Tech Tip #3: Don’t underestimate business email. Another installment of our Small Business Tech Tips Series.
We all seem to have a love-hate relationship with email –particularly business email. Whether we’re communicating across the country, of with someone down the hall, email has become the first choice:
- It’s instant
- It’s efficient
- It provides a paperless trail of communication
It also tends to pile up and get ahead of you: that’s the hate part.
Aside from the obvious day to day business communication, your email system can be an extremely valuable internal and external marketing tool.
Stay in Touch With Your Clients
Email is a great way to market to your clients, and we’re not talking those spammy ‘buy my product’ emails; a simple periodic newsletter that’s fun and interesting can be even more effective than other direct marketing methods.
So what’s fun, interesting, and not spammy?
- Sure you can talk about your products and services, but why not share interesting stories about your other clients and how they make the most of your products and services. Short case studies are interesting and will help your sales team.
- Get personal. A great way to connect and develop a rapport with your customers and prospective customers is to find common interests. Consider sharing interesting stories about your staff. New hires always make for good content, but don’t overlook unique and interesting things that your team does outside of work. Highlighting the community or civic involvement and charity work of your staff creates connections, stories about interesting hobbies can also help prospects feel more acquainted with your company. Maybe your CEO is building an airplane in his basement, or you may have a sales rep that is an amateur harness racer, perhaps there are foodies among you, so why not share a recipe now and then? The point is to let your customers see the human side of you and your team.
- Have some fun! Share an obscure fact about something or someone related to your industry, or insert a funny meme that relates to your product or service, give the reader something fun or silly to look forward to.
In this digital age, we’re spending less time on the golf course and more time connecting in other ways. A simple quarterly business email newsletter can help establish new, and nurture existing relationships – and keep your product and service offerings fresh in the minds of your customers and prospects.
Take Note: It is important to give your customers and prospects a way to opt out of these emails (there are always a few who will have that ‘hate’ relationship with email). It can be as simple as responding with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. However, if your emails are fun and entertaining, you won’t see many ‘unsubscribes’.
Stay in Touch With Your Staff
In a small office this is pretty simple, but when your business grows, it could be more of a challenge. Why not plan for that growth now. Actually, you can facilitate growth at the same time. The most recent thinking about the best way to grow your business is to engage your employees. What that means is to foster an emotional commitment from your staff toward your organization and its goals. Studies show that engaged employees work harder and provide better customer care, which builds better customer loyalty. That equates to a better bottom line.
A monthly email newsletter to your staff is one of the best ways to engage them. Similar to customers and prospects, although perhaps more casually, you can share new product information and other company initiatives, introduce new hires, highlight staff or company involvement in community events, and share recognition for staff accomplishments. A regular newsletter can also be a conduit to get valuable feedback from staff through quick surveys.
The bottom line here is that using internal email to engage your staff is as important as using a business email newsletter to stay in touch with your clients.
But what about that inbox clutter?
There are ways to organize the chaos. PC World offers some great tips for Outlook users, and our friends at HubSpot have an eBook with tips for virtually any email platform. To learn more about how technology can improve your bottom line, download OTELCO’s Business Technolgy Guide. It covers everything from business email to clud technology.