My stepmum owns a photographic gallery (it’s great, you should definitely visit it!) and up until recently she used to let people know about upcoming exhibitions simply by sending a mass email from her email client.
It worked really well, until it didn’t. Her emails started ending up in the Spam/Junk folders or not getting delivered at all which for a micro business owner who relies on word of mouth and the personal touch was a big, big worry.
You may have seen the same yourself – you’ve been sending mass emails from Outlook, Gmail, Thunderbird etc to loads of people without any problems. Then all of a sudden people start saying they haven’t heard from you in awhile (just after you’ve sent out an update about your next big thing!) or they mention that they found your email in their spam folder, or well, you’re not sure how many people are actually opening your email even if it does get delivered.
All problems my stepmum faced.
So, I set her up with a professional email service provider (Mailchimp) and used that service to let people know about her next exhibition. Well she had the most successful photographic exhibition she’s ever had and whilst not all of that is due to the use of Mailchimp I’d say a lot of it was because of the following reasons.
6 reasons to use an email marketing service even as a micro business owner
1: The email goes out properly formatted.
Most of these services offer pre-designed templates that have been tested to work with lots of different clients. So no matter whether your customers use Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail the email will display the way you want it to. In my stepmum’s case she instantly got responses from people saying how professional her email looked.
2: It ensures compliance with the Spam Act 2003
Under the Spam Act 2003, recipients must be able to tell the sender they don’t want to receive messages anymore. If you’re simply sending emails to people then you’re probably not complying with the Spam Act in this way and run the risk of being fined. Email service providers provide an easy ‘unsubscribe’ option for people so you are in compliance with the act.
Luckily no-one unsubscribed from my stepmum’s list!
3: Your emails are less likely to get marked as spam
Email clients like Outlook, Hotmail, and Gmail aren’t really designed for mass emailings. If you send too many mass emails then worst case scenario you could have your email address shut down by your email provider or by your own Internet Service Provider for what looks like spammy practices. ‘Best case’ your emails can end up being automatically re-directed to your recipient’s junk or spam folder which is what happened with my stepmum.
Email service providers are trusted within the email community and so mass emails sent via them are less likely to end up in junk/spam folders.
4: You get statistics
For the first time ever my stepmum was able to see how many people (and who!) opened her email and how many people clicked on the links within her email. It wasn’t bad but there’s still work to be done, which we’ll be doing over the next few weeks. And of course I’ll tell you here how we go!
I will note that my stepmum is currently only using the free account – paid accounts offer even more statistics but for a micro business owner the free options should be enough initially.
5: It provides people with a way to subscribe to your email list even if they don’t know you personally.
Until I set her up with MailChimp my stepmum was restricted to asking family and friends for their email addresses which really limited her email list size.
However email marketing services allow visitors to your website to sign up to receive updates from you – which can help build your email list whilst remaining compliant with the Spam Act 2003.
This will be the next thing we do together – adding a sign up box for her website – and I’m confident that as a result she’ll soon see an increase in the number of people joining her email list.
6: The ability to schedule when an email is sent.
Personal email services like Outlook don’t allow you to schedule when an email is sent, so even if you pre-write an email you still need to be able to physically send that email at the appropriate time. And who wants to run their lives dictated by sending emails? Not me, not my stepmum and I’m betting not you either.
With an email service like MailChimp not only can you pre-write the email but you can also schedule when you want the email to be sent. So in my stepmum’s case she’s got three emails set up – the first one goes out a week before her new exhibition starts; the second one goes out in the middle of the exhibition and then the final one is set to be sent just before the exhibition finishes.
All of which happens regardless of where she is and without her having to remember to send them!
Want some help getting set up with MailChimp in your micro or small business? Contact me here and we can chat about it further.