By Kim Strazisar, Kim Strazisar Communications, LLC
As a green industry business, email marketing may be the tool you need to help you stand out from the crowd – or at the very least, get more customers to open your emails.
Whether you are a retail center trying to reach DIYers, a nursery building relationships with trade show contacts, or a landscaper renewing annual contracts, email marketing is a great way to get your message to your target audience.
Email Marketing Defined
How is email marketing different than just sending an email to a customer?
Basically, email marketing is using email to sell products and/or services to a list of targeted contacts. It is the same as direct mail – letters, postcards, and other promotional items – except messages are sent electronically instead of through the postal service.
At its worst, email marketing is spam emails proclaiming “deals” or filling your inbox with multiple messages – just like junk mail.
At its best, email marketing is informational and tailored to target audiences that turns contacts into customers, and keeps customers coming back.
Email marketing can be an inexpensive and efficient way to reach customers.
Email Is Still Relevant
According to recent user studies, email still dominates the marketing scene, even in our social media age:
· 94% of Internet users use email, while only 61% use social media.
· 75% of adult online users say that email marketing is their preferred marketing method.
· 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.
What Can Email Marketing Do For You?
Email marketing can help you build relationships with contacts, stand apart from your competition, and increase sales.
· Contact Reach: 99% of consumers check their email every day, according to market research. An email marketing campaign can help you reach the contacts you meet at trade shows, sales calls, and education events, and help turn them into customers.
· Customer Retention: 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention, based on results from a recent study. Email marketing helps you develop and maintain a relationship with your customer. If you send quality, helpful information, your customer is more likely to continue to buy from – and be loyal to – you.
· Support Website and Social Media Efforts: You can promote and include links to your website and social media accounts in your emails to drive up website traffic and social engagement.
· Increase Sales: Regular, quality communication with your customers, and increased website or social media activity, all equates to more sales.
Benefits of Using Email Marketing
The following benefits makes email marketing a good choice for busy green industry businesses that need to focus in the field and keep office time efficient:
· Easy to Use and Manage: Email marketing subscription programs make it easy to design, send and track emails – even if you are not a tech-savvy person.
· ROI: Email generates $38 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 3,800% ROI, according to the 2015 National Client Email Report, making it one of the most effective options available.
Customization: With email marketing, you can:
Tailor messages and promotions to certain groups of customers or even individuals. Offering customer birthday discounts or reminding customers to renew seasonal contracts are examples.
Target emails by demographics (business size, location, etc.).
Offer "opt-in" features – you won’t bother folks who don’t want your email, but still reach those who do.
· Tracking: Email marketing services offer reporting and analytics capability. Meaning, it can help you can figure out what plants are selling, what website links are popular, which customers are opening your emails, and which customers are not. Having this data easily accessible saves you time and money handling sales and customer service.
Ultimately, email marketing is a good tool you can use to help build your business.
Choose an Email Marketing Provider
If you’ve determined email marketing would be a good tool for your business, the next step is choosing an email marketing service provider. These providers make it easy to build and/or import contact lists, design messages, target audiences, send emails, share on social media, and analyze results.
Each service has its own unique set of features, but just because an email marketing company is popular doesn’t always mean that it’s the best solution for your business. Your best option will depend on your team's purpose and business needs. When you choose a platform, decide if its features, ease of use, technical support and pricing are a good fit for you.
Here are five popular email marketing providers worth checking out: