Email marketing is a tried and tested way of engaging with customers and remains a cost-effective business tool.
Such is the conclusion of the Econsultancy Email Marketing Platforms Buyer's Guide 2012, which stated that despite the rise of social media, email is still seen as an important part of a multi-channel marketing campaign.
Small businesses in particular may rely on sending correspondence in this way, as it is quick, simple and almost free, helping them to make the most of their marketing resources.
According to the report, email marketing delivers robust returns on investment, has an impact that is easy to measure and in today's technology age, is increasingly viewed as being less intrusive than other methods.
Aliya Zaidi, research manager at Econsultancy, commented: "The demand for increased relevance will be the key battleground for email, due to the rise of the priority inbox and grey-mail filters.
"The growth of social media and greater volume of emails means companies can simply no longer afford to ignore email tactics that will increase the effectiveness of their campaigns, including personalisation, targeting and segmentation."
How can small businesses tackle email marketing?
There are several ways in which small and medium-sized enterprises can make their email marketing as effective as possible.
Personalisation is important and can help a firm's correspondence stand out of the inbox crowd.
Some of the ways this can be done is by:
• Using a customer's first name in the email greeting so the message does not appear to be sent in one job lot.
• Keep in mind the date – perhaps send a birthday congratulations, or close to Christmas, and ask a personal question such as '[Name], how far have you got with your gift buying?'.
• Include the most recently-bought items and services and suggest similar ones that are now available.
• Offer discounts and exclusive sneak-peeks that customers who are not signed up to an email newsletter do not receive.
The Econsultancy report also highlighted the importance of adapting emails for tablet and smartphone users, a point Adestra and the Professional Publishers Association previously pushed. The pair discovered that just 15 per cent of publishers include emails in their marketing strategies.
Further small business email marketing advice can be found here:
Mobile is key email marketing trend
Email marketing and social media should be integrated
What are your top email marketing tips?