The Case for Email Marketing

By Jenny K. Hill

Small business owners often wear many hats: salesperson, accountant, customer service rep and marketer. Your time is precious, especially when it comes to marketing, and you want to invest it in a strategy that yields results. While it may be tempting to hop straight onto a free social media platform, your time and energy may be better spent elsewhere.

In 2016, a survey conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric found that email marketing had a median ROI more than four times higher than other marketing formats, including social media, direct mail and paid search.

Interestingly, that same year, publications also declared email’s death. Yet, we’re still receiving our fair share of emails, wanted and unwanted. But why? Because it works.

We argue that not only is email marketing “alive,” but it’s also working for businesses small and large. Here are just a few reasons why:

It’s Easy to Use

One of the most compelling arguments for email marketing is its ease of use. Many email programs offer a wide variety of templates and simple drag-and-drop features that make designs flexible and campaigns easy to program. Pull in your own text and graphics, save your favorite layout and use it time and again.

It Provides Measurable Metrics

Unsure of how your emails are performing? Popular platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp put clear and concise metrics in one place. Built-in reporting dashboards make it easy for you to view metrics like your open rate and clicks, then compare them to industry averages. This will help you quickly identify areas for improvement. Some email programs even recommend specific send times to boost your engagement.

It Creates Personal Connections

Email connects your business with an audience that wants to hear from you. Folks on your email list have already done business with you or subscribed to your newsletter, right? Segmented subscriber lists allow you to make more direct, personalized interactions and capitalize on areas of interest. Consider running a special promotion for customers who haven’t visited in awhile. If you know a subscriber has children, send them a message about a back-to-school sale. And always include names if you can. Personalized email messages alone improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%, according to The Aberdeen Group.

It’s a Useful Way to Promote Content

If you are creating content for your business’s blog, email is great way to promote and repurpose that content. When you publish a new article, send out an email with an intro to the article and get some eyes on the page. Remember, subscribers to your email list are already engaged with your brand, so why not tell them when you have something new to share? You can also use email to breathe new life into content that is older but still relevant. Recirculating this content via an email campaign can give it a traffic boost.

It’s Cost Effective

The best thing about email marketing is that it’s budget friendly. Setting up an account is often free! Mailchimp offers small businesses a list of up to 2,000 subscribers at no cost. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce even gives its members free email service through Constant Contact. With opportunities like these, what have you got to lose?

Effective Marketing Is in Your Inbox

As a small business owner, email marketing may be the most valuable tool in your in your toolbox. When resources are stretched thin, a well-crafted email campaign can generate returns for your business with minimal time and effort. Its ROI is virtually unmatched, and its potential to bring in new customers is all too often left untapped. In 2017, embrace email as part of your marketing strategy. You might be surprised by the results.


Jenny K. HIll is a partner at Papercut Interactive, a web development and digital marketing company founded in 2001. Papercut services include website audits, custom website development, search engine optimization, and digital marketing. Learn more at papercutinteractive.com.