Where Email Marketing fits into Small Business.


  • Advances in Digital Marketing abilities now are amazing, but can be overwhelming.

  • Using advanced cross-platform marketing strategies do not always fit a small businesses customer base and budget.

  • It's personalised, but not "personal", by keeping email marketing simple with a few personalised touches is still the most effective way to market.

  • Make sure the technology works for both your customer AND your business, it's all about communication.

In Digital Marketing these days we see some amazing (if not overwhelming) technology. With a multitude of options from Facebook paid ads, Instagram stories, Influencers and seeing the big brands who have large marketing departments and deep pockets using massive amounts of cross-platform, data tracking, re-marketing, automation and segmentation techniques, it’s all a bit much. So where and how do you, the SME fit in and more importantly how can you compete?

Automated & personalised email from Kogan based on my browsing habits.

Automated & personalised email from Kogan based on my browsing habits.

As a digital marketer, even I often get overwhelmed looking at all the highly data driven email campaigns from the likes of Kogan, Woolworths and Qantas, and how they know all the 'Things I might like' based on my buying or travel habits. This prompted me to ask myself. "How can I provide these things for my small business clients?"

To put it simply, I can't, well not on a small business's marketing budget at least anyway. As most of my clientele have budgets of a few hundred dollars per month and only one or two points of contact for me to work with, I can get a few cool things working well though here's why I don't and won't get too personalised for small business.

It's personalised, but not "personal".

What I mean is, when you get a completely tailored email from say Woolworths, they know what you've bought and show you the specials that you'd be interested based on your purchase habits. This is great for a massive brand as you don't expect anything personal, you don’t know anyone there, you just want specials. Now imagine if your local cafe sent you an automated email on Wednesday morning saying "Hi (your name), did you get our SMS promotion? We noticed you ate (what you ordered) on (date you were in), so we've sent a special offer to you at (home address) and hope to see you soon. - From XYZ Cafe.

That's not terrible, though it seems a little invasive and over the top for a cafe to be using this kind of personalised (and computerised) data. What keeps you going back to the cafe is their "personal" service, where the staff know your name and remember your coffee order.

But if you're thinking "I have a small business and id like some extra personalisation in my marketing!" Great! now ask yourself, Is this going to be worth your limited budget and could it alienate your customers”? Also, something like this can be very expensive as well as take a long time to gather the required data and make sure you're getting it right.

Simple and informative email for swimming pool client with calls to action.

Simple and informative email for swimming pool client with calls to action.

What would be better?

In my opinion, as far as having “cool technology” new age marketing techniques working for you, you’d be better off using a limited budget wisely to be "personal" with your customers without being too invasive.

I've been working on email campaigns with different small business' for years and the one thing that we find works are simple and effective personalisation and segmentation techniques. What’s their first name? Just use that. What do they like to hear about? Deals, New stuff, Events, etc? Then prioritise the content based on their interests and keep the rest of your content at the bottom just in case something else peaks their interest.

By constantly helping my clients segment their database keeps their customers engaged.

Another thing to do is to make it easy for the recipient to contact you in the most efficient way for EVERYONE, Facebook messenger may be easy for the customer, though during a busy day, that probably not the best way for your business.

So what should you do?

Every small business is different, having an external (unbiased) set of eyes look over everything is always a good start. If you don't have a budget to get a consultant or outsource your marketing straight away, I always suggest to ask your customers! A quick little questionnaire / survey is a good start... something easy your staff can do while finalising a transaction or phone call. A simple script below is a great place to start.

Hi (customer name), Were looking to keep you (our customers) more up to date with our (products / services / deals), and would love to know what and how you'd like to hear from us? Email, SMS, Facebook, Instagram or another way? and what would you like to hear about? our promotions, product, info, our company info, etc

If you're ready to outsource and want to know more on what help and services we can provide, please don't hesitate to contact me below!