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Why small businesses should outsource email marketing

If you think email marketing is dead, you would be wrong.

It’s still one of the most effective marketing tactics around, but doing it yourself or in-house comes with many pitfalls. 

The following article will outline the best reasons to outsource email marketing as soon as possible.

Why should I outsource email marketing?

The Return on Investment (ROI) is HIGH

First, the caveat: High-performing email marketing systems take time, resources, and energy to build. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and persistence and A/B testing are vital when it comes to email marketing.

With the right strategy, tactics, and patience, email marketing has the potential to provide an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent, according to a study conducted by Litmus.  Email marketing is a cash cow for many small business owners and can help a wide range of companies, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, start-ups, retail businesses, and other service providers.

Consider this range of outcomes based on industry: (1)

  • Media, Events, Sports, & Entertainment: $32:$1 ROI
  • Software & Technology: $36:$1 ROI
  • Marketing & PR: $42:$1 ROI
  • Retail, Ecommerce, & Consumer Goods: $45:$1 ROI

With all that money on the table, the decision to outsource is a no-brainer. That is unless you have an email marketing wizard in-house or want to dedicate hundreds of hours a year to the effort of learning and producing quality emails…

Hiring Internally is Risky

If you know you can make $36 by spending $1, why not go all in? The problem then becomes efficiency.

Sure, you can hire a marketing person for $60-80K that can probably do a good job, but it is a significant risk. What if the employee oversells their abilities on the resume? Forget 36:1 returns, you could be looking at a NEGATIVE ROI.

Outsourcing email marketing allows you to feel confident in knowing that your investment is safe. You can also choose the amount that you can afford to invest, knowing that it will pay dividends while minimizing your risk.

Outsourcing Email Marketing Example: John the Dentist

Sometimes, an example is the best way to really show how this can work. 

John the Dentist needs more customers as he’s seen some of his numbers dip after moving to a new office. He does not do email marketing, but we learn the following:

  • He already has an email database containing 150 former customers and 100 current customers.
  • A new or returning customer is worth about $1,400 for his business. We’ll call this their customer lifetime value (CLV).

After a consultation, Perception Marketing develops a strategy to attract new customers using email marketing. We also want to grow the email list for even better returns down the road. Here are the next steps:

  1. First, we utilize the current emails, specifically the former customer list, and set up an automated drip campaign to win them back. Through these efforts, we win back 50 former customers on the year.
  2. Next, we outline a goal to gather an additional 1,000 new emails in 12 months by using a gamified website popup containing a special offer. Let’s say the special offer is a $200 credit to use towards any service, with conditions (aggressive, but effective).
  3. Then we develop additional automation actions to convert the new emails into new customers with our great offer and concise messaging.
  4. Lastly, we stay top of mind by sending two unique emails each month to remind them about all our great services.
KPI Metrics Values
New Customers
253
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
$1,200*
Expenses
$8,400
Revenue
$303,600
Profit
$295,200
Return on Investment (ROI)
3,514%**

Based on this example, our goal is to attract 253 customers to John’s practice using email marketing. 

The setup and marketing work will cost $8,400, but the cost is justified with an estimated return on investment of 3,514%.

KPI Table Details:

* Customer Lifetime Value is noted above as $1,400, but we subtracted the offer cost of $200 per customer, lowering the total CLV to $1,200.

** Roughly the percentage equivalent of $36:$1

Connect on a Deeper Level, even if for just a Few Seconds…

When you post on social media, there is so much competition for a limited amount of people’s attention. According to one recent study (2), in the past few years, the attention span of the average human has dropped to 8 seconds – a 25% decrease. That’s one second less than the average Goldfish. Wow, that’s depressing.

Now consider the following:

  • The average attention span spent on a social media video is 2-2.5 seconds (3).
  • The average attention span spent on an email is 10 seconds (4).

We may be dealing with seconds but they say Football is a game of inches, and the same applies to Marketing. In this case, the increase of around 8 seconds is critical in connecting with a deeper level with your current and prospective customers. If 10 seconds is all we have, you have to use it wisely, leading us to…

goldfish attention span

An Opportunity to Stand Out and Deliver Value 

You’ve opened THOUSANDS of emails that are just plain old, marketing bull****. It’s like someone with zero imagination or sense wrote it to be as bland and uninspiring as humanly possible. Here are some common issues that we can see with the email example below from Hayneedle.

Let’s think about some of the things wrong with the above email. First, it’s just bland. We see a cluttered mess of living room products with a vague theme of “getting organized for Fall” and about a million “SHOP NOW” buttons. Blah. This company sends a lot of emails so it appears as if their strategy is to go for volume and speed, sacrificing time-consuming unique content for quick easy sales-focused content that can be sent daily. Even if the open and click rates on each email are bad, the volume makes up for it. The other thing to note is that while it may only take 10 seconds to effectively scan the email, the content is so boring that engagement metrics will almost certainly be low.

How Hayneedle sends emails is a losing strategy, long-term, as their brand will fail to differentiate from dozens of competitors doing the same thing with similar products. What is the unique selling proposition, or in other words, what makes them different or better? Plus, how much do you like getting an email a day from some random internet ecommerce company you bought a lamp from that one time? Probably not very much, but you’re just too indifferent to unsubscribe.

Now think about the emails that you actually do open and read. They are usually from a PERSON or BRAND with a clear and conscious voice, containing information that is important, useful, or interesting to you. Doing something interesting and genuine can be a great way to stand out and create your own unique voice, but so many brands get it wrong. There is also a way to do this while remaining focused on the #1 goal – selling your product or service. The ones that get it right are laughing all the way to the bank.

Here’s an example of an email that gets it mostly right:

What really sets this email apart is that it educates first but follows with a strong and relevant call to action. Unlike the Hayneedle email, the Misen Outlet email demonstrates a path to marketing success: identify the pain point -> educate the audience -> introduce the solution. When framed this way, the call to action feels less forced and engagement will be much higher.

Lastly, the graphics are interesting and engaging and the writing is concise and compelling. The call-to-action buttons stand out and there is even a 30% added incentive to give people that extra push to purchase a new sheet pan.

A Custom Strategy for Your Business

At Perception Marketing, we follow a clear and defined checklist for building a successful email marketing program. At a high level, those steps are:

  1. Data Source – Where are the leads and contacts? How much data is available and how can we leverage it?
  2. Ideal Tools – Based on your needs, what email marketing platform would be the best fit? We like to use either Mailchimp or Klaviyo. What is the best way to connect and interface with your website?
  3. Capture Strategy – Do we need to create a campaign to boost email signups? How do we capture more emails? What data is important to gather?
  4. Automate / Drip Campaigns – Can we automate a customer journey leading to an important action? What is the ideal content to send that matters to them?
  5. Schedule Campaigns – Develop a content calendar with email ideas. Formulate ideal days and times to send. Write email content with clear calls to action that connect to business goals, while also being unique and genuine. Always remember the most important thing: Give them what they want.

If you want to outsource email marketing, then I would love to chat with you. Our team has written thousands of emails for just about any kind of brand you can think of, from non-profits to retail stores, doctors, building contractors, professional coaches, and much more.

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If you think email marketing is dead, you would be wrong. It’s still one of the most effective marketing tactics around, but doing it yourself or in-house comes with many pitfalls. The following article will outline the best reasons to outsource email marketing.

Read More »