Sell to Win

Why more small businesses choose email marketing over local advertising

Kaitlyn Wightman
Kaitlyn Wightman

Small businesses are increasing their email marketing campaigns and decreasing their spend on local ads. Why? Business owners across industries share why emailing is the best way to reach their customers.

Email marketing is becoming one of the most effective customer acquisition tactics. According to the latest Forrester research, 85% of U.S. retailers think so.

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And it’s not just corporate headquarters sending out emails to customers. Many small businesses are opting out of regional and local advertising to focus more on contacting their consumers directly.

Why the shift in strategy?

“It has definitely been the easiest way to reach people,” says Christine Copertino, spa director for Allegria Spa.

Christine says that email marketing makes her think differently on how to increase sales throughout the year. For a Colorado-based business, email is the best way to advertise with both local residents and traveling guests from around the nation.

“If we have a slower day and know that we want to reach local people, we can create a quick email and will get at least a few calls right away. The response is immediate.”

“Email is our prime mode of communication,” says Victor Terrazas, owner of Rejuvenate Therapeutic Massage.

Victor explains that email marketing has let him reach out to the right customer at the right time. Direct communication has let him discover the best offers to provide customers in order to keep his phone ringing.

“We rely really heavily on email because whenever I send something out, I’ll get a flood of telephone calls,” he says.

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For Ally Whittaker, public relations manager for The Local Good, email marketing provides insight that she didn’t have with local advertising.

“Email has definitely helped us with web traffic and attendance at our events. I like that after I send an email out, I can go back and see how many people clicked through on which links. That way I can tell how people are interacting with our content and click through to our website.”

Dawn Noble, owner of La Provence, agrees. Email has increased customer purchases online and brought in more customers into her store.

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“Email definitely works,” she says. “We see people clicking through to our website and we have people coming into the shop telling us that they saw our newsletter.”

The main reason why small businesses use email marketing is for the ability to reach their customers on any device. According to this report, 65% of all emails were opened either on a smart phone or tablet device.

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Just ask Carol Singer, owner of Arlington Promotional Products. With nearly two-thirds of her emails opened on smart devices, Carol claims that email marketing is the best tool to use to reach her target customers.

“We are definitely focused on mobile devices now. I want to know that if someone gets our email, no matter where they are, they can look at it. And I am almost positive that all of those people were on their phones, not in an office.”

Customers also want to receive emails from small businesses. Forrester’s latest report claims that:

  • 86% of customers want to receive promotional emails at least monthly
  • Over 60% of customers want to receive promotional emails at least weekly
  • 15% of customers want to receive promotional emails daily

Grant Galuppi, owner of Galuppi’s Restaurant, says that email marketing allows his business to stand out. Email marketing has let him build an audience who wants to hear from him without having to invest in newspaper ads, direct mail flyers and billboards.

“Five years ago, we started with about zero contacts, but we have a great database now – we have 7,000 email addresses. That means I can push out a social event or a holiday and let 7,000 people know instead of advertising it for $500 in a newspaper.”
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Most small businesses agree that email marketing strengthens their company brand. Brandon Stewart, realtor at David Griffin & Company Realtors, says that emails extend his reach when new and potential clients forward or share his messages with a friend.

“Emails are an important reinforcement of brand,” he says. “I get calls from people I’ve never met all the time. They get the newsletter, or a friend of theirs gets the newsletter, and they know I’m the person to call. It really helps establish credibility upfront.”

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