Small business owners are revving their motors to win big in 2012. Many are ready to push the pedal to the metal to achieve their goals and objectives for the year. For many small business decision makers, this includes retaining and growing the business. A recent Zoomerang survey, which polled more than 1,000 small business leaders, found that 60% of respondents plan to concentrate on customer growth in 2012, 38% say they will work on customer retention, and 21% will focus their efforts on communications, marketing and public relations.
While setting goals is commendable, implementing the right solutions to drive results can be bewildering. Communicating your value can be expensive, time consuming and complicated. The exception is email marketing: Email marketing is an effective way to drive success for all three of the surveyed objectives without the hassle and added cost. Used to its full potential, an email marketing program enables small businesses to strengthen customer relationships and drive sales by connecting with customers quickly, simply and affordably.
Following the suggested route below, the road to meeting your 2012 resolutions should be a straight path to meeting success this year.
Map Your Route
Having a fresh calendar in hand doesn’t mean you must start from scratch on your 2012 path to success. If you used an email marketing service with reporting tools last year, start planning by analyzing your 2011 email reports: These offer valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t.
Generally, email campaigns are used for either informational purposes (such as a newsletter that describes upcoming events) or promotional purposes (such as coupons for discounts on purchases). A good email service includes reports that show which emails were opened. It also offers insight into which links were clicked, which subject headers resulted in the highest (and lowest) open rates, and any emails that caused ‘unsubscribe’ responses. You can use this data to rank the most successful email marketing campaigns for reuse, recycling and retrofitting.
Know Where You’re Going
Organizing your email contact lists based on 2011 responses allows you to develop optimized email campaigns that deliver targeted, relevant messages to the right person at the right time.
Segmenting helps you build relationships with your most loyal customers. Personalize campaigns to loyal customers in order to keep them up-to-date on your latest deals and offers. For example, you can include a loyalty promotion such as free shipping or advance notice of an upcoming discount. Recipients will appreciate special treatment, which conveys how much you value their business.
Recycle, Renew And Reuse Content
Retaining and growing the business is a high priority for small companies but it can be a time-consuming endeavor. To maximize the success of your email marketing program, you will need to devise new campaigns and promotions while building from what you’ve already done. This cannot be stressed enough: If a tactic got your email subscribers’ motors running, there’s no reason to toss it out. Find a way to re-incorporate your most successful campaigns during 2012.
When small businesses endeavor to concentrate on communications, marketing and public relations, this often entails adding new communications channels. In addition to email marketing, this could include using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social communities to increase brand awareness. The good news is that the content developed for email campaigns can be repurposed for these outlets.
Planes, Trains And Automobiles
As you make your 2012 goals ― such as using an email marketing program to increase campaigns by 10% and subscribers by 15% ― be sure to plan how you are going to measure your achievements. Set attainable targets and milestones, and check that you’re in drive, not reverse, with each step.
As your email marketing program progresses, you should watch each tactic’s movement toward success. You can do this with an email service that allows you to review campaign statistics then add, edit and segment contacts into a list, even while you’re on the go. A mobile app for your email marketing program is a very useful tool if you’re a mobile warrior, a frequent flyer or someone who prefers to navigate through statistics and TV stations at the same time.
Cheers to steering a straight course to success this year.
Paul Turnbull is the Product Manager for Campaigner, responsible for product design and providing an easy-to-use email marketing solution for small and medium businesses. Turnbull can be reached at email@example.com.