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10 Reasons Your Business Should Use Email Marketing

Email marketing has been with us longer than our favourite social networks, yet not every business embraces it. This is particularly the case when it comes to small business, many of whom don’t consider it, even when they’ve amassed a considerable database over a period of time?

Why exactly is this?

In recent years there has been a push to market your business online because it’s measurable and more affordable than traditional media.  In doing so people think of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or another network or forum of their choice.  Is that really where ALL of your customers are though?

Even if all of your target customers fit into the 25-34 year old age group, the largest sector of Facebook users in Ireland according to is this really the only way to communicate with them?

The answer is most definitely NO!

So, as a big fan of e-marketing here are ten reasons why your businesses should embrace email marketing;

  1. It’s cheap! We all know that social networking is not really free – after all your hours have a value too, but email marketing is incredibly cheap and very often software is FREE if you have a database of less than 2,000. Where you need to spend, you can frequently choose between pay as you go credits or monthly plans to suit your business and budget.
  2. You can personalise it – no matter how clever the social network, it’s almost impossible to reasonably personalise your message, not to mention the fact that there are many variables you cannot control such as facebook edgerank , whether they’re an active tweeter or whether your target is actually even online.  With email you can craft a message to arrive directly into a person’s inbox which addresses them specifically.
  3. Segmentation  – you can deliver different messages to a variety of customers tailored to their individual needs. Your clients are not all alike and if your target market is quite broad you can segment to suit based on age, sex, location, spend – depending on how clever you’ve been in collecting information – complying with data protection regulations of course!
  4. Shelf life is longer than a social media update – it remains in an inbox until the recipient either opens or deletes, although most people will tend to open within the first 48 hours.
  5. You’re master of the design.  All of the major programmes come with a variety of templates to get you started and if there isn’t one to suit, you can generally have one customised for very little.  Some of the email platforms will pull through your website’s branding so if you decide to create your own template you’ll have a uniform look.  And you don’t have to worry about the number of characters either!
  6. Statistics – click rates, open rates, bounces, subscribers, unsubscribers, social integration, activity on-site – you can view all of this and more.  While you can view some metrics in social media, with email marketing you can drill right down to an individual client and establish what they looked at – ideal for future marketing.
  7. It’s highly portable – as we spend more time on tablets, smartphones and generally away from the desktop, you can offer your subscribers the option to view a text only version of the email so that their data usage doesn’t soar when they look at your latest news.
  8. You can build relationships – you can send a welcome email to new subscribers, wish them a happy birthday or give them a sneak peek of a new product or sale before you announce it publicly on the web.  It’s branding directly into an inbox as even if a recipient doesn’t open it there’s a very high possibility they’ll have seen your name and/or subject line at the very least.
  9. Customer feedback – in a public forum people may be wary of sharing a comment publicly, particularly if the issue is personal or price sensitive.  Encouraging your customers to share feedback through the use of surveys or polls is an effective means of finding out what your customer really thinks.
  10. It’s social media friendly – the right content is ripe for social media sharing extending your reach beyond customers who may not be on your database, or who may not even be aware of your existence.

There are many other reasons to use email marketing, just as there are many points to consider in marketing your brand effectively through email.

If you’ve taken on board the above and still aren’t quite sure if it’s for you, sign up to an email programme today – just about every one of these offer a free trial period.  Test it, check out the demo videos and if you’re not sure, talk to somebody can help. You won’t look back!

Debbie McDonnell is the owner of who work with SMEs across a range of sectors in Social Media, Digital Marketing & Traditional Marketing. She has worked with major brands on and offline, is a Graduate of both The Marketing Institute of Ireland and The Digital Marketing Institute and has over 20 years professional experience.

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  • Hi Debbie, great post and yes e-marketing can be a potent tool, however crafting your message is ultimately where e-mail marketing lives or dies for me?  

  • Thanks Niall, the message can take a bit of practice but there’s a fit for everybody.  Generally it takes more effort when you’re a service provider, but a product can be sold with one image, a great price and a simple subject line – I’ve had open rates of up to 50% (almost 50,000 people!) on mails like this. It’s just a new task to get used to if you don’t already do it, but it delivers.

  • Hi Debbie, I started my digital marketing career in email marketing and it’s an activity that yields results every time. Why? Because it’s email and EVERYBODY has an mailbox and reads them.

    However, it’s not always the easiest marketing tool to master (considering spam filters, junk mail, images not downloaded initally).

    I do recommend adding it to the mix and carrying out A/B testing with varying creatives – this gives you an opportunity to gauge what works against what doesn’t. Mailchimp has this option built in.

    I would also say that you should carry this across to social media by linking to the web version of your newsletter. Plus adding an email sign up to your Facebook account like on my box here(

    From your points above – stats and different purpose emails (liek Welcome) are fantasic and definately worthwhile. Great advice!

    For any scepical business owners reading, I was in a meeting with a highly successful business owner today who gains a huge amount of bookings after each monthly e-newsletter, so they do work (I swear).

  • Paul

    Personally I don’t like getting email that is trying to market a service, I’m sure I am not alone in this opinion.

    Does it work, yes, but how many people burn you because your cluttering up their email inbox?

    I’d like to see a statistic on that.

    Paul Lesieur

  • John

    I did email marketing for about 6 months last year, 2x/month. Initially, it was well received. After about 3 or 4 months, I got some unfavorable responses from some longtime remodel clients. I agree with Paul, I don’t like my email cluttered with marketing. I’ve went back to personal letters (sometimes email). Better response, warmer response. 

    John Zito

  •  Hi John,

    Can I just say that any marketing activity needs to have a value to the audience. It’s easy to fall into routine marketing and updating/emailing/advertising because you always do every two weeks. Once you start to become bored of your own marketing efforts, others do too.
    Now I’m not saying that that was what happened in your case, just making a point that marketing messages must be fresh and valuable. You’ll find that people will read and engage with what interests them and will switch off when it doesn’t interest them anymore or when you are pushing the hard sell.

  • Nomarketing

    There it a great amount of anoyance when it comes to email marketing or junk mail, i am completely turned off by this type of marketing to the point that i have my junk mail deleted before it reaches me, if it is not from my contacts. I started doing this when about 95% of the mail was junk. I got so upset that some one decided to invade my privacy to that extent that i will not do business with any company that sends me this type of unwanted emails. I will not even give them the binefit ot the doubts. It was not so a few years ago because the problem was not as bad but today i get the same emails ten times a day every day if i dont have them deleted at the door. In short i dont agree that it is a good idea because people are very turned off by the freedom to annoy.

  • John

    Hi Christina,

    It may work for products and different services, but in my case, my offer is a highly personalized service. So when you craft a message for only 10 or 20 or 80 different people, there still some subtext that it’s impersonal. For instance, your response to my comment was personal and tailored to the need of the conversation. That’s how I have to tailor my  offers. Email marketing is permission marketing, in that you’ve been invited into a fairly private place, even though it’s just cyberspace.
    I get between 80-125 emails/day, some are blogs I’ve signed up for, some are actual correspondence, and some are offers. It has to have a pretty enticing subject line for me to open it. If it’s from vendors that I regularly use and have a personal relationship with the rep, I open it and scan it briefly, then delete. Most I don’t open.

    My email blasts were done by an agency (even though I have a marketing minor), and it was their recommendation to do them 2x/month. When I became dissatisfied, we went back to 1x/month. After I had about 20% opt outs, I stopped altogether.

  • Thanks for the comment Anton.  I don’t think email ever really disappeared, I think it just lost its way a little amongst the rush to get out there and explore social media. 12% is the figure I’ve seen on facebook pages too and when you run a competition and find people preferring to leave their answer on the post rather on the tab you’ve created that proves it’s really just the posts they look at. The trick in getting email marketing right is like everything else in marketing in having a plan and like in many other places, less is often more – daily deal emails are responsible for far too many an overflowing inbox!

  • Thanks for the comment Sonny, I don’t see email marketing going anywhere soon either – once it’s managed correctly and you don’t upset or bore your subscribers with emails just for the sake of it.

  • Hi John, Paul & Christina,

    Many thanks for the feedback, great to see the different viewpoints.

    I’m pretty much in agreement with Christina on all of the above as  I’m guessing we’ve both seen email marketing at its best and its worst.

    Paul – in relation to your comment in relation to a service.  It can indeed be more difficult to deliver the right message, but I have experience specifically in this area and it is very effective when the message is designed properly. 

    John – it’s disappointing when a service you’ve signed up to disappoints but my concern would be in relation to the 20%+ opt-outs.  When your email marketing is effectively managed, the activity is measured and the agency in question should have flagged the problem for you as soon as it started to climb above industry averages. Unsubscribes are the norm for all emails but after 2-3 you get a feel for what is right for the business in question. 

    Email marketing when it’s right delivers but it does rely on an element of the recipients behaviour also – rather than delete or ignore why not unsubscribe instead? Fewer emails cluttering up your inbox and a message sent directly back to the marketer who’s obviously not delivering what you signed up for?

    Christina emphasises the testing is recommended and I couldn’t agree more – test the creative, the content, the subject line, the day you send, the time of day – you’ll learn what works for your business and it’s not necessarily what your competitor is doing.

  • Hi Christina,

    Great to read your feedback.  Like you I also started my digital career with email marketing and I’m always happy all these years later to take on a new client and watch their success as their campaigns deliver.

    It would appear that there is a great deal of confusion amongst businesses using email marketing  – and consumers who appear to have encountered something of an overflowing inbox.  Personally I think the daily deal sites have created a lot of problems but users should unsubscribe (as I have) as opposed to ignoring or deleting, it doesn’t do them any favour and doesn’t upset the sender either who’ll continue to send.  However, these particular sites some of them major international companies are obviously quite happy with the response which is why they continue and perhaps proves the point that email marketing does work.

    Just last night I did a presentation on social networks and during the Q&A the topic of email marketing came up. It was a great opportunity to address some queries in relation to emails such as creating your list, permissions, data protection – areas that unfortunately appear to generate much confusion amongst the senders.  Ultimately these will of course end up with a dissatisfied recipient too.

    I think for any business getting started on email or even a business who is concerned with their performance, it’s worth talking to somebody with particular expertise who may perhaps recommend that they do more thorough testing, change the platform or even their approach.  In some cases they may have somebody simply train them, other times it may be more beneficial for them to outsource, but ultimately the investment in talking to somebody who’s seen the worst and the best of email marketing will make a big difference to their results.

  • Thanks for the feedback, can I ask a question however – why do you simply add them to junk mail as opposed to unsubscribing totally removing the problem altogether and delivering a message back to the sender that they’ve got the message wrong and have now lost you?  You need to be selective in where you provide your email address and where you receive unsolicited emails there are remedies for that in data protection legislation, which varies depending on your location.

  • Great post Debbi

  • Such a good point. I’ve been searching for vendors and came across one that I really liked. They received a bad review from another customer. But, they responded to the customer and kindly and professionally addressed any issues or concerns. Suddenly, the bad review didn’t seem so bad anymore.

  • Lacy

    Hi David! I work in Digital Marketing and am happy to provide my thoughts for you. To answer your question, I think it depends on the relationship you built with the client. If it was a great party and the hosts were pleased (perhaps they even referred to you to their friends), I would absolutely ask for a review.

    You can go back as far as 6 months with no problem if you feel that you established a strong rapport with them. I’m not sure I’d go much further than that, simply because they may state the time you worked for them in the review and readers may wonder why they haven’t rehired you since that time.

    In that email, you could even ask for additional business, but do so in a comfortable manner. Ask the host in the email how they and the children have been and mention leaving a review. Be sure to include a link to the best online site to review you on so they don’t have to search themselves. At the end you could throw in a little something like, “If you happen to know of any birthday’s coming up that you think I’d be a fit for, I’d be happy to connect with the parent.” It’s not pushy, but let’s them know you’re available and interested in performing for their friend’s, as well. Hope that helps!

  • David

    Thank you for reading and responding to my question, Lacy! This is really, really useful advice. Very appreciative.

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