Are you collecting email addresses? You should

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One of the most overlooked marketing opportunities for small business today is the email newsletter. Bloggers, gurus, large retailers all use email marketing to reach and interact with their audiences.

While not quite as effective as the early days of email marketing (90+ percentage were opened about 10 years ago), email newsletters are still a great marketing value.

First and foremost, this is not spam, or “offer only” emails. The true email marketing expert knows that providing valuable tips or other information in email newsletters without always asking for a sale is the very best way to take advantage.

Here are some actionable tips for maximizing your email marketing.

  1. Always be collecting addresses. The life blood of email marketing is a quality list of addresses. These can be easily gained through an inquiry to current customers. “May I have your email address” at checkout is a good place to start. Ease the customer’s mind but assuring them they will not be spammed. If you are a spammer, these tips are not for you anyway.
  2. Use a reputable email service. I personally use Mailchimp for my newsletters. But there are plenty of good ones out there that will not sell your lists to spammers, etc.
  3. Be an expert. Marketing is not always about making the sale. Offer insight, advice, tips, etc. in your emails. Make them valuable to the end reader. Think about what you would like to know if you were the customer. Retailers can share ideas and images featuring their products. Professional services can offer free advice that will enrich the lives of their clients. The options are endless.
  4. When to make a pitch. Most digital marketing experts will tell you that a good ratio of “give to ask” is 20:1. That is 20 things of value for every pitch for a sale. This could be 20 newsletters of valuable content before a pitch email. Or it could be a pitch in a single email of many ideas. Think of the email as a relationship-building conversation. Do you like it when someone tries to sell you something right out of the gate? Neither does your customer.

The proper use of email marketing can be a Godsend to a small retailer. But use it wisely. “With great power comes great responsibility.”