Why Use Email for your Business, Charity or School
Despite the introduction of GDPR across the EU and the immediate reduction in emails hitting mailboxes, it is clear why you should use email - it remains a cost-effective way to reach your existing and future customers.
Most people still check their emails on a regular basis, and enjoy receiving content that keeps them informed, shares offers, helps them learn, makes them laugh, think and certainly anything that they think is worth sharing. GDPR means that recipients of emails are more aware of the fact that they can opt out of emails, and that when they opted-in, any emails must meet the definition of what they signed up to receive.
Before we start - a warning on using customer data
Our very first advice is around this permission - please do make sure that you are sending communications that relate to the permissions you have received. If you don't have permission to communicate with someone, just don't do it. If you do, make sure you send them something that relates to what they signed up for - contriving reasons to email on different topics leaves your customers or prospects wanting to leave, doubting your credibility, and aside from potential fines, could turn out to be counter-productive.
So, what are the reasons to use Email?
A Cost Effective Way to deliver Personalised Messages
Depending on the service you use, and the volumes you deliver, email is a cost-effective way to deliver communications. Only SMS messaging is read more than email, yet, emails can offer a rich experience, with images, videos, sound, great words, awesome offers or news, and can be designed in almost any way imaginable.
Better still, emails can be delivered either en masse with some personalisation (which means you can at least put it to Fred or Doris, or Mr or Mrs Smith, and sign off with someone they know), or with some major personalisation using the data you may collect - some examples might be that you know that Joe likes to read news about bicycles and airplanes, whilst Joan likes to read news about boats and cars. Or, you might know that David bought some products recently, and would be interested in similar products, or that Dawn was considering holidays recently, and you'd like to send information about those to help her make an informed decision about her booking. By building groups (otherwise known as segments), you can deliver interesting emails to the right people in the right way, which in turn might help you convert to business.
Keep in touch and grow your relationships
Email is an excellent way to keep in touch with customers, prospects, suppliers, supporters, fundraisers, donors and so much more. You can share news about your company, or charity, about ideas that might excite them, changes, products and services of interest, or maybe something that you think would inspire them in their day to day lives.
Finding the message to share is all important, but it is proven that a well crafted message to people can genuinely change how they perceive you, and the more constantly you deliver great communications, the more likely they are to want to work with you, to recommend you, to fund-raise or volunteer for you, to deliver work for you or more.
Build the profile of your business, and showcase your expertise
Much like sharing excellent communications, sending relevant emails that showcase people just what you can do really do raise your profile or let people know that you do more than what they signed up to receive. A great example is a marketing company - so many times, customers join and receive work that meets their needs of that day -it might be a website, a mobile app, some email marketing (well we had to squeeze in that we do awesome email marketing!), or search or social marketing.
Research constantly shows that most people need to see a message several times before it actually registers or sinks in (this is unless they have a new need for something), so if you have a product or service that you really think someone would benefit from, letting them know more than once that you offer this, maybe with some great examples really will help you get that message across.
Equally, it has also been shown that some customers look elsewhere for a product or service without even realising that the company that they do business with (and more likely love dealing with) actually deliver it.
So, if you can share more information about what you offer, and on what you have done for others, you are more likely to build more business.
Generate leads and sales
We guess that this one is more obvious. You can use email to share updates and news, but so many companies or charities send emails with details of offers or specific products or services that they know will more likely be interesting to the recipients.
How many times do you get emails outlining ideas for bank holiday weekends, religious holidays, summer holidays? They might include days out, days in doing DIY, ways you can volunteer or raise money, ways you can part with your hard earned cash. Maybe they include discounts, maybe they include time bound offers, or limited runs, or something they know you have bought before, and are now thinking of buying it again.
Either way, well targeted emails (and we mean the right audience with the right messages) really do offer a very efficient way to drive absolute leads or sales right to your door
Build a profile and measure, measure, measure
So, we have learned that we can cost-effectively deliver timely messages that can inform, inspire, engage and sell. Already email is great part of a marketing mix for you.
But how about a mega reason? Email can allow you to see whether people open an email, whether they click on and read an article of interest, whether they go and buy a product or service, and if they forward the email to someone. You can also tell how long they read the email, how many times it was read (you would be surprised to learn that many people return to read emails many many times).
This information is invaluable. It can help you be informed about whether people are engaged with you (or not - for example, someone who doesn't read your emails may be thinking of leaving, although they may also just be busy), it can inform about what topics they would be interested in and so much more.
You can also track information about when it is optimal to send emails (although we do have much advice about this if you want to ask and learn more), what terminology or imagery might drive calls to action, and you can even undertake tests (often called split or A/B or multivariant testing) where different mails are sent out so you can see which ones drive better responses.
So, as you can see, the information you can gather from email really does add an extra dimension to all of the normal reasons, and delivered in the right way, email marketing can make a genuine difference to your business.