Small business owners perform the most delicate balancing acts every day by competing with larger businesses without any of the scaled advantages those have.
Email marketing is one strategy that helps small businesses to even the playing field.
Anyone, even a small business owner, can reap the benefits of email marketing – all they need is an email account, internet access, and a few smart principles to make it happen.
What can email marketing do for your small business?
The benefits are big. Return on investment in email marketing averages between $36-45 for every dollar spent, putting it way ahead of other marketing channels.
But how do you leverage email marketing as a small business owner? The answer: productivity tools.
For example, G Suite (now known as Google Workspace) is a one-stop shop that allows small business email marketing to happen at the click of a mouse.
With an add-on or two – like YAMM’s free Mail Merge for Gmail – email marketing can turn your business into a time-saving, budget-conscious marketing powerhouse (or something like that).
Intrigued? Here’s how:
7 ways to level up your small business email marketing using only G-Suite
1. Know what you’re trying to accomplish
If you were driving and needed to get to an unfamiliar place, you’d use a map. Why then would you try to create an email marketing campaign without knowing what you wanted to accomplish from it?
This is when you go back to basics with pen and paper. You need to determine your goals – are you:
- Trying to build awareness of your brand?
- Looking to improve your current email marketing strategy?
- Aiming to increase sales?
- Attempting email marketing for the first time and building your strategy from scratch?
- Trying to become an authority in your industry?
You could be trying to accomplish one of these goals or a combination of them. Each one requires a different approach and you’ll only know which one you need by completing your pen and paper exercise.
For instance, if you’re just starting, you’d want to encourage people to sign up for your email list. You can use Google Forms to create an embedded sign-up form right on your website.
You can then import those contacts directly into Google Sheets to develop your email contact list.
2. Build your list/Update your list regularly
As an owner, when you delve into small business email marketing, you need to recognize these are not the same.
We’ve given you some tips above to help you create your initial list, but how do you maintain it as it grows? Or, an even better question is, why should you?
Keeping your list up to date helps you stay on Google’s good side. Too many incorrect emails on your list result in bounced emails.
If your bulk mailer attempts to send too many emails that bounce, it can cause Gmail to blacklist you. Your legitimate emails may be sent to your recipients’ spam folder instead of their inboxes.
Gmail add-ons like YAMM help you track which emails bounce. This allows you to remove them from your Google Sheet list.
Another maintenance tip we suggest is allowing your recipients to unsubscribe from your list.
This way, everyone’s happy. It creates less work for you as you are not physically removing contacts yourself. It also creates an easy exit for your recipient if they want to get off your list.
3. Choose your add-ons wisely
In addition to the many things you can already do with G-Suite productivity tools (Gmail, Google Sheets, Google Docs, etc.), you can boost their functionality with add-ons.
An add-on is a script that works inside the productivity tool to give it greater capabilities.
For instance, a mail merge tool added to your Google Sheets can help you painlessly add the unsubscribe button spoken about in the previous point.
Mail merge tools will also give you a selection of email templates. You can also automate when you send out your email.
Some will have these services available for free within limits, others will offer them at a cost.
As a business owner, you’ll need to decide which is right for your marketing goals and budget.
4. Create the best content you can
Content is king for a reason. Great content is shareable, with the spin-off effect of attracting more eyes to – and sales – to your business.
Bad content, on the other hand, causes people to unsubscribe from your emails or set their email filters to send them to their junk folder.
There are different types of email marketing content depending on what you want to do:
- Promotional content for your new products/services
- Content that is informational or shares news about your company
- Content that is meant to build rapport/community with your recipients
- Content that is meant to create new leads or increase sales
The important thing is that your content should provide value to your recipients. There are a few ways of doing this.
The first thing you should do is identify and break down your target demographics. Google Forms makes this easy to do because it collects this information.
You can then set up separate Google Sheets for every customer segment you have. We’ll talk about why this is important next.
5. Segment your users
When doing email marketing, you need to apply something similar to the 80/20 rule to your customers. The larger portion of your revenue will likely come from a small group of customers.
You’ll want to know who these people are, so you direct most of your marketing and sales efforts toward them. You can do this by extending them special offers, discounts, or creating exclusive events for them.
The point is that you won’t know who they are unless they are segmented.
Similarly, you’ll want to know those who rarely open your emails or click on them once opened. Each of these groups can get different types of targeted emails. These can be aimed at getting them to unsubscribe or to increase their interest in your business.
With YAMM, you can apply special filters to your Google Sheets. The filter button is marked off in red.
This way, you can select which of your customers a particular email goes to.
6. Measure your results
This is a fundamental step to the success of your marketing campaign. It lets you see whether your small business email marketing is meeting your originally set goals.
Using add-ons like YAMM, along with your G-Suite tools, allows you to do this in a few ways.
Once it’s added to your Google Sheet, you can turn email tracking on or off.
With YAMM, you also see all the recipients that opened or clicked on your email in real-time on your Google Sheet.
Having metrics like the open, click, bounce, and unsubscribe rate help you adjust your campaigns. You can improve them over time and tweak them so they appeal to the right people and eliminate what’s not working.
7. Repeat these steps as necessary
Small business email marketing isn’t static. Your business must respond to internal and external pressures, and your campaigns must evolve to reflect this.
Your business’ demographics may change. Or, you may need to adjust your product or service offering. For example, COVID 19 forced business owners in the hospitality industry to find innovative ways to host no-contact events.
Email marketing helped many of them adapt by letting their customers know what the new protocols were. It also acclimatized them to the concept of virtual events.
A special effort may also have been made to create content to sell customers the idea that they could have as much fun at home as they would at a crowded, live event.
Business owners would have had to reassess their business goals for this shift. They would have had to identify early adopters on their email list who would also attend online events.
Email marketing is worth the effort
Email marketing’s ROI makes it something you’d want to explore as a small business owner. What’s more, is that it doesn’t have to become a time-consuming expense.
Productivity tools like G Suite/Google Workspace help you collect and organize your customer information. Combined with a versatile mail merge tool like YAMM, you have a cost-effective way to build email marketing campaigns.
You can send bulk emails, select attractive email templates, automate sending times for maximum results, track campaigns, and record critical metrics for your business's success. Finding out what YAMM can do for your small business is as simple as visiting their website to learn more about their product offerings.