November 12, 2018PrevNext Email Share × Share On: By: Zach Lezberg, Small Business Expo CEOFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, LinkedIn – with the rise of social media and messaging apps, there are a plethora of channels for small businesses to reach, build and maintain relationships with their clients or customers. With audiences predominantly on social media, is email still a relevant marketing tool to help small business owners foster better customer relationships, build a stronger brand and keep them growing?According to a recent survey of smartphone-owning US internet users from Adobe, email usage is increasing, with personal email usage was up by 17 percent over 2017. Furthermore, 50 percent of respondents stated email is their preferred contact method to receive promotions from brands.However, much like traditional banner ads, emails with promotional offers have become white noise. Those surveyed reported only 31 percent of emails they received within the past year were compelling enough to open. So how does one break through all the clutter and avoid being sent to the spam folder?Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach and engage audiences – when it’s done right – and no matter what size the business email marketing provides and impressive ROI. According to an eMarketer latest email marketing benchmarks, the median email marketing ROI was 137 percent.Here are tips to consider when creating and building out successful email marketing strategies.Use email to build strong customer relationshipsMany online relationships begin on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Social media is an excellent tool to spread the latest and greatest that is happening in your business, as well as reach new audiences. What social media lacks, however, is that it doesn’t give you ultimate control over who sees your updates or when they see them. That’s where email comes in. You can control who sees what and when and use it to build more targeted and personable connections with your customers.To entice your followers to become your email contacts, offer them something that will give them immediate value in exchange for their email address. This could be a limited free trial for your product or service, a how-to guide or a promotional discount. Once your build your contacts, it’s then important to provide valuable experiences that both supplement and go beyond what you already offer. By creating experiences that excite, engage and inform your customers, and establishing a value exchange where you reward them with each interaction can bring high value behaviors and build real relationships to create lifetime customers.Don’t’ be overly promotional, be informativeWhen users were asked what they would change about emails they received from brand marketers if they could, 39 percent responded they would have the emails be more personalized and informative than promotional. A good rule to follow is to share content that is relevant, interesting, useful and entertaining. Telling stories that leave a lasting impact and provoke positive emotions can help you build better relationships and show customers that you care about more than simply making a sale. Your subscribers actively made the decision to give you permission to contact them, so don’t overload their inbox with spammy promotional content. Use your email to build credibility with your audience by sharing helpful and informative experiences. In the end they your audience come to know, like, and trust you.Don’t forget to optimize for mobileIn today’s online-all-the-time world, consumers are connected to digital technology 24/7. You’re business is online, which is essential in connecting with anyone today’s world. But what’s also essential is to optimize your online communication so it can be easily seen on mobile.According to eMarketer, display ads on mobile are making up 69.9% of all digital advertising. Additionally, for the first time smartphone and tablet visits to retail sites are on track to eclipse desktop visits. Mobile is is becoming the predominant avenue of communication, so it’s important to ensure your emails are created with the mobile viewer in mind. Format your emails so that someone looking through it can easily read it on their mobile phone. You can do this through breaking up text with formatted headings and subheadings, numbered or bulleted lists, images that are optimized for mobile web display.When done right, email marketing can be a effective tool to help you stay top-of-mind with your customers. It’s cost-effective able to deliver exceptional results that will help you promote your business.