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Why Automated Email Marketing Is an Essential Tool for Small-Business Owners Email marketing is the best way to reach customers and get sales. Here's why.

By Kokab Rahman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every day, businesses spend thousands on getting their marketing messages across. Regardless of whether the business is marketing to individuals (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), everyone is spending a lot of money and effort to reach prospects and increase market reach.

But regardless of the method or target, most marketing communications are one-time opportunities, and then the prospect is gone. (Social media is a passive communication method, and while it is important in the overall marketing strategy, unless the prospect continues to interact with the business social media, the message won't reach them.)

In many instances, this means a lost sale. Customers need to become aware about the business , product or multiple times before they decide to purchase anything. If you don't obtain the prospect's contact details and follow up with them, you are likely leaving a ton of money on the table.

There are several ways to contact prospects, and technology has made many of them easy:

  • Text messages.
  • Follow-up phone calls, even automated prerecorded voice calls.
  • Follow-up ad campaigns (anyone who visits your website or clicks on an ad sees additional ads on social media, YouTube and websites they visit.)
  • Email marketing.

Each method has its pros and cons. Of these methods, email marketing is the only non-intrusive method and the least expensive one to reach potential clients and customers. The other methods are either poorly received by the customer or require more effort and cost.

Text messages are very personal, and unless the customer is highly connected to the brand, chances are they will perceive SMS marketing messages annoying. Follow-up phone calls and emails require human effort and will cost more. Automated voice messages also tend to annoy prospects. Follow-up online ads are costly but if done right, can lead to increased sales. However, too many too frequently can irritate the buyer and cause the business to lose a potential customer.

Related: 5 Tips for Better Email Marketing Performance

Email marketing is more beginner-friendly, less expensive and, if timed correctly, effective in converting a cold lead into a warm lead or customer. Daily emails are not recommended, especially right after onboarding the prospect, which is a common mistake. Since your email isn't the only one the prospect is getting, too many emails at once can be overwhelming.

An automated email once every five days or even two weeks can help inform prospects about your business and products and turn leads into buyers.

So how do you obtain email addresses? Every communication, whether on the phone or via your website or social media, should work to obtain the prospect's name, email address and permission to send them more information.

Several ways to obtain customer contact details include:

  1. When your sales representatives answers the phone, have them get the customer's name, phone number and email address.
  2. Store representatives and sales assistants can ask for customers' names, phone numbers and email addresses at the time of sale for information about special offers and discounts.
  3. Ads can lead prospects to a sign-up page where prospects can enter their contact details, usually to get information about a particular item, get a callback, or receive a free item like a PDF book.
  4. A subscription form on the company website should be available for people interested in signing up to your newsletter and receive communication from you.

Email marketing service providers like MailJet, MailChimp, Constant Contact and many others offer easy to use email newsletter systems with templates to create both text and graphic newsletters without requiring difficult coding or HTML knowledge, as well as everything you need to schedule and send email newsletters to thousands of subscribers directly without using email.

Related: Why Email Marketing Is Better for Your Business Than Social Media

Automated email newsletter services allow you to add contact details of subscribers both manually and through a subscription form to create and schedule emails that go out to every new subscriber in sequence, such as week 1, email 1; week 2, email 2; week 3, email 3; and so on. Every time a prospect subscribes, a set of automated emails go out to the subscriber according a preset schedule of your choosing. You can also send one-off emails and special offers to the whole mailing list.

Automated emails save a lot of time and effort for businesses, especially when included into a website subscription form or ad. Although new users may find the process complicated at first, it is actually easy to grasp and use, and with a little practice, the solopreneur and small business owner can handle it. Once the emails are created and scheduled, the company can focus on other things while the automated newsletter system takes care of informing potential customers and turning prospects into buyers.

Kokab Rahman

Business Growth Strategist / Career Advisor

Kokab Rahman is a business and career strategist, and founder of Radeya Global. She has written articles and books on skills development, business and career. Her books include titles like "Self-Help for Entrepreneurs and People Working from Home" and "Accounting for Beginners," available on Amazon.

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