Deciding where to invest your marketing dollars isn’t a decision you take lightly as a small business owner.

You know you need to attract new customers and keep your existing clients coming back, but you can’t afford to invest time or resources into something that isn’t going to deliver the results you expect. That’s why email marketing is important when it comes to small business marketing.

In order to make a decision on whether or not it’s right for your business, it’s important to know the benefits of email marketing.

Before we get into the many benefits of email marketing, one of the top benefits can affect your bottom line and therefore needs to be mentioned right away.

Email marketing has the highest ROI (return on investment) of all forms of marketing, averaging about $36 in return for every $1 spent.

But ROI isn’t the only reason why email marketing is worth your time and investment. The importance of email marketing comes down to it being an effective solution that gives you the power to reach customers in a place most people visit every day — their inbox.

Ready to do more business with email marketing?

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Data to back up the benefits of email marketing campaigns

email marketing roi
The number one benefit of email marketing is that it has such a high return on investment for small businesses

Here are some of the top data-driven reasons to use email for your small business:

  • 91 percent of US adults like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with (MarketingSherpa)
  • Email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers. (McKinsey)
  • According to 80 percent of professionals, email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. (eMarketer)
  • Email marketing is more likely to drive sales than social media marketing. (Optinmonster)

For more data on the effectiveness of email, check out our top email marketing statistics.

Why email marketing is important

Email marketing is important for small businesses because it’s a marketing workhorse.

Not only does it help you to keep in touch with those that want to hear from you — keeping you top of mind — but it also allows you to educate your readers, drive traffic, conduct surveys, share updates, make announcements, etc.

What I’m trying to say is that email marketing allows small businesses to do lots of different things, all within one channel. And, it still has the highest ROI of any marketing strategy or channel.

Honestly, the importance of small business email marketing really can’t be overstated. If you’re not yet convinced, just take a look at the following benefits of email marketing.

Our top 10 benefits of small business email marketing

Before we jump into what real small business owners said their top benefits of email marketing were, let’s take a look at our top 10.

1. Create personalized content

Personalization is the number one benefit of email marketing because no one wants to read an email that sounds like it was just blasted out to a bunch of people.

Email marketing allows you to segment your customers into different lists based on their preferences to send highly personalized content. From crafting the perfect subject lines to images that resonate with your customer, and valuable content that helps your audience, email is the perfect channel to deliver those personal-feeling messages.

2. Build credibility

Emails from an unknown sender or with a shady subject line can feel like spam. It just feels off, and customers often just delete these emails.

For some customers, an emoji will make them click and be happy. For others, the same subject line might make them go hunting for the unsubscribe link. You need to tailor your content according to what your readers want. Knowing your readers’ interests and needs gets your email read, instead of the spam folder.

Creating a permission-based email list that includes a checkbox for users to opt-in to your mailing list ensures that a customer knows which emails they’re signing up for, and how often they’ll be receiving emails from you.

3. Increase brand recognition

Do people recognize your brand?

With email marketing, you can easily brand your emails. But brand recognition goes beyond design. By consistently providing valuable content to your audience, they will begin to recognize, and even anticipate your emails.

Are customers happy with the content you’re providing? Would they like to learn something different?

You can even create a brand identity survey to get useful feedback on your brand.

Use a survey or start a discussion on social media. Once you get them involved in the process, you’ll know exactly how to provide valuable content in your emails.

4. Improve sales

60 percent of consumers say they’ve made a purchase as the result of a marketing email they received.

Promoting your business through email marketing gives your audience the chance to make a purchase right from their phone or laptop.

Small business email marketing can be used to sell to prospects, boost referrals, upsell to current customers, and even re-engage customers that have not purchased from you in a while. The more relevant and targeted your email content is, the more likely the reader will take an action.

5. Build stronger customer relationships

Email marketing can help to build customer relationships by providing them with information they want  — directly into their inbox on a consistent basis. When you help make your audience’s lives better, whether that be with your product or service, helpful tips, or even just a “happy birthday” gift coupon, they will learn to appreciate and trust you.

Eventually, they will begin to look to your business for the information and value you have been providing them, thinking of you first when they need your services.

6. Optimize your time and budget

With any business, but especially within a small business, there are always time and budget constraints. While big businesses can afford to go all out and buy advertising space during the Super Bowl, small businesses don’t have that luxury.

Luckily, the costs associated with email marketing generally start out very low, with most providers offering affordable marketing plans that scale as your email list and your company grows.

In terms of time commitment, email marketing can be put on autopilot with email marketing automation, yet stay personalized and targeted towards your subscribers on an individual level.

7. Increase traffic to your website

Emails are a great way to get customers to visit your website. You can include relevant links to your site within your email content. You can also use your email campaigns to get customers to engage with other great pieces of content available on your website or blog.

For example, a local design school could send out emails to let them know about their new design class that has a limited number of seats. Many of their customers and potential leads may have missed out on this opportunity to attend the class had they not revisited the website in time.

The design school then can fill all the seats more quickly by promoting the class via email, instead of waiting for reservations to trickle in.

8. Establish authority

When you run your own business, one of your goals may be to be seen as an expert in your industry.  

Your customers have signed up for your marketing newsletters because they want to hear from you. They appreciate the content you send and keeping them engaged is one of the biggest wins for any email marketer. Your content is one of your most valuable marketing tools and you can use it to build other areas of your marketing strategy. If people love what you do, then they will sign up to see more great content.

9. Build excitement

Everyone likes to belong to a special group, especially when they can receive exclusive perks.

Your customers aren’t all the same, and the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Use your email campaigns to drive home the message that your customers are unique and important to your business.

Whether you’re giving a section of customers a sneak peek into an upcoming product launch, or simply rewarding them for being loyal customers, they all love a sweet deal. Volkswagen offers email subscribers free movie tickets several times a year. Starbucks gives their gold members free drinks around the holidays.

As a small business, you might not be able to go around giving free stuff to your customers, but a little something extra can go a long way. Rewarding your customers is a nice gesture, and from your side, it’s a great way to accelerate your marketing goals. Everybody wins.

10. Email is an asset you own

Although this benefit is listed as number 10, it doesn’t mean it’s the least important benefit. On the contrary, as a business owner or marketer, this is probably the most important benefit of email marketing to know.

Think about it. With social media, the platform owns everything you do on it. Every post. Every connection. Everything.

But with email marketing, your email list and all your campaigns (sent or not) are assets that you own. This means that no one can take them from you — or keep you from reaching out to your customers. No matter what provider you use or when.

The only caveat is, of course, that your email content is legal and abides by the terms and conditions of that provider.

Benefits of email marketing from real small businesses

If you want to know the real advantages of using email marketing for a small business, why not ask other small business owners and see how it worked for them?

We’re constantly on the lookout for the exciting and innovative ways our customers are using email marketing to build customer relationships and do more business.

Here are our favorite customer examples of the real-world benefits of email marketing.

Build credibility with your customers (and prospective customers)

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Email gives you the ability to build credibility with your audience by sharing helpful and informative content.

“For years, in large part to the newsletter I think, I’ve never had trouble attracting new clients and the right kinds of clients. People will read my newsletter and be able to tell if I’m the right person for the project before they even call me.”

Tom Ahern, founder of Ahern Donor Communications

Learn more: How to write a newsletter email that builds credibility with your subscribers.

Get more people to call you to do business

When done right, email marketing lets businesses reach the right person, with the right offer, at the right time. For a business like Rejuvenate Therapeutic Massage, a well-timed email results in a flood of calls each time they hit send.

“Email is our prime mode of communication. We rely really heavily on it because whenever I send something out, I’ll get a flood of telephone calls.”

Victor Terrazas, owner of Rejuvenate Therapeutic Massage

Learn more: 5 Ways to Get Leads for Your Business

Increase donations to your cause

As fundraising efforts continue to move online, nonprofits need to adapt their outreach efforts as well. Texas-based nonprofit, Rescued Pets Movement, saw the benefit of using email campaigns to increase donations when they sent an email to raise emergency funds for a dog in need.

“We sent a plea out to our database, explaining the situation and asking for help. Our audience knows that we only send these types of emails when we really need to, which is why these always get the most clicks and shares. The response was amazing; we raised over $10,000 from individual donors and were able to get her the help she needed.”

Laura Carlock, founder of Rescued Pets Movement

Learn more: 5 Ways to Increase Online Donations

Strengthen relationships with your customers

If you want to build strong customer relationships, it’s important to have an effective tool to communicate with the people who matter most to your business. Email gives you the ability to stay top-of-mind and keep people engaged with your business during your busy season and the slower times of the year.

“Being able to get our message out there is important to us. It gives the members a feeling of being included. They know what’s going on with the gym and know that they aren’t just a number on a list.”

Nicole Sanders, founder of Ladimax Sports and Fitness

Learn more: 10 Best Practices for Interacting with Your Customers

Improve communication to keep your customers informed

If your business depends on having a reliable way to communicate with your members and clients, you need to have a communication channel you can trust. For real estate management company, Buccini/Pollin Group, email has provided a reliable solution to keep tenants informed and up-to-date.

“We’ve had people say that they’ve really noticed that there’s more communication going on. It can be something small – maybe the garage doors aren’t going up or down – we try to send out an email right away letting our residents know that’s happening, and sometimes get an email right back saying thank you and that they appreciate it.”

Julia Mason, residential marketing manager for ResideBPG

Learn more: Let us show you how email marketing automation can keep your customers engaged.

Build your brand

With email marketing, you can strengthen brand recognition with new and potential clients, and extend your reach when people forward or share your message with a friend.

“The emails are an important reinforcement of brand. I get calls from people I’ve never met all the time. They get the newsletter, or a friend of theirs gets the newsletter, and they know I’m the person to call. It really helps establish credibility upfront.”

Brandon Stewart, realtor at David Griffin & Company Realtors

Learn more: How to Brand Your Emails So You Look Like an Inbox Pro

Boost your sales and revenue

When you have an audience of people who opt-in to receive updates from your business, you’ll be able to think differently about how you boost sales throughout the year. This has been especially valuable for a business like Colorado-based Allegria Spa, which communicates with local residents and visitors from around the country.

“It has definitely been the easiest way to reach people. If we have a slower day and know that we want to reach local people, we can create a quick email and will get at least a few calls right away. The response is immediate.”

Christine Copertino, spa director for Allegria Spa

Learn more: How to Increase Sales for Your Business

Learn what works and see the impact of your marketing efforts

Another benefit of email marketing is that it gives you the metrics you need to see how your campaign emails are performing. These insights help you market smarter, and also give you the advantage of better understanding the needs and interests of your customer base.

“Email has definitely helped us with web traffic and attendance at our events. I like that after I send an email out, I can go back and see how many people clicked through on which links. That way I can tell people are interacting with our content and click through to our website.”

Ally Whittaker, public relations manager for The Local Good

Learn more: How to Measure the Impact of Email Marketing

Get started quickly and get professional assistance

With email marketing software like Constant Contact, you’ll have the tools and training you need to get started quickly — regardless of your level of marketing experience or expertise. When you do get stuck, we have a team of people who are dedicated to your success. Just call our LIVE Helpline to speak with a Marketing Advisor.

“When we first started, I really wasn’t sure how it would work for us. I’m not a professional marketer, and thought I would need a lot of training. But I decided to give it a try and was able to teach myself everything I needed to know.”

Anca Bala, gallery and event coordinator for Gallery Above Penn Square

Learn more: What It’s Like to Work with a Marketing Advisor

Reach people on any device

With 60 percent of all emails being opened on a mobile device, email marketing is one of the best tools you can use to take advantage of the continuously growing popularity of mobile technology.

“We are definitely focused on mobile devices now. I want to know that if someone gets our email, no matter where they are, they can look at it. In fact, when I sent our last flyer I got three phone calls! That’s big! And I am almost positive that all of those people were on their phones, not in an office.”

Carol Singer, owner of Arlington Promotional Products

Learn more: What is a Mobile-Responsive Email Template? (And Why You Need One)

Get more from doing less with pre-built templates

One of the benefits of using an email marketing provider like Constant Contact is that you have access to professionally-designed email templates. These templates are designed to make it quick and easy to get your message out to your audience and ensure you look professional when it lands in the inbox.

 “Email marketing is great, because it doesn’t have to take a lot of effort to have a big effect.”

Terri Jasen, national program director, Pajama Program

Learn more: Check out Constant Contact’s 240+ email templates.

Look professional with expertly-designed email templates

Email templates aren’t just easy to use; they’re also designed to make sure you look professional when you reach your audience member’s inbox. You can insert your own content and customize each email template with your logo and colors to make sure it matches your brand.

“We get really good feedback from the newsletters and the new templates have been working great for us, we’re getting a lot of opens.” 

Todd Starnes, president, Bicycle Adventures

Learn more: Use Email Templates to Create and Send Professional Emails

Increase website traffic

Whether you’re an ecommerce business that sells products online, or a retail store that wants to increase traffic to your website so that you can bring more people into your store — email marketing campaigns can help.

“Email definitely works. We see people clicking through to our website and we have people coming into the shop telling us that they saw our newsletter.”

Dawn Noble, owner, La Provence

Learn more: How to Drive Website Traffic with Email Marketing

Market with a personal touch

Unlike other marketing channels that often limit your ability to customize your message for the different audiences you communicate with, email marketing gives you the ability to organize and segment your audience into lists and communicate with people based on interest, purchase behavior, location, and more.

This has proven especially useful for someone like Courtney Hendricson, who manages the communication between the local government and business community of Enfield, Connecticut.

“I do the best I can to put all my contacts in separate lists so I can email just the development community, or just businesses, or elected officials, depending on what kind of event announcement or email I’m sending.”

Courtney Hendricson, assistant town manager, Town of Enflield, Connecticut

Learn more: 6 Reasons Why You Should Personalize Marketing

Get immediate results

When you run a small business, every sale, order, or appointment can have a significant impact. With email, you’re able to get the results you’re looking for right away and easily track how your different email marketing campaigns are performing.

“It’s rewarding because we always get an immediate response through orders. Whenever we need to trigger sales, we’ll think of a great special to put out there.”

Karen Kowal, founder, Mother Earth Pillows

Learn more: Get Started With Email Marketing: 10 Things You Need to Do First

Generate more leads

Not everyone who joins your email list will be ready to make a purchase or sign up for a service. Email gives you the opportunity to capture new visitors’ attention and nurture the relationship with helpful and informative content.

“It’s been great for generating leads. People that are thinking about using our service will usually sign up for the newsletter. I’ll see them pop up for a couple of weeks in my reader-base, and then they’ll call and make an appointment. It’s not long until we pull them in as a customer.”

Meghan Blair-Valero, owner, Fogged in Bookkeeping, Inc.

Learn more: 5 Foolproof Ways to Generate Leads for Your Business

Build excitement

You want your marketing message to be something that people look forward to seeing. Email lets you keep track of which messages are generating the most opens and clicks, so you know which messages will get people excited to hear from your business.

“It’s always nice to hear someone tell us how much they enjoyed reading our newsletter and thanking us for reminding them to come visit the store or give us a call. The personal touch really makes the difference.”

Sue Bedell, owner, Second Bloom Design

Learn more: How to Set Up an Effective Automated Welcome Email Series (with Examples)

Start a conversation

Email marketing lets you start a two-way conversation that will benefit you and your readers. Don’t just push your message out to them; encourage them to share their feedback and ideas with a survey or a poll. This approach has worked well for a company like WH Cornerstone Investments, which relies on email to share helpful advice, news, and education with clients.

“After each email, I get three to five calls. Some people see my email and get reminded they want a consultation, others will just want to talk about a news article.”

Paula Harris, co-owner, WH Cornerstone Investments

Learn more: How to Write Good Survey Questions

Promote services

Service businesses face the difficult challenge of keeping clients interested in their business, even when they aren’t looking for services at different times of the year. Email gives you the opportunity to keep your client’s attention without overwhelming them with unwanted information.

“Our email marketing started off as an experiment. But our open rates are usually higher than 50 percent and we get service calls every time we send a newsletter out, so I think it’s working.”

Matthew Taylor, co-owner, Green Solutions Lawn Care & Pest Control

Learn more: Email Marketing for Professional Services

Grow your audience

As a small business, it’s not always easy to stand out in a crowded market. Email marketing allows you to build an audience that is interested in hearing from you, without having to pay for other advertising channels.

“Five years ago, we started with about zero contacts, but we have a great database now – we have 7,000 email addresses. That means I can push out a social event or a holiday and let 7,000 people know instead of advertising  it for $500 in a newspaper.”

Grant Galuppi, owner, Galuppi’s Restaurant

Learn more: The Ultimate Guide to Growing a Massive Email List

Stay organized with segmentation

Reaching out to clients on an individual basis can be a costly and time-consuming process. Email segmentation helps you save time by reaching out to your wider audience, while still delivering a message that’s personal and relevant to them.

“Before Constant Contact, we were manually keeping track of everyone we had reached out to — it was crazy, the amount of time it took. Now, I can send out an email to about 300 people in less than five minutes.”

Ruth Weening, catering manager, Basil Tree Catering

Learn more: How to Segment an Email List

Increase your value

When you adopt a communication strategy that fits your audience’s needs, you’ll have more people paying attention to your message and get a higher return overall.

For a business like Cotton Clouds, making the switch from print to email newsletters doubled the number of sales they were able to generate each time they reached out to clients.

“Every time I send out an email, I get a sale in 15 minutes. Overall, I get up to four times as many sales with these newsletters than I did with my old ones, and they’ve gone from about $50 per order to $100.”

Irene Schmoller, founder Cotton Clouds

Learn more: Drive more traffic to your online store with Constant Contact’s ecommerce tools.

Attract new clients and customers

In addition to connecting with the people on your email list, you can also share your newsletters and announcements on your own social media networks to bring new people to your business.

“People get to see my work, which is great, and these are often people who I never get to meet with one-on-one. The timing of each newsletter is going to be right for somebody, and having the opportunity to show people what I’m doing has just been a great way to grow my business and my reach.”

Jill Singer, owner Jill Singer Graphics

Learn more: 6 Easy Ways to Reach New Customers

Save time

Once you learn the basics, you’ll be able to put together a plan to get your emails out to your audience of subscribers in less time.

“The biggest benefit of email marketing, from a staff perspective, is efficiency. I have a template made so it’s easy to pull together an email quickly. I think the rest of my staff thinks it takes me a lot longer to create an email than it actually does!”

Kayla Peck, FAO Schwarz foundation fellow at Strong Women, Strong Girls

Learn more: How to Create an Email Marketing Plan (That You’ll Actually Stick To)

With email marketing, you’re not alone

If you’ve tried other marketing activities, it can sometimes feel like you’re completely on your own. Here at Constant Contact, we believe you shouldn’t have to do it alone. You’ll have the support you need to get things done, and tools and training to become an expert marketer.

“I recently had some white space in a newsletter I couldn’t get rid of. So I called customer support and they explained the image needed to be resized and the issue was cleared up immediately. A great thing about Constant Contact is if you’re having a problem, you can just pick up the phone and someone will solve your problem in a matter of minutes.”

Dan Plouffe, co-founder, MyCollingwood.com

Learn more: Get all of your marketing advice in one place at our online marketing blog or get personal monthly one-on-one coaching through our Marketing Advisor Program.

Stay top-of-mind

By sharing relevant content with your audience throughout the year, you’ll be able to stay top-of-mind and build credibility. While they may not be ready to act right away, when your audience knows you have something that can help them solve a problem they’ll be more likely to take action when the time is right.

“Almost all of our donations, around 95%, come through our email newsletters. Using email marketing to maintain relationships and build personal connections has been a key to our success. And the biggest part of that has been staying in touch and top of mind throughout the year.”

Julie Taulman, executive director, Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports (STARS)

Learn more: Plan your marketing campaigns out for the entire year with our help. Get our free marketing calendar.

Improve awareness of everything you offer

As much as you’d like to think customers know about all of the different products and services you have to offer, there’s a good chance that many of them don’t. This was a problem McDonald Wildlife Photography faced when they first got started with email marketing for their travel business.

Taking a more proactive approach to their marketing proved to be exactly what they needed to improve exposure of the services they offer.

“Our problem in the past would be when people were not aware of all the trips we had available. Up until we started using Constant Contact we just had everything on our website. From a marketing sense, that’s the wrong approach because it puts the burden on our customers.”

Joe McDonald, co-founder, McDonald Wildlife Photography

Learn more: Get Started With Email Marketing: 10 Things You Need to Do First

Book more classes

Whether you need to get the word out about a class weeks in advance or want to make up for some last-minute cancellations, email marketing can help you get the word out about all of your activities in a way that’s convenient for you.

This is especially important for a yoga studio like extendYoga, which hosts a full schedule of classes every day.

“We make it easy for our customers to book classes right online through our emails. Once an email goes out, we see the sign-ups come in shortly after.”

Arlet Koseian, founder of extendYoga

Learn more: How to Market Online Courses Using Email, Website, and Social Media

Maintain vendor relationships

You’re probably already investing time and resources into marketing to potential customers. But are you also thinking carefully about how you build relationships with vendors and partnering businesses?

Email gives you the ability to maintain communication with all of your different audiences so that you can build the relationships you need to be successful.

“If you don’t have a plan for reaching out to vendors on a regular basis, it’s easy to let some people fall through the cracks. You want to make sure you’re maintaining relationships with both your core vendors and any of the smaller ones you may be working with.”

Lee Klacher, founder of Octane Press

Learn more: How to Build Vendor Relationships and Increase Sales with Email Marketing

Why email marketing works

Unlike some other marketing channels, email marketing allows you to keep in touch with your customers on a consistent basis. Be it a simple, “Thank you for subscribing,” a cheery, “Welcome on board,” or a sincere “Happy Birthday,” email can be an easy and effective way to let your customers know you value them. Customers love it when a business treats them as an individual, not just like everyone else.

That value should show in the emails you send, and the more value you provide to your target audience, the more they’ll look forward to hearing from you. That’s a benefit of email marketing that affects both you and your customers.

Take advantage of the benefits of email marketing for your small business!

The bottom line is that you should be communicating with your customers and prospects on a consistent basis. That is just what is expected of businesses in today’s world. With email marketing, you can meet those expectations and more by creating a mutually beneficial relationship between your business and your email subscribers.

Now you know why email marketing is important. The benefits of email marketing are that it can help you to build your brand, out-do your marketing goals, set yourself up as an expert, and grow your business revenue, all without breaking your budget or taking up all your time.

So, stop thinking about it and get started on your small business email marketing today. You’ll be glad you did!

Want to learn more about how to make email marketing work for you? Check out our email marketing guide!