.
You can minimize your text, but you don’t have to because there is no character limit. You can attach a video that is as long as you’d like. You can include professional or personal language throughout your email campaigns so that you connect with the receiver and make them feel more comfortable to reach back out to you. When you write a post for one of your social media channels, you address your audience as a whole, as audience segmentation doesn’t play a part in social media. But by using your email marketing software correctly, it allows you to address people individually by name, split certain topics only for certain members of your list, and eventually arrive privately in their personal inbox” (Inboundrocket.co). Last, but certainly not least, you can customize your email to be more appealing and attention grabbing to the subscriber by using images and banners that you would otherwise use in social media campaigns. With all of these factors combined, plus great knowledge of your target audience, you can easily establish an impressive conversion rate and strong relationships with your customers.
You have your customers’ information in Mailchimp, now what?
This is the most critical stage of your email campaign process. Based on your knowledge of your customers, you will now have to segment your customers into smaller groups that share common characteristics. “The importance of market segmentation is that it allows a business to precisely reach a consumer with specific needs and wants. In the long run, this benefits the company because they are able to use their corporate resources more effectively and make better strategic marketing decisions” (study.com). When you perform segmentation to your email subscribers list, you’re still keeping that personal feeling between you and the group of consumers because you cater to each group based on that common characteristic they share. You make a campaign that speaks to them in a way that only that group can relate to and will appreciate, just like with social media platforms.
A few good recommended segmentation samples for repair shops include duration (how long they have been your customers), type (did they come in for service, purchase a new phone, or buy accessories), and location, which is especially helpful if you are expanding to online operations or multiple physical locations.
Thabiso is the marketing intern for ServiceCentral. He is a helping hand for SEO and market research projects related to both ServiceManager and RepairQ. Outside the office, you can find Thabiso chasing a ball around the soccer field, strumming random notes on a beat up guitar, or devouring a Braum’s vanilla ice cream cone in 3 minutes.