Spend too much time in the echo chamber that is social media, and you’d think email marketing is dying – nipped in the bud by sexier, more “realtime” media.
Don’t believe it.
Even in the grips of the recession, email marketing is enjoying a renaissance. And yes, “Twitter gets the press, email gets the order” is a phrase uttered by plenty of email marketers.
I’d suggest it’s true.
The ROI of email remains higher than other media channels – a reality every marketer ignores at their own peril.
And small businesses – who typically must retain customers at a higher rate than their larger competitors – find email programs indispensable.
After all, email programs still represent the single best way to keep in touch with most customers – who aren’t going to visit a blog or site every day.
I can see a day when the combined might of RSS and social media channels (like Twitter) will dent or damage email, but email remains a staple media channel among my students and client businesses.
Why? And how do I get less-than-technically-savvy clients to embrace email?
More importantly, how can you add value to your copywriting services – providing a complete “content cycle” for you small biz clients?
I know. One minute I’m talking about email, the next I’m suggesting blog software as a solution.
It makes perfect sense. Really.
Simply put, email marketing integrates beautifully with a blog – to the point that several of my non-blogging clients have installed a WordPress CMS.
Why? Because it’s a powerful, email-friendly publishing platform.
Publishing content remains a huge barrier to small businesses, who often rely on static Web sites – and sometimes-expensive, often-hard-to-reach Webmasters to update those sites.
Publishing via the simple WordPress editor is something most small business users can grasp – a process that is far faster, easier, and cheaper than paying a Webmaster.
The key is this: Each blog post offers its own unique URL, so each article can serve as its own landing page.
Today’s business-oriented emails work best when they tease several articles, giving the reader a choice of content and allowing them to jump when they wish.
By contrast, publishing complete articles in a newsletter is a bad idea; if the first story isn’t of interest to the recipient, they may not make it all the way through to the second.
Using a WordPress CMS as an article bank makes perfect sense – and it also helps my clients derive an SEO benefit from their newsletter content (which doesn’t happen when you simply send a newsletter).
A WordPress CMS also easily integrates other social media channels (like Twitter).
That’s important too.
One of my key tenants of online marketing for small businesses is this: Leveraging the same (or similar) content across multiple channels makes perfect sense for those who have better things to do than sit and “generate content” all day long.
(And yes, most small businesspeople have better things to do.)
If a small business installs WordPress solely for the purpose of intermittently publishing articles, then don’t call the installation a blog.
Instead, give it a name that isn’t weighted down by expectations of daily posts. It’s not a blog, it’s a “builder’s journal.” Or a “What’s New” page. Or a “Fresh Ideas” page.
In other words, don’t create expectations your client’s not going to meet.
Next week, I’ll offer up another of my dirty little email marketing secrets for small business – resources that make it possible for less-savvy, time-constrained small businesses to succeed with email marketing.
Keep writing (and now, consulting), Tom Chandler.