How Can Small Businesses Compete in the New Age of Email Marketing? 3 Ways.

How Can Small Businesses Compete in the New Age of Email Marketing? 3 Ways.

So, all I'm saying here is that email marketing has changed immensely since the first email marketing tool for small businesses was introduced way back in 1998. The only difference is that large corporations have the benefit of big marketing budgets that can afford talent and advanced marketing tools. So, how can small businesses continue to compete in the inbox? Something as simple as an automated welcome email ensures that small businesses can strike when the iron’s hot and reach new subscribers at the exact time that they’re highly engaged with a business. And it’s time small businesses embraced it. The inbox is different: Delivering engaging experiences is a lot harder when all you have to go on is a name and email address. Small businesses know their customers better than anyone, so they already have a big leg up in the personalization game. Adding polls the way McDeavitt does makes her company's emails more interactive and boosts her click-through rates to an enviable 30 percent. Options include customizable mobile-responsive email templates, contact-management and reporting tools that makes things like automation and AI simple and accessible. Ultimately, automation, AI and personalization are all trends that are accessible to any business, and will give small businesses the ability to compete -- without breaking a sweat.

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How Can Small Businesses Compete in the New Age of Email Marketing? 3 Ways.

Email marketing isn’t what it used to be. Which is not to say that it’s become any less effective. Quite the opposite, actually: Email continues to offer the best return on investment around — outperforming other digital marketing channels substantially. In fact, according to the Data & Marketing Association and Demand Metric, email has a median ROI of 122 percent.

So, all I’m saying here is that email marketing has changed immensely since the first email marketing tool for small businesses was introduced way back in 1998. Today, email newsletters are no longer a novelty, and when it comes to personal email, most of us navigate through our inboxes at lightning speed. We quickly decide which messages are worth our time and which will get trashed or ignored.

Small businesses and huge corporations alike are vying for attention in that inbox. The only difference is that large corporations have the benefit of big marketing budgets that can afford talent and advanced marketing tools.

So, how can small businesses continue to compete in the inbox? They need to embrace three emerging trends in the email marketing industry: automation, artificial Iantelligence, and personalization.

Automation leads to easy action.

Many small businesses still see automation as a dirty word. They fear automation will hurt the authenticity of their customer interactions.

But putting more faith in automation is the best way to drive action. Something as simple as an automated welcome email ensures that small businesses can strike when the iron’s hot and reach new subscribers at the exact time that they’re highly engaged with a business.

For example, gourmet coffee retailer Door County Coffee & Tea Co. uses its automated welcome email to deliver a coupon for all first-time customers — driving sales from new customers on an ongoing basis.

Similarly, when a business foregoes pen and paper sign-up sheets in favor of tablet apps and “text-to-join” tools, they’re able to add new contacts to their email lists immediately. Another benefit? More advanced automation, like triggered emails, can be the secret to effective follow-up based on audience action and behavior.

A 2014 Raab Report found that 60 percent of companies with revenues exceeding $500 million had already implemented marketing automation, but just 3 percent of small businesses with less than $5 million in revenue had actually invested in it. A lot has changed in the almost four years since, but one thing has stayed the same: Aautomation is still being underutilized by small and mid-sized businesses.

That’s not smart: Automation is like the personal assistant most business owners…

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