I get a lot of replies and personal comments about the emails that I send out, both to our business owners (like you), and to our family/individual clients.
So I thought I’d offer my quick thoughts to you as to why I do this, and open our kimono a little. I’m certainly not a marketing expert, but I’ve discovered something here that really is worth sharing.
Because there’s a reason why many small business owners think email marketing doesn’t work: they haven’t been doing it right for their business.
And I don’t blame them! Many Sacramento small business owners model their email marketing strategies from big brands, or the latest newsfeed gurus or organizational leaders — without understanding the techniques behind those email marketing campaigns (or even knowing if they’re effective!). They either send out hyped-up pitchfest emails or bland “email newsletters” and expect them to bring in new and repeat business.
And they’re usually sorely disappointed.
Now, I spend my mornings, as you probably do, cranking through my inbox and tuning out the marketing junk which has little relevance to me, or my business. Sound familiar?
However, if you pay attention to those small percentage of firms and businesses who are actually doing something right with their email, you’ll see that they take a different approach. Their emails get read, they get opened — and acted upon.
So don’t just follow what the latest guru tells you without thinking it through. And I certainly include myself in that.
Because again, I should hasten to add that I have stumbled upon all of this mostly through experimentation and testing. I do not claim to be an email marketing expert. However, I also know that there are *still* too many myths out there about how to do it right…
Email Marketing Strategies That Sacramento Businesses Should Avoid
To build a long-term, successful enterprise, when you don’t close a sale, open a relationship.” -Patricia Fripp
I know that there are businesses who are doing extremely sophisticated, enterprise-level things with their email marketing. And they are most definitely worth studying.
But I prefer to live in the land of what is actually possible for a small business owner. And if you’re like me, you like things simple.
So, I suggest you start by cutting out two bad habits, rooted in some mythology about the email medium:
1) Branded headers and clean graphics make your emails look more “professional”.
So I ask you: how do you want your emails to be received? As a “professional” email — with similar content that can be otherwise found through a simple internet search?
Or as a warm, encouraging and actionable note — like one you’d receive from your neighbor down the street? Because one of those kinds of emails routinely gets deleted… the other usually doesn’t.
A graphic-laden email screams to your recipient: “You’re being marketed to.” For some reason, nonprofits in particular, often fall prey to this temptation, and the increasing ease of creating such headers within the fancy email programs makes it too easy to fall for this trap.
Don’t. As a test this week, try a “plain text” email, formatted simply and written in a style — well, I get ahead of myself. Time for myth #2…
2) Businesses and organizations must maintain a “big business” feel with their marketing communication.
This is a Big Mistake.
A) You’re not Best Buy or Amazon … and by aping these entities, you’re falling for the old half-truth that “building a brand” is the primary goal for a small business. (More about that in the future.)
B) Email is inherently relational — and when you abuse your contacts’ inbox with stuffy technical-ese or commoditized articles, you’re actually demonstrating cavalier disregard for your most important business asset: your client list.
But when you communicate with personality and interest, you’re actually building deeper relationships with your clients and prospects, and demonstrating that you can be trusted with their time … and with their wallet.
I try to do these things, though I certainly don’t always hit the mark. But there is a method behind my email madness. And now you know.
You see, I care about every aspect of your Sacramento business’ growth. Not just clean books and effective cash controls (though these are our great passion!).
So I’m simply grateful for our chance to serve you and your business — and we are dedicated to every part of its success, even the marketing part.
Feel free to forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.
Mike Ornelas, EA